Asian fusion food is everywhere – you don’t have to look far in Melbourne to find it. Whether you’re in St Kilda at Uncle, in Prahran at Saigon Sally or at Supernormal in the city, there’s a soft shell crab burger or a stuffed betel leaf to be had on every corner.
In the spirit of Asian fusion food, this grilled cheese sandwich is about as sacrilege as it gets – using Chinese, Korean and Japanese flavours to create the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Also breaking recipe etiquette is the fact this sandwich revolves around leftover pork ribs from Dainty Sichuan on Lonsdale St – a place I frequent for the iconic ribs and hotpot.
Please note: if you don’t like cheese, spice, fat or just delicious food in general, this sandwich is not for you. If you DO like all these things, step this way for a fusion flavour explosion in your mouth.
Please ALSO note: You don’t HAVE to use the pork ribs from Dainty Sichuan, I SUPPOSE. But I would strongly advise you do because they are seriously delicious in this sandwich and in general.
At any rate, if you can find yourself some pre-cooked pork ribs that include cumin, sesame seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic and super hot chilli elsewhere, then go for it!
Serves one hungry mofo or two slightly less over-indulgent people
2 thick slices white bread of your choice (I use casalinga but any plain old white bread will do)
3-4 pieces kimchi (or more depending on taste)
4 Dainty Sichuan cumin pork ribs, shredded and bones discarded
4 slices tasty cheese (I use a strong tasty cheese)
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup spring onions, roughly chopped or shredded into ribbons
Butter for spreading
For the mayo:
Equal parts kewpie mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce and sriracha sauce
A few drops of the chilli oil from the leftover ribs
Mix all mayonnaise ingredients together and set aside.
Butter each slice of bread.
On unbuttered side, evenly layer two slices of cheese, the shredded pork ribs, the pieces of kimchi, half the spring onions and half the coriander, then the last two slices of cheese. Place the second slice of bread with the buttered side facing up. Squish down the sandwich as much as possible.
Place a frying pan on a low heat, and swirl a little oil in the pan so the butter/bread doesn’t burn.
Place the sandwich in the pan and cook on each side until cheese is melted and each side is golden.
Stuff sandwich with extra spring onions and coriander before cutting and serving if you wish, for freshness. Cut sandwich in half and serve with tonkatsu mayo. Delish!