All I wanted to do was to change the name of my blog, including the URL. It seemed simple enough at the time but WordPress won’t let me delete the old one, so until I figure it all, out I’m duplicating my posts on both URLs, so apologies if you are receiving notifications twice – I promise I’m looking in to it !
Back to food though, it rained most of yesterday in Singapore – very odd, as usually the tropical storms here are torrential, but last, at most, 30 minutes, then the clouds seem to magically disappear, exposing the warm blue sky again. I’ve been here for five years now yet I’m still surprised that it can be grey and wet outside and still 30C/86F. But while I am cool and dry in my apartment, it makes me feel like it’s winter, and I feel the need to eat some warm comfort food.
So I decided to make a salmon and brown rice pie. Feel free to substitute with tuna, white rice, even pasta – this is a very versatile recipe.
Ingredients makes enough to feed six hungry people
- 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
- 1/4 cup quinoea, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 450g tinned salmon (I had red but you could also use pink)
- 1 tbs grain mustard
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus another 1/2 cup for topping
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Cook the rice first. Add the water to the brown rice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 minutes
- Add the quinoea, give a quick stir, and cook for a further 20 minutes
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Mix the cooked rice with the the rest of the ingredients except the cheese for topping and breadcrumbs
- Line a deep, 11″ pie dish with the salmon/rice mix and press down lightly
- Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together and scatter over the salmon/rice mix
- Add a couple of blobs of butter on top to help it all brown
- Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown
- Let cool slightly before slicing up into wedges and serve warm with a fresh green salad
- It’s filling, but don’t despair – you can eat it the next day – it’s still yummy cold from the fridge
I have no idea how I ended up cooking this for dinner tonight, but gosh I’m glad I did. This dish (in hokkien is called tau yew bak – literally translated, soya sauce pork) is one I haven’t had for maybe 20 years and the cool thing is eating it took me right back to when I was a little girl and my mum made it for me.
I think I just fancied some comfort food, and this dish, which is essentially pork belly that is stewed for 2 hours in a combination of soya sauce and spices like cinnamon and star anise, is warmingly melt-in-your mouth tender and is yummy served simply with rice.
Living in Singapore, I also tend not to cook Chinese food because access to top notch Chinese food is so easy here. And there is also the variety of different Chinese cuisines, from Hokkien or Peranakan (which is my heritage) to Cantonese (which is what I grew up with in Sydney), to Hakka, Peking, Hainanese…you name it.
The problem with eating out is that it’s tough to get brown rice unless it’s at some organic, vegetarian, peace-loving-type restaurant, and the most authentic food is just not served in places like this. My palate has been trained to like white rice with Chinese dishes, so my recipe below might be ridiculously simple, but it was a way for me to enjoy eating rice, with a 50% good component with the mix of brown rice. I just had to get over one of the basics of cooking rice – not to stir it around, ending up in mushy rice – and working out the logistics of different water and time ratios of cooking the two types together.
The recipe below is my rough guide on measurement – it’s a forgiving dish and doesn’t need to be precise so add more or less to taste
Ingredients makes enough to serve 4
- 300-400g pork belly, cut into 2cm strips
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbl Chinese five spice powder
- 1/4 cup dark soya sauce
- 2 tbl light soya sauce
- 2 tbl sugar (or to taste)
- 1-2 cups water
- 1-2 hard boiled eggs
- Blanch pork in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes to remove any impurities. Drain well. Discard the water
- In a claypot or a saucepan, heat up some oil and add the pork, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and five spice and fry until fragrant and the pork has browned
- Add the soya sauces and sugar and bring to boil for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and the sugar begins to caramelise
- Add the water, bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Again the amount of sauce is personal. Some like it sticky and almost dry (me), some like it with quite a lot of sauce
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the boiled eggs
- Serve with rice and vegetables
- For my mix of 50/50 white/brown rice, add 2 cups boiling water to 1/2 cup of brown rice and simmer for 25 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of rinsed white rice, stir, cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes