Okja is everywhere. The bus stops advertisements, the home page on Netflix and my colleagues were all raving about this Netflix original film. With all that signs of influences, I finally sat down on the couch with Ryan to watch it last Sunday after our long pre-wedding shoot with our dear friend Vance. Just to clear things up, Ryan and I are not engaged and not married (yet), hahaha. Vance is my bestie- Julia's boyfriend. Out of curiosity, we agreed to be his models for his first business venture on pre-wedding videography business! It's been a week since our shoot, and my anticipation is heightening. Can't wait to see and share the final product with all of you *squeals*.
Ok, back to couch session and with us watching Okja. *Spoiler Alert*
When Okja was mistreated in a most brutal way, she was raped. I was dumbfounded but I understood that is the reality. That is how pig farms rear them and slaughter them to feed the mass. I am guilty to be part of the mass in contributing to more cruelty, bloodbath and butchery. Yet all along, I chose to stay ignorant, avoided to be informed about the current burgeoning issue on how farm animals were reared with the most unethical methodology, and what are the health risks in consuming pork.
Though the film depicts the reality with an animated pig-hippo looking Superpig going through all the inevitable suffering to support and sustain the commercial food chain. It is a wake up call to my ignorance and challenges me to think whether do I really need pork or I can eat or use to substitute pork with something else in a traditional Chinese dish.
This week, I am trying to remove pork from my buffet of food choices and begin to prepare non-meat meals at least for a day. It's a long term commitment that has to be slow but certainly not a drastic change in my dietary preferences I must say.
The meatless recipe I am sharing today is beetroot patty. They are similar to your gourmet vegetarian burger, except that the brioche buns are replaced with kale and quail eggs, yum! If you have 45 minutes to spare on the night before work, these wholesome, non-greasy patties can be a filling and tasty lunch for the following day. I promise they aren't like meat patties where you absolutely feel lethargic, lazy to move back to work. And if vegetarian options are limited around your workplace, you can keep your smartphones and save the time to travel when you can sorted this simply by yourself!
To achieve the meat texture of a patty, I've used chickpeas aka garbanzo beans to mash it up with other ingredients. The stickiness of the chickpeas harmonises all the dry ingredients. You may also use other beans such as cannellini (white), kidney (deep purple), or black beans as your base for the patty. Potato flour is the extra face lift to firm up the patties, like botox. We never want patties to crumble and sag, not appetising right? Lastly, using Sichuan dried chilli crisps helps to build up flavour, and texture in this dish. So altogether, you taste an explosion of softness, crunchiness and numbness in one bite!
You can cheat your way through that you are having sweet Steak Tartare (raw meat patties) for lunch today!😉
Time: 45 minutes (including preparation time)
For the patties
- 380g cooked Beetroot (available in vacuum pack)
- 1 can Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
- 1 cup Panko crumbs
- 1 tbsp Garam Marsala
- 1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/3 cup Potato flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 sprig Thai coriander
- 1/2 Yellow onion
- Olive oil
For the toppings
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 5 quail eggs
- Sichuan dried chili crisps (Lao Gan Ma)
- 2 Kale
- Cut beetroot into small chunks
- Rinse and drain chickpeas
- Slice yellow onion into thick strips
- Chop coriander finely
- Cut away the stalk of kale, set aside for future use (such as making a smoothie), then cut kale leaves into chunks.
- Boil a bowl of water in a small pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp salt into the boiling water. Place quail eggs in a ladle and slowly drop them into the pot. Let it boil for 4 minutes. Turn off heat, remove eggs and set aside to let them cool in a bowl.
- Peel the shells of quail eggs and cut them into half.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive in a large frying pan over medium heat. Pour in onion strips, cook for 7 minutes or until they are tender and scorched. Remove from pan and side aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to mash them until it forms a smooth mixture. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp each time for a little moisture so that we can roll them into patties. Be mindful that the mixture should not be too wet.
- Using floured hands, form 9 mini patties. Place them on a plate and dusk extra potato flour over. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Boil a bowl of water in the small pot over medium heat. Once it is boiling, add kale and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and side aside.
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the frying pan, cook patties, 3 minutes on each side or until firm and golden.
- To assemble, lay kale on the plate, followed by beetroot patties and quail eggs. Drizzle a small amount of Sichuan dry chilli crisps on the eggs and kale, then sprinkle pine nuts over.