Vendor Blender: Red Cook

Greetings fans of GFM!

We’re a couple days behind with the Vendor Blender this week, Memorial Day put us in perpetual food coma for a couple days.

We hope you had a chance to check out today’s NY Times, we’re featured in an article AND a video. We’re super stoked to receive such mass media support and would like to send a big WELCOME to all our newest fans. See you June 26th!

Til then, please welcome Red Cook!

What is Red Cook?
The name Red Cook was inspired by a traditional Chinese cooking technique for braising meats, fish or tofu with soy sauce, garlic, rice wine and spices. My most popular dish, and the one that I sell at the Greenpoint Food Market, is Red Cooked Pork.
Red Cook is the name I use for my culinary endeavors, which include blogging, teaching and catering. On my blog, I share recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques along with the cultural and historical background of Chinese cooking. I teach classes on dumpling making and creating Chinese banquets. These one-session classes are open to the public and are offered through the recreational division of the Institute of Culinary Education. I also cater and give private Chinese cooking lessons. I recently customized a lesson of Taiwanese home cooking for a couple adopting children from Taiwan. I cater for all occasions specializing in creating private dining experience of multi-course Chinese meal.

How did the inspiration for it come about?
Cooking has always been my passion and I love to share it. I love to entertain and create meals with seasonal ingredients and innovative approaches. After cooking for so many years I was finally convinced by a friend to start writing about my cooking. That’s when I started my blog Red Cook. Then I started receiving request to cater and cook for private functions. One thing let to another and I was invited to teach as well. Somehow my writing has generated interests in my authentic way of Chinese cooking.

Kung Pao Frog

Where do you source your ingredients?
I source my ingredients in the Flushing and Manhattan Chinatowns. I enjoy shopping in Chinatown where there are specialized vendors for meat, seafood, dry goods, produce and fruits. Because of their specialization, each vendor can offer a wide variety of the freshest products.

Red Cooked Pork with Steamed Buns

Can you share a recipe?
Yes, here is my Red Cooked Pork recipe…

Red Cooked Pork

1 1/2 lb. pork belly meat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves of garlic peeled
2 scallions cut into 2-inch long pieces
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (老抽)
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (紹興料酒)
1 1/2 cups clear stock (or the liquid from the par-boiling step) or water

Put the pork belly in a wok containing enough boiling water to cover the meat completely. Continuously skim off the scum as it forms on top of the boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes then drain the pork belly and place on a plate to cool. The boiling liquid can be reused for braising after filtering through a fine sieve. When the pork belly is cool to touch cut it into pieces of about 1.5 inches cubes.
Melt the sugar and the vegetable oil in a wok over medium high heat. Continue heating until the sugar is slightly brown. About 3 minutes. Add the cubed pork belly and brown it with the caramelized sugar. About 8 minutes.
Put the garlic, scallion, star anise, dark soy sauce, rice wine and clear stock into the pot. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat. Cook for about 40 minutes. Stir the meat every 10 minutes to make sure the pork at the bottom of the pot does not get burnt. Remove the cover and turn the heat to medium high. Cook the meat for another 10 minutes until the sauce reduces to a smooth consistency.
You can serve this dish right away or keep overnight and reheat the next day before serving. Plate it in a shallow bowl and garnish with shredded scallion and sprigs of cilantro.

Steamed Dill and Crabmeat Dumplings

What do you do when you’re not Red Cook-ing?
My other interests aside from cooking are traveling and gardening. I travel to Asia quite often and love to sample all kinds of food during my trips. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to visit the local markets. Unfortunately I often get frustrated by seeing beautiful products in the market but not having a kitchen to cook them. As for gardening I can’t really do very much being an apartment dweller. But I do grow herbs and lettuces near my sunny windows.

Kian teaching ICE

Why the decision to share at GFM?
GFM is an event that attracts serious foodies and is the only market in which I participate. I love sharing my passion for cooking authentic Chinese food with people who can really appreciate it. It’s also great to sample the high quality foods created by all the other vendors. I’m thrilled by the interest shown in the food I make and look forward to continuing to share my passion.

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One response to “Vendor Blender: Red Cook

  1. Kian made an EPIC late spring dinner last year (http://worldtotable.com/2009/07/16/late-spring-chinese-dinner/) So glad he can share the love at GFM!

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