Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Most Delicious Thing in the World

This is the most delicious thing in the world, you say? Like anyone could even know that, Napoleon. But to a certain palate; that is, an American who's been in China a few months now and doesn't get to eat salty/sour things according to the lifestyle she is accustomed to (Scarlet O'Hara had this problem when she got married and moved to China, I think), something Mexicany is exactly what she needs.

I was lucky enough to find taco seasoning at the import store for 5 kuai - this was a way better deal than buying the little thing of chili powder for 20 kuai and then adding cumin and salt (which are cheap & easy to find here). But whatever you can find should work. Anything with chili powder - I've seen enchilada seasoning and fajita seasoning around at import stores too.

This will also require some delicious cheese - I like this Australian brand I found, Bega. It's a white cheddar. There's a similar Australian cheddar called Coon. But of course, anything like mozzarella will work and will be slightly closer to Mexican cheese. If you can find actual Mexican cheese, like Cotija or Oaxaca, please get in touch with my people. They would like to look into me trading lives with you if that's OK.

I also bought: lettuce, cucumbers, a big ripe tomato, an onion, cilantro, a good meaty cut of pork plus a cut that's just skin and fat (I'll explain in a minute) and then some vinegar, salt, and two oranges. I had to use the oranges because there weren't any lemons at my market, but they ended up working just fine.

Dice the tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and add salt, vinegar and orange/lemon juice to taste. Throw in a spicy pepper or a bell pepper if you've got one (I forgot to buy one, but they have all kinds of nice ones in China). You've just made chismol, which is the best substance in the world and the entire reason I married into a Honduran family. Well, 80% of the reason, let's say.

After this, I chopped the meaty pork and stir fried it with taco seasoning, salt and laoganma hot sauce. (The kind with the peanuts is perfect for this) You can make it as mild or spicy as you like.

And then I took the piece of skin and fat and sliced it small - you think I'm making this up but I'm totally serious. Little pieces of skin with fat attached - toss them in a little salt and deep fry them quickly. They turn into chicharrones. It's like the pork rinds you can buy next to the chips in America, but not puffy and light - apparently you have to dry them first for them to puff out. Anyway, the flavor is nice and if you're married to a Honduran you can cook your own chicharron to make him do anything you want him to. Very handy tip!

Assemble your salads with the cheese and meat and then the chismol on top as a dressing. And there you have it - the most delicious thing in the world. Also, a husband who is putty in your hands.

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