WOODLAND FIRE SICHUAN-HUMMUS
“Tonight… LET’S SET THE WORLD
I guess… it really isn’t a secret what unnecessary gimmicks I’ve been occupying myself with in the last couple days. Hello, my name is Mandy and I’m a theme-aholic. In fact, I’m a theme-aholic who also happens to be, tech-intolerant. Like an alcoholic who’s allergic to alcohol, an UV-addict who lives in Seattle, a real human being married to Gwyneth Paltrow…
Well, you get the point. It’s all been very dysfunctional around here.
In fact, last night I was sent into a stress-turbulance so violent it spun me into a cyber-land so barren I never thought I would step a foot into, that is, I was forced to sign up to join a tech-support forum… A tech-support FORUM. That’s right, you don’t know what the hell that is because it’s where desperate tech-retards go after they die. A steel-cold environment where you drop your SOS calls into a vast void and silence, then awaits cyber-ghosts to kindly respond, if ever. The place was so cold and lonely I could hear the echoes of my helpless keyboard bouncing off the empty cyber-walls.
Can anybody hear meh ~eh ~eh… my new blog-theme isn’t working ~ing ~ng…. Help ~elp ~el…
Yeah, ’tis like that. But I know what you’re thinking… booooring!! You were told there’d be woodland fire, not desert-strangulation stories.
As promised, what I ate with these explosively layered sesame shao-bing, I swallowed them with fire.
I’ve always wondered about his… whatever happened to toppings on hummus? Right, a smooth and creamy hummus is perfect in its own ways without decorations but a slight drizzle of olive oil… just like a good pizza bianca, or a good bowl of thickened chicken soup, or an already twisted form of French toast… I mean, you see where I’m going with this, right? I’m saying that toppings don’t need no reason! and frankly I think hummus is feeling pretty left out. But of course, if you are any familiar with our style, you’d know we scuff at predictable stuff like some lemony herby oils. Right, hummus? We’re bring sexy back.
How about a nuclear mixture of fatty ground lamb, garlic, ginger, cumin, fennel and whatnots, plus an ambitious dose of firy chili flakes and crushed sichuan peppercorn (yes, we must put this in everything)? It’ll hurt so good you don’t want it to stop! In fact, I think I pretty much slathered this sexiness on every starch-form I had on hand for the past three days.
Tonight… (as I awaits cyber-ghosts to answer my call) we’re hungry. So let’s set the world on fire.
Toasted sesame sauce is a popular dressing to sichuan hot-pots. It marries well with all the notes and tones that come with ma-la (numb and spicy) dishes, and so I thought I’d swap the typical Middle Eastern tahini sauce with this darker/toastier version. If you don’t want to make your toasted sesame paste from scratch, you could mimic the flavour by adding a tbsp of toasted sesame oil to your tahini sauce. More details on making toasted sesame paste the shao-bing post as well.
- Toasted white sesame paste:
- 79 grams of white sesame
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- Hummus: peeling technique learnt from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 cans (800 grams) of chickpea
- The toasted sesame paste from above (approx 1/3 cup)
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
- 1/4 cup of water, plus more to adjust
- Spicy lamb topping:
- 200 grams of fatty ground lamb
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- 1 clove of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp of shao-xing wine (or any Chinese cooking wine)
- 1/2 tsp of soy sauce
- 1/3 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of red sichuan peppercorn
- 1 tbsp of chili flakes (preferably from sichuan or Korea)
- 3/4 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
- 1/8 tsp of curry powder
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp of grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp of sugar
To make the spicy lamb topping: This can be made hours before hand. The longer it sits, the better the flavour.
Evenly mix together the fatty ground lamb, grated ginger, grated garlic, shao-xing wine, soy sauce and salt together. Set aside to marinate for 10 min. Coarsely grind up the red sichuan peppercorn in a stone mortar, or spice-grinder. Then mix together with chili flakes, ground cumin, ground fennel, ground white pepper and curry powder. Set aside.
Heat up 3 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the ground lamb-mixture. Cook until the lamb is evenly browned (If water starts to release out of the lamb in the beginning, don’t worry. The moisture will eventually be cooked off), then add the spice-mixture and cook until the chili flakes start to darken in colour, approx 3~4 min. Add the grated garlic, grated ginger and sugar, cook for a few seconds then turn off the heat completely.
Let it sit at room-temperature for an hour, and warm up slightly in microwave before serving.
To make the toasted sesame paste: Toast sesame seeds on a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sesames turn golden and brown. Immediately transfer the sesames into a small grinder, and add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, then blend until a smooth puree/paste forms (it may appear to be too thick in the beginner but it will “liquify” eventually). Set aside.
To make the hummus: Drain the liquid from the canned chickpeas and peel off the skin (just a sturdy pinch should do it). Then add the peeled chickpeas, toasted sesame paste, lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper in a food-processor, and pulse until the chickpeas are ground to a coarse meal-consistency. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 of water and continue blending until the mixture is smoothly pureed. If the hummus appears to be too thick, add a couple tbsp more of water.
To serve: Transfer the hummus onto a large plate and pour the spicy lamb topping with all its oil onto the hummus. You can garnish it with a few sprigs of cilantro or diced scallions. Serve with pita bread or these sesame shao-bing.