Interesting how a random lunch outings lead to series of discovery of similar taste buds and crave for good-ol’ hometown-ish cookings. I think this is also the ‘northern’ thingy, where most Penang’ites, Kedah’ans, Perlis’ian and Perak’ian share in common. They so love their food. Wait I think all Chinese do. Including the partial Chinese, and the dan lain-lain (pun intended and, and not being racist). <—these days say something discomfort even at your own blog you ‘may’ get RM6m legal suit.
So after a heavy lunch, the conversation goes on … and it’s mostly about food. Actually just about food. And without question, it sparked up my let’s-rush-to-cook thingy. Dashing off from office with the unusual amazingly smooth Thursday traffic, I got happier when I’m able to get all the ingredients I had in mind from my trusty lil-vege-shop. The plan for dinner is to make stuffed bitter gourd with salted fish + pork marinade and pineapple prawns.
So once I got home, I start to cut the bitter gourd into 2 inches length wise and cored the seeds. After washing them, soak them with same salt just to cut away excessive bitterness. Thaw minced pork, while waiting get into chopping garlic, slicing ginger, julienne half an onion, diced a handful of carrot, and chopped some 2 chilli padi away. While waiting for the frozen pork to unfroze itself, peel the prawns, slice the pineapple and pop some rice into the cooker of course. And do something decent with the coriander.
Then, next 20 minutes while watching TVB drama on TV, knead the minced pork with a dash of sesame oil, two quick rounds of soy sauce, pinch of pepper, half a teaspoon of oyster sauce, half a teaspoon of molasses sugar, and a teaspoon of corn starch. Once it get all mushy, add in a pinch of chopped garlic and ginger. Add in the diced carrots too. Now at this time, scissors in sufficent mui heong salted fish into the meat loaf. Lastly sprinkle some wolfberries. See the whole idea is simpler than the name of the dish - ‘Stuffed bitter gourd with salted fish + pork marinade. So what’s next is merely assembling, by stuffing them into the earlier brine-soaking bitter gourds. Arrange them on a place and steam it. For about 20 minutes or just when the bitter gourd turn pale and soft. You don’t need any other sauce preparation as, the steam and the dish itself will work it’s magic to allow a sufficient shallow sauce. Seriously simple !
And the next dish, while waiting for the gourds to steam, coat the clean prawns lightly with corn starch that has been mixed with black pepper and salt. Coat them lightly, which is like, pick up the cleaned prawns with chopstick and front-back-dip-repeat onto the flour and sizzle them into the hot frying pan like. Do not overcoat. Nasty and rubbery they would be. And pan fry the till golden crisp, all curled up and set aside.
Then the simple sauce, sauté ginger and onion, adding in garlic and chilli when it get aromatic. Slide in the pineapple, and I use the canned pineapple rings here, as they spot a sweeter flavours from their sweetened marinade mix. Once it gets sizzling, add in like 4 table spoon of the earlier can leftover syrup. Add in a pinch of salt then the stems of coriander together with earlier crispy plump prawns. A quick stir fry and throw in the balance of the coriander leaves. Then serve-lah.
The dish today is inspired by meat+vege/fruit-combi. Both dishes have the right mix of both vegetables / fruits and protein. And just so you notice, there is no exact measurements mentioned this time. I just feel the best rule of thumb is cook by taste. Your own taste.
Here, try your version and drop me a feedback!