Saturday, July 23, 2011

Minchi from Macau--- or not!

The new season of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on Travel Channel has begun and yes, I have set my DVR to record every new episode. I watched his show on Macau and I am probably not the only one saying this, but it was such an eye-opener. Well, for starters, call me ignorant, but whenever I thought of China, I always thought of Hong Kong! Never knew that gambling in Macau is big, I mean, BIG! Las Vegas is nothing compared to Macau! Portuguese happens to be one of their two official languages, Cantonese being the other. It was the last Portuguese colony in China that lasted from the 16th century to 1999! Wow, quite a history there! (And enough with the exclamation marks, I suppose!)

Macanese cuisine is a wonderful blend of Portuguese, Chinese, African and even Indian (yes!) flavors. In fact, one of the people who Bourdain was talking to on the show clearly said that Macanese cuisine is "fusion cuisine." And I am all for fusion cuisine. If different flavors marry each other and create something even more delicious, hey, it is definitely worth it, don't you think?

And so, on that show, I saw this lady prepare a dish called "Minchi" with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms. She said that they use ground beef too. The preparation looked pretty darn good on TV and I of course was already coming up with a plan. I was going to use chicken instead of pork or beef and I was going to try and cook that Minchi from Macau in my kitchen!

Ingredients:

1. Ground Chicken (I used 4 boneless skinless breasts and ground them myself in the food processor)
2. 2 green onions, 3 cloves of garlic, a tiny piece of ginger
3. A handful of wood ear mushrooms
4. 4-5 tablespoons of soy sauce
5. 3 dry red chillies and a pinch of red crushed pepper (you can adjust this per your heat level)
6. 1-2 tablespoons of oil
7. 1-2 cups of water (depending on how wet you want)

My twist on the dish:

1. Peas- a couple handfuls (or say, 1/2 cup)
2. Tomato ketchup- 1/4 cup (this added a lovely tang)

This was the first ever time that I used wood ear mushrooms. When I touched one of the mushrooms, it felt almost like jello--- not at all gross like I expected--- was pretty cool actually.

Wood ear mushrooms, green onions, garlic, ginger

Method: 

1. I took my lovely pot and poured in a couple tablespoons of oil, got the heat going and then added the chopped green onion, garlic, ginger, some red crushed pepper and 3 dry red chillies. Sauteed it all a bit and then added the ground chicken.

2. Cooked the chicken for about 10 minutes, also adding a bit of salt in between to season the chicken. After 10 minutes of cooking, added 4-5 tablespoons of soy sauce, stirred everything.The chicken looked a bit dry and so I added around 1-2 cups of water (broth would work even better). Gave it a quick taste.

3. Upon tasting, I felt it needed something more. Something tangy. Tomato Ketchup! Added a quarter cup of that and it actually worked! Covered the pot and let it simmer for 10 more minutes. Everything smelled real good!

4. Once the timer went off, I took off the lid, tasted it and had my daughter taste it too and we both loved it. And then my brilliant mind whispered to me, "Color!" So I grabbed the frozen peas packet from my freezer and scooped out a couple handfuls and threw it into the almost-ready "minchi." I covered the pot once again and switched off the stove.

I served it with some plain, steamed rice. And it was simply delicious! I had to add some extra hot sauce for myself because really, it needed that kick.

Delicious Minchi!
To my pleasant surprise, my son, the one who hates mushrooms, did not complain even once about those wood ear mushrooms. He just gobbled everything up and quite appreciated it too!

Not sure what a true Macanese chef would say about my take on minchi--- heck, it might not even be close to the real Minchi from Macau--- but I give myself points for my attempt. Besides, the end result was delicious and that is what counts, right?

6 comments:

adibud34 said...

In the recipe, you need to make it clear how and where the wood-ear mushrooms make an entry in the dish!

Dreamer said...

Oopsie! My bad! Thanks for noticing! ;)

tattitalk said...

If you liked this dish you should try the Thai dish Larb, made of minced pork or chicken, roasted ground rice, and a tangy spicy dressing.

Dreamer said...

@tattitalk: Mm, sure sounds good! In our neighborhood Thai restaurant, they have a similar dish that they call "Chicken on the Island." We LOVE it!

GenteDeMacau said...

My family is from Macau. That recipe is actually not for the authentic Macanese dish Minchi. It is actually the Chinese version of it. The real dish that Macanese families make at home is similar but with less ingredients.

Dreamer said...

@GenteDeMacau- thank you for stopping by! I would love it if you could share the authentic recipe for Minchi with me. My email is aheroor@gmail.com.