BBQ Pork Backribs

DSCF7191 (640x509)Who doesn’t love BBQ? BBQ Pork Ribs are so popular here in the summertime that they fly off the shelves once the summer season hits ground. If I remember correctly, I only had a bite of these flintstone size ribs way back in Manila nearly fifteen years.  My first ever experience on these finger lickin’  BBQ Pork ribs was a dinner in ‘Racks’ Alabang way back in the early to mid ’90s. Alabang Town Centre was undergoing a facelift and ‘Racks’ was one of the new themed restaurants that had set-up shop close to the mall area.  They carried an array of sauces which made you crave for more ribs, and later on these sauces were bottled for retail.  That’s all I ever recall about BBQ ribs and Pork Ribs in particular.  I’ve never been back in Manila nor to Alabang Town Centre for several years now, and I wouldn’t have an idea what had happened to this chain.  Food competition in Manila is so intensely fierce, and food and restaurant innovation are important factors to survival.

BBQ Pork Ribs are always available here particularly in those Irish inspired pubs; anywhere that serves booze, generally. The dish is so common and genetic that it has become something that is not actually special anymore.  Anyway, here’s my version. It took me about three days to complete the prep and marinate the ribs with a dry rub and a paste before it went to the oven for about four hours before final basting. It’s best to make a huge batch that would last throughout summer.

Dry rub:

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Dry Mustard

*I had three other spices added I couldn’t identify, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Paste:

  • White onion
  • Green onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Sage Leaves
  • Guajillo Pepper (Toasted on the grill and soaked in warm water)
  • Thai Chilis
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Brown Sugar
  • Pimenton Picante (Smoked Paprika)
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water

Braising Liquid:

  • Ginger Ale (or beer)
  • Chicken Stock
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • White Onion
  • Sage Leaves
  • Sea Salt & Ground Pepper
  • Bay Leaves

Rub:

  • Garlic, minced to a paste
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Bay Leaves
  • Patis
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Brown Sugar

Combine the dry rub ingredients and massage the ribs with the spices. Marinate overnight. Gather all the ingredients for the paste and blitz to a smooth consistency. Spread it all over the ribs, and marinate it again for a day or two.

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Pour all the braising liquid into the roasting pan, cover with a tin foil, and place it in a pre-heated low-to-medium oven for four hours. Remove from the oven and set aside.

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Start sautéing the garlic, add the crushed tomatoes and the other aromatics. Stir to achieve the appropriate consistency. Set aside to cool.  Set the oven to high or broil and brush the ribs with the paste.  Broil the ribs until the paste caramelizes.

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Zaru Soba & Teppanyaki Salmon

DSCF7185 (640x480)After invading popular Indian Restaurant hotspots from across town for a month or so, I decided to switch gears and head for an ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ sushi place.  There are bunch of these types of Japanese restaurants scattered  in and around town much like pubs, noodle houses, or hamburger joints. They all serve sushi combo meals, Asahi & Sapporo, hot & cold sake, teriyaki, bento boxes, tempura, soba and teppanyaki or at least, they try to be that kind of Japanese restaurant I grew up with; high and refined in traditions as to their swordsmanship and martial arts (I am a traditionalist to a purist, btw).  I was more surprised that after having my ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ extravaganza, I was served a fortune cookie. Would you believe that? Here’s another one. There were a General Tsao Chicken and Spring Rolls on their checklist. That really made me think twice over if I should proceed or not.  They should have also listed hamburgers and hotdogs to complete the medley. There are so many of these types of restaurant doing sushi combo meals that finding an authentic Japanese restaurant with that Dojo style feel and some strong Japanese Samurai tradition sketched and painted on their food seem to be an impossible feat.  So far, I only found a couple and they definitely have been westernized somehow as well.  Anyway, it was my Friday and I was hungry. I went for their Sashimi and Sushi which were so so and tried their Tekka Makki.  It came to my plate poorly wrapped and falling apart.  Indeed, this restaurant was one of ‘them’; established to cater to the hungry and cheap crowd like myself.  I didn’t bother, finished my large hot sake, and wrapped my meal with a Red Bean Paste Ice Cream (?).

I devoured all their Tuna, Salmon, and Butter Fish sushi and sashimi and went on to try a couple of teppanyaki: Beef & Salmon Belly (I know they are expensive).  They did justice with the Salmon Belly although by the looked of it, it was steamed. I didn’t find any grill marks nor caramelization whatsoever on the two tiny pieces I was served with, but the salmon belly was tender and the sauce was spectacular. That taste stuck in my head for the next couple of days and when I had a chance to go to the grocery, I found some cheap Salmon Trimmings which were appropriate for this Teppanyaki.

Ingredients:

  • Salmon Trimmings
  • Memmi Noodle Soup Base
  • Light Soy Sauce or Japanese Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sake (Optional)
  • Buckwheat Noodles
  • Green onion, finely chopped
  • Dried Seaweeds (optional)

Clean the Salmon trimmings, remove the fins, and cut into half.  Marinate in Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, and Mirin for about an hour or so.

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Remove the Salmon from the fridge and leave at room temperature. Heat the grill pan and grill the salmon about three to four minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate.

Pour the Memmi Noodle Soup Base  (follow instructions indicated on the bottle which I don’t) in a sauce pan together with  water, Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Sake and Mirin. Let it simmer to reduce for a couple of minutes. Drizzle the sauce onto the salmon and serve with steamed rice.

Heat a pot of boiling water and boil the buckwheat noodles until tender.  Drain and run in cold water. Set aside on another plate and garnish with dried seaweed and/or green onion.  Pour enough Memmi Soup Base mix with water in a sauce pan and reduce until appropriate consistency is achieved.  Serve the sauce in a small bowl as a dipping sauce on the side of the cold soba noodles.

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Rotisserie Chicken (Ala Lechon Manok, Part Deux)

DSCF7171 (640x478)The chicken is probably one of the most abused dish on my blog. I just can’t help myself buying a pack or two when they are on sale in the supermarket.  For this blog, I found a small-size fryer on sale which was enough for two meals. I grabbed and bought it without hesitation and just left it in the freezer for a week until I found a proper recipe for it.

It has been a while since I did a faux pas Lechon Manok; very, very long time. It’s the availability and the affordability of the chicken and chicken parts which draws me to making a dish and with little time in my hand, I really wouldn’t have the opportunity to see other butchers in my area. The chicken is always there and always will be, wherever and whenever.  Honestly, I missed the smokiness and the charcoal smell emanating from a Pinoy-Style rotisserie. It’s different and the smoke and maybe even the pollution provides that distinct whiffing, aura only seen in Manila.  When that particular craving descends upon me, I prep myself an entire fryer all to myself. It’s one way of satisfying that need without dealing with either smoke or charcoal (prohibited in a building).  Anyway, here’s Part Deux of my Rotisserie (Roast) Chicken. I wrote one for Iska several years ago (2006..loooong time) and I believe that didn’t go into the brining process.

Brine:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Grass
  • White Onion
  • Green Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Coriander
  • Bay Leaves
  • Lime Peel
  • Sea Salt

Heat a pot of boiling water together with all the other ingredients. Set aside and let cool.  Place the fryer, breast up, into the pot and leave it in the fridge for two to three days.

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Remove the chicken from the pot and discard the brine. Pat dry with a towel and truss using a butcher’s twine. Insert a whole lime or lemon, a stick of lemon grass, and a piece of small onion (or onion peel) into the cavity before trussing. Set it on a roasting pan and roast at medium-to-high or until the skin turns golden; basting every now and then with its own drippings.

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