Hello everyone! It’s been a while since my last post and I’m glad to say after spending a couple of days of unpacking, my kitchen is finally ready for operation. Also, after spending a couple of days using internet on a stick (wait, I mean USB stick ;P) I’m more than ready to bid goodbye to my temporary fix of internet and welcome back my ADSL. During these times, I can’t help wondering how on earth did I get by with dial-up speed while I was in high-school??
So here’s my first post from my new kitchen – spicy, sweet and savory brussels sprouts. A dish inspired by my favourite Szechuan cabbage dish picked up from a cookbook. In effort to capture the basic elements of a Szechuan dish, one needs to add chili for spiciness, sugar for sweetness and vinegar for souriness. Usually dried chili is preferred in this type of dishes for its intense spiciness and smokiness. But if your chili tolerance is on the low side, you can try with fresh chili or red bell peppers.
Spicy, Sweet & Savory Brussels Sprouts
(inspired by A Little Taste of China)
Serves 2 as a side dish
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes (including pre-boiling the brussels sprouts)
- 8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into half
- 1-inched ginger, peeled & sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (adjust according to taste; or 1 thinly sliced fresh chilli)
- 2 tbsps light soy sauce
- 2 tbsps white vinegar
- 2 tbsps brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp cornflour + 3 tbsps water (for sauce thickening)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- A recently boiled water from the kettle
- Lightly toast sesame on a dry pan. Set aside. (Don’t walk away while doing this as it should only take a few seconds on medium flame.)
- In a bowl, mix light soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper and sesame oil and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Pour boiling water into a medium sized pot and place over medium flame. Wait until it starts boiling and add about a tablespoon of salt. Add Brussels sprouts and let them cook in the water for a half minute or until it is slightly tender in the middle when pierce with a fork. Drain and set aside. (Note: If you’re not sure, it is better to under-cook the sprouts at this stage. FYI – The salt in the water will help the sprouts to stay bright green when cooking)
- Grease a pan/wok with some vegetable oil and place over medium flame. When the oil is hot, add ginger and saute until aromatic.
- Add chili flakes and saute for 4 seconds. Then, reduce the flame to low (to minimise the splatter) and stir in the sauce mixture.
- Then add in the Brussels sprouts and mix to combine with the sauce. Cook until they achieve your desired texture. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the sauce behind. Set aside.
- Add cornflour mixture to the sauce and boil on high heat until thickens. Spoon the sauce over the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with sesame seeds just before serving. Best served with rice.