The Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. This month’s theme was barbikyu, a transliteration of “barbecue”. I always knew that my “mostly-pescetarian” diet would be thrown out the window by joining challenge, but that’s more out of coincidence rather than a conscious choice to limit my diet. Because goodness knows, I have enough trouble limiting my diet as it is.
I used Ninette’s recipe at Big, Bold, Beautiful Food, simply because it was the only one that showed up on either Google or the mailing list. I probably could have asked my own mum, especially since the weekend I made this was her 60th birthday, but I didn’t want to spend the time scribbling down ingredients. I halved the recipe (except for the basting sauce) since I didn’t want to be overloaded with pork.
500g pork, cut into thin strips and pounded thin (I used pork tenderloin)
1/2 can lemonade (12 oz.)
1/4 cup oil
3/8 cup soy sauce
3/8 cup brown sugar
3/8 cup ketchup or banana ketchup
3 tbs lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup lemonade
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup ketchup
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
In my first attempt at proper butchery, I cleaned off the silverskin (tough, whitish membrane) and the chain (the end part of a tenderloin), and then cut the pieces along the grain of the meat. For the 500g of meat I needed, I wound up using one whole tenderloin, plus the chains from the other two I bought.
I am so lucky that I found disposable food handling gloves at my local discount homewares shop. I still feel squicky at handling meat, even fish, but having nice, tight-fitting gloves gives me the grip I need without making me get my hands (and camera) all yuck.
Cut the meat along the grain, aiming to make rectangular pieces (this will be important later).
To pound the meat, I laid down a layer of cling wrap on the chopping board, then spaced out the pieces. I laid another piece of cling wrap down, and then pounded away with the bottom of my mortar. You did know that, right? The mortar is the bowl part, and the pestle is normally the poundy bit. I had to google that myself. Another fun fact is that I do the same thing to garlic cloves when I just want to pop the skin off – it seems safer than slapping down on the flat of my knife.
Making up the marinade and basting sauce looks pretty similar, so I’ll just give you one series of photos.
To marinade the meat, I put the pieces in a ziplock bag, inside a plastic jug to help hold it up. I then carefully poured the marinade in, and squeezed as much air out of the ziplock before closing it. I then put the closed bags inside a mixing bowl, just in case there were more leaks, and to spare the Doctor from having to handle my meatbags. I had to use two 1-litre bags for the meat. This was left in the fridge overnight.
As soon as I opened the ziplocks the next day, I knew Ninette’s recipe was absolutely authentic. The smell recalled years of Filipino parties, my mum and her friends laughing like hyenas, dad and the other men drinking beer and hogging the karaoke machine more than the women, and all the kids desperately trying to look like they weren’t actually enjoying themselves. This was totally right.
I’m using both mini and normal length bamboo skewers – the mini ones are just perfect for bento. If I hadn’t found a pack of 100 for like $1, I would just clip the normal sized ones down with a heavy-duty nail clipper (thanks to the Doctor for that pro-tip!). Remember cutting the meat into rectangles? This makes threading the meat onto the skewer easier, literally weaving it on so it doesn’t fall off or spin around. In the top-right, you see the basting sauce.
Not wanting to fire up the barbecue late at night, I dragged out the cast-iron skillet (wok? paella pan?) that I inherited from my mother-in-law. I heated it to absolutely ripping hot, dipped
the skewers into the “basting” sauce, and grilled the skewers for about 2 minutes on each side. I found that dipping the skewers covered the meat much better than basting it while in the pan. By basting it, too much liquid dripped into the pan, turning it more into a braise than a grill. This definitely wouldn’t happen on an actual grill.
I wrapped and froze most of the full-sized skewers, along with the rest of the basting sauce. This left me all the mini ones for bentos, and a full size one for tasting.
Oh, hello. Look how lovely and brown that sauce makes the meat. It’s sweet, sour, fragrant and just chewy enough for you to suck the juices from the meat while it’s in your mouth.
Gutum ka ba? Mas sarap ito~ Tikman mo naman!
(Are you hungry? It’s really yummy~ You should try it!)
So, that’s the June Kulinarya challenge done, with spares in the freezer! I can’t wait for the next month’s theme.