Tag Archives: Beef

Brazilian Feijoada

I sometimes get asked what comes first when I post recipes for my blog – the food or the music. Most of the time it comes from a mutual love where I’m so fascinated by a culture that I’m in love with both the food and the music, but this is one where the music came first.   I love Brazilian music, but knew next to nothing about the cuisine so I forced myself to do some research and find a dish that would complement the music.

Not long after, it was clear that I needed to try my hand at feijoada as it was the national dish of Brazil and one that everyone raved about. That and it sounded like one of the meatiest stews I’d ever heard of. I was heading down the south coast for a week of relaxation so I stopped off for a trip to Petersham (Sydney’s little Portugal) and collected some salted beef and various cuts of other meat to make this delicious stew. I’ve heard people just using beef jerky in place of the salted beef, but try to get the real thing if you can.

I plucked this recipe from SBS’ Food Safari – an excellent resource for international cuisines – and amended it slightly based on what I could get my hands on.

Feijoada - photo by my sister Emiko Davies
Feijoada – photo by my sister Emiko Davies

Ingredients (for 6-8 people with leftovers)

  • 500g black beans (not canned)
  • 200g salt dried beef
  • 200g smoked pork ribs, halved through the bone
  • 200g speck or smoked pork belly, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 chorizo, halved and sliced
  • 500g smoked pork hock
  • 300g pork scotch fillet, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • white rice
  • kale (or silverbeet)
  • orange segments
  • coriander

Farofa

  • 60g butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 120g of cassava flour
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped

You need to start this at least one day ahead by soaking the beans and salted beef in cold water in separate bowls. The beans will double in size so make sure you have a bowl big enough for this. Refrigerate the beans overnight. For the beef, just make sure you change the water about 4 times so it’s not just sitting in salty water. This will loosen up the beef and get it ready for cooking.

Rinse and drain the beans and beef. The beef should be soft enough to slice through into 2 cm pieces so slice them up and throw them into a large pot along with the beans. Add all the other meat, 2 bay leaves and top up with cold water so everything is covered. Bring to boil, making sure you skim any scum from the surface while you occasionally stir. Once at boil, reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 1 hour.

In a separate pan, heat up some oil on medium and add your onion, garlic, chilli and bay leaf mixture until the onions are soft and transparent. Remove about a cup of the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon and add them to the onion mix. Mash the beans roughly with the back of a wooden spoon and mix well with the onion mix before tossing it all into the feijoada pot.

Cover and cook for another hour, then remove pork hock, shred meat (when cool enough to handle) and return pork meat to the pot. Cook for another hour uncovered (add a little more water if it’s getting too thick), and then taste for seasoning.

In the last hour when you’re cooking the feijoada, this is when you can prep all the lovely sides to the stew.  To make your Farofa, melt the butter in a pan and saute your onions until soft. I didn’t have any cassava flour on me so instead I made use of some breadcrumbs and toasted this in the buttery onion mix for a few minutes. Add your chilli and chopped corriander and put this mixture aside in a bowl.

For the kale, keep this nice a simple and blanche the finely shredded kale in boiling water for about a minute.  Drain the kale, season with salt and pepper and dress with a drizzle of olive oil and put this aside in a separate bowl. With about half an hour to go for your stew, put on enough rice for your guests in your rice cooker or the stove.

When your stew is nice and gooey and the whole house smells of meat, you should be able to put everything together in bowls.  Arrange the rice, stew and kale in everyone’s bowls, then sprinkle with the farofa mixture and top with orange segments and coriander leaves.  Delicious.  You’ll almost certainly have leftovers and like most stews, it’ll taste even better the next day.

Jams

Where do I start with Brazilian music? There’s so much out there and I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert, but instead I’m just going to share the artists and music that I love.  A lot of the Brazilian music that I like stems from the Tropicalia period, which was a cultural movement in the late 60s which resulted in some of the most wild music recorded and inspired the likes of David Byrne, Kurt Cobain and Beck.  It’s a great cross road of psychedelic rock, samba, funk and soul. Truly fascinating and worth buying this Soul Jazz compilation if you want to know more.

Instead of just posting one tune to sum up the dish, I’m going to try using Spotify so you’ll have an entire playlist to cook and eat to.  I’ve selected a range of artists (not just from the Tropicalia period) from the 60s to the 80s with equal parts dreamy landscape, lazy funk and psychedelic fuzz. Enjoy!

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Sunday special bulgogi

Sunday evenings were always something to look forward to when I was growing up because my mum would cook a dish that was simply known to my sisters and me as ‘Sunday special’. It was a delicious dish of sliced beef in a garlicky, sweet soy marinade and served with rice. Even though we ate it pretty much every Sunday we never got tired of it. I later found out that the dish was none other than the classic Korean classic, Bulgogi, and it’s still a staple of my diet today. This recipe that I’m posting is slightly different to my mum’s (she would add mirin and grated ginger and just have it over steamed rice), but there are many ways to get inventive with this.

Bulgogi

Ingredients

  • 300g scotch fillet, sliced very thin
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 60 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ nashi pear
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Pinch pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 shallots, sliced
  • Sesame seeds
  • Red chilli
  • Cooked rice
  • Lettuce

Mix the soy, water, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowel with the thinly sliced beef. Puree the nashi pear and half the onion in a blender and add this to the beef and marinade mix. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to start cooking, mix the sesame oil in with the beef and marinade. Heat the pan or wok on high and coat with a splash of vegetable oil. Put all the beef into the pan along with the marinade for 3 minutes or until cooked. Slice up the remaining onion and add this to the pan along with the sliced shallots to cook for another minute or so. Take it off the heat and put the bulgogi in a bowl to take to the table to serve immediately.

At the table, take individual lettuce leaves and fill them with a little cooked rice, bulgogi and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced red chilli. For a bit of extra kick, top it off with some chilli sauce (I like to use sriracha sauce) or add some kimchi. Wrap it all up and pop the lettuce parcel into your mouth in one bite. It’s not a particularly elegant way to eat, but it’s so damn tasty that you won’t care.

Serves 2 with leftovers

JAM

Shin Joong-hyun

Shin Joong-hyun

For a classic Korean dish, you need a classic Korean song. This one comes from the granddaddy of Korean rock, Shin Joong-hyun from his band Shin Joong-hyun and The Men and is called Beautiful River and Mountains. It’s a deep, spiritual psychedelic rock record of the highest order that could easily sit among the best US and UK bands.  Listen here:

Light in the Attic recently reissued this record in a compilation of the same name along with other classic jams that range from folky pop to bluesy rock that he produced from 1958-74.  It should be easy enough to find in your local record store, but if you’re out of luck you can buy it online here or here.

If you’re after a full mix of Korean jazz, funk and psych to accompany your meal in full, then check out this great mix that DJ Soulscape did for Turntable Lab below:

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Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is one of my favourite Japanese meals. It’s a dish my mum would occasionally cook for the family on cold nights and something my uncle would cook when I visit my family in Japan, so it’s a meal that I hold close to my heart. Like a Japanese version of Chinese hotpot, Sukiyaki a mix of thinly sliced beef, tofu, vegetables and noodles cooked in a sweet and salty broth. It’s very much a family and friends type of meal and a dish that encourages conversation around the hotpot as people swoop out the ingredients before dipping it in a raw beaten egg and slurping it down. Yum.

Sukiyaki

Note: I used spinach in this image. Cabbage works better as it doesn't wilt as easily in the heat.

It’s super easy to prepare and you don’t have to worry about lengthy cooking times in the kitchen beforehand because you cook everything on the dining room table as everyone eats. You can do this by buying one of those cheap portable stoves that you’d take when you go camping and it shouldn’t set you back more than $20.

Ingredients:

  • 750g of flank steak, sliced paper thin
  • 5 Japanese naga-negi onions (or a couple big bunches of think shallots), cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 2 bunches of enoki mushrooms
  • 2 packets of konnyaku noodles, rinsed
  • 300 g of firm tofu, cut into decent sized cubes ½ Chinese cabbage, rinsed and sliced
  • Oil
  • An egg per person Rice (optional)

Broth:

  • 1 – ½ cups of dashi broth
  • 3-4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of mirin
  • 2 tablespoons of sake

Pour all the broth ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil and set aside.

Find a large plate and arrange the meat, onions, mushrooms, noodles, tofu and cabbage on the plate like a colourful pie chart. You’ll probably need at least two or three depending on the size of your plates, and then take them to the dinner table. Crack an egg into small individual serving bowls for all your guests and lightly whisk. This is about all the prepping you need to do beforehand. Seriously.

On your table, get your portable gas stove going at a medium heat with a nice large cast iron pot – one that’s wide enough to fit the ingredients, but not tall enough to make it difficult to reach the food within. Pour a little oil in and when it’s hot you can start throwing in a small portion of your sliced meat, onions, mushrooms, noodles, tofu and cabbage to sauté. After a minute or so, add a third of the broth and let everything cook for another few minutes. Diners can now tuck in and fish out whatever ingredients they wish! Insist that your guests dip the food into the whisked egg before eating. This adds a delicious flavour and texture and slides easily down your throat.

Essential egg for dipping

Essential egg for dipping

As the meal goes on, add more meat, tofu, noodles, veggies and broth to the pot. Make sure you have a little extra soy, sugar, sake, and dashi on hand as you may need to adjust the flavours as the meal goes on. But trust me, it just gets better and better. If you want, serve with some rice, but you probably won’t need too much to be honest.

Serves 4-6

JAM

Sukiyaki also happens to be the name of the first Japanese language record to break into the top 100 in the states in the early 60s. Written by Kyu Sakamoto and originally titled Ue o Muite Arukō, it was renamed Sukiyaki for international releases despite the song having nothing to do with the dish. Lyrically it’s quite a sad song, but it carries such a sweet, happy-go-lucky swing to it, that you can’t help but smile.

Don’t know the original but it sounds familiar? The song has been covered countless times by musicians all over the world, but it re-entered the charts in the early 80s with an English language version from A Taste of Honey:

This song eventually made its way through numerous RnB and hip hop records (including Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) thanks to Slick Rick singing a verse in his seminal track La Di Da Di. Listen out for the verse at 2.49:

Buy Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki here.

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