Mulberry Leaves

Besides producing mulberries, the mulberry plant has many uses. My mom boils the leaves and stems with honey dates for a soothing tea. We also discovered that we can use the leaves to line our baking pan when grilling meats. The leaves are used as a substitute for aluminium foil and they can be eaten too! Eco-friendly and healthy alternative.

Since we found out that it is pretty delicious when grilled til crispy, I tried to incorporate mulberry leaves into my oven recipes. Inspired by the Greek stuffed grape leaves, I made some of these pork rolls wrapped in mulberry leaves. I marinated the minced pork with the usual salt, pepper, olive oil and some curry powder. Roll them up with mulberry leaves, drizzle generously with olive oil and bake at 180C til crisp.

The mulberry leaf shrinks and wraps itself around the meat when grilled. It forms a little envelope around the meat so you don’t have to worry about the wrapping opening up while cooking. It is the perfect wrapper for the grill.

So if you have a mulberry bush at home, make good use of the leaves. Use them to bake and grill, boil soup or just to line your pan.

Grilled Lemongrass Pork Skewers

During my 13 years in China, I have discovered that I have an obsession with Yunnan cuisine. Maybe it’s the Thai, Vietnamese, and other southeast Asian flavours in their cooking that reminds me of home. Or the use of tropical herbs like lemongrass, mint, basil and chillies that sets it apart from other Chinese cuisines on the eastern coast.

I first came across this lemongrass skewer dish in a Yunnan restaurant in Beijing. The lemongrass is cut lengthwise through the middle and stuffed with chicken meat, then grilled. So I got the inspiration to stuff my lemongrass with mince pork instead. Minced meat is able to absorb more of the lemongrass flavour.

The secret to getting the most out of the lemongrass is to drizzle it with enough oil. The aroma and flavour of the lemongrass is released through the oils. Just like how the satay man dabs the lemongrass soaked in water and oil over the skewers frequently, the lemongrass essence needs a carrier to bring out its aroma.