mouth-tingling lamb riblets

mouth tingling lamb riblets.JPG


 1 kg lamb riblets, cut into individual pieces

6 t Sichuan peppercorns

2 t coriander seeds

2 t fennel seeds

1 t dried chilli flakes

1 t sea salt

2 T light soy sauce

4 T Chinkiang vinegar

4 t brown sugar

1 T grape seed oil

2 shallots, sliced, optional



Steam lamb riblets for 45 mins or until tender, topping up simmering water if needed.

Place Sichuan peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and sea salt in a mortar and pestle and crush to combine. Set aside.

Place brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl and mix until sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok until smoking. Cook ribs in 2-3 batches for 2-3 mins until golden. Set aside. Add spices to wok and toss until fragrant. Return ribs to wok and toss to combine well with spices. Add vinegar mixture, coat ribs and cook for 1 minute. Serve hot with rice and top with shallots.

Serves 4.

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beef and bitter melon stirfry

beef & bitter melon stirfry

I thought I became officially old 3 years ago. Well, my signs of ageing have just reached new botox-necessitating heights. I am not only eating but cooking and posting a recipe containing bitter melon. My young self would've just gagged and called my now aged self a traitor for going anywhere near this green reptilian-looking gourd. Mr B and I were smacking our lips last night over this dish. What is going on?


300 g sirloin or eye fillet steak, fat trimmed and cut against the grain into .5 cm slices or thinner if you like

1.5 c sliced bitter melon, discard seeds and scrape out white flesh inside when preparing, slice thinly at a 45-degree angle

2 t chopped garlic

¼ c chicken stock

1 T salt

vegetable oil for frying

beef marinade:

1 t oyster sauce

1 t shaoxing wine

1 t sugar

2 t light soy sauce

1.5 t cornstarch





2 t dark soy sauce

2 T light soy sauce

1 t sesame oil

1/8 t white pepper

3 T xaoxing wine

3 T oyster sauce

2 t sugar

1 T cornflour dissolved in 3 T water


Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl whisk till sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Add beef and toss well. Marinate for at least 20 mins.

Boil a medium-sized pot of water and add 1 T salt. Blanche bitter melon for 45 seconds then drain immediately.

Place all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add 1 T of vegetable oil in a wok and heat until smoking. Add half of the beef and stirring quickly for 45 seconds making sure all sides are browned. Remove immediately from the wok and transfer to a bowl. Repeat the same for the rest of the beef.

Reduce heat to medium high so the garlic doesn't burn. Give the wok time to cool down a bit, about 1 minute. Add 1 T vegetable oil then add garlic. Fry till fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add bitter melon and keep stirring for 10 seconds. Add sauce and stock and stir until the sauce bubbles, about 5 seconds. Add beef and mix everything well. Cook for a further minute. Add some of the cornflour and water mixture and thicken sauce to your liking. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 part of a banquet.

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Tetsuya's five-spice quail

Tetsuya's five spice quail

I've been planning a Japanese tapas menu for an upcoming dinner for friends and it led me to revisit an old favourite. Tetsuya Wakuda is my first culinary hero in Australia. I became an instant fan with my first mouthful of food at his first restaurant in Rozelle, so modest from the outside we couldn't even work out where the front door was. I swear it wasn't until after I tasted his cooking that I officially became a foodie. It was as if his Confit of Ocean of Trout made me start speaking in tongues. After another bite, I began to wax lyrical, telling people that it was as if I was tasting poetry in my mouth. It really was.

His cookbook Tetsuya is still a prized possession. My husband (then boyfriend) went to see Tetsuya at his restaurant asking for the book to be signed when chefs still weren't considered as the huge celebrities as they are now. I believe my partner's words that made it happen were, "you're like a rock god to Frances."

This recipe is simple to make and now that quail is more readily available it's something you're bound to make time and time again.





400 g butterflied quail, separating the legs from the breast section, creating 4 pieces per quail

1/2 t finely chopped garlic

sea salt and ground white pepper

2 pinches caster sugar

2-3 pinches five spice powder

1 drop sesame oil

1 drop light soy sauce

1/2 t mirin

200 ml grapeseed oil for frying

julienned ginger and shallots (scallions) for garnishing


Have all your ingredients ready by your wok.

Heat oil in wok over medium high heat. If you put in a wooden chopstick or spatula and the oil bubbles around it then the oil is ready.  Add half of the quail and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until tender and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper. Remove any remaining garlic from the oil. Repeat process for remaining quail and garlic. Discard oil.

Return quail to the wok and dry toss with salt and pepper to taste. Add sugar, five-spice powder, sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin to taste. Toss well making sure all the flavours are well combined. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with ginger and shallots.

Serves 4.

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Japanese chicken meatballs (tsukune)

Japanese chicken meatballs (tsukune) by Bent Street Kitchen

I love Japanese food and can happily eat it everyday.  It's tasty without the flavours being overpowering and satisfying without being too filling.

I've had these chicken meatballs or tsukune at various restaurants but have never tried to make them myself until now.   I've had them grilled on skewers or pan-fried like this recipe. I went with the easier option of pan frying and not having to put them on skewers. I got the original recipe from Maori Murota's "Tokyo Cult Recipes" but adjusted it.

These tsukune are great paired with a side of Japanese pasta salad and a cold glass of chardonnay. Nyum!


500 g chicken mince

1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and grated

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 T and 1 t soy sauce

1 T and 1 t mirin



2 t sesame oil

1 egg

1 t cornflour

grape seed oil, for frying


3 T soy sauce

3 T mirin

2 T sugar

2 T oyster sauce

1 garlic clove


In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

Place chicken, ginger and shallots in a large bowl and knead together. Add soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, egg and cornflour and mix well. To taste test, place half a teaspoon of the mince mixture on a microwave-proof plate and cook on high for 30-45 seconds. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Place about a 1 cm depth of oil in a fry pan that would fit all your meatballs. Heat oil to medium heat. Using a tablespoon, scoop a generous tablespoon of mince and use another tablespoon to push the mince off onto the fry pan.  I shape my mince into patties rather than meatballs to help them cook evenly. Cook until browned on one side. Turn over and leave until cooked through. Remove meatballs from the fry pan and put on a plate. Tip out excess oil from the pan.

Put the sauce into the fry pan and turn up the temperature to medium high heat until the sauce thickens, taking care not to burn the sauce. Replace the meatballs and any juices on the plate and coat meatballs with the sauce. Discard garlic. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

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beef shin ragu

beef shin ragu by Bent Street Kitchen

I couldn't let winter slip away without finishing off with a satisfying ragu. Slow cooking beef shin with the bone in gives this ragu such a deliciously rich flavour. Enjoy!


1.5 kg beef shin, bone in

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1.5 cups diced carrots

3 celery sticks, diced

3-4 sprigs of rosemary

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

2 anchovy fillets

2 400g tins of plum tomatoes

3/4 bottle of red wine

1 t sherry vinegar

1/2 - 1 t sugar

Grapeseed oil, for frying



Preheat oven to 190°C.

Heat oil in oven-proof casserole pan over high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Brown beef pieces all over and fry in batches. Remove beef from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add more oil if needed. Fry onion, garlic, carrots, celery and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, wine, anchovies and beef and bring to the boil. Cover pan with lid and cook in oven for 3 hours, or until meat breaks easily with a spoon. Add sherry vinegar and sugar. Check seasoning and add salt, pepper and more sherry vinegar and sugar to taste.

Serve with pappardelle pasta, roast or mashed potatoes or steamed long grain rice.

Serves 4-6.

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beef shin ragu by Bent Street Kitchen

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baked chicken curry

baked chicken curry by Bent Street Kitchen

baked chicken curry by Bent Street Kitchen

It's probably dangerous to mess with a classic but I had a really clear vision and taste of how I wanted this dish to be. There are many forms of chicken curry but with this recipe I'm paying homage to food usually found in Hong Kong style cafes.

Hong Kong style cafes were really popular back in the 1980s and they typically served a mix of Hong Kong or Macau style Western food. Menus would typically have cheese and egg sandwiches, thick white toast with condensed milk, baked pork chop on rice, tomato sauce steak with rice, baked seafood in cream sauce served with spaghetti, black coffee with lemon and even a cold glass of Horllcks (yes, the malted milk drink). 

There are some Hong Kong style cafes around Sydney's Chinatown but I haven't been to one in ages. I often go to the cafes in Hong Kong with my family.

When I was creating this dish in my mind, I was thinking of mixing some cooking styles. I wanted a full curry flavour, golden brown chicken skin, waxy roasted potatoes instead of the usual boiled texture you get in curries and caramelised red capsicum that you only get from roasting.

I think this dish is absolutely delicious. I'm so pleased it turned out the way I hoped it would. Of course, now I'm already thinking of stretching the fusion vibe further by adding some cheese and turning it into a curry chicken rice bake. Stay tuned!





700 g chicken wings, wing tips discarded and excluded from weight, cut in half at the joints

2 medium-sized red delight potatoes, peeled, cut into 4 cm chunks, at a 60 degree angle to maximise surface area and reduce cooking time

1 red capsicum, deseeded, cut into 4 cm squares

1 brown onion, cut lengthwise into 2 cm wide wedges and separated into single pieces

1 long green chilli, optional

4 T light soy sauce

4 T Shaoxing wine

3 T curry powder

2 t sugar

1 cup coconut milk

1 T vegetable oil


In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, curry powder until well combined. Add chicken and potatoes and coat with marinade well. Marinate for 1 hour, stirring once or twice to make sure it marinates evenly. I suggest taking it out of the refrigerator, half an hour before you plan to put it in the oven to reduce cooking time.

Preheat oven to 200 °C.

Heat 1 T vegetable oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add onions and fry for 1 minute and until the onions are well coated with oil. Set aside. I fry the onions first instead of just adding them raw with the rest of the ingredients because this keeps the onion from stewing instead of caramelising while in the oven.

Place chicken and potatoes into a large baking dish along with green chilli, onions, capsicum and coconut milk. Mix well and spread evenly. Cook for 30 mins then remove from oven and give meat and vegetables a turn so they brown evenly. Return to oven and bake for another 20-30 mins. It is done when the juices run clear from the chicken and you can easily slide a knife into the potatoes. Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4.

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beef braised in black vinegar

beef braised in black vinegar by Bent Street Kitchen

A few weeks ago I had a craving for a Chinese stew. One that had a depth of flavour that only comes from slow cooking and spices like star anise and cinnamon. I also knew it had to have boiled eggs in it because boiled eggs in Chinese stews always seem more special to me, reminiscent of a home-cooked meal. Maybe, this is me unconsciously living out some of my Chinese heritage. After all, eggs play a significant part in the Chinese culture, symbolising fertility. Boiled eggs are usually served as part of the traditional engagement tea ceremony and at the announcement party of a baby's birth. In my case though, it had nothing to do with fertility or babies. I just wanted a really good stew to have with steamed rice and some boiled eggs I could pour the sauce on.

I've had all sorts of Chinese stews. I love the Cantonese braised beef brisket with radish. Then there's the Taiwanese kind with chopped up pork and boiled eggs. Basically, this is a stew which combines all the things I like about Chinese stews- especially the mandarin peel, a wonderfully fragrant addition that makes the flavours of this stew deliciously complex.

Now when I'm having an Asian stew like this one, as delicious as it is, I often crave something else to go with it. Something crispy or totally different in texture. I guess being Asian, I'm used to eating a lot of different dishes in one meal- Chinese banquets, Japanese bentos, yum cha. So, I created some Sweet Potato & Coriander Fritters to go with this stew. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Let me know how you go with it.


2 T vegetable oil

1.5 kg beef brisket, fat trimmed but not too much that your meat would go dry, cut into 5 cm chunks

1 t sea salt

3 pieces star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 c of sliced ginger, peeled then sliced into thin rounds

3/4 c Shaoxing wine

1/2 c Chinkiang black vinegar

2 T light soy sauce

2 T dark soy sauce

1/4 c oyster sauce



70 g rock sugar

3 c chicken stock

1 mandarin peel, broken into 4 cm pieces

6 boiled eggs, peeled

coriander leaves for garnishing

Chilli pickle, optional:

1/4 c rice wine vinegar

2 t caster sugar

2 - 3 long red chillies, sliced crosswise into thin slices


Preheat oven to 160 °C.

Heat oil in an ovenproof casserole pan to medium-low heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and toss just before cooking. Brown beef pieces on all sides until golden brown. Remove from pan.

Add ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick to pan and cook for about 5 mins. 

Add wine and deglaze pan. Add soy sauces, vinegar, oyster sauce, rock sugar, mandarin peel and stock and bring to a boil. Check seasoning.

Return beef to pan, making sure most of the meat is covered by the sauce. Cover with lid and cook in oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Carefully remove pan from oven and add boiled eggs ensuring they are covered in the sauce as much as possible.  Return to the oven and cook for another hour or until the meat is tender and can easily be broken apart with a wooden spoon.

If doing the chilli pickle, dissolve sugar in vinegar and add chillies. Set aside.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 20 mins. Break meat apart and with a fork so you can mix more of the sauce through it.

Serve with steamed rice, Asian greens and chilli pickle.

For a special treat, make some Sweet Potato and Coriander Fritters to go with.

Serves 4-6 people.

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Here's a version of the stew in which I used chuck steak instead of brisket, used double the amount of black vinegar and didn't add boiled eggs. I found the brisket's flavour matched the rest of the ingredients more and using less vinegar meant more balance in the flavours.

Here's a version of the stew in which I used chuck steak instead of brisket, used double the amount of black vinegar and didn't add boiled eggs. I found the brisket's flavour matched the rest of the ingredients more and using less vinegar meant more balance in the flavours.

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Korean style burger with kimchee mayo

Korean Style Burger with Kimchee Mayo by Bent Street Kitchen

For some of you, there's a high chance you might want to run the other direction as soon as you hear kimchee is on the menu- and on your burger. Fear not, this kimchee mayo is almost like a spicy coleslaw and goes wonderfully with this soy flavoured burger. I used lamb mince because I think its gamey flavour is a good match for the kimchee.  Let me know how you go by writing on the comment section of this post.


600 g lamb mince

6 brioche burger buns 

6 slices of cheese (you can use cheddar or gouda)

1 T melted butter

vegetable oil to grease the grill with

1 large red onion, sliced into .5 cm thick rings

1 T olive oil

2 T soy sauce

2 T balsamic vinegar (you can also use red wine vinegar)

1/4 c kimchee

5-6 T Japanese mayonnaise

burger seasoning:

1/4 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 t grated ginger


4 T soy sauce

 2 T brown sugar

1/8 t black pepper


In a food processor, blitz all the burger seasoning ingredients together until well combined. Place mince in a large bowl and add burger seasoning and mix well.  Place half a teaspoon of the burger mixture on a microwave-save plate and cook in microwave for 15-30 seconds. Test taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Cover and set aside.

Place kimchee and mayonnaise in food processor and pulse until just combined. The mayonnaise should still be chunky with kimchee instead of being smooth. 

Heat 1 T olive oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add onions and fry for 2-4 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Reduce heat and continue to cook until onions have caramelised.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Divide burger mince into 6. Heat greased grill pan or barbeque to medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes. Cook patties on one side for 2 minutes. Flip over and place cheese on top of patties and cook for 2-3 minutes, until burger is done to your liking and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes.

Keep the grill on. Brush burger buns with melted butter and toast on grill for 1-2 minutes making sure you get some good grill lines on the buns. 

Spread some kimchee mayo on the bottom bun and place a patty on top. Add some caramelised onions then the top bun.

Serves 6 as a main. You can also make 12 small patties and serve them as appetisers.

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Korean Style Burger with Kimchee Mayo by Bent Street Kitchen

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italian-style roast chicken

Italian-Style Roast Chicken by Bent Street Kitchen

As I mentioned in my post about Rome, Italy has given me the best (Western) roast chicken experience I've ever had. Italy's roast chicken or "pollo arrosto" is aromatic, well-seasoned, tender, moist and oh so more-ish. 

So far, this recipe is the closest I've come to replicating the roast chicken I had in Rome and Florence. One thing I learned from experimenting is you don't get much flavour into the chicken by just seasoning the skin. If you season the skin, that's all you really do- season the skin. If you want to season the meat, then you have to go under the skin and put the seasoning on the meat. There are a lot of videos online showing you how to place seasoning under the skin.

I tried a simpler version by not brining and stuffing the chicken with onions and celery but the meat wasn't as moist or flavoursome. I haven't, however, tried to just stuff the chicken without brining it to see if that was good enough. The reason being it has only been over a week since we got back from Italy and I've already made roast chicken a few times. I don't think my husband and I can eat any more roast chicken for the next while or we'd grow feathers.  I will of course revise the recipe if I come up with another version but I think this one will be pretty hard to beat. Let me know how you go with this recipe.


1.5 kg chicken, preferably free-range

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped


3 T chopped fresh rosemary

1 T chopped fresh sage

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, sliced into 12 lenghtwise wedges

1/8 c olive oil

15 g sea salt (using 8-10 grams of salt per kg of chicken as a guide)

freshly ground black pepper

1/4 c sea salt for brining


Place 1/4 c salt in stock pot and add 5 litres of cold water. Stir until salt has dissolved. Add chicken making sure it is completely submerged. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1.5 hours, or more if you like. Drain, pat dry and leave chicken out at room temperature for about half an hour before placing it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 225°C.

Juice lemon wedges but only up until they're 80% dry. Discard seeds. Set aside juice.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper under the skin and inside the cavity, leaving aside some salt to use on the skin once we've stuffed the chicken. Mix the herbs and garlic together and rub under the skin and inside the cavity. Place 8 of the lemon wedges under the skin and the rest inside the cavity. Place onions and celery inside the cavity and truss the legs with kitchen twine to make sure the stuffing stays in place. Add reserved lemon juice by pouring into neck cavity. Rub olive oil all over the skin then season with salt and pepper.  

Place the chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Put on middle shelf of oven and roast for 15 minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn heat down to 170°C and move roasting pan to bottom shelf. Cook for 1.5 hours or until done. Using a meat thermometer, measure the temperature at the centre of the thickest part of the breast and thighs. The meat is cooked when it has reached 75°C. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

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Thai basil chilli chicken

Thai Basil Chilli Chicken by Bent Street Kitchen

One of the great things about living in Sydney means having easy access to Thai food. Over the last 15 years, I've seen Thai food become what Chinese take-away used to be. You can pretty much find a Thai restaurant in almost every suburb. It's not surprising though. I love Chinese food but I think these days the average Thai is probably better than the average Chinese take-away. Thai tends to be less greasy, packed with flavour and most dishes are abundant with vegetables.

And how good are those cheap Thai lunch deals? This pad kra pao or Thai basil chicken was inspired by one of the lunch deals I had from our local Thai. It was so delicious and I thought I'd be pretty chuffed if I learned how to make it myself. I had a couple of tries before I got the flavours right and I used Mark Wien's eatingthaifood recipe as a guide. Well, I am chuffed, so chuffed because the recipe passed with flying colours and I can share it with you.


200 g minced chicken

2 long red chillies, or as many as you can take, sliced crosswise into .5 cm pieces

5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

30-40 Thai basil leaves

4 T vegetable oil

1 T oyster sauce

2 t light soy sauce

1 t dark soy sauce

1 t sugar

1 egg

steamed rice


Heat 2 T of vegetable oil in a  wok over high heat. Fry egg according to how runny you want your yolk to be but allow the edges of the egg white to become golden brown and crispy. Set aside on a plate. Drain excess oil.

Crush garlic and chilli in a mortar and pestle until they are well combined.

In a small bowl, add sauces and sugar and mix until sugar has dissolved.

Place 2 T oil into the wok and turn up to medium-high heat.  Fry garlic and chilli until the garlic is golden brown, about 30 seconds, making sure not to burn them. Add chicken, breaking up the mince as you stir. Cook for about 2-3 mins or until done. Add sauce mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds. You can put in a splash of water if it gets too dry.  Toss in basil leaves and immediately remove wok from heat. 

Arrange mince on top of rice with the fried egg. Serve with some sliced cucumber and enjoy your Thai lunch special!

Serves 1.

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Preparing for the Thai Basil Chilli Chicken at Bent Street Kitchen

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sweet and sticky barbecue chicken with shaved fennel

Sweet and Sticky Barbeque Chicken with Shaved Fennel

I had some hoisin pork rib sauce leftover and thought it too good to waste especially after the painstaking effort of grating all that ginger.  It was also a sweltering 32°C in Sydney and I did not want to wilt any further by making something elaborate. I decided to use the leftover sauce on some chicken thighs I had in the freezer and pair it off with a refreshing fennel salad. 


8 chicken thighs, bone in

1 portion hoisin pork rib sauce

4 fennel bubs

2 lemons

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 200 °C.

Grease a shallow baking tray with cooking oil. Place thighs on tray with skin side down. Cook for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and brush chicken with sauce. Cook for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn chicken over with a spatula trying not to damage the skin. Brush skin side with sauce and return to oven for another 7 minutes.

Prepare fennel by trimming off the stems and reserving the lacy fronds. Slice the fennel bulb using a mandolin. Toss sliced fennel and fronds with oilve oil and season to taste with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Serves 4.

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hoisin pork ribs & cucumber pickle

I'm constantly on the hunt for rib recipes. I adapted this one from a recipe I saw in Gourmet Traveller magazine by doubling the amount pickle and changing the cooking method for the ribs. I was planning to try the original recipe where the ribs get marinated briefly and then placed straight onto the grill. As it happens, my husband decided to invite my brother-in-law and his partner for lunch and since I hadn't tried this recipe before I decided to play it safe with the cooking method. From my experience, ribs can often burn before they get cooked especially when the sauce is sweet like this one. I didn't want our guests to be dining on charred meat! I decided to pre-cook the ribs at a low temperature so that all I had to worry about was making the sure the sauce would caramelise nicely on the ribs. I increased the amount of sauce so that I don't end up with dry ribs and the extra sauce tastes great with the rice. 

Hoisin Pork Ribs and Cucumber Pickle by Bent Street Kitchen


pork ribs

1.5 kg pork ribs, cut into individual ribs

handful of coriander leaves 

1 T sesame seeds



1/3 c hoisin sauce

1/3 c oyster sauce

2 T light soy sauce

2 T shaoxing wine

2 T honey

1 T ginger, finely grated

1 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 t sesame oil

2-3 dashes of ground white pepper

cucumber pickle

2 lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced into 3 cm pieces

2 T ginger, finely grated

1 garlic clove, chopped

4 T rice wine vinegar

4 t white sugar

2 t sesame oil


Mix all marinade ingredients in a large enough bowl to fit ribs and place ribs in it for 30 mins.

Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and oil together. Add cucumber and toss until lightly pickled. 

Preheat oven grill to 250°C.

Place ribs on foil lined baking tray and place in oven's topmost shelf. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn over, baste with marinade and cook for another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 225°C, move ribs to lower shelf to prevent burning and cook for 5 minutes. Turn ribs over again and cook for another 5 minutes. Ribs should be a bit charred but not burnt.

Place 4-5 pieces of ribs on top of some steamed rice on a plate. Top with cucumber pickle, coriander leaves and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Serves 4. 

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easy roast leg of lamb

Easy Roast Leg of Lamb by Bent Street Kitchen

This recipe probably got me started doing more roasts because the meat came out quite tender and was great for leftovers.  This cut of meat also has little surrounding and inside fat so I didn't have the experience of seeing all the juices turn waxy on my plate as I often do when I have other cuts of lamb.

I wanted something easy so I used garlic and rosemary because they're ingredients that are readily available all year round. Plus, I love the sweetness of the roast garlic so I tend to throw them in a roast whenever I can.

I relied on Jamie Oliver's slow roast method here and that just guarantees you'll have a super tender roast.



 1 x 2 kg leg of lamb, bone in

1/3 c olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large garlic head, separated but left unpeeled; add 2 heads if you love garlic like I do

1 bunch rosemary, half roughly chopped, other half left in sprigs

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


Stand lamb at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Slash the lamb crosswise at 4 cm intervals on the top side, cutting through the meat no more than .5 cm deep.

Preheat oven to 170 °C.

Combine 50 ml of oil, garlic and chopped rosemary. Place lamb in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Rub oil mixture all over lamb and into incisions. Place garlic bulbs and rosemary sprigs underneath and around the lamb. Add 50 ml of water and cover tightly with aluminium foil. Cook for 3 hours. Remove foil and add 150 ml water. Cook for another hour or until meat falls away from the bone. 

Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.

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salt & pepper pork

Salt and Pepper Pork by Bent Street Kitchen

Salt & pepper crab, salt & pepper prawns, salt & pepper squid. How can anything dubbed as simply as "salt & pepper" taste so good? Problem though is they're often deep-fried dishes and I rarely deep fry anything at home. Don't get me wrong. I love deep-fried stuff and would frequently order them when I eat out.  Let's face it. It's hard to beat that fat-epidemic-inducing combination of a crispy crunchy batter with a tender juicy bit of meat or vegetable pocketed inside.

I came home with a deep fryer years ago and still recall the look of fear my husband

gave me. He was scared I was going to slowly kill us with fat. Hot, sizzling, fat. I thought he was being overly dramatic. I wasn't going to use it all the time, I told him.  As it turns out, when I saw how much oil I had to use to get that crispy crunch for my calamari, I balked. I haven't used that deep fryer since. I still see it, sitting at the bottom shelf of my parents' cleaning cupboard, taunting me for my purchase mistake.

 I searched for a salt & pepper dish that didn't require deep frying and came across Adam Liaw's recipe for salt & pepper pork belly in his book "Asian After Work". This is his recipe with some very minor adjustments to suit my taste. I increased the garlic and shallots because they taste fantastic with rice and there never seems to be enough of them go around whenever I order this dish. This is a simple recipe you can easily whip for a week night meal. In fact, that's what the recipes in Adam Liaw's book are all about.


500 g pork belly, skin removed

1 t sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 bird's eye chilli, sliced

4 shallots (spring onions), white and light green sections only, trimmed and sliced

2 t sea salt flakes

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

handful coriander leaves


Slice the pork into 3 cm squares, about 1 cm thick.

Heat wok until very hot and add sesame oil. Fry the pork in 3 batches until well browned on all sides and cooked through.

Remove any excess fat from wok and add garlic, chilli and shallots. Fry over very high heat until mixture is fragrant and garlic starts to brown. Return pork to the wok, add 1 t salt and the black pepper. Do a taste check and add more salt if needed. Toss to coat well. Transfer to warm plate and garnish with coriander.

Serves 4.

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