Babi Pangang, a stowaway recipe for spicy roasted pork belly

Some recipes live a life of their own and obtain fame in a country far away from where a dish is supposed to have originated.

So it is with Babi pangang, a famous dish in the Netherlands widely available in Chinese and Indonesian restaurants.

In itself, the name Babi panggang is Malay for roasted pig.  In Indonesia, the people are for almost 90 per cent Muslim and do not eat pork.

But there are people, like the Batak of North Sumatra, that do eat pork and have dishes of charcoal roasted pork with sauces of blood or with spicy sambal. Continue reading “Babi Pangang, a stowaway recipe for spicy roasted pork belly”

Portuguese cabbage soup Caldo Verde

Many national dishes have humble origins and are unlikely to grace any fancy recipe book next to gastronomic courses with noble products.

With water, potato and this cabbage the northern Portuguese made Caldo Verde, green broth, and Portuguese all over the world still eat it with pleasure and as an antidote against homesickness.

Most people are poor and have been poor over the centuries and these people did their best with what was available.

The Dutch, for instance, eat kale and endive as vegetables while elsewhere these greens are only good to feed cattle. Continue reading “Portuguese cabbage soup Caldo Verde”

Pork chops with celery and potato purée

Winter is the season for root vegetables like the celery, as well as the truffle.

Celery is inexpensive while truffles are rather expensive, but there are ways to overcome this and add a bit of truffle flavour to a dish with truffle oil.

So I did here, I cooked a chopped-up celery with six potatoes, then blended that with some stock, reheated it and added some drops of truffle oil.

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Stuffed chicken thighs and Japanese pearls

Sometimes I just make up a dish based on the ingredients I happen to have at hand. So it was here when I had planned to make a chicken broth of leftover bones and carcasses I had kept in the freezer. I had bought some chicken thighs to add to the stock but the broth went well enough without the fresh meat.

In the fridge, I had a jar of Sicilian citrus jelly – cédrat – brought by a friend, while in the larder I still had a broken package of “Japanese pearls”, tiny beads of manioc and some Piment d’Espelette – Basque peppers. That brought me to the following very nice and delicate dish.

Continue reading “Stuffed chicken thighs and Japanese pearls”

Goatfish filets with lime

From September to the end of the year, French market fishmongers  offer a brightly coloured red/orange fish called “Rouget’ (the red one), which is in fact a name for various types of fish.

The larger ones are the red mullet that are fished in the ocean in big nets. There are also smaller sized fishes, “rouget barbet” (the red bearded one), the size of a goldfish, which are rockfish such as the surmullet.

Continue reading “Goatfish filets with lime”