Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kung Pao Pork and Ivory Coffee


Kung Pao Pork

Traditionally chicken is used to make Kung Pao but there is nothing wrong in using pork. Pork is closer to chicken compared with other meats such as lamb, beef or dog. 

Kung Pao pork may sound complex but it is quite easy to prepare. The list of ingredients includes ‘exotic’ items such as chinkiang vinegar. Don’t be alarmed, you can easily substitute with everyday ingredients to get the desired sweet, sour, salty and spicy combination. The most important ingredient is Sichuan peppercorns. There is no substitute that I am aware of. You can make the dish without it but it will not be the same. The American version does not use Sichuan peppercorns since it was illegal to import it from 1968 until 2005. The recipe is available here.

Today's Favourite Photo
Jam tart with mandarin and white poppy seeds



Today’s Favourite Blog
Heard of kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world? Not any more. More than 20 elephants in Northern Thailand’s Golden Triangle region are busy producing the world’s most expensive coffee beans called Black Ivory. Kopi luwak costs around $320 per pound, a bargain compared with the $500 per pound that Black Ivory costs. 

To produce the coffee, elephants are being fed coffee cherries from nearby plantations. Mahouts (elephant drivers) and their wives then pluck the beans from the dung. The beans are sun-dried and roasted. 

The coffee is said to have an earthy and smooth flavor. Elephants’ digestive enzymes break down the coffee protein, which is one of the main things that makes coffee bitter.  In contrast to carnivores, herbivores such as elephants use much more fermentation for digestion. Fermentation is desirable in coffee as it helps to impart the fruit from the coffee pulp into the bean. Perhaps those of us who are vegetarians can try experimenting. It could turn out to be quite lucrative.

Supply of Black Ivory is quite limited. In 2012 just 50kg was produced. One would expect greater output from elephants compared with the much smaller civets but apparently size does not matter. To make a single kilogram of roasted coffee, approximately 10,000 beans are picked. Some are lost in the process because elephants chew them. 


12 comments:

  1. I will like kung pao pork for sure. Pork tends to be soft and more juicy. I like how you put the rice flat. Really modern looking! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hehe what will they think of next for coffee? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder, they are getting more and more creative but there is a common theme - beans passing through digestive tract!

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful idea to put pork instead! As a big pork fan I'm delighted to see it. You are right: there is no substitution for Sichuan pepper and without it it shouldn't bear the same name.
    This coffee sounds even more disgusting than the previous expensive coffee... I wonder what could be even more disgusting than this... Ok, I shouldn't have started to think...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, one reason I used pork was because there was no chicken at home! It worked out well. It seems pork is more common than chicken in China - wonder why they used chicken.
      Beans - I think it can get a lot more disgusting/interesting. Interesting to see what they come up with in future, from which animals the beans come out ...:)

      Delete
  4. Oh the Kung Pao Pork look great. I also often interchange pork or chicken in such dishes. I love you you (jokingly) slipped in dog in there. I have heard of that coffee but did not know its name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.
      Jokingly? Yes it was a joke:)

      Delete
  5. The Kung Pao Pork sounds great…much better than dog! I think I’ll pass on the coffee…not a chance I’d even give it a try!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would love to try it with pork! It looks delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want my Kung Pao with real Sichuan peppercorns, they mouth numbing good

    ReplyDelete
  8. I read about this and was very intrigued! I'd love to try to civet coffee but I don't think I'm 'connoisseur' enough to appreciate (or not appreciate) it!

    ReplyDelete