sfprankster's (mis)adventures with a Chinese New Year's Meal

Discussion in 'Pork' started by sfprankster, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to toss something onto my WSM and visit SMF. Being an artisan chocolatier, from before Xmas, through Valentine's day, is a continuous blur. Unlike most chocolatiers, that slow down the day after Valentine's, we have our largest corporate orders pending through the middle of March. [​IMG]  So we're still averaging around 60-70 hour work weeks for the next couple of weeks. [​IMG]

    Well, for me, tasks become habits with repetition. No dependence on memory and at my age, that is a good thing since my memory has developed open spaces. Today, I'm having to depend on my smoking logs and images to get back into the swing of smoking meats. [​IMG]  First mistake today, closing all the lower vents on my WSM to slow rate at which the heat was rising in the chamber. Only to wonder why the temperatures were falling well below 150 on my Maverick. Took me too long to figure out the cause of the falling temperatures. [​IMG]  Somehow saved the fire nonetheless.


    ...here we go again, with a familiar smoke for my gf's family to celebrate the Chinese New Year this Sunday(better late than never), the year of the monkey. I've officially become the cook for all of the family meals. [​IMG]

    This time around, I'm going with a Vietnamese theme for the meal...

    Our planned menu(may be subject to change without notice):

    Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Banh Mi's

    Shrimp Spring Rolls w/Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Green Papaya Salad

    Spicy Green Bean and Tomato Stir Fry

    Sticky Rice w/Lap Cheong and Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  2. Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Banh Mi's

    This is something I can do in advance of this Sunday's meal. Brine and smoke the pork belly...Once finished smoking and cooling, I'll vacuum seal and refrigerate the pork bellies until Sunday. 


    I purchased a 9 lb pork belly and cut it into 3 even pieces that will fit into gallon sized zippered bags. I have found that 2-3 days has been sufficient to impart the maple syrup and bourbon flavors into the pork belly. I mixed the brine  in the zippered bags and added my pork belly pieces to begin the process on Monday morning. After massaging the bags daily, [​IMG]  , I kept them in our walk in at work until I was ready to begin the smoking today. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  3. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I was wondering what happened to you, Prankster! This time of year is our busy time, too (trade shows & conventions), so I totally relate.
    Looks really interesting! I'll be watching..:popcorn
  4. It's that time of year for over working. My summer event season is booking nicely, so I'll be on the road almost every weekend through September-October. [​IMG]

    Apple Smoked Maple Bourbon Pork Belly

    Onto my WSM for the smoke treatment over Pippin Apple wood...


    And a test of another forgotten virtue...

  5. Here's another do ahead step for the banh mi's...

    Fast Pickling Rainbow Carrots and Daikon

    Really simple actually...

    ...peel and julienne the carrots and daikon(Korean Radish). Add the the carrots and daikon into a glass container and pour over a cooled solution of rice wine vinegar and sugar. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator.


     Heat the rice wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Let cool before pouring over the carrots and daikon.


    From an earlier batch...

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  6. Hot smoked my maple bourbon pork belly for just over 5 hours @ 230-240...


    Still got the touch. [​IMG]  


    Time to let them cool and vacuum seal them for our Chinese New Year's Dinner banh mi's. [​IMG]

    With the incredible smell in the kitchen, the hardest part is not slicing off a sample... [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
    smokeymose and worktogthr like this.
  7. We're doing another do ahead step in preparation for our celebration. [​IMG]

    Sticky Rice w/ Lap Cheong and Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

    Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water until reconstituted.

    Saute the lap cheong to render some of the fat and add dried shrimp to lightly toast.

    Bring a 50/50 mix of veggie stock and water to a boil and lower the heat to a slow simmer. Add the sticky rice(glutinous short grain rice available in most Asian markets), rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, lap cheong, dark soy sauce, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.


    We plan on serving the sticky rice family style, but it can also be wrapped in lotus or banana leaves and steamed. 
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  8. A quick sample of the sticky rice. [​IMG]

    smokinal likes this.
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great post!

    Everything looks delicious!


  10. Thanx!!!

    I try to expose my gf's family to new foods and menus each time I cook for them. It's fun to see them experience my menus, most they have never considered eating before.

    As an added bonus, it brings her family together to reminisce and spend time together.

    Gung hay fat choy!!!  [​IMG]  
  11. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    And we thought pork belly was just for bacon! Looks great and I can only imagine the aroma...

    Gung hay fat choy to you, too! (Whatever that is).

  12. Thanx!!!

    Lots of ways to enjoy pork belly besides bacon. I glaze the pork belly to make char siu(Chinese bbq pork) and use it in fried rice and stir frys. Good in pasta, soups, tacos, and one of my favorites, banh mi(Vietnamese sammies). 

    For my banh mi's, I'll slice the pork belly into 1/4" slices and do a secondary cook in the oven @ 325 for 8-10 minutes(a griddle or frying pan works as well), to slightly crisp the cut sides. Drain and place them onto a fresh sweet French baguette with sliced fresh cucumber, my fast pickled carrots and daikon, thinly sliced jalapeno's(or anaheim's for the weak at heart [​IMG]  ), topped with a sprig or two of fresh cilantro. This is one of best unami moments I've experienced. Sweet, smoky, spicy, slightly acidic, bitter and yeasty flavors all in a single bite. 

    Well worth a try.

    Gung hay fat choy translates to Happy New Year. [​IMG]  

    Chinese New Year was a couple of weeks ago. This weekend is the first chance for us to celebrate the occasion. 
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  13. To be continued on Sunday... [​IMG]

    Still to come:

    Green Papaya Salad

    Shrimp Spring Rolls w/ Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Spicy Green Bean and Tomato Stir Fry

    and the final assembly of my 

    Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Banh Mi's
  14. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Great looking meal! I've missed your adventures. I'll be here all week! Points for an awesome cook amidst your busy work schedule!
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice work so far! My Wife mistakenly picked up Lap Cheong instead of Filipino Longanisa. While similar, Lap Cheong has a more destinct Star Anise flavor and is more dry, the Longanisa is what we have for Breakfast or anytime really, with Garlic Fried Rice. Anywho...I have a pack of Lap Cheong sitting in the refer and your Sticky rice dish sounds like the ticket! It is a little simpler than the No Mi Fan recipe I use...JJ
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  16. Thanx!!! 

    The sticky rice I made is a simplified version my gf's Mom used to make for them as kids, at my gf's sister's request last Thanksgiving. It's addicting, well worth the time and effort!! 
  17. Time to get back into preparation for our Chinese New Year's celebration. [​IMG]
  18. We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a test of the Emergency Chocolate Broadcast System... [​IMG]


    ...and now we return to our regular programming. [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  19. Update to our Chinese New Year's celebration dinner...

    Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Banh Mi

    Green Papaya Salad

    Shrimp Spring Rolls w/Garlic Chili and Hoisin Dipping Sauces

    Spicy Green Bean and Tomato Stir Fry

    Sticky Rice w/Lap Cheong and Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

    All plated on the finest Chinet... [​IMG]

    Not many chances to take images while putting plates together for 8 hungry people... [​IMG]

    More preparation images to follow...
  20. Spicy Green Bean and Tomato Stir Fry

    Fresh green beans and some of our canned Early Girl Tomatoes from last summer are the basis of this stir fry.

    Thinly sliced shallots dredged in seasoned cornstarch. Quickly browned in canola oil to use as a garnish.


    Making a simple shrimp stock from the leftover shells and green onions to steam the green beans until tender.

    Shallots, garlic green beans, fish sauce, sesame oil, canola oil and my shrimp stock.


    Added some "summer in a jar" tomatoes after the green beans were cooked and tender.


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