Dragon cod poached in red wine and eggplant steaks

cod poached red wine

I found a nice piece of what’s called dragon cod at the huge fish supply market. It’s a 1/5 of the price of regular cod and the only English references I could find in Google is allegedly from a fast food place in China substituting it in their fish burgers. It’s called 龙鳕鱼 in Chinese.

cod dragon

Dragon cod is supposed to have fat that the human body cannot digest but I ate a piece of the sample (the tiny bit that comes in the package – you know, for like tuna) raw and it tasted fine to me.

cod okra

I ate it like that coz it’s from one of those huge fishing clearing house that can have much fresher produce than your local fishmonger.

dragon cod fish

It tasted really good and paying RM 12 instead of RM 58 for the same size sounds like it’s worth a try! :)

dragon cod

I pan-fried the dragon cod after patting it dry with serviettes. The good thing about dragon cod is that it has no bones (except for the obvious one) – much like a regular cod.

pan seared cod

However, it has a very high moisture content. I wanted to dry it sufficiently so it’ll have a nice sear on the fish steak.

red wine poaching

I used a lot of butter for frying the dragon cod. I initially wanted it to be served like that – with a reduced butter sauce before I saw a really old bottle of red wine in my fridge.

red wine cod

I poured the entire remainder of the Crimson Cabernet bottle into it – about 1/4. It’s a very sweet red wine. Think of the sweetest red one you’ve ever had and multiply it by a factor of 10 and you’ve got an idea of how this wine tastes like, which is why I couldn’t finish it.

red wine sauce

I let the dragon cod poach in the red wine for a while and then took it out and reduced the sauce before thickening it with some corn starch for some bubbling goodness that I spooned over the fish.

sliced okra

My other half was responsible for the eggplant steaks. She just sliced them down the middle…

fried okra

…seared them, and before

okra sauce

….made an awesome sauce of chopped garlic, shallots and chilli fried in oil to bring out the flavor.

okra steaks

It’s poured right on top for a delicious meal we ate together with rice! :)

cod red wine reduction

I’m quite proud of the dragon cod poached in red wine. It tasted really good, the taste of the sweet Cabernet still shines though in the sauce and the cod was flaky and moist!

Herb marinated thigh with grilled Portobello mushroom, okra and chicken couscous

This is a completely home cooked meal that we made from scratch *together*! :)

chicken couscous rice

Of course, we didn’t rear the chickens, plant the mushrooms or made the couscous but other than that, everything was done properly and it turned out to be a wonderful meal! I wanted her to have a good impression of couscous since I like it so we made that with chicken essence from cooking the chicken!

couscous chicken

You will need:

  • Chicken leg/quarter – drum and thigh (one per person)
  • Herbs (fresh is better)
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Fresh milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Okra
  • Couscous

I didn’t take the traditional photo coz some things were done on the fly. I also decided against using the OXO Chicken Cubes and went with the flavorful chicken goodness that the pressure pan cooker produced.

chicken

The chicken leg (cut that includes the drum and thigh) were selected very carefully – my dear choose two of the best on offer, with a larger one for me. Strangely enough, this cut is called Chicken Maryland in some places, but for me, that is a dish, not a quarter cut of chicken.

marinated chicken

It was then marinated with a variety of herbs and spices for a full 24 hours while wrapped in an air-tight bag inside the refrigerator.

frying chicken

The chicken was then taken out of the bag and then fried with a bit of oil inside a pressure pan. The bits of garlic and lemon used to marinate the chicken is also fried alongside but save a bit of the juices for the end.

grilled chicken

The pressure pan was then closed and the chicken allowed to cook for 30 minutes with a turnover at the middle. That’s her part, cooking the chicken. I did the much easier couscous and BBQ mushrooms. ;)

chicken essence

I bought store-brand Tesco couscous. I wanted to go for the whole wheat version but at her suggestion went with this instead. You’re supposed to add 1.5 parts of water to 1 part of couscous.

cooking couscous

However, I decided to use 1 part water and the remaining 0.5 parts were composed of an equal mixture of fresh milk (which I find makes couscous taste better) and the sauces from the pressure cooked chicken.

couscous

I cooked the couscous and let it stand for 5 minutes before fluffing it out to individual grains using a fork. It turned out fine except for a little caramelization at the bottom, which was discarded.

Oh, and we also blanched some okra (lady fingers) in hot water and ate most of it before leaving two (2) each for the dinner plates. smirk

portabello mushroom

The Portobello mushrooms are the huge teacup sized ones that cost RM 4-5 each and should only be cooked for a minute or so to retain the awesome juiciness of these flavor absorbing beauties.

grilling mushrooms

The couscous was infused with the natural flavor of chicken derived from the juices during pressure cooking and tastes absolutely wonderful! It’s a bit like chicken rice, except it’s couscous.

xx hot peri peri

I didn’t think the dish needed any other flavoring but put in some Nando’s XX-hot Peri-Peri Sauce anyway. I reckon our version tastes better than Nando’s any day! :p

chicken couscous

It was an awesome collaboration in the kitchen that resulted in a delicious dinner!

Gooey lady’s fingers with surimi

gooey ladyfingers with surimi

This is a recipe I remember eating a lot of during my first real relationship. My ex-girlfriend’s mother cooked this all the time and with a bit of effort I managed to replicate her recipe. I don’t eat a lot of vegetables but I like certain ones and this one is a hit. :)

okra

Ladyfingers or okra is quite easy to work with – my parents usually just dunk it in hot water for a couple of minutes and eat it just like that. It’s very healthy.

However, this is a better tasting version that I picked up from an ex-girlfriend’s mom (who’s a great cook). It requires:

ladyfingers surimi

Lady’s fingers (okra)
Surimi (crab sticks)
Tomato sauce
Dark soy sauce
Brown sugar

sauce

What makes this slightly different is all in the sauce. This sauce is very delicious when used with lady’s fingers. You’ll want to mix tomato sauce and dark soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio. Pour another measure of brown sugar (2:1 to the existing sauce mix) on top to sweeten the entire thing.

Surimi is meant to be the “treasure” beneath the bed of ladyfingers. Put it into boiling water and take it out after a few seconds. Surimi (crab sticks) cooks really fast so get ready to fish it out when it floats to the top (to me this means that it’s cooked, I could be mistaken). ;)

cooking surimi ladyfingers

Put the lady fingers into the boiling pot after that and wait for about 2 minutes. A spatula would be useful in speed cooking – just press the okra down into the hot water. Ladyfingers also doesn’t take long to cook – you want this to be slightly firm and crunchy on the outside.

While the ladyfingers are cooking, put a bit of hot water into the sauce mixture to melt the brown sugar. I just used the closest available one – straight from the pot. You just need a TINY (a bit of an oxymoron to use caps to emphasize moderation) amount so just sprinkle a little from the spatula you use for the lady fingers.

slice ladyfingers

Take the lady fingers out, chop off the head, and slice it vertically using a very sharp knife – two slices down each one is optimal but if you come across a particularly small finger, just once slice would do. This releases the Gooey Stuff (TM) that’s so good about okra.

sumiri

Just arrange the sliced lady fingers on top of the bed of surimi and pour the sauce over it. It’s now ready to eat! :D

arrange ladyfingers

This dish cools really fast so it’s best if you cook it last.

gooey ladyfingers

Serve immediately and savor the texture and tastes of the messy goo mixed with sauce and surimi and the occasional crunch of lady’s fingers. :)

Okra (Lady's Fingers) chips – very unusual whole okra vegetable snack

okra_chips_shelves.jpg

Okra (commonly known here as Lady’s Fingers)
is a long green vegetable, much like chillies, except it’s green and
it’s not spicy. I noticed fresh (as in structural integrity) whole
vegetable snacks made in Taiwan on the shelves of the supermarket and
it caught my attention due to the unusual natural configuration of the
vegetable snacks.

okra chips container

The freeze dried okra snacks retails for RM 5.95 and comes in a
see-through plastic container which reveals the complete structure of
the lady’s fingers – the okra is preserved well, with the stem on top
tapering down to the vegetable proper.

okra chips fresh

The interesting thing about these okra chips from
Taiwan is that it’s made from fresh okra. The range of products from
this manufacturer runs the whole gamut of the vegetable and tuber
family – all with the original structural integrity present.

okra chips lid

There is a green colored lid (the different vegetables are color
coded for your convenience) which opens up to reveal a standard pull-up
ring.

okra chips whole

Here’s a close up of the okra “chips” – the lady’s fingers has been
preserved nicely, and all the okra is naturally green and whole (I
still can’t get over that). I ate one of them and the crispiness of the
okra is very pronounced. It tastes like the real vegetable and it comes
with seeds and all still intact.

okra chips seeds

This is what the inside okra chips looks like – it looks like the real thing, with the seeds and all…heck, it is the real thing!

The wonders of modern food processing…

;)

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