Sunday, March 1, 2009

From peppers to belacan

This is what happens when the real world takes over: I end up with a dozen or two pictures on my camera that I haven't even transferred to my computer yet, let alone put up here. So here we go!

A beautiful red bell pepper, just begging to be char-grilled, sliced up, and devoured. With a gas stove, you don't even need charcoal! Just put the pepper down on the metal, grab a set of tongs, and fire it up.

The same pepper, about ten minutes later. I would have gone further, except that it was starting to drip pepper juices onto my burner and into the stove, which wasn't such a good idea. After it's nicely charred, I just ran it under cold water and rubbed off the skin. The other option is to put the pepper in a paper bag and close it (which steams it), wait until it cools down, and then get the skin off. But I didn't have a paper bag on hand.

Scallion pancakes, ready for the oil! While perusing Farmgirl Fare's recipe backlog, I came across an entry involving an overload of scallions. Buried in the comments was a very tasty-looking recipe for scallion pancakes: a simple flour-and-water dough, kneaded and mixed with scallions, torn-off pieces rolled into pancakes, and pan-fried.

The results were delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture until I had already taken a bite out of one. They weren't quite as stretchy as restaurant scallion pancakes, but I have a feeling that came from not using as much oil in the dough--I just brushed it with oil once, instead of every time I folded the dough.

From Appetite for China, I got a recipe for pan-fried green beans. I took the liberty of replacing the dried shrimp with belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste), since I couldn't locate dried shrimp at the Asian market. I also got to use my brand-new mortar and pestle! I mashed up some garlic, ginger, dried chilies, belacan, sambal balado, and doubanjiang into some sort of unholy pan-Asian spice paste, but it was fantastically delicious when I stir-fried it and mixed in the green beans. My apartment did smell a bit like a fishing pier until early this morning, but it's absolutely worth it for belacan.

There are plenty more pictures to come, including cookies and homemade bread!

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