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Amazing Honkers

June 3, 2011 · 44 comments

Happiness is a Kong Foo Sing,
with good fortune that it brings.
So quit your moping,
and crack one open.
Smiles abound,
the cookie has spoken.

Unless of course you are tasked with biting into hundreds of fortune cookies, reading each one aloud in a quest to find the elusive one that will end the mouth destroying task. Then you are permitted to mope a little despite the promises of handsome strangers and profound yet confusing proverbs that read suspiciously like they’ve been translated using Google.

Yes, this was the first challenge that the remaining 10 teams of  The Amazing Race Australia (featuring none other than my sister and brother-in-law if you missed this post) had to face in the third episode on Monday, after travelling to Hong Kong.

Every team managed to complete the mouth desiccating task, though I was bitterly disappointed that no one threw in the classic Dad joke of reading out their fortune as “this insert has a protective coating”. If no one is willing to risk their chance at $250 000 for the sake of a Dad joke, perhaps they should call it The Amazing Race unAustralia.

I think most of this dad joke cringing nation, if my lounge room is a sufficient sample size, was also disappointed that the Focus Believe Achievers Richard and Joey managed to snap up the Fast Forward, by way of agreeing to shave their heads, and swagger into first place. Still, every show needs a villain and perhaps it is good for the remaining teams to have a couple of catfish snapping at their heels (I just watched the documentary Catfish the other night, and you should too if you haven’t seen it already. Watch it when you can, I mean, not watch it the other night. Just don’t read anything about it before you watch it, which would be easier to ensure if you could somehow watch it in the past. If you do manage to get back there then, please also tell me to go to bed earlier).

Whilst many will be hoping that next week’s episode will see someone serving up a cold dish of revenge or a steaming bowl of just deserts (yes, apparently this is spelled with one ‘s’!) to Richard and Joey, I have no idea what I will be serving at our regular Monday night lounge room party. Possibly some sort of South African speciality, given that that is where they are next jetting off to. Which now I think about it isn’t exactly the best place for the freshly skinheaded Richard and Joey to be running around madly in.

Deciding what to make for this week’s regular viewing party however, was too easy. Hong Kong makes me think of bbq meat, and I am pretty sure the only (non-Asian, props to Apex and TFP) person I know who might be more bbq pork crazed than myself would be my amazing sister. I liked the idea of making char siu bao from homemade char siu, but time was not my friend and I needed a cheat’s version of this. So, I decided to buy the char siu from my favourite local haunt – fittingly called Hong Kong BBQ – and instead of making steamed buns I thought to encase the sweet, sticky piggy in cornmeal muffins. Just call me Big Mama Siu, doing what I can for US/China relations.

Look Ma, no pork!

I also had big plans to be religiously inclusive in this baking fest too. When I announced on my Facebook page that I would be getting my pork on for the next Amazing Race party, Mos – one of the two good Muslim boys on the race – announced that he liked poached eggs. I decided to make a non-porky muffin in honour of the boys, but then got carried away and completely forget until half way through the baking process. Although I’d already put pork inside all the muffins, I thought I’d make one with no pork on top in honour of any lapsed Muslims who might like to act like they’re doing the right thing but secretly are not. Perhaps next week I’ll disguise some lobster bisque as French onion soup for lapsed Jews, before making an early start on some sneaky meat dishes for lapsed Catholics during next year’s Lent.

I think Allah had the last laugh though – I somehow managed to give myself a blister while chopping up all the pork.

BBQ Pork Cornmeal Muffins

Makes ~18

Ingredients

BBQ Pork Mixture

  • 250 g bbq pork, diced fairly small (<1cm)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tb oyster sauce
  • 1 Tb dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 2 good splashes rice wine vinegar – I didn’t have a more suitably Chinese acid

Muffins

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I used gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 Tb chopped lemon thyme
  • 1.5 Tb thinly sliced sage leaves
  • good sprinkling sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups sour cream (I used light)
  • 4 eggs

To Serve

  • Chilli oil

Method

  1. Prepare the pork mixture first by heating ~Tb peanut oil in a saucepan, then lightly sautéing the shallots until softened and translucent. It’s fine to get a bit of colour on them too. Add the pork and sauces, then have a taste and add some more of anything until you’re happy with it. I also meant to add some water mixed with a little cornflour to give a bit more sauce, but I forgot and I was actually happy with how they turned out anyway.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and grease two muffin trays well.
  3. Into a bowl containing the cornmeal and herbs, sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb soda. Add the salt and pepper, then the cream and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Place a good spoonful of mixture into each muffin hole (there must be a better word for this thing) and then place a teaspoon of pork mixture on top, keeping it away from the sides. Cover each one with more muffin mixture to encase the porky innards.
  5. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, then remove and place another teaspoon of pork mixture on top, pressing it down just a little. Return to oven and cook another 1o minutes or so, until they are ready! I checked mine down the edge with a skewer, and also waited until they had just, just started to crack a little on top, if that makes sense.
  6. Serve warm, with a dish of chilli oil to spoon on top at leisure – this is a crucial component as far as I’m concerned!

Hurts so good, come on chilli make it hurt so good

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

TFP (The Food Pornographer) June 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

They look fantastic, Conor!

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Woo, thanks! Amended my post to honour your porky love too :D

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panamahat June 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Mmmmm, Hong Kong……. Did I mention I put on 2 kilos in 6 days?!

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I am so proud of you for this. Any less would have clearly been a waste of good food! Well done :)

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foodie cravings June 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

I love bbq pork buns…cool variation!
foodie cravings´s last blog post ..Cravings for Taka’s teriyaki chicken…it was worth the wait!

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Me too, but they’re not so good for the gluten-avoiding :( these, however, are non-wheaty and ripe for the gorging :D

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Gcroft June 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm

It is breakfast time in London, and that muffin is looking really good (despite not being a pork-eater)!

I used to eat buns stuffed with ikan bilis (anchovies) sambal, and me thinks that would be a decent substitute filling. Maybe not as good as the pork….

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

You’re a genius (not an evil one though, I don’t think). Ikan bilis sambal would be so good in these.

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sharon June 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Great blog had a few internal giggles as always the food looks delicious & AMAZING ;) ha ha Dad jokes

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Heh, thanks Shaz :)

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts June 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I would think Dad jokes would make the ratings sky rocket, but perhaps that’s just me :)

I didn’t realise your sister and brother-in-law were on the show – very cool indeed!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts´s last blog post ..Garden update

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I know, right? I like to imagine that Dad jokes were abundant but the producers chose to edit them out. Yes, this must have been the case. Surely.

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OohLookBel June 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Ooh, what a great recipe! I will try these yummy muffins on my HK mother – based on prior history, she will turn her nose up and then secretly scoff 6 of them. Go Married Bikers.
OohLookBel´s last blog post ..Writers block and caramel chicken

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Conor June 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Ha! I can imagine you playing along with this scene time after time, knowing well enough to leave them somewhere she can access them. Do you act surprised when some are missing?
Thanks :)

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msihua June 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

That looks really good.. I would never have thought of making this.. wuhoOOoo.. it’s like an inside out char siew pau!
msihua´s last blog post ..Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen Cooking the Books 5

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Thank ye!

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emma June 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hey Conor
Thanks for the smile and memories sparked by the lyrics. I bet “married bikers” never want to see another fortune cookie!
Great photos as always :)

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

My pleasure :) Yes, I think you might be right about the cookies… I’ll have to bust out a packet at the next family gathering and see what reaction I can spark.
Thank you!

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Dolly June 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

that sorta looks like a steamed pork bun, though this does look way healthier hehe
Dolly´s last blog post ..Zaaffran – Darling Harbour

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Healthiness is in the eye of the beholder? :)

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Hannah June 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

It may be 9:20pm and I may have only had four hours sleep last night (this morning, technically), but I don’t think this has influenced the fact that I giggled and chortled and was full of lovin’ for you all through this post. Brilliant, brilliant writing, my dear! I, too, thought of the “this insert has a protective coating” lapse, and shook my fist at the Now Baldies.

I would also like someone to tell me to go to bed now, but I’m freaking out about the 50+ emails I need to respond to.

If I had cornmeal muffins baked by you, I might be able to answer at least five of them. But I think I really might just go to bed…

P.S. This is probably the most inane, rambling comment I’ve left so far. I truly do apologise.
Hannah´s last blog post ..A Snippet of Melbourne Adventuring

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Woo! THANK YOU. I am totally willing to take all the credit for the chortling. It was none of the doing of the lack of sleep! Damn sleep deprivation, always trying to take all the kudos for itself.

Continue on, my dear. No one rambles quite like you :)

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz June 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

So cool watching you watch someone close on he amazing race. And love the themed food…Allah is apparently out to get you though
Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz´s last blog post ..Celebration Party Cake – 36 to 54 people

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I know! I’ll have to watch my back :-|

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Well first of all, I am disappointed that I am not there for these Monday viewing parties – they look like the place to be! Secondly, I am pleased to learn the “married bikers” are still in it :) Bring on the pork!
Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog post ..Murdoch Books’ 365 Challenge- Coconut chicken kebabs

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Pork pork city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire! Or my arteries, or something.

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Adrian (Food Rehab) June 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

“Hurts so good, come on chilli make it hurt so good” > LOL! Love the way you ended the post. These to deserve the honor of a song.
Adrian (Food Rehab)´s last blog post ..Interview with Adam Liaw Melbourne’s Good Food &amp Wine Show

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Hehe, thanks Adrian :D had that bloody song in my head the rest of the day though..

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Trix June 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I laughed through this whole post … I wish I could see the Australian Amazing Race, sounds better than the American one I think. Ah, well … I shall live it through your posts I suppose.

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

:D Thanks Trix. I’ll let you know if I can provide you with the viewing pleasure!

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pachecopatty June 7, 2011 at 5:42 am

Now this is food fit to fuel those cycling over achievers, glad they’re still in it;-)

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thanks Patty, me too, especially that they are STILL in it now!

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5 Star Foodie June 7, 2011 at 9:38 am

I absolutely love the idea of bbq pork inside the corn muffins, sounds incredible and a must try!

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Thank you!

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Kitchen Butterfly June 11, 2011 at 6:06 am

Love the transformation….to stuffed corn muffins. The sweetness of the corna nd the meat….Meat almost always makes things taste better doesn’t it. From a soon-to-be-nonvegetarian. I’m talking nonsense…..

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

It surely does, Oz, there’s no chance of turning vegetarian for me I don’t think. Nonsense away :D

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Karen Harris June 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm

So glad to see that your sister and brother-in-law are still in the race! Your muffins look fantastic.
Karen Harris´s last blog post ..My Giveaway Winner

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thanks Karen! They’re *still* in it now! I’m trying not to get my hopes up..

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MaryMoh June 22, 2011 at 2:01 am

What fabulous muffins! I love that it’s savoury. That last picture looks irresistibly tempting, especially with the chilli oil…mmmm. Juts love it. Thanks very much for sharing. Hope you have a great day and lots of fun cooking and baking.
MaryMoh´s last blog post ..Chicken With Steakhouse Seasoning

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Thank you Mary! I’m such a chilli oil addict, it’s a wonder I don’t add it to my porridge in the morning..

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ylenate June 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm

These look so good – porky good!
I love that I come to your blog and also get an update on what is happening in Oz/Perth as well. Awesome that you can watch your sis and brother-in-law on the telly and great that they are still in the race – something tells me that you will be needing to think of many international dishes!

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Conor July 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Porky good! I love it :D
The international dishes continue despite the inability to find time to post about them..luckily I find time to eat them.

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Tamarind Restaurant Mt Hawthorn September 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Woow that is one unique and good looking dish/recipe but, I’m a little bit edgy on the taste side. How did it taste? Good? Lol This is the first time I’ve seen a recipe like that. Thanks for sharing.

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biltong January 6, 2013 at 11:04 am

This recipe for honkers is incredible! I made them the other day and it turned out superb! In fact, I tried putting biltong in and it turned out great. Meat with sweet bread is my favorite :)
biltong´s last blog post ..Why Buy Biltong?

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