Mexican recipe adds spice to your sauce
Simply Ming 2.30pm, LifeStyle Food
FOOD is the universal language, they say. Fortunately, French rather than food is the language of love, because had it been food we’d be in deep mole, all hot and sticky but not quite sure what we’re trying to say.
That’s the Mexican sauce — pronounced mole- ay — not the burrowing rodent. Try offering mole in place of a whispered nothing to the object of your affections and she may well think you have served her a little of what the rodent lives in, mixed with water. You would have to do some quick explaining along the lines that the sauce accompanying her duck was like your amour: deep, dark, rich and spicy. Besides, it’s got chocolate in it.
OK, so that was a very contrived vignette, but you might try embracing the concept of mole after watching Ming Tsai in the first show of his fourth food series, Simply Ming.
Chocolate has come a long way from Milk Tray and the dessert trolley, helped along by movies such as Like Water For Chocolate, which showcased traditional Mexican cookery and used the bitter dark version of the confectionery in imaginative dishes. Ming, an affable bloke, whose roots lie in Asian traditions and French training, probably scares the oven mitts off most American viewers with his version of fusion.
His take on the good ol’ rib- eye steak comes with a corn salsa and mole, his prawns stuffed with more of the same and a mixture using Japanese breadcrumbs.
While preparing the stuffing, he brings this exotica back home with simple lines such as: ‘‘ There are probably only three or four things better tasting in the world than things cooked in bacon fat.’’ Yup, that’ll get ’ em back.
Speaking of languages, there is a slight barrier to overcome in watching this US- made show in the usual area of ingredient names. While there is the more familiar cilantro ( coriander) and bell pepper ( capsicum), a few had me hitting the rewind. There’s panko, the aforementioned Japanese crumbing favourite, which Ming explains. But in a segment with celebrity cook Tim Allen, the names start dropping.
Allen teams his duck breast and mole with what sounds like a ‘‘ hicko- mah’’ and ‘‘ erico’’ salad. Erico turns out to be French beans, aka haricots. Very respectfully pronounced, considering they still get St Louis wrong. The other one is jicama, a subtropical Central American yam bean still unfamiliar to most of us, although it has gained a foothold in Southeast Asia. Knowing the hunger for the next big thing, it should be in the greengrocer’s next week.
New take on good ol’ rib- eye: Ming Tsai of LifeStyle Food’s Simply Ming