Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chilli pork spareribs with stirfried mangetout and water chestnuts

PROPOSED to Evans last night. This is not the momentous occasion you might think. It happens nearly every week and normally when I'm very drunk. She's unlikely ever to say yes so it's the kind of challenge that will last a lifetime - one of those goals that, if it ever came to fruition, would leave me nothing left to strive for.
Evans is a great girl. Entertaining, great looking, clever, sparky and likes a drink as much as I do. Only drawback is she likes rugby. We've never been out, not even close, apart from on boozy nights in the pub, which makes it even more entertaining to pop the question now and then. I like to think of myself as a cross between Bruce Willis and Ray "Butch" Wilkins, the former Manchester United and England international midfielder, but with Mr Spock ears if you see my latest passport photo. Withers prefers to think of me looking more like Zippy off the old kids show Rainbow (note to self: kill Withers).
Anyway, after a good afternoon's drinking it is always good to pick up the mobile and ring people and have a long natter, forgetting nearly everything you spoke about the next day. Spoke to my mate Laurie, who was a childhood friend and who I met again recently after contact through friends reunited. Then spoke to Evans, who has just started a new job up in Essex.
After all that I intended to watch Lost but promptly fell asleep and didn't wake again until 3 this morning. It made up for all the hours sleep I missed over the weekend.
So I didn't cook. In fact all I had to eat all day was a banana and an orange and the vitamin pills recommended to me by my guru.
On Monday night I did get around to opening the Ken Hom Illustrated Chinese Cooking book, though, and did some chilli pork spareribs with a veggie sidedish and plain steamed rice.
The thing about Chinese cooking is it requires particular ingredients which aren't always easy to find. One particular "must have" is Chinese rice wine, which can be replaced with sherry but gives Eastern food its unique flavour (to my delight I recently discovered it in Sainsburys)
As many spareribs as you fancy, depending on who you are cooking for (I had three)
Peanut, veg or sunflower oil (lots)
1 and 1/2 pints of chicken stock.
2 tablespoons chilli bean sauce
1 tbspn sugar
3 fld ozs chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 and 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
2 tsp whole yellow bean sauce
3 tbsp Hoisin sauce.
2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water.
Heat oil in deep fat fryer or wok until v hot
plunge in spare ribs and fry until brown and crisp (may be best to do in batches)
drain on kitchen roll which combining all sauce ingredients and bringing to boil in pan
Add chops to this and simmer for an hour
Lift spareribs out and put them on grill rack.
grill, and baste every now and again with sauce until brown and sticky.
Cut up into six inch pieces.

Drain rice and put in pan, covering with about an inch of cold water.
bring to boil and boil vigorously until most of water has been absorbed.
Turn on lowest setting, cover with lid and cook for 10 mins.

Stirfried mangetout and water chestnuts
Heat wok or frying pan
add oil and fry 3 tbsp spring onion for about 10 seconds
add as much mangetout as you want and coat in the oil, stir fying for about a minute
add a tablespoon of light soy, two tablespoons cold water, one teaspoon salt, half teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon of sugar.
Stir fry for another three mins on quite high heat
Add water chestnuts from a tin, which have been sliced thin.
cook for two more minutes
stir in two tablespoons sesame oil.

Place the chops on top of the rice then put the mangetout and water chestnuts around the side.
Delish! Also if you have some sweet chilli sauce dip this goes nicely, too. A good contrast in flavour and textures.
Perhaps if Evans reads what a fantasticly adventurous cook I am she will see I have more to offer than my drunken advances might suggest. Then again, I doubt it.

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