02 Aug2006

asalt

Just a quick post on trying out recipes from Market Manila. My recent poll actually suggests that 92% of respondents had a reasonably good experience with the recipes from this site. It’s a higher percentage than I would have expected as all kinds of things can go wrong with recipes, not to mention our tastes differ significantly. I was just doodling with my links and found my way back to a blog of a fellow foodie who apparently tried my beef tapa recipe and it turned out awful. She does acknowledge a “small deviation” of the recipe by using the same measure of iodized (presumably table salt) rather than kosher salt or rock salt. The tapa turned out outrageously salty and I presume she was one unhappy reader…

First of all, let me say that if you do try a recipe for the first time, try and follow it fairly closely and try not to substitute any ingredients so that you come as close as I do to the intended end product. I am not a chef, nor did I take any formal cooking classes whatsoever but I do try and give a fairly accurate recipe (particularly the ingredients, though I slack off on methodology sometimes) and in all cases, I have made the item myself and eaten the results. Once you have gotten a good result with the original recipe as I wrote it, you can then fiddle and alter it to your liking if desired. But I take no responsibility if you willy-nilly change the ingredients and it tastes horrific…like the time a relative changed my sister’s fruitcake recipe by adding pineapple!

Now to the salt question and that poor hapless reader who probably got heart palpitations after eating “my” tapa. Iodized table salt has a very fine grain. As such, a lot more of it “fits” in a tablespoon measure than say a coarser salt like kosher or rock salt. Think sand in a barrel vs. large corals in the same barrel; with the latter, there is a lot more airspace. So when my recipe says 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and it is replaced innocently with 3 tablespoons of iodized table salt it can have dire consequences. If you wanted to use table salt, you should have cut the amount back to 1.5 tablespoons or even a little less… at least according to all of these chefs and scientists discussing different salts in a website I consulted before writing this post. The glass test tubes in the photo up top have iodized salt on the left and kosher salt on the right, those amounts would possess the same amount of saltiness despite their different volumes. Furthermore, iodized table salt has iodine which has a distinct chemical taste. Using it to cure meat will give it a funny off-taste. I regret not being able to cover all possible eventualities and not making it clear in that particular tapa recipe that you should NOT use iodized salt but the best tack to take in future is to try and be faithful to the recipe except if you are confident the substituted ingredient will have to impact on the recipe. Happy cooking and please feel free to leave comments in the specific recipes posted if you tried it and it didn’t turn out as expected so we can improve them in future… Thank you!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Liz says:

    That is one cool picture! And that must have been one SALTY batch of tapa.

    May I just say, I LOVE your site.

    Aug 2, 2006 | 10:35 pm

     
  2. Apicio says:

    A collection of bread recipes from various Jesuit establishments all over the globe included a Pan de Sal recipe that was supposed to have been the original from a Jesuit convent in Manila that was served for their Noche Buena which called for a horrendous amount of salt even after allowing for the bread being called Pan de Sal. There was no explanation offered but I suspected that the recipe called for our local table salt crystals which is not available elsewhere and the recipe most likely was never ever tested in Europe or North America. Anyway, following the recipe with the common table salt here measured either by volume or by weight can trigger osmotic shock providing the resulting bread could be ingested at all and then kept down.

    Aug 2, 2006 | 11:20 pm

     
  3. mina says:

    hi marketman, i just started reading your blog and i love it!

    your pictures are really great and i was just wondering, what kind of camera do you use? do you have special lighting?

    thanks for the great reads!

    Aug 2, 2006 | 11:55 pm

     
  4. acmr says:

    Hi MM! Just letting you know that I tried your crab and sotanghon recipe months back and it turned out great! We have done it i tink 3 or 4 times already and patok na patok yung recipe na iyon! Thank you and keep it coming!

    Aug 3, 2006 | 2:07 am

     
  5. sha says:

    done yr tocino i had to cut the salt but it turned out well
    still busy am in sardignia and i had a fab florentine beef
    we paid 60euro for a portion over 500g

    Aug 3, 2006 | 3:55 am

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Liz, thanks and the picture was just taken in some glass vials that I use for flowers! Apicio, yes, the local rock salt is closer to kosher as the crystal are really large and the bread using western salt measures could be a problem… mind you, I do like a salty pan de sal but not heart palpitation material! mina, welcome! I have over 650 posts in the archives in case you want to go back in time and read some of the favorites… you flatter me on the photos, I use an “instamatic” Canon Ixus 430 4.0 megapixel camera and my desk lamp lately as it has been raining so much lately in Manila… normally I try to use natural sun light. My hand shakes more than if I had Parkinson’s so I have to really hope that a picture or two will turn out okay… acmr, if you liked the crab with sotanghon, you might like the chilli crabs a la marketman, it’s our house favorite at the beach… sha, nice to hear from you! Yup 60 Euro sounds about right, outrageous, no? When are you back to Greece?

    Aug 3, 2006 | 7:04 am

     
  7. CecileJ says:

    MM, your pix are really great! It’s not the camera, it’s the “eye” for pix that makes them turn out well. Hindi halata yung shaking. I have those shakes too. They’re called “essential tremors” (in Tagalog, pasma!). Try using a table top tripod ( I have one that is about 6 inches tall lang. Great for taking close up shots of objects on the table.)

    Aug 3, 2006 | 8:56 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, I actually have a tabletop tripod, but I find it gets in the way as I tend to shoot so many shots and quickly at that…

    Aug 3, 2006 | 5:06 pm

     
  9. Doddie from Korea says:

    Market Man,

    When I find the korean salt baked in bamboo tubes, I will send you some.

    Doddie

    Aug 5, 2006 | 7:10 pm

     
 

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