Sunday, April 01, 2012

Coconut Braised Wing Beans with Pork Belly

It’s all in the way you spin it.

There are those who manage to maintain a sunny outlook no matter what life throws in their path.  There are those that push forward, guns blazing and devilish grin at the ready, even in the face of insurmountable odds and surly weather.  There are those whose feathers are never ruffled or out of place.

And there’s me, and those like me (and we are quite a few I firmly believe) – spin doctors.

Most of the time, I plant myself resolutely on the sunny side of the street.  I like being positive and I like being surrounded by positive people.  I try to inject positivity into my life at every opportunity.  It’s the best drug in the world…and totally free, with only the very best side effects.  Overdose on it, share it, push it, gulp it down in large doses 3 times a day.

Admittedly, it is not always as easy as it seems.  To those for whom it comes naturally, well, lucky ducks you all.  Sometimes, as most of those who inhabit the real world know, it takes effort.  And that’s when you need to spin it.

A traffic jam becomes the perfect time to call your best friend.  Working the night shift leaves you free to watch cheesy noontime shows.  Rainy weather means less people at the market and hot chocolate at night (yay!).  Summer’s blistering heat means extra ice in your gin and tonic.  Bread going stale means French toast.  Too busy with work to even go to the grocery?  Nutella for dinner!

You get the general idea.

And speaking of being too busy.  I have been and will be all throughout this week.  But that will only make my Holy Week break (or Easter break) that more gratifying.  Between work now, and beach holiday after, I’m afraid I won’t be able to be around until the week after next.  I don’t want to leave you empty-handed nor empty-stomached though….so I’m leaving you with these, hopefully, comforting words, and a dish which I find equally comforting.

Coconut Braised Wing Beans with Pork Belly
  • 150-200 grams pork belly
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
  • Canola or other vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 250 grams wing beans (sigarillas)
  • 4 long green chilis (sili pang-sigang)
  • 2 tablespoons shrimp paste (bagoong), more or less depending on how salty your shrimp paste is
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • Freshly cracked black pepper 

- Cut the pork belly into 1/2-inch pieces.  Place in a bowl with the fish sauce and a generous cracking of black pepper and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat a wok (kawali) or a regular pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, add a couple of swirls of oil.  When the oil is hot add the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
-  When the onion is soft add the pork to the pan and fry, stirring once in a while, until brown on all sides.
- Add the wing beans, chili, and shrimp paste, tossing and sautéing until the wing beans just start to get soft and the shrimp paste is evenly distributed.
- Add the coconut milk and mix well.  Cook, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks, until both the wing beans and pork belly are soft.

Coconut milk, pork belly, braising, and looking on the bright side are all things I find comforting.  I’ve thrown in the wing beans to make us feel virtuous as well.  Not a bad deal I think.  Usually wing beans are not cooked too long, leaving them still fresh with a vibrant bite, but here I like them, as with the pork belly, soft and yielding and infused with coconut milk and shrimp paste.  Very Filipino in flavor, and familiarly Asian too.  Pile it on top of a steaming bowl of rice and let it be your silver lining…even if you have to eat it in front of a computer screen.

So smile when the sun shines and things go your way.  And when they don’t…spin it.  You might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to do...and how real it can become ;)


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is a fabulous dish! The flavors are wonderful.



Ling said...

I was just saying to the hubby that I miss eating bicol express, but this is something that's gonna be on the menu this week! Will have to sub another kind of green bean for the wing beans though! Thanks!!

Ling said...

It is very comforting reading your blog that promotes on being a positive thinker. No matter what happens always look at it on the bright side. Then sharing a very yummy dish. Thanks =)

chef_d said...

Oh my goodness...I love this dish, we also make it at home the same way except that we add fish/shrimp to it instead of pork. Have a great easter break!

Anonymous said...

nice idea.. thanks for sharing....

love cooking said...

I always cook wing beans with sambal and dried shrimps. This recipe is really special. Cook with coconut and pork belly, very interesting, and it looks yummy. :)

Dexie said...

Whewww, that looks really good.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa!

Hi Ling! I love Bicol Express and this dish was definitely inspired by it :) This would be good with another type of green bean too I am sure!

Hi Raquel! Glad you enjoyed the post :)

Hi Chef D! I can imagine this going really well with shrimp! Enjoy your Easter as well!

Thanks Anonymous person :)

Hi Love Cooking! Sambal! That's time! :)

Hi Dexie! I love it :) Nice homey flavors!

Lee said...

I like wing beans and i love pork. this is something i can do :)

Robert Richards Recipes said...

Wow - this recipe looks amazing! I'm excited to give it a try. ;-)

Mila said...

Happy Easter!
Taking advantage of being in HK to open your blog and dropping a quick note.

jen laceda said...

I've never tried this before but it looks like a tasty dish! Of course, anything with coconut milk, for me, is a winner!

David Head said...

I have never heard of anything like this before which makes me want to try this even more!!

Midge said...

What a twist on classic Bicol Express! Despite the sultry weather we've been having of late, I'll not say no to a generous helping of this on rice!

Take A Taste said...

Great blog! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lee! Same here, plus gata! :)

Hi Robert! Hope you like it :)

Hi Mila! So nice to hear from you!! A big happy Easter to you as well!!

Hi Jen! Me too! I love anything with coconut milk…and chilis! :)

Hi David! It’s just some of the flavors from our group of islands!

Hi Midge! It is that…I love Bicol Express so it’s no surprise I whip up something like this :)

Thanks Take a Taste :)

Junglefrog said...

I'm a positive person too. At least I always try to be.. Look on the bright side of life, right? ;)
And this dish is definitely part of that bright side. Looks lovely!

Normal Food For Normal People said...

That looks like one intense dish. Like many others, I bet it would be really good with shrimp, or maybe even chicken!

redmenace said...

I wish you the best on this busy week, but I imagine you won't need well wishes. You are already so sunny and sweet. I love pork belly, but I've never made it myself. So good!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Simone! It’s always sunnier on the bright side so I try my best to stay there :)

Hi Normal Food For Normal People! It is quite intense :) And yes, this would work with chicken and would be awesome with shrimp!

Hi Redmenace! Thank you for your nice comment :) I love pork belly too…it is such a versatile and easy cut to play around with…I encourage you to give it a go!

Berto and Kwala said...

It's in the way you spin it... I love how you put it. There are day when this is exactly what i need, being the pessimist that i am... Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.