Entries in Asian (3)


Episode 24: SuperGreen Satay w/ Hot Noodle Salad

Bit of a break between episodes but that DOES NOT MATTER as it is go time! Play the video!


Oh, friends, have you ever have one of those recipes that you do the first time without the camera running or anything important on the line and it goes incredibly well and then your wife agrees to have it again just so you can film it and then you do it on a day off in your pyjamas and you burn your hands twice and forget two ingredients and then accidentally dunk your oven-mitted thumb into a bowl of boiling water and the final shot doesn’t focus properly?

No? Just me then.

Yeah, this is an amazing recipe, super flavourful, and really not a lot of effort on your part, but it comes off like you’re the second coming of the messiah of your choice. The final construction at the table where you’re making little satay-and-noodle-and-cashew lettuce taco-choy-bao things is fun, and the flavours really sing. So what if your hands are scarred? Don’t be a pansy. All the cool cooks have scars.


Oh, friends (again), have you ever thought of a clever name for your chicken satay episode based upon the colour of the sauce, and then draw the picture of a frog as SuperFrog and have him say “it’s not easy” as a reference to that Five For Fighting song about Superman that was every-gosh-darn-where in 2001 and then realise that you bought the Green Album of amazing Muppets covers and that “It’s Not Easy Being Green” is a song a frog sings and OH WOW you made an incredible pun? And then you picked some songs like The Wishing Song because it’s heartbreaking, and Mr. Bassman because it’s an incredibly potent earworm and OK Go’s version of the Muppet Show syncs up so that the crescendo is right where the blender goes off and you can end the episode with Mahna Mahna and then you DID all of those things and uploaded the video & Youtube muted it and smacked you with a strike and then you cried a little inside?

Oh. Also just me.

Instead I’ve grasped about in a frantic way and come up with some tunes from a CD that came with a Q Magazine in 2006. They’re vaguely themed in that they’re covers of 80s tunes. I left off Camera Obscura’s lovely cover of “Modern Girl” and Placebo’s “Running Up That Hill”, but instead you get (and OH CRAP I just realised as this is uploading to YouTube that I didn’t change the credits to reflect the new songs, so whoops, cancel, re-render, THE STREAK LIVES ON):

The FutureHeads - Let’s Dance

Cord - Spirits In The Material World

Elf Power - Upside Down

all from Q-Covered: The Eighties, from 2006



SuperGreen Satay Chicken with Hot Noodle Salad


  • 800g chicken breast fillet
  • 1 large bunch coriander
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 3 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • soy sauce
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • 2 limes
  • dried egg vermicelli (1 nest per person or 250g total)
  • 100g cashews
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 baby cos lettuces
  • 4 wooden skewers

 1. In a blender or food processor or mortar & pestle or trash compactor, combine:

  •  half a bunch of coriander (stems & leaves, no roots)
  • 1 red chilli, trimmed
  • 2cm ginger (peel it with a spoon first)
  • a big splash of soy sauce
  • 1/2 a peeled clove of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • the zest of both limes & the juice of one
  • couple splashes of water

 ...and blend that whole mess into a paste.

2. Turn your oven grill on full. Yes, that high.

3. Lay out your chicken breast fillet, and run all 4 of the skewers through it, parallel to one another, and cut in-between to make 4 skewers. if they’re uneven, cut the uneven bits off & even out the smallest one. Score all sides of the kabobs with a sharp knife.

4. Scoop out your sauce into a bowl. Get a non-stick oven tray (or a papered one if it’s sticky), and dump half of the sauce onto it (put the rest aside for later). Roll each kabob in the tray-sauce, being sure to cover all sides.

5. Season with salt & olive oil, then whack it into the oven under the grill for 20 minutes, turning once.

6. Meanwhile, dump your cashews into a tea towel, wrap it up and use a blunt object to bash them into bits. When bashed, put them into a dry pan on medium-low heat for a bit, giving them a shake every now and again.

7. Get your nests of noodles, put them in a bowl & cover with boiling water. Put a plate over the bowl & let it sit for 7 minutes.

8. Get your lettuces, chop off the bottoms, pull apart the leaves, and give ‘em a wash & spin, then set aside.

9. Fetch the second half of your coriander, trim off the roots, cut off most of the leaves & set aside, then finely chop the stems. And hey, while you’re there, deseed and chop the second chilli, and slice up half a red onion. Stems, onion & chilli into a big bowl, then add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, your sesame oil and fish sauce, a bit of olive oil, the juice of your 2nd lime and AGITATE it.

10. Turn the heat up to high on your cashews.

11. Drain the noodles in a colander, then give them a rinse with cold water (don’t scalp your thumb), and add the noodles to the big bowl and mix all about.

12. If the chicken is done, take it out of the oven. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tsp of honey.

13. Since you’ve got the honey out, add another tsp to the cashews, chuck in the reserved coriander leaves and shake it all about. Take it off the heat.

14. And you’re ready to go! Put a skewer on each plate, and let folks construct little parcels of chicken, noodles, cashews and reserved satay sauce wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Seize and consume! 


Episode 22: Coconut Pork Skewers

And just like that , my week-and-a-half of holidays is over. I mostly abstained from editing & shooting throughout, but happily I have some stuff back-burnered for you guys. I knew you'd be worried.



Yeah, so I thought it'd be a great idea to take the recipe at its word and used the mortar & pestle to reduce everything to a paste. Yeah. So that was difficult. I compressed it in the video, but it took 20 minutes of bashing away at the onion to get something even vaguely resembling a paste. If I had to do it again, I'd use my blender (though if you have a food processor, you could use that too, and also pat yourself on the back for being prepared). Also, you've got to be sure to layer on the marinade as thickly as you can, as all the lovely flavour & colour comes from there. The recipe comes from Kylie Kwong, who's rather a Sydney institution (we've been to Billy Kwong three times & have never been disappointed, and always see her at the Eveleigh Markets).

Oh, right, and the giveaway! Well, technically we have 2 more hours to go to be eligible, so I'll leave the winner's reveal until tomorrow. Remember, any comment on any post counts! Also, thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement on the Q&A video. If I get some more questions, I'm happy to make anotherone later.

Music Notes:

Wanda Jackson - "You Know That I'm No Good", "Rip It Up", "Rum & Coca-Cola", from "The Party Ain't Over", 2010. 

Wanda freaking Jackson. Was singing rockabilly and making hits before Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. Dated Elvis Presley. Compared herself to an atom bomb and became Big In Japan. Look, Wikipedia will lay it down for you. I'd only be repeating. She's a juggernaut. And she and Jack White have produced a cracker of an album, despite her being a youthful 74. Her vocal buzzsaw is as limber as ever, overriding Amy Winehouse's Naughties ennui in "You Know That I'm No Good" and turning it into a Take That. The rest of the album is equally good , with Jack White and a variety of Raconteur & My Morning Jacket alumni providing both a classic sound that still has White's signature skronk. I have it on vinyl and it sounds great.

Footnote on the last song, Rum & Coca Cola? Well, it was originally penned by a chap named Lord Invader, who wrote it as a response to American GIs in Trinidad debauching local women and encouraging prostitution. A chap named Morey Amsterdam (he of the Dick Van Dyke Show) copyrighted the song in the States, and it was a huge hit for the Andrews sisters in 1945. They, however, were completely unaware of the context of the lyrics about "mother and daughter working for the Yankee dollar", and just thought it was a fun calypso tune about sun and booze. Hoo boy. So the Wanda Jackson version is a cover of a cover of a cover of a tune whose original meaning was lost. 


Coconut Pork Skewers
(makes 5 skewers)



  • 500g pork fillet
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste or 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 125 mL extra-virgin olive oil
  • 25g dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt flakes



  1. Get your mortar and pestle out. It'll get some use.
  2. Chop the onion, zest the lime, and peel the garlic. 
  3. Throw all of it into the M&P and bash the ever-loving crap out of it. This might take a while. 
  4. Once you get it looking a bit paste-like, add the lemongrass & bash again. Bash, bash, bash.
  5. Add olive oil and tumeric, mix, and put aside.
  6. Cut your pork fillet into 3cm pieces, and put them into a container for marinating.
  7. Slather over the marinade, seal the container and toss it about.
  8. Leave for at least 24 hours in the fridge.
  9. Soak your skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
  10. Take the pork out of the fridge and thread the bits onto the skewers.
  11. Get a grill pan on the stove and turn the heat up high.
  12. Lay out your kabobs in the pan, breaking off any punk skewers that are too long.
  13. Cook for 1 minute each side on high (4 minutes total), then lower heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side (12-16 minutes, or until done).
  14. Pluck from the skewer, serve with rice and veg, seize, and consume!



Episode 16 - Masarap Pork Adobo

Episode 16? Let’s call it Season 2. New intro! New music! Better camera work! Faster editing! Everything’s coming up Milhouse! 


So earlier this year, as I was poring through cookbooks looking at things like slow roasted pork shoulder, Tanja pleaded with me.

"You know, not every meal has to be a huge deal. I often don't want that when it's just us two. Big recipes like that are for when we have people over."

Alright then.

So Australia day comes and we're planning to have Adrian & Tommy over. I plan roast pork, but chicken out the morning of, as the recipe seems to take a lot of guesswork and being able to tell when it's cooked (two things I'm bad at). So I look through books again, finding a great Pork Adobo recipe. 

I show it to Tanja and she says "Argh, so many heavy flavours! I can't take it in this humidity! Also, it looks like Goulash, and my mother stuffed me with horrid goulash when I was younger and I hate it now!" 


So she responded "I said that, but I still don't wanna!" 

I throw up my hands and say FINE I WON'T MAKE ANYFING ZOMG. 

(that’s a lie, I made Not Quite Nigella cheese & onion bread.)

But I stuck that recipe in the back of my mind for a bit, and when Tanja went to Melbourne to visit her sister, Adrian & Tommy were invited back over and I made Pork Adobo and HOLY CRAP is this a great recipe. 

Also, Tanja had some of the leftovers and needless to say, it’s been made again since.


Recipe Notes:

This recipe calls for a pretty serious chunk of pork with proper fat on it. Get pork belly, skin on, no bones. Your butcher will know what to do (he will also think you cool and attractive).

This dish is also great for folks who love Asian flavours (Adobo is considered the national dish of the Phillipines) but can’t handle the heat of fiery chillies.

The video was surprisingly short due to the simplicity of the recipe. Toast garlic, cook pork, chop veggies, add liquids, simmer, serve. Seriously. 

The book it came from was a Christmas gift, and this is the first thing I’ve made from it. It’s an incredibly interesting read, though. Go and see. 

Music Notes:

Ah, the music for this episode. Well, I had a clear idea. I had downloaded “Rave On Buddy Holly”, a tribute album, featuring a cavalcade of incredible bands. Upon my first listen, I frantically grabbed for paper and scribbled down my first impressions, which went kind of like this (copied as faithfully as I can):

“Paul McCartney holy fuck he sounds like Teddy Prendergast kickin’ ass and taking names, have not connected to a McCartney song this much since Oh Darlin’! She & Him give the Raveonettes treatment to Oh Boy. Ceelo Green turns You’re So Square into a Hawaiian Elvis tune. Many artist take the simple teachest bass sound of Holly & turn it into SRS INDIE INTONATIONS (Florence & The Machine, Fiona Apple, Nick Lowe, others), while Karen Elson rocks a Johnny Cash horns-and-strings progression. Julian Casanova’s Rave On is laid back garage punk, all sneer & fuzz, Jenny O channels Dolly Parton, Patti Smith turns Words of Love into a ballad of gentle strings and resonant voice, Modest Mouse start off indie, then turn into a bassline stomper, then lose their place & start over. Kid Rock, horns, and handclaps? Echoing Sam Cooke vocals? Bendy steel guitar? Really? Okay then. Lou Reed takes on Peggy Sue with distorted guitar waves, soundscapes & flat, flat vocals. It’s like 80s Iggy Pop & it doesn’t fit. Graham Nash thinks he’s covering Dear Prudence. and THE DETROIT COBRAS KICK THE DOOR DOWN AND BUY YOU A DRANK FOO’ as usual”

So yes. I liked it. So much so that I picked the 3rd track, Paul McCartney’s stomping, howling, cackling “It’s So Easy” as my leadoff song, followed by Julian Casanova’s “Rave On”. Then I rendered the video, posted it to Youtube and said I’d write the post that night.

Cue an email saying that my video contained copyrighted material. I’m used to that. It usually links to iTunes, or occasionally restricts my video from being shown on mobile devices. 

Not this time. This time I got muted. And I got my first YouTube strike. I should have known the most whimsical Beatle would be the most litigious (I know, I know it’s not him, it’s Universal Music, but still bitter.)

So I had to re-edit. And re-render. And re-upload. My mood was very different from the first time. So I chose two champions of the Creative Commons license, who just so happen to be incredibly talented & creative musicians I have enormous respect for: Jonathon Coulton & Amanda Palmer.

Jonathan Coulton - “Baby Got Back”, from “Thing A Week One”, 2006

Unlike most of my friends, who learned about Jonathan Coulton from Portal, I found a backhanded recommend in an interview in The Word Magazine, and look Jonathan Coulton up. Apart from the nerd-heartstring-pulling (“Code Monkey”), and the darkly hilarious (“The Future Soon”, “Re: Your Brains”, “Chiron Beta Prime”, “Betty & Me”), I realized that Mr Coulton was the real deal. Oh, and the title of his album? Isn’t a joke. He wrote a song a week for a whole year. And he did. And then he released them all for free. I have 6 of his songs from that period, and I purchased them all. Go get things of his.

Amanda Palmer - “High & Dry”, from “Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele”, 2010

Yep. Amanda Palmer. She of the Dresden Dolls, of the Ninja Gig, of the Good Day and the Coin Operated Boy and the Ampersand. She of the Ukelele, of the clashes with record labels, of the madly painted eyebrows, of the ReBellyOn, of #LOFNOTC, and of the crashing sound of a million billion fangirl hearts when she married Neil Gaiman. She should be played over far more than the credits of an internet cooking show. Go and get many of her things. 


Masarap* Pork Adobo


60mL groundnut oil (I used vegetable)

10 cloves garlic, sliced (NOT crushed. You’ll see why)

700-900g pork belly, skin on, no bones

2 onions

2 capsicums, different colours

a thumb of ginger

1/2 tsp of paprika

250mL White Wine vinegar

125 soy sauce

6 bay leaves

1 tbsp peppercorns

  • Cut your pork belly into bars, about 5 cm wide, then crosswise into cubes. Leave the fat on. It’s good for you.
  • Peel and slice all of the garlic. Leave the pieces fairly big.
  • Put a pan on full-top-end-heat with the oil in it.
  • When the oil’s hot, toss in half the garlic, stir, let ‘em turn golden, then scoop them out and set aside BEFORE THEY BURN AND GO HORRIBLE.
  • Put the pork cubes into the pan with the garlicky oil. Let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then. The less you stir, the more golden the pork goes, but don’t let things burn.
  • Meanwhile, peel and rough-chop your onions, and dice your capsicum.
  • Peel the ginger with a spoon, and grate it, or just chop it into matchsticks.
  • When the 10 minutes is up, throw the onion, capsicum ginger, and the leftover garlic into the pan, stir it up, turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once in a bit.
  • Throw in the paprika and mix about, then add the vinegar and soy, along with 500mL water for good measure.
  • Pile in the bay leaves, peppercorns, and a pinch of salt.
  • Crank the heat again, until the mix boils, then simmer on medium-low for 55 minutes. The recipe says the end product should have a “think, coating consistency”, but mine was a bit runnier, but still tasted amazing.
  • Serve on a bed of plain rice, seize, and consume.


* Masarap: Tagalog, “delicious”