Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Peanut Butter, Date and Oat Bliss Balls | 椰棗燕麥能量球

If a granola bar and a chocolate peanut butter cookie dough had a love child, it would be this Peanut Butter, Date and Oat Bliss Ball. They are brown, shaped like meatballs, flecked with seeds, nuts, and specks of dried fruit, and are known interchangeably as energy balls. Typically found only behind display cases in those scarce health food-conscious cafes charging a whopping HKD30 a piece, these rather unadorned, ordinary-looking balls of joy may not immediately draw attention from Instagram-crazed foodies, much less do they receive the recognition they deserve. For those who have yet to be initiated into the world of energy balls, time to get onboard!

Bliss balls are not called "bliss" without a reason. Jam-packed with whole foods and super foods, bliss balls are chock full of nutrients with a satiating combination of proteins, good carbs, healthy fats, fiber - and flavor. They are a breeze to make, requiring no baking or cooking, can be made ahead in batches, and are fully portable - making them the perfect quick pre- or post-workout fuel, midday pick-me-up snack, or that perfect grab-and-go breakfast on those rushed mornings.

Two to three of these energy bites in the morning typically keep me full till lunch time so, in short, these babies are essentially the (almost entirely) guilt-free snack that can help keep hunger pangs at bay and conquer those sudden cravings for junk food which always, inevitably end with regret. Especially at 1am watching Will & Grace on Netflix.

This recipe takes advantage of dates as the natural sweetener and binder for the bliss balls and contains no added sugar or oil. And while dates, dried cranberries and raisins bring sweetness and tartness, dark chocolate and peanut butter rounds off every bite with an irresistible savoriness and familiar oompf. I like to use chunky peanut butter for added texture, but a smooth one will do as well. Bliss balls are fully customizable, so feel free to follow your heart's desire and experiment with your favorite ingredients! Switch peanut butter out for almond or other nut butters; toss in chopped nuts or chia seeds and hemp seeds for an extra boost of protein and essential fatty acids.

Need a quick snack on the go? These flavor-packed bliss balls are the perfect little boosts of energy!

What you'll need...
1 cup (200 g) pitted Medjool dates*
1 1/2 cup instant oats
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
35 g dark chocolate, chopped

Note: If the dates are dry, soak in warm water for 10 mins then drain well.

1. In a food processor, pulse sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to break into smaller pieces. This is an important step to avoid whole seeds from jutting out or causing the energy bites to crumble. Set aside. Place the Medjool dates into the food processor and chop until small pieces remain or until a sticky mass forms.

2. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, vanilla extract, and warm water until it reaches the consistency of honey. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze the balls. Enjoy on the go!

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【 椰棗燕麥能量球 】

無核椰棗                200 克
即溶燕麥片            150 克
花生醬                    85 克
純雲尼拿香油         2 茶匙
溫水                        60 毫升
葵花籽                     5 湯匙
南瓜籽                     2 湯匙
蔓越莓乾                 4 湯匙
提子乾                     2 湯匙
椰絲                         2 湯匙
70% 巧克力             35 克

1. 葵花籽和南瓜籽用攪拌器輕輕打碎備用,有助減少能量球鬆散的機會。
2. 把椰棗放在攪拌器裡打碎至形成黏黏的一團。
3. 花生醬注入溫水和雲尼拿香油,拌勻。
4. 把所有材料拌勻,用手揉成球狀後冷藏 1-2 小時即可享用!


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Monday, September 2, 2019

Kor Moo Yang: Thai Grilled Pork Neck | 泰式燒豬頸肉

My memories of Bangkok often conjure up images of lively, cacophonous markets; of thoroughfares routinely jammed with brightly colored cabs; of fearless motorbike taxis zipping dexterously through the traffic; and of course, images of the myriad street food the city is known for. Char-grilled pork skewers, Isaan sausages, fried chicken, soup noodles of all sorts, banana and egg roti are surely no strange sight to street food aficionados and starving food seekers in Bangkok.

Happy street food crawl in Happy Land Market, Bangkok
Turn this humble and inexpensive cut of pork into a delectable household favorite!
Fringing Happyland Center, a bustling food market frequented by only locals in the Bangkapi district, there is a street lined with fruit vendors, Thai bubble tea makers, a sweets and desserts stall, and countless other street food vendors that spill onto adjacent alleys. In one corner, a faded and slightly worn green metal open pit oven stands, spewing smoke into the already hot and muggy streets. Inside the oven are slabs of marinated pork neck, pork jowl, and juicy chicken legs grilling and glistening over hot charcoal, the meats occasionally turned and flipped and altogether replaced once cooked and ready for sale. There I always stand, about a meter away from the side, taking the sight and smells in, drooling while sweat profusely drips from my temples down my chin. I have been to this market more times than my fingers can count, in search for the most genuine street foods served to locals and priced for locals, but still this green oven captivates me every single time. 

Kor Moo Yang (คอหมูย่าง), or grilled pork neck, is to no surprise a Thai favorite found everywhere from food centers to streets and restaurants. In Hong Kong, this dish is served in just about every Thai restaurant, making up one of the few standard starters that every Hong Konger knows when going out for Thai food.

Pork neck is probably one of my favorite cuts of meat, layered with just the right balance of lean meat, fat, and muscle, giving a crunchy chew that is oh so flavorful even with the simplest marinade. Besides, pork neck is also much more forgiving than the leaner cuts so the chances of overcooking is rare.

Of all the street foods out there in Bangkok, Kor Moo Yang is one that is easy to replicate at home, even without a charcoal grill. Simply prepare the marinade and marinate the pork overnight, then pop the slabs into a hot oven and you will soon be swooning over the heavenly aroma of a Thai barbecue. The addition of palm sugar in the marinade not only adds depth and sweetness, but also increases the caramelization on the surface of the meat (I'll be first to dive shamelessly for the charred, crispy bits). As with most marinades, the following is just a guideline. Feel free to toss in some finely chopped kaffir lime leaf or shallots for variation in flavor! For those of us lucky enough to have a barbecue on a patio, this recipe is also perfect for a quick grill.  Try this marinade on chicken wings and pork chop!

Thinly slice pork neck at a 45° angle across the grain for best results
I swear this grilled pork neck is going to taste better than any you have tried in a restaurant. While the meat is already flavorful enough to enjoy on its own, the dish is not complete without a Nam Jim dipping sauce! Kor Moo Yang can go with just about any variation of Nam Jim. Click below for my recipe.

Nam Jim: Thai Dipping Sauce

What you'll need...
500 g pork neck
2-3 stalks lemongrass, white parts only, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cilantro roots or 4 cilantro stems, chopped
2 teaspoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Nam Jim

1. Trim excess fat off the pork neck.

2. In a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound lemongrass, garlic, and cilantro roots or stems into a paste. Add palm sugar and pound until dissolved. Add oyster sauce and fish sauce and stir to combine. Pour marinade over the pork neck and coat well, refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight for best results.

3. Remove pork neck from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking tray with baking paper and grill pork neck for 15 minutes. Flip and continue grilling for 10 minutes or until slightly charred on the outside. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the pork neck.

4. Allow pork neck to rest for 5 minutes. To serve, slice the pork neck thinly across the grain, angling the knife at 45 degrees if the pork neck is particularly thin. Serve warm with Nam Jim. Enjoy!

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【 泰式燒豬頸肉 】

老老實實,有邊次去泰國餐廳唔點燒豬頸肉先? 爽口彈牙、香口又惹味,只需預先醃好和焗爐一部,在家都能夠造出曼谷街頭、炭香四溢的正宗泰式燒豬頸肉!再配上自家製泰式酸辣蘸汁,風味絕佳。 這好可能是您食過最好吃的燒豬頸。

豬頸肉                      500 克
香茅                           2-3 根
蒜頭                           2 瓣
芫荽根部                  2 根(或以適量芫荽莖代替)
棕櫚                      2 茶匙
蠔油                           1 湯匙
魚露                           1 湯匙

1. 把豬頸肉洗淨,將過多的脂肪除去備用。
2. 把香茅白色部份切成小圓圈後剁碎。將蒜瓣和芫荽根或莖剁碎。
3. 用研缽和研棒或攪拌機把香茅、蒜末、芫荽磨成蓉。
4. 加入椰糖,繼續磨至完全溶化。加入蠔油和魚露,拌勻。
5. 豬頸肉加入醃料,放進雪櫃醃 2 小時或過夜則最為理想。
6. 烤肉前先將醃好的豬頸肉拿出來解冷約 20 分鐘。預熱焗爐至 200C/400F。
7. 豬頸肉放在鋪了烘培紙的烤盤上,焗 15 分鐘後把肉翻轉,視乎豬頸肉厚度,再烤約 10 分鐘至肉邊微焦即可取出。
8. 待豬頸肉稍涼,以 45 度角逆紋切成薄片,以蘸汁伴吃,味道絕佳!

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