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a yummy substitute for maccas: jazzed up meat and three veg (the sequel)

meat and three vege
The time has come again for me to praise multiculturalism and revel in the fact that you can walk down a bustling strip in any major Australian city and sample cuisine from at least 10 different countries. Not only that, but the food is usually excellent if you know where to go. Perhaps because the connoisseurs and experts have chosen to migrate here and share their foodie wisdom. I am just so grateful.

I recently went to the This is Not Art Festival (TiNA) in Newcastle, which showcases an insanely varied and thought provoking array of artistic endeavours – music, writing, panels… the list is endless. It’s the kind of festival that makes me wonder: ‘What am I doing in the public service? I should be on a plane right now to the Philippines to rewrite Battle Royale into a script relevant to the people of Manilla!’ Then I read the depressing statistics on what an artist earns each year and learnt that one of the most impressive performers of the festival still lived at home. And I continue to wonder if there isn’t some way to balance it out and have it all.

During this festival I attended a panel of food writers talking about their most memorable food experiences. My favourite story was from Adam Liaw, the winner of the second Australian MasterChef TV series. He spoke of visiting a restaurant in Japan that boasted the world’s best sushi. The restaurant  is so exclusive that one must make a booking six months in advance and call at a certain time the day before to confirm the booking. Non-adherence to any of the rules will result in no sushi for you.

Having been totally captivated by the story I immediately purchased Adam Liaw’s book
Asian After Work and was totally stoked to cook its recipes. Being the fiddly person I am I changed and tweaked it somewhat and the result was a multicultural mishmash on my plate. I hope you enjoy it!

Lemongrass Pork Chops with Asian Greens and Mash

Ingredients

4 pork chops
Peanut oil
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 bunch broccolini, chopped
Nuoc Cham Sauce
1 clove garlic
1 small red chilli
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp castor sugar
3 tbsp water
1 ½ tsp fish sauce
Fresh coriander (as much as desired)

Marinade

2 lemon grass stalks, white parts chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tbsp peanut oil

Mashed potato with butter and cream, to serve.

Method

1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and coat the pork chops and leave for one hour.

2. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the Nuoc Cham sauce, except the fish sauce, in a mortar and pestle and grind until a pasty sauce forms. Slowly add the fish sauce and check the balance of flavours, adding a little more water if necessary.

3. Heat a small splash of peanut oil in a pan and cook the pork chops for approximately five minutes each side. Be sure to pour in any excess marinade.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the the veggies. Cook for 2 minutes (no more or they will be soggy).

5. Let the pork chops sit for a few minutes before serving.

6. Douse the veggies with the Nuoc Cham sauce and sprinkle over with the coriander. Bring everything to the table and enjoy.

Serves 4

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