Posts tagged asian

Forbidden Rice Bowl

Well, it’s a rice bowl and of course, you can put anything in it. This is tonight’s concoction, I guess. I just saw a bag of this so-called heirloom forbidden rice at the store this afternoon. I’ve never had it before and I was curious. Apparently, it’s of Chinese origin so I immediately thought of a quick stir-fry to go with it for dinner tonight.

I already have a half-opened box of roasted pistachio nuts at home and knew I wanted to use some of it, as opposed to cashew or whatever. So I just grabbed some scallions, mushrooms and an orange. An orange? I guess I was thinking orange chicken or something like that. I guess we’ll find out.

Wow, how refreshing! No meat but quite filling. The rice has a nutty personality to it, like brown rice. It’s supposed to be sticky but I only cooked it with 1 part rice and 1 3/4 part liquid instead of the usual 1:2 ratio. So it was leaning more towards al dente. Anyway, good stuff.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup Heirloom Forbidden Rice
1 pkg Cremini Mushrooms, slivered
1/2 cup Roasted Pistachio Nuts
1 doz Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tbs. scallions, chopped
1 Orange
4 tbs Oyster Sauce
2 tbs Canola Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cook rice to package direction. When it’s done cooking, leave the lid on for another 30 minutes before digging in.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and mushroom with oil in a large pan on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Fold in oyster sauce, tomatoes and pistachio nuts until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt as the oyster sauce is already quite salty). Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of an orange.

Fluff the rice and scoop in serving bowls. Top with stir-fry. Grate some zest from the orange and sprinkle with scallions to garnish. Enjoy.

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Basil & Tofu Green Curry

I love curry and I have a staple diet of it on a regular basis. This one is really easy to make since I just use a can of this widely available green curry paste that I get from the Asian store. The only thing I did different this time is that I added some basil leaves in the mix to give it a more fresh and fragrant flavor. We don’t have any real Thai basil here in my neck of the woods so I just used the regular Italian variety, which is fine. Also, I seasoned with fish sauce for a more authentic taste. But it’s definitely fine to use salt & pepper, if you don’t have it.

This is pure vegan recipe but you can certainly add some chicken, if you wish. I have in the past, I just didn’t have any at the moment. That’s why tofu became the star of the dish. Works for me!

Oh yeah, green curry is way spicier than the red one, FYI. Okay, don the apron and get cooking!

Ingredients (4 servings):
1 can Maesri Green Curry Paste
1 can Low Fat Coconut Milk
1 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
3 tbs. Fish Sauce
1/2 package firm tofu, diced into small cubes
A handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, torn into pieces
1 tbs. Dried Basil
1 Onion, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
4 cLoves Garlic, minced
Small Eggplant, diced into small cubes
A few pieces of diced Carrots
3 tbs. Canola Oil

Heat oil in a pot and saute bell pepper, onions, eggplant and carrots in medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add in the garlic, dried basil and fish sauce and let cook for another couple of minutes while continuously stirring. Stir in the green curry paste, coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Give it a taste and re-season with more fish sauce if needed. Fold in the tofu and fresh basil. Serve over a bowl of jasmine rice.

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Black Bean Garlic Shrimp Scramble

So, I came home from work the other day and there was nothing cooked in the fridge. Although I could’ve simply whipped up a quick pasta dish, I thought I’d see what I have left unused for awhile. I found a dozen shrimp, 4 eggs, an open bag of frozen peas, leftover mushrooms and an almost empty bottle of black bean garlic sauce. Oh yeah, I also had this thing of fried garlic that’s been sitting in the pantry for awhile begging me to use it already. I got it from the local Asian store and it’s got the crunchy goodness you’ll love, I promise.

If I had a little bit of cilantro or scallions left, they would’ve been in there too. But, oh well…

Anyway, no voodoo here, folks! Very simple. Throw everything together, mix, cook and eat. And feel free to substitute your own leftover meat and/or veggies. That’s the whole idea.

Ingredients (2 servings):
12 pcs. Large Raw Shrimp, peeled
4 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots, thawed in microwave
Few pcs. Sliced Mushrooms
2 Tbs. Black Bean Garlic Sauce
1 Lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 Tbs. Canola Oil
1 Tbs. Pure Sesame Oil
2 Tbs. Fried Garlic

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs then mix in the shrimp, peas & carrots and mushrooms.

In a medium-heated large skillet, add the canola oil and stir in the egg mixture. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs for about 4-5 minutes or until the eggs and shrimp are fully cooked. Do not overcook! Halfway through, stir in the black bean garlic sauce until evenly incorporated. Turn off heat and drizzle in the sesame oil.

Seve on a bowl of hot jasmine rice, give it a good squeeze of lime juice and garnish with fried garlic and a lime wedge.

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Fiery Asian Beef Stew

I wanted to try to stew up a spicy stir-fry dish and this is what I came up with yesterday. Not too shabby, actually! I put in 3 tablespoons of chili sauce and it was blazin’, I tell ya! So, if you’re craving for a spicy meal, this Asian flavored stew will surely deliver.

1 lb. Beef strips, marinated in a little soy sauce & sesame oil for at an hour)
1 14 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Onion, diced
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Bell Pepper (green, red or yellow), diced
10-15 pieces Dried Shitake Mushrooms, stem discarded
1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
2 Tbs. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
2-3 Tbs. Chili Sauce (store bought)
2 Tbs. Stir-Fry Sauce (store bought)
2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
2 Tbs. Canola Oil
1/2 bunch Scallions, finely chopped

Marinate beef strips in soy sauce & sesame oil for at least an hour. Soak dried shitake in a cup of chicken stock for at least an hour. Keep both inside the fridge.

In a medium-heated dutch oven, saute marinated beef strips in canola oil for a minute. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Then, throw in the tomatoes (liquid included), chili sauce, stir-fry sauce and chicken stock, along with the rehydrated mushrooms. Bring to a boil and let liquid reduce to about half, about 15 minutes or so. When the sauce thickens a bit, give it a taste. Add salt, if needed.

Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with chopped scallions.

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Tomato Black Bean Stir-Fry

What can I say, I just love the Lee Kum Kee Brand Black Bean Garlic Sauce. And I have been using it for years now. It gives stir-fry’s more depth in flavor than mere soy sauce can. In fact, I don’t even use soy sauce in my stir-fry’s. I just mix the black bean garlic sauce with oyster sauce and some kind of chili sauce (i.e pepper satay) and wham… like I’m in Chinatown, all of a sudden!

In this dish, I used my leftover tomatoes and a little ground bison meat. Pretty simple and quick but bursting with flavor.

By the way, I like my stir-fry sauce a little thick, like gravy. So, I simply mix in a slurry of cornstarch and stock. It’s awesome! Give it a try.

3 tbs. Black Bean Garlic Sauce
2 tbs. Oyster Sauce
1 tbs. Chili Sauce (not sweet)
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tbs Cornstarch
1 cup Diced Tomatoes
1 Onion, diced
Leftover Meat, ground, diced, sliced, etc.
3 tbs. Finely Chopped Scallions
2 tbs. Canola Oil

In a bowl, mix well all 3 sauces with stock and cornstarch. Meanwhile, in a medium heated skillet, add oil, meat and onions and cook for a few minutes. Add the sauce mixture and stir until bubbling. If sauce is too thick, simply add more stock. Turn off heat and stir in some chopped scallions. Serve on a plate and garnish with more scallions.

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Bison and Tofu Lettuce Wraps

For dinner the other night, I wanted to do a lettuce wrap with tofu but also wanted a little meat on it. At the store, I was trying to decide on either lean ground beef or turkey when I spotted the bison meat on sale. Usually, these guys cost twice as much as the beef version but this time, it was the same price almost. Now, I thought it’s probably because I had to eat it within the next 24 hours before it goes bad… but no! It was good for another week or so. Cool!

Bison meat is very healthy. It’s actually more nutritious than chicken. The only beef (no pun intended) I have about it is that it’s a little on the bland side. Since it has very little fat, you really have to rely on seasonings to help bring out some flavor. I’ve had bison burgers in the past and I gotta tell ya, I’m just tired of pouring in so much ketchup just to liven it up, y’know. So in this dish, I seasoned it liberally with Chinese five spice, some soy sauce and fresh ground pepper. After all, with flavor challenged ingredients like bison and tofu on the forefront, you just gotta help kick it up a few notches ‘cuz they won’t do it by themselves.

But hey, I will tell you that  this dish totally rocks! It is so refreshing and so filling. And you can easily make it vegetarian by simply omitting the meat and maybe doubling the amount of mushrooms.

1/3 lb Ground Bison
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Frozen Peas & Carrots
1 Portobello Mushroom, finely diced
1/2 bunch Scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/2 of 14oz package Tofu, cut into half inch cubes
Butterhead Lettuce (Bibb or Boston)
Lemon Wedges
Fresh Ground Pepper
Soy Sauce
Chinese Five Spice
Canola Oil
1 tbs. Pure Sesame Oil

In a dutch oven (or large skillet), brown ground bison in a little canola oil over medium heat, seasoning with soy sauce, five spice and ground pepper as it cooks. When it’s almost done, add garlic, onions, peas & carrots, mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes or so. Mix in the hoisin sauce and pure sesame oil. Stir to incorporate evenly. Turn off the heat and gently fold in the tofu being careful not to mash the cubes. Spoon mixture on lettuce leaves. Do not overload! Squeeze a little lemon juice and eat like you would a taco!

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Five-Spice Scallops on Fried Rice

Here’s another one of my “leftover” recipes that turned out to be excellent. Big flavor, health conscious, and looks good too! What more can you ask for?

The highlight of this dish comes from the spices. A combination of pure (unrefined) sesame seed oil and Chinese Five Spice powder blend which is a mixture of cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise and ginger, or sometimes Szechuan peppercorns. It’s simple yet profound. You just have to try it to know what I’m talking about.

By the way, there is an art to making fried rice. You can do it however you want ingredient and flavor-wise, but it’s first and foremost about the foundation. The texture is equally as important as the flavor. In a nutshell, you either do it right or you don’t… and it may take some time to master it.

First of all, you need to prep at least a day ahead of actually making your fried rice. I didn’t have to do this particularly this time since I already have leftover rice in the fridge (Traditionally, having leftover rice is why you make fried rice, to begin with). But if you don’t, here’s what you do…

Before you cook the rice, you need to rinse the grains a few times to get rid of the starch. This helps to keep the rice from being “sticky” when it’s cooked. Then you cook it al dente with just a tad less water than as directed. When it’s done, do not open the lid. In fact, never open the lid throughout the cooking process. Keep it closed until the rice cools off, which could take hours. Then, store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make your fried rice. It’s important to note that the grains need to be cold and as dry as possible when you’re frying or you’ll end up with a sticky mess.

Ingredients: Fresh Scallops, 1 Cup Uncooked Jasmine Rice, 4 Eggs (2 whole, 2 whites only), Garlic, Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, Chinese Five Spice Powder, Scallions or Fresh Chives, Canola Oil, Pure (Unrefined) Sesame Seed Oil, Salt & Pepper, All Natural Dipping Sauce (Oyster, Hoisin, Peppered Vinegar, Sweet Chili, Sweet & Sour, etc.)

Directions: Marinate scallops in a mixture of soy sauce, five spice powder, minced garlic and a small amount of sesame oil for at least two hours in the fridge (overnight is great). Place on a non-stick baking sheet and in a 400F preheated oven for about 20 minutes or so. Be careful not to overcook. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs, breaking it into small pieces. Set aside. Now, coat a wok or a large pan with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. In medium heat, saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Take the rice out of the fridge and break the lumps with your hand. Pour into the pan and stir vigorously until the garlic is evenly incorporated. Add the scrambled eggs, a dash of five-spice powder, salt and pepper to taste and continue to stir for another 10 minutes or so, making sure there are no lumps left. Then at the end, add a drizzle of sesame oil and some chopped scallions or chives. Turn off the heat and stir one last time until everything is evenly incorporated. Serve rice and scallops on a plate with a dipping sauce of your choice.

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