Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Ramen for Grownups

January 27, 2018

It’s Noodle Saturday!  Yes, normally this would happen on Friday, but I had a very long week and access to leftover pizza last night, so there you have it.  I’ve mentioned my adoration of Asian noodles.  And if you’re interested, you can read all about the disaster that was my last attempt to make them at home.  Still, I wanted to try again, but something else entirely different.  Ramen!

This is not your college ramen.  Well, it kind of is.  You do get to buy those 20 cent packets of dried noodles.  That’s where the similarity ends.  First, you throw away that salt packet they call seasoning.  And you make a really wonderful broth.  And you add a bunch of vegetables.  And it’s amazing.

So, I took a few shortcuts.  My last experience left me a little wary of buying a bunch of expensive stuff or even going very far out of my way to pick up ingredients I don’t keep in the house.  I used the dried packet of noodles instead of looking for fresh noodles.  I used rice wine vinegar with some sugar instead of going to the asian market for mirin. I skipped the miso paste entirely  And still, so, so good!  Even better it falls in the 30 minute meals category!

Here’s what you need for 2 servings:

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  • 2T sesame oil
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1T minced ginger
  • 4-5 sliced green onions, green and white parts separated
  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1T rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2t sugar
  • 2C chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 chicken breast, sliced thin
  • matchstick carrots
  • 2C baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1C sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 package dried ramen noodles, season pkg discarded
  • 1 soft boiled egg

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat the stock in a small pot, bring to a boil
  • Poach the sliced chicken 3 minutes, remove from the stock
  • Keep stock at a simmer
  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pot
  • Add ginger, garlic, onion whites
  • Simmer until onions are soft
  • Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and 1/4C of stock
  • Stir 2 minutes
  • Add carrots, bok choy, and mushrooms

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  • While the vegetables soften, bring the stock to a boil and add the noodles
  • Cook the noodles until they’re soft

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  • Add the stock and noodles to the vegetables
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the egg
  • Boil 5-6 minutes
  • Place the egg in an ice bath
  • Peel and halve the egg
  • Serve half the noodles, vegetables and broth and half the egg in each of two bowls

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How was it?

So, so good!  I’ve redeemed myself in the asian noodle arena!  Next time I’ll get the special ingredients and search for fresh noodles and maybe add some Chinese pork and broccoli.  The possibilities are endless!

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Noodle Friday!

January 12, 2018

8 mile run in the morning means noodles the night before!  I told you last week that you’d see a lot of carb-loading Fridays, but I’m determined that they won’t all have an Italian theme.  Tonight’s noodles are Asian, but by all accounts not from Singapore as the name would suggest.  They’re called Singapore Noodles.

I travel to London for work quite a bit.  There are a couple of Asian chains that we don’t have in my part of the world that have become my comfort spots when I’m too tired or jet lagged to adventure some place new.  It doesn’t hurt that both are within a few blocks of my regular hotel.  I order Singapore Noodles at one of them nearly every trip.  There’s also a place close to my house that has a Curried Chicken and Rice Noodles dish that’s kind of similar and I love it as well. So, I’ve been looking forward to making this dish for a long time.

Here’s the thing.  These suck.  They just don’t taste like anything except curry powder and heat.  I’ll admit that I didn’t use the pork.  Believe me when I tell you that isn’t the problem.  I also didn’t have the shaoxing wine and I didn’t have time to go to an Asian market today, but I looked carefully and used some mirin as a substitute.  Still not the problem unless someone can tell me that shaoxing wine is a flavor bomb.

And they’re a fair amount of work.  There are a lot of ingredients and a lot of chopping here, not to mention peeling and de-veining the shrimp.

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Wok cooking, as this is intended to be, requires very high heat.  I don’t have a wok at the moment so I chose the biggest pan I have.  I needed something with a broad surface area so I could leave the gas up high without having flames on the outside of the pan.  The good thing about working with heat this high is that as long as you keep everything moving you don’t need a lot of oil or liquid.  Good thing.  The splatter at this heat would really hurt.  Because you have to keep everything moving it’s super important to do all your chopping and measuring before you start.

How does it work?

In this recipe you scramble the egg first and remove it from the pan.  Then you wipe out the pan so you don’t end up with burned bits in your food in the end.  Be careful about that too.  I have a new burn mark on my arm because I didn’t pay attention to the edge of the pan.  Have a mentioned that the heat is super high?  Ouch.

Then put in the shrimp.  10 seconds.  Add onions, carrots, peppers.  30 seconds.  Keep everything moving!  Add cabbage, red pepper, curry powder.  Add the mushrooms.

Stir in softened rice noodles.

Add 1 T shaoxing wine, 1/2 T soy sauce, 1/2 T sesame oil.  Add green onions.

I should tell you that never in my life have I met with success soaking rice noodles in cold water.  Maybe I don’t start them soaking early enough, but I do follow the instructions on the package.  It doesn’t matter if it’s flat noodles for pad thai or these vermicelli sticks, I always end up putting them in a pot on the stove and heating the water until the noodles are soft enough.

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SOOOOO disappointed.  They look basically like the picture from the recipe.  I just can’t believe they’re supposed to taste (or not taste) like this.  You’ll note from the photos below that I made a LOT of this stuff.  I tried to doctor up the bowl I ate.  I met with enough success that I managed to avoid throwing them in the trash and ordering a pizza.  I’m not sure I can make it happen for the leftovers.

Here’s the recipe I used in case you want to give it a try.  And if you have success, please let me know!

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Maybe I should have realized that with all these noodles and vegetables and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Madras curry powder, 2 tablespoons total of wine, sesame oil and soy sauce wasn’t going to cut it for flavoring.  I didn’t have much mirin, so in the doctoring process I moved on to dry sherry.  And then to rice wine vinegar.  And more soy sauce.  And then more of everything.  I really tried.

It’s a good lesson.  It doesn’t work every time.  Part of being an adventurous cook is failing.  This was a failure. This may be one of those things that just falls for me on the “Buy” side of the “Make or Buy” consideration.

So, here’s the finished product that I actually ate for dinner.  It looks pretty good, right?  Sigh.

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Catfish Curry

January 2, 2018

Yep, catfish curry, Thai style.  It’s really flipping cold in Virginia this week and I wanted something warm.  I also had a drawer full a vegetables that I bought with a plan I have long since forgotten.  And also some catfish that needed a plan ASAP.  Curries are pretty flexible about what you put in them and I adore anything in coconut broth, so here we are.

You’ll need a few pantry staples if you want to be able to throw a curry together on the fly.  All of this is readily available in the Asian foods section of a standard grocery store.  Curry paste – red, green, yellow, all of the above.  Coconut milk, the canned kind, not the refrigerator kind.  Lite is fine.  I only use regular coconut milk if a recipe specifically says that Lite won’t work.  Fish sauce.  It’ll be in a bottle, not a jar.  And it’s funky, but adds a lot of depth.

Pretty much every fish curry recipe you’ll find calls for “firm, white fish.”  Something like haddock or cod or sea bass.  If you’re worked with catfish you know there’s nothing firm about it.  It dang near falls apart when you cut it in pieces.  Still, it’s what I had and mild enough that I figured it would work.  I actually started with a Chicken and Vegetable Curry recipe from my Cherry Bombe cookbook.  That’s how flexible Thai curries are.  Fish instead of chicken.  Cauliflower instead of bok choi.  No jalapeno.  Add brown sugar.

You really can kind of wing it as long as you pay attention to your substitutions and their cooking time.  It takes fish much less time to cook than chicken and cauliflower much longer than bok choi so I adjusted accordingly.

What do you need?

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2 T oil (canola, safflower, something plain)

1/2 an onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 inch peeled fresh ginger – all chopped fine

2 bell peppers, sliced

2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced or diced

1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut small and pre-roasted

2 T green curry paste

1 can lite coconut milk

1 T fish sauce

2 catfish fillets, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 diced jalapeno (optional, and not included above)

1 pinch brown sugar (optional)

How do you do it?

It looks like kind of a long list of ingredients, but it’s really easy to make.  Do all your chopping ahead of time.  Keep items that go in the pot together, together on the cutting board.  Then you can just scrape them right off the board into the pot.

I recommend dicing your own onion, garlic and ginger.  The flavor is just nicer.  But if you have to choose between ordering a pizza or using frozen diced onions and garlic and ginger from a jar, do what you have to do.  Be aware that there’s water in the pre-chopped things so when they hit that hot oil they splatter!  Be prepared!

Heat the oil in a medium stock pot or large pan.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute 3-4 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, peppers, and cauliflower.  Saute 5 more minutes.

Stir in the curry paste.  Cook 2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and fish sauce.  Bring to a low boil.

Add the catfish.  Make sure it’s covered by the liquid.  Reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the sauce thickens a little.

Stir in a pinch of brown sugar.

Serve as a soup or over rice.

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How did it turn out?

It’s ugly, but it’s good.  Not my favorite curry, but good.  I think it needs another vegetable.  I’ve got some carrots that I can roast tomorrow and add in to the leftovers.  They’ll add some sweetness and some texture.

 

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl

April 21, 2013

Spring seems to be on hold in Central Virginia, in the temperature department if not in the pollen department.  There’s enough chill in the air to warrant making soup and I had leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge.  A match made in heaven.  The varieties of chicken soup are endless and a promising recipe popped up in the May issue of Cooking Light.  Dinner done.

Asian Noodle Bowl

I mostly followed the recipe tonight except that for a few changes made in the interest of making things as easy as possible.  In that vein I used leftover rotisserie chicken; I bought pre-sliced mushrooms; I used jarred minced ginger; I added the sauteed aromatics to the soup instead of discarding them; and I cooked the pasta in the stock rather than bothering with a separate pot.  I recommend using all the short cuts you can.  The soup doesn’t suffer at all from them.

The flavors here are pretty complex for a soup.  It’s earthy and green and hot and sweet and salty.  The recipe calls it “kid-friendly,” but I’m not sure that’s the case.  There’s enough red pepper that the heat might be a problem for a lot of kids.  And I don’t know how your kids feel about mushrooms, but I don’t recall being excited about them until I was well beyond kid-hood.

This soup has taken the edge off of the chilly evening and taken chicken noodle soup to a whole new level.  I enjoyed every slurpy bite and drank the last of the broth right out of the bowl!

Good?  Very good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Good for comfort, not company
Special shopping? Nope.

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ingredients

4 ounces uncooked linguine
2 C chopped cooked chicken
1 t oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 1/4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (about 4 ounces)
6 green onions, cut diagonally
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Heat chicken stock in a soup pot.

Heat pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, and red pepper; cook 4 minutes. Add 1/2 C water; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add to stock pot. Bring to a boil.

Add pasta to stock and cook to nearly al dente.

While the pasta cooks heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 tablespoon garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture, chicken, soy sauce, and sugar to stock mixture; bring to a simmer.

Stir in sugar snap peas; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and salt.

Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

July 19, 2012

I bet you thought I’d given up cooking.  Not so!  True, my kitchen time has been a little bit limited lately, but not nearly as limited as my time for writing about cooking.  So, I’m going to start with tonight’s dinner and then work my way back.  This is the world’s quickest dinner.  It takes about 3 minutes of chopping; six minutes on the pork chops; and five more to cook the shiitakes and the side of zucchini.  That makes it 15 minutes from the time you hit the kitchen to the time you pick up your fork to eat.  Not bad at all.

I have to thank the Ault’s for the pork chop; Steve Haas for the lovely mushrooms and Victory Farms for the green onions.  I get to pat myself on the back too because the zucchini came from my garden about three minutes before it went into the pan.  Yum!  I cheated a little on the sauce.  I put a little store bought ginger and soy dressing on the mushrooms and green onions and added just a little honey.  For the zucchini I deglazed the pork chop pan with a little water, added the squash and a little plain soy sauce.  Done.  Shiitakes and green onions are one of my favorite flavor and texture combinations:  chewy with crunchy, earthy with green.  So good.

Overall this was a perfectly good 15 minute, use what’s in the fridge meal.  My neighbor calls this “kitchen cooking.”  You just use whatever’s in the kitchen.  It’s a good way to use up what you have and if you know you can do it in 15 minutes it’s likely to keep you out of the drive through line too.

Good? Good.  Not spectacular, but absolutely good.
Easy? Beyond easy.
Good for company? Not so much, but if someone stops by unexpectedly it would work fine.
Special shopping? Nope. It’s kitchen cooking.

Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

9 ounces pork loin chop, cut into 3 servings
salt and pepper
1-2 cups fresh shiitakes, stemmed and sliced
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp ginger/soy dressing
1 tsp honey

1/4 water
1 zucchini diced
1 tsp soy sauce

Directions

Heat a heavy skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chop.
When the pan begins to smoke add the pork chop. Cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Set aside to rest.

Add water to pan and stir. Add zucchini and soy sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes until zucchini is crisp tender.

In a smaller pan heat a little cooking spray. Add shiitakes and green onions. Add dressing and honey. Cook until mushrooms are soft.

Soy Honey Tuna Steaks

July 8, 2012

Another trip to the farmers’ market, another stop to see the guys at the Barham’s Seafood stand for tuna steaks.  I was actually hoping for some clams, but no such luck yesterday.  Still, the tuna was beautiful and they had some small steaks just right for a single portion.  A quick tour through foodnetwork.com and I came upon this recipe from Alton Brown.  Of course being Alton Brown it can’t be straightforward.  It has to require a chimney for cooking. Um, no.  I used the marinade and left the rest to serious grilling folk.

The marinade is unbelievable easy:  soy sauce, honey, wasabi.  I did use prepared wasabi because it was half the price of wasabi powder.  It’s clearly less potent in its prepared state.  I could have added quite a bit more to get some more kick out of it.  Still, the sweet/salty of the soy and honey was super good.  One caution, scrape as much marinade as possible off the tuna before you put it in the pan.  The honey will burn a little as the tuna sears.  If you have a lot of honey you’ll end up with a burned gummy mess and riun your beautiful tuna steaks.

The recipe recommends that you set some marinade aside for dipping sauce.  Unfortunately I forgot to do that.  It would have been yummy as a dipping sauce.  Instead I used the leftover marinade as a cooking sauce for a few vegetables.  I had some shiitakes, red pepper and green onions in the veggie drawer that were approaching the end of their little vegetable lives.  I sliced them and sauteed them in some sesame oil before adding some of the marinade.  I cooked them until the marinade was completely absorbed.  So good.  The shiitakes added a terrific earthiness to the salty/sweet of the marinade.

This is a marinade I would use again.  It would be great with shrimp, chicken or tofu.  With a little more wasabi and some seasonal vegetables its the makings of a wonderful stirfry.

Good? Quite good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Easy grilling for a small dinner party.
Special shopping? The fresher the tuna the better.

Soy Honey Tuna Steaks

Ingredients

1 pound fresh tuna steaks
1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
1/4 C honey
3 T wasabi

Directions

Mix soy, honey and wasabi in a bowl. Pour over tuna steaks. Marinate 1-8 hours.
Remove tuna from marinade and drain slightly.
Heat grill or heavy skillet.
Cook tuna 2 minutes on each side for rare.
Reserve the marinade to cook vegetables in if desired.

Panko Crusted Pork with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce

May 30, 2012

It’s been kind of a long day full of tedium.  I was in no mood to spend ages in the kitchen making dinner.  I thawed a couple of pork chops today so I knew I’d start with those.  My local farmers’ market is open on Wednesday evenings so I went by there and picked up what’s likely to be the last broccoli and brussels sprouts of the season.  It was starting to look like a stir fry night when I came across this recipe.  It’s a great alternative to stir fry and I was out of the kitchen in 20 minutes.  Success!

Panko, Japanese bread crumbs, makes a much lighter coating than regular bread crumbs.  With an egg white it was a nice light crust for the pork chops.   The key to a light, crispy crust is a little oil and a lot of heat.  Only a teaspoon of oil in the pan heated until it begins to smoke.  Having the pan that hot helps form the crust immediately.  If the pan isn’t hot enough the panko soaks up a lot of oil before the crust forms.  Just 4 minutes on each side.  One tip – turn the pork chops with tongs.  If you use a spatula you risk scraping all of the yummy coating off.

The sauce was light too.  No thickeners, just the bright flavor of the ginger with the salty soy sauce and a little heat from the wasabi. I didn’t have any green onions, which would have been really good.  Use the same pan that you used for the pork chops.  Let the sauce reduce just a little bit.  Done.  I served this with the broccoli and brussels sprouts, steamed and then sauteed in the half of the sauce that I didn’t pour over the pork chops.

Anything with a pan fried with a bread coating seems a little decadent.  This tastes a little decadent too. My only complaint is that I couldn’t really taste the wasabi. A little heat would have been nice. That’s easy enough to fix next time.  This recipe is quick, easy and versatile.  It would be just as good with chicken and maybe with tofu.  You could coat shrimp in the panko and serve the sauce on the side for appetizers.  You could do vegetables this way instead of in tempura batter.  Lots of possibilities.  Let me know what you come up with!

The good news is that there are just over 200 calories in one pork chop. Not much more in the broccoli and sprouts. You can have this for dinner and not feel the slightest bit guilty about having dessert too!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Incredibly easy.
Good for company? Sure.
Special shopping? You should be able to find wasabi paste in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

Panko Crusted Pork with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce

Ingredients

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon wasabi paste

Directions

Place panko in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip pork in egg white; dredge in panko.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; sprinkle with salt.

Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through wasabi) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Spoon sauce over pork.

Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day all!  This year I hosted the 3 Ms for Mother’s Day lunch (Mom, Mac and Missy – Missy is the dog).  The weather is nice and everyone is trying to watch what they eat so I was looking for something light, but filling.  Mom requested, “that shrimp dish you left in the fridge when we came to pick up Bridgette.”  Of course I had no idea what that was so I decided to incorporate some shrimp in whatever I picked and figure that would cover me.  Lettuce wraps are light and filling and fun so I decided on those.  I offered two fillings and two sauces. Yum!

The May issue of Cooking Light had a yummy recipe in the ‘Enlightened Vegetarian’ section.  I substituted ground chicken for tofu and added some shiitake mushrooms, but pretty much followed the recipe otherwise.  I’m sure the tofu would have been just fine, though I do recommend adding the mushrooms.  I did lay off the Siracha as my mom is very sensitive to spicy food.  I used a little chili-garlic sauce instead.  Just a little.  Oh, and I left out the rice.  You just don’t need it.  And I halved the sugar.  So maybe I didn’t follow the recipe so closely, but more or less.  For option 2  I pan seared some shrimp and made a separate lime-cilantro sauce for that.  I used the same ‘matchstick’ carrots and cucumbers and chopped cilantro for both. 

This comes together pretty easily.  I recommend that you do all your chopping ahead of time.  Once you start cooking things go pretty quickly.  Use the julienne function on the food processor for the vegetables.  I chopped all mine by hand and that was a huge pain.  Make the sauce first and set it aside.  It will be better at room temperature anyway.  If I’d had time to put the shrimp on skewers I would have grilled them.  That would have added a very nice flavor.  The pan searing was fine, but a little plain.  It picked up a little of the spice from the chicken filling, but not a ton.  I didn’t want a lot of that flavor because it wouldn’t have paired well with the lime sauce, but a little more would have been good.

The sauces were very good.  I love peanut sauce and this one is terrific.  It’s done on the stove so it thickens nicely.  You can always whisk in a little extra water if you let it simmer too long.  The other sauce started out as a lime salad dressing on Friday.  It was a little on the tart side so I added some extra olive oil to mellow out the citrus and then threw in fresh cilantro and minced ginger.  I added about 1/4 tsp of sugar to provide some balance.  Next time I’d use honey or brown sugar instead for a little depth of flavor.  Still it was good.  I whipped it all together with the stick blender so it took less than a minute to pull together.

You can put pretty much anything you like in a lettuce wrap and these two options are a nice place to start.  Enjoy!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Pretty easy.
Good for company? My company seemed to enjoy it.
Special shopping? Nope.

Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Lime-Cilantro Sauce:
1/3 C olive oil
juice of 2 limes
2 T fresh cilantro
1/2 t sugar

Filling:
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
6 thinly sliced green onions
2/3 C sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
8 lettuce leaves

Directions

1. To prepare peanut sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper), and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Set aside.
2. To prepare lime cilantro sauce blender all ingredients together until fully combined and creamy.
3. To prepare filling cook chicken in heavy skillet. Remove and set aside.
4. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken and mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce; sauté 1 minute. Remove from pan and keep warm.
5. Saute shrimp in skillet, 1-2 minutes on each side.
6. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture and/or shrimp into each lettuce leaf. Top with carrots and cucumbers. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with sauces.

Shrimp in Yellow Sauce

April 29, 2012

It’s been a day of cleaning closets, repairing stairs and generally trying to get things in order.  When I looked up it was 5:00 and I hadn’t thought one minute about dinner.  Clearly the plan was going to have to be something fast and easy.  I decided on some kind of shrimp dish with an Asian flair of some kind.  I took a quick look through cookinglight.com and an equally quick trip to Kroger.  Shrimp in Yellow Sauce – it’s as easy to make as it sounds and twice as good.

I think only one substitution tonight.  I served it over rice noodles instead of brown rice.  I just love rice noodles and they take about a quarter the time of brown rice.  The recipe says that you combine the first several ingredients in a food processor to make a paste.  Two things about that.  First, this is a very small quantity of stuff so don’t get out your large food processor.  If you have a mini chopper use that.  It’s plenty big enough.  If you don’t have a little bitty food processor just chop everything as finely as you can (or grate it) and whisk it together in a small bowl.  Second, mine didn’t come out as a paste.  It’s much runnier than that.  It will reduce some when you simmer it before you add the coconut milk, but not a ton.  If you want to take the time you can always reduce it by half before you add the coconut milk, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Do use large shrimp. That will allow you a couple of extra minutes of cooking them in the sauce without ending up with rubbery shrimp.

This sauce is smooth as silk with a little salt, a little heat and a little citrus.  Throw in the sharpness of the ginger and the earthiness of the turmeric and you have a fantastic sauce that needs no extra salt or pepper.  It’s just right the way it is.  If you want more heat just use more of the chile paste.  The lite coconut milk is perfect in this.  Don’t bother adding the extra calories of the regular coconut milk.  I think that would make the sauce too thick.  The coconut milk gives the sauce a wonderful richness, but since it’s lite the sauce is light too.

One caution about serving this with rice noodles – there’s nothing elegant about eating it!  You might want a fork for eating the noodles, but you’ll also want a spoon for the sauce.  And if no one is looking you can always slurp up what’s left in the bottom of the bowl!

Good? Very good.  I could have eaten the whole pot.
Easy? Couldn’t be easier. This is a 15 minute dinner.
Good for company? As long as you’re okay having sauce on your chin in front of them!
Special shopping? Nope. Everything in your standard grocery store.

Shrimp in Yellow Sauce

Ingredients

Spice paste:
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chile paste with garlic)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 garlic cloves
2 shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Remaining ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup light coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions

To prepare spice paste, combine first 9 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add spice paste to pan; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add coconut milk and shrimp; simmer 4 minutes or until shrimp are done. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger

April 12, 2012

The mission tonight was to use up the brussels sprouts, plain and simple.  I had leftover Butter Chicken for dinner so I was kind of shooting for something that would go with that.  I did use up the sprouts.  It didn’t really go with the Butter Chicken, but both were good so that’s close enough.

I made a substitution out of necessity that definitely detracted from the dish.  I didn’t have any sesame oil so I used sesame seeds instead.  It’s just not the same.  You don’t get the same flavor and you have little seeds all over your brussels sprouts.  It was ok, but next time I’d definitely do things differently.  One tip, if you’re using commercial chicken stock get the low sodium kind.  And low sodium soy sauce as well.  Otherwise this could get really salty. Oh, I left out the chopped onion too. After a day of cleaning and working in the yard I was just too tired to chop the onion.

These were good enough that I ate every last one of them tonight.  No leftovers.  Definitely worth trying again with the sesame oil.  You can never have enough different ways to cook brussels sprouts!

Good? Yes, good.  Not great, but good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Eh, maybe.
Special shopping? Nope.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

Preparation

1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add green onions and soy sauce.