Friday, April 21, 2017

Pork, Roasted Tofu and Yellow Chive Stuffed Wax Peppers with Tamarind Sauce and Ngò Om

     Tasty Stuffed Peppers!
     Today's fancy Stuffed Peppers can be served as an appetizer or entrée.  Either way, these tasty stuffed peppers are meant to be shared by guests at a table.  Pork, roasted tofu and rice is a pleasant tasting savory stuffing for peppers.  Wax Peppers are mildly spicy, so those who have sensitive tastes do not have to hesitate when taking the first bite.        
     Roasted Tofu is usually sold in cryovac sealed packages in Asian food markets.  Sometimes the label will say Roasted Bean Curd instead of Roasted Tofu, but it is the same product.  Roasted Tofu is very firm and dense.  It is usually stewed in sauce when making Korean or Chinese specialty dishes.  Roasted Tofu has a dark color and a nice mild roasted soy flavor that goes well with pork.    
     Yellow Chives are actually garlic plant tops.  Garlic tops are green when exposed to sunlight, but when the sunlight is blocked, the garlic tops turn yellow.  Yellow Chives have a pleasant mild garlic flavor.
     What makes this stuffed pepper appetizer interesting is the combination of herbs and tamarind, which is common in Vietnamese cuisine.  Tamarind is used in Mekong Delta soups and stews to add a tangy fruit flavor.  Tamarind Sauce is nice choice for accompanying sauce for pork stuffed peppers.  Ngò Om is also known as Rice Paddy Herb.  Ngò Om has a unique lemony exotic herb flavor that has a hint and cumin aftertaste.  Fresh Ngò Om also garnishes Vietnamese Mekong Delta soups that are flavored with tamarind, so this flavor combination is well proven.   
     If Rice Paddy Herb looks familiar, it is because it is a common aquarium plant in the western world.  Many people that have fish tanks do not realize that the Rice Paddy Herb that is growing in the tank is one of the finest tasting herbs that there is.  Of course, consuming common an herb that has been growing in a fish tank not advisable, so only serve Rice Paddy Herb that is meant for human consumption.  This herb is usually labeled as Ngò Om in Asian food markets.  

     Tamarind Puree Sauce:
     This recipe yields a little more than 1/3 cup.  (2 or 3 garnish portions.) 
     Nothing extra is added to the Tamarind Puree Sauce.  The natural tangy flavor of Tamarind goes well with the stuffed peppers!
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of Seedless Tamarind Fruit Paste in a small sauce pot. 
     Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer the tamarind pulp is very soft.
     Step 2:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Pour the tamarind liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot.
     Press the tamarind pulp through the strainer too. 
     Step 3:  Place the sauce pot of thin tamarind puree over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the tamarind sauce is a thin consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Place the tamarind sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.

     Pork, Roasted Tofu and Yellow Chive Stuffed Wax Peppers:
     This recipe yields 4 to 5 Wax Peppers, depending on the size.
     Leftover plain Jasmine Rice is good for this recipe!  If none is on hand, then cook a small portion of white rice ahead of time. 
     Step 1:  Place 4 ounces of ground pork in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Roasted Tofu.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Cooked Jasmine Rice.
     Add 3 tablespoons of thin sliced yellow chives.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced cilantro.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of Ground Szechuan Pepper.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Set the stuffing mixture aside.
     Step 3:  *The amount of Wax Peppers needed depends on the size of the peppers.
     Cut the tops off of 4 to 6 Yellow Wax Peppers.
     Scrape the pulp and seeds out of the peppers.
     Fill the peppers with the stuffing.
     Step 4:  Set up a steaming pot and add enough water to steam the stuffed peppers.
     Lightly brush the stuffed wax peppers with blended sesame oil.
     Place the stuffed peppers on a steaming rack inside the steaming pot.  
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Steam the stuffed peppers over medium high heat till the pork stuffing is fully cooked.  
     *About 7 to 10 minutes is plenty, depending on the size of the peppers.  Do not steam for too much time or the peppers will become mushy!  A probe thermometer should read 165ºF.

     Pork, Roasted Tofu and Yellow Chive Stuffed Wax Peppers with Tamarind Sauce and Ngò Om:
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Place 4 or 5 of the steamed Pork, Roasted Tofu and Yellow Chive Stuffed Wax Peppers on an oval serving plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Tamarind Sauce on the plate around the stuffed peppers.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of Ngò Om (Rice Paddy Herb) on the tamarind sauce.  (About 3 or 4 tablespoons of leaves and small top sprigs is plenty.) 

     This stuffed pepper appetizer has a flavor that will give guests something to talk about!  

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