Our most recent cooking adventure, seloseb, was described by a friend as ‘congealed milk custard.’ Fortunately, it tasted considerably better than it sounded. We were nonetheless pleased to bid farewell to the Pacific Islands region and head back into South-East Asia: specifically, Macau.
Macau starts us off on a short journey of ‘Are they actually countries?’ countries. Macau is a ‘special administrative region’, which means it’s an autonomous territory of China, and also a city, but isn’t actually part of mainland China, and was actually once ruled by the Portuguese… which, frankly, is all too confusing, so we decided to just include it on our list of countries: in for a penny, in for a pound, and all that. Ash’s interest in the country has always lain primarily in the fact that it hosts the world’s highest bungee jump, but last week its cuisine became just as important. Many of the local dishes have been strongly influenced by Portuguese traditions, but we suppressed the temptation to make a huge batch of pasteis de nata and instead opted for minchi, considered to be Macau’s national dish. Apparently, and likely due to the dish’s key ingredient, the name derives from the English word ‘minced’.
Recipe inspired by Adventures in Gastronomy.
For the meat/marinade:
275g minced beef
275g minced pork
2 cloves of garlic, bashed
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
For the rest:
1 medium potato (approx. 225g), peeled and cubed in small pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
500-700ml vegetable oil
Rice, to serve
1. Mix the beef, pork, garlic, bay, cayenne and soy sauces in a bowl and leave to marinate for around 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, cook the potatoes. On a high heat, heat the oil in a wok. You can tell whether the oil is hot enough by dipping a wooden chopstick or other utensil in the oil: if it bubbles, it is hot enough. Deep fry the cubes of potato, carefully stirring to make sure they don’t clump together. Once they are crisp and golden brown, remove and blot on some kitchen paper.
3. When a bit cooler, remove the oil from the wok, leaving just enough of a sheen to continue cooking with.
4. Reheat the wok and add the garlic, onions, shallot and bay leaves. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
5. Remove the garlic and bay from the marinating beef and add the beef to the wok along with the potato, stirring until the beef starts to turn brown. At this point, add the soy and Worcester sauces, sugar, salt, cayenne and white pepper.
6. Fry one egg per person, making sure the yolk is still runny. Serve on top of the meat with some rice.
Attempt at a photo of deep frying cubes of potato in a wok!
In theory, this is something of an unbalanced dish: two carbs, two proteins, and no sign of a vegetable unless you count the onion. Yet somehow it works. The flavours complement each other very well, and whilst the egg seems like a random addition to the top of the plate of food, the creaminess of the runny yolk counteracts the saltiness of the soy-drenched beef. The potato and rice together didn’t seem too heavy, either – perhaps because of the relatively small amount of potato. It also allowed Miranda to foray into the world of deep-frying, which is usually a boy job, and Ash to fry the eggs in his new and cherished frying pan. We made the full quantity so that we had leftovers, and on the second night, we steamed some cabbage and stirred that in, which added a pleasing freshness, but this was just an experiment rather than an attempt to improve it. It did freeze quite well too, although the potatoes lost their crispiness when defrosting.
Hong Kong next: sticking with the Chinese theme!