Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five Spice Ground Pork and Thai Basil Eggs with Lotus Root Chips

     Noodle House All Day Long!
     The items used to make today's recipe were basically the only items that were on hand in my refrigerator.  After glancing at the odd food items, an idea came to mind.  Going with the first thought is often the best course of action.
     Procrastination wastes time and a good ideas tend can possibly get lost in the caverns of the mind.  Making the best of it and following the first thought usually results in a clear path for figuring a course of action from start to finish.  Anytime something new is created, a little bit of meditative philosophy is involved.

     Asian breakfast food tends to be humble.  Savory porridge made from leftover rice is served as breakfast in many Asian restaurants and homes.  Eggs usually are not looked upon as being breakfast food.  Eggs are featured as garnishes, incorporated into an element of a recipe or they are prepared in special ways that include Century Egg, Egg Foo Young, Pa Jun or Japanese Omuraisu.  Rarely will somebody see an American style bacon and eggs breakfast served in traditional Asian restaurants, unless they dine in a resort that caters to tourists.
     By western standards, today's recipe is a breakfast entrée, but in Asia this entrée would more than likely be one part of a multi-course meal that is meant to be shared by guests at the table.
     As a western culture style breakfast entrée, today's recipe offers plenty of protein for the day.  From a nutritional standpoint, proteins are best for the body when consumed in the morning and carbohydrates should be eaten the previous evening.  Fruits and vegetables should be eaten all day long.

     For today's recipe, fried lotus root takes the place of potato.  The lotus chips look nice on the plate.  The lotus chips can be used to scoop up bites of the eggs and pork.  Chip and dip style food for breakfast is not a bad idea.
     Fresh Thai Basil and eggs is a classic flavor combination.  The Chinese Five Spice Ground Pork has a classic flavor.  In northern China and eastern Russia, catsup is is used like a cooking sauce, just like oyster sauce, hoisin sauce or soy sauce.
     Catsup was originally intended to be a cooking sauce and not just a condiment.  A small dab of catsup is all is takes to flavor the 5 spice ground pork and add a rich texture.  Home made catsup or organic catsup made with no corn syrup are the only kinds of catsup that are suitable for being used as a cooking sauce.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 entrée!

     Fried Lotus Root Chips:
     It is easy to cut very thin lotus root slices with a French Mandolin.  Some skill is required to cut thin chips by hand.  Striving to master knife skills is always good practice, but if a Mandolin is needed to cut perfect thin slices, then so be it.  
     Step 1:  Cut about 12 to 14 thin slices of peeled lotus root.  The slices should be about 1/16" thick.
     Step 2:  Heat 4" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 3:  Place a few thin slices of lotus root in the hot oil at a time.
     Use a fryer net to flip the chips occasionally so the fry evenly.
     Fry the lotus root slices, till they are a crispy pale golden color.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to place the fried lotus root slices on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the fried lotus chips.
     Five Spice Ground Pork:   
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced onion.
     Sauté till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 5 ounces of ground pork.
     Sauté and break the ground pork into small pieces.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté till the ground pork begins to brown.
     Step 3:  Drain off the excess grease.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Korean style Coarse Red Serrano Chile Pepper Paste.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Organic Catsup.
     Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce, till the sauce clings to the pork.
     Add 1 green onion that is bias sliced into bite size pieces.
     Stir the ingredients.
     Keep the five spice ground pork warm over very low heat.

     Thai Basil Eggs:
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped Thai Basil leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk the eggs and Thai basil together.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Scramble the eggs, till they are fully cooked.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Five Spice Ground Pork and Thai Basil Eggs with Lotus Root Chips: 
     Use a ring mold to place the Five Spice Pork on the center of a plate.  Leave the ring mold in place, while the rest of the components are placed on the plate!
     Place the Thai Basil Eggs around the base of the ring mold.
     Arrange the fried lotus chips on the plate around the eggs.
     Garnish the pork with Thai Basil sprigs.
     Remove the ring mold and serve.
     This recipe idea ended up being worthwhile and it has a nice look.  Offering an entrée like this for breakfast could open up some eyes and create smiles!

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