Notes from Joe’s Kitchen

 |  November 30, 2011

“Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone – too nervous to bear witnesses – to take the pudding up and bring it in…Hallo! A great deal of steam!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

Using steam to cook food has a long history, but it has fallen out of favour in the west. In Thailand, it is still a frequently used technique – from sticky rice, to fish or chicken nung manao, to desserts.

To help you celebrate the holiday season, here are a couple of festive, good tasting recipes using steam and not available elsewhere. Both are easy to prepare and perfect for your yearend party.

Note: Remember, steam is much hotter than water and can quickly cause severe burns. Wear protective gloves and BE CAREFUL!!

Country Paté with Green Peppercorns (thanks Marc)

This is a good tasting, simple paté without (t)ruffles or flourishes. You end up with 600-700 grams of deliciousness (total cost is around 160 baht) for you and your friends. Serve the paté with baguette slices and cornichons.

500 grams pork belly (Half fatty, half lean)
250 grams pork or chicken livers (Whichever tastes better to you)
4 stems green peppercorns
3-4 sheets gelatin
2 teaspoons allspice
Salt and pepper to taste

Have your butcher remove the skin from the pork belly and then grind pork and livers (Tesco has done it for me in the past, as did Macro although I had a go with the manager at Macro before she agreed). Grind two times. Separate the peppercorns from the stems, wash and reserve. Put the gelatin sheets into a bit of cold water to dissolve. In a large bowl, add the meat, peppercorns, spice, salt and pepper. Mix well. Take a bit of the mixture, fry it and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Add the gelatin and mix again. Cover and place in steamer. Steam for 60-75 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 175F/80C. Remove from steamer, uncover and let cool a bit. Place a solid cover on top of the pate with a weight on top (a can of something works well.) Refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat that will congeal on the surface.

Cuban Flan (thanks Carrie)

This flan is more firm than most. I like its texture better. It is a bit like an upside down créme brulee. If you have never caramelised sugar, check out this web site for directions, tips and cautions. (http://www.
4 eggs
1 can condensed (evaporated) milk
1 can (smaller size) sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar

Make the caramelised sugar and coat the bottom of a two quart heatproof bowl. Thoroughly mix the other ingredients. Pour on top of hardened caramel and cover tightly. I use plastic cling wrap and then cover with a lid. Put in steamer and cook for 60-70 minutes, until set. Water should be at a low boil. Remove from steamer and let cool. When cool, run a knife around the edge of the pudding, then invert onto a serving dish. Best if served cold. Serves 8.


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