April 3, 2014
Chang’s mom gave me this huge bag of frozen shrimp a few weeks ago and I never got around to cooking it. Every time we saw her she’d ask, “Did you try the shrimp yet?” and I’d shamefully shake my head and admit that I hadn’t figure out what to do with it yet. Stir fry shrimp and eggs? Shrimp with edamame? Overdone. That’s the extent of my Chinese shrimp cooking skills, those two recipes. Then literally out of sheer laziness because it requires no peeling, it occurred to me that I could make the ketchup stir fry prawns I’ve seen my own mother make with those giant tiger prawns. Too ambitious? Maybe. I called my mother to ask for her recipe but she was busy and forgot to call me back. 7:00pm came and went. Chang and I were getting hungry.
So I winged it.
- 1.5 lb fresh or thawed prawns, heads off shells ON
- corn starch
- oil (high smoke point, like avocado or peanut)
- 2 stalks green onions, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated/minced ginger*
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- ~2 tbs brown sugar, loose
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
*if you don’t have fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp or so of ginger powder mixed into the sauce will do.
- Rinse prawns under cold water (this will thaw them quickly, too, if they’re still frozen). Drain well. Line paper towel over baking pan and place prawns in.
- Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl
- Dry prawns thoroughly with more paper towels (always make sure whatever it is you’re frying is very very dry. It will crisp better and you wont have as much splash back of hot oil when it hits the pan.).
- Remove paper towels, mop up baking pan so everything is dry. Lightly salt prawns. Coat with 3-4 tbs cornstarch. Toss and mix.
- Heat large frying pan or wok over medium high heat. When pan is hot (you wont be able to hold your palm right over the pan for over 5 seconds if it’s hot enough), add oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat until oil shimmers.
- Slowly add prawns in a single layer (you may have to do this in batches). Fry until the cooked orange edges creep up and over to the top side. Flip and cook other side. Both sides should be orange, with just-golden brown and crisp shells. Remove and set aside.
- Drain oil so that only a thin layer is left. Add minced garlic/ginger/green onion and quickly stir until aromatic. (You WILL be able to smell it.) Do NOT burn garlic, this does not take long. Add shrimp back in and toss to coat. Spoon in sauce, not all at once, but enough to coat the shrimp. (You can always add more, but you can’t take out.). Remove and serve!
Woohoo! Yay for winging it! I feel like a real adult now. I’m making grown up dishes! By myself! Who needs mama now?! Yea OK, technically Chang’s mom gave me the shrimp… but I made it into a MEAL! Annndddd ’cause that about hits my grown up-ness quota for the week, I served it with my favorite college lazy dish: BBQ noodles. Literally ate this 3 out of 7 nights back then.
- dried noodles (I like the thin japanese variety, or the curly ramen-like noodles)
- scallions (minced)
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese BBQ (sha cha)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- Optional Toppings: soft poached egg, veggies
- Cook noodles.
- Mix rest of the ingredients in serving bowl.
- Add and mix noodles when cooked.
- Top with egg and/or veggies.
September 11, 2013
I had left over spare ribs from my stew and basically tweaked the recipe for Chinese Chicken Wings
- spare ribs, cut in 2 or so inch pieces
- equal parts honey, hoisen (NOT oyster) sauce, soy sauce, rice wine.
- ginger, garlic, green onion
- Classic Chinese recipe trio.
- cut in thin but large slices so that it’s easy to remove from the marinade later. Less burning when you bake.
- I also like so smash the slices with the flat side of my knife before I add it to the marinade, releases more juices.
- Chinese Five Spice. ~1 tsp is fine. don’t over-do this. Just sprinkle over the ribs before you add it to the marinade.
It’s hard to mess up the ratio. as long as you keep equal parts of the liquid ingredients, you’ll be ok.
- Marinate ribs in a large ziplock bag over night.
- Preheat oven ~310F.
- Space ribs evenly on foil lined pan, pour 1/2 cup marinade into the pan, tent over with aluminum foil (**this part’s different from the chicken recipe!).
- Pork takes longer to cook. Lower heat, longer time, and tenting the foil keeps the meat nice and moist and prevents burning. Results in a more tender rib.
- Bake for 1 hour. Open the tent and flip the ribs 180 degrees, add a bit more marinade
- pan bottom should be bubbly and brown, not black and charred. When you flip, the side of the ribs that were in contact with the foil should be shiny and have a bit of a golden crust.
- Re-tent and bake for 30min-1 hour more, depending on thickness of the ribs. Check on it on the 30 min mark, and if it’s not shiny and brown with a nice crust, it’s not done. If it’s greyish, it’s not done. If the meat doens’t come easily off the bone with a fork, it’s not done. Pan bottom by now should start to blacken. That is A-OK.
MMM… nice end of summer snack. (yes. i eat bbq ribs as a snack.)
See the little black bits clinging to the meat? Doesn’t taste bad. Just looks bad. That’s green onion, diced. I know, I know, I said use long slices for the marinade. But I get my green onion in bulk in Flushing where it’s like 3 bunches for a $1 as opposed to 1 for a dollar. I chop ‘em up then freeze them in ziplock bags. So if you want to be cheap, use frozen diced green onion. If you’re going for presentation, use fresh sliced green onion.
Ginger powder works fine if you don’t have fresh.
Never skimp on garlic. Canned stuff is foul. I don’t even do pre-peeled bulk garlic. Just break off a clove, smash with the back of your knife, and the skin comes right off. Chop off the hard nubby end and slice, OR, if you want minced garlic, I use my onion method (I think I learned this from Alton Brown):
HOW TO MINCE GARLIC – LESS MESS, LESS TOOLS.
- break off 1 clove.
- do NOT cut off nubby end.
- Smash lightly a few times with flat side of knife, peel.
- Lay clove on its flattest side.
- slice parallel to the cutting board, then perpendicular along the LENGTH of the clove, all the while stopping at the nub. You should end up with long slivers, all still attached to the nub. Like a brush.
- Slice perpendicular to the board, this time starting at the tip, along the wiDTH of the clove. this creates the mince.
Voila! less sticky fingers, less useless tools in the kitchen that only perform one duty. I will draw you pictures some day. SOME day…
EDIT: found an awesome video on chopping onions. The “traditional way” is how I mince my garlic. I think the new way looks intriguing, but not sure how I can manage that with a tiny garlic clove…
September 6, 2013
Holy crap! Was it really in the 50’s last night? Is it really only September and already noodle soup weather?
Yea, I’m not in Texas anymore.
Left over pork stew works wonders on a day like this.
Note: did not parboil ribs this time. Rubbed them with salt and brown sugar and seared them in the pot. Remove. Add aromatics, deglaze, add soup, add ribs, then simmered on the stove for 4 hours. Similar outcomes, different method of getting there. I did have to skim a ton of “meat particulate” throughout the simmering process though.
September 4, 2013
This is a large meal for two. Inspired by the best meal I had in Bali this summer, at a little run down restaurant overlooking a volcano (Mount Batur). My mother actually use to make something similar when we were kids. (Sans curry ’cause we’re not southeast asian). It was a smooshy chicken noodle soup with lots of greens and fluffy eggs melted in. Any time one of us was feeling sick, she’d make us this soup. Perhaps my strong affinity towards this Indonesian dish is just due to homesickness. Anyway, don’t tell my mother, but I like it better with curry and shallots. Just a stronger, richer tasting meal.
- 1 qt Chicken Stock
- ~3 servings of noodles (I used dried, flat wavy noodles. plain dried ramen noodles are good, too)
- chicken thigh meat, diced (yes. dark meat. do it.)
- fried shallots (comes in a plastic container w/ red lid. asian supermarkets)
- ~3 tbs yellow curry paste (thai. ’cause that’s what i have.)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- spinach (frozen OK, other asian greens, OK.)
- 3 eggs
- optional: sliced green onions and peppers as garnish
- Rub diced chicken meat with curry paste. Salt generously. Mix with your hands. It’s slimy. It’s fun. Please wash your hands.
- 4 qt pot – Heat on medium high. Add a tbs oil. When shimmering, add onions. Stir. Saute until soft ~5 min. Salt generously. Add 1 tbs curry paste and mix in.
- Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Stir in another spoonful of curry paste or to taste. Add chicken, reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer 10 min.
- Bring heat up to medium high. When bubbling, add noodles directly into pot. If you are uncomfortable judging cooking times, you can boil a separate pot of water and cook noodles there. Skip to step 5 and ladle finished soup over it after wards.
- Once noodles are almost done but still white on the inside and slightly too hard for al dente, add handfuls of spinach (to your heart’s content). I used 1 handful of frozen spinach. It will expand as it cooks.
- Bring soup to a low simmer, no rolling bubbles. Lightly beat 3 eggs (whites and yolk still slightly separated), drizzle into soup. Like all over. Don’t just dump it into the center. Cover. 3 minutes or until eggs solidify (OK if still a bit runny. will continue to cook)
- Spoon into serving bowls. Squeeze in a bit of lime and toss in spoonful of fried shallots.
Note: obviously not a picture of my recipe, seeing as there is a volcano in the background. These pics are from my vacation. I unfortunately ate all the noodles I made before I thought to take pictures. Next time!
April 24, 2013
Mmmm…spicy. Super fast Sichuan Chinese noodle dish.
A note on mung bean noodles: they come in different sizes and shapes, not unlike Italian pastas. I ran out of the thin skinny kind, which is traditionally used in this recipe. Personally, I rather like the thicker, more al dente texture of the thicker noodles. Random cultural lesson: in Taiwan, they call this chewy bite “Q”. Like mochi is Q. Or gummy bears are Q. Insert extra Q for added f.o.b factor: “these noodles are so QQ!”
Anyway. Mung bean noodles are awesome because they are made out of beans. And therefore gluten free! It’s got a brittle dry texture pre-soak. Stiff and slightly slimy post-soak. Wonderfully Q when cooked. Stole a picture of the thin kind from google:
On to our recipe! Not including soak/marinating time, takes 10 minutes max to cook. I heart me some fast stir fry.
- 3 batches of mung bean noodles
- 1/4 lb ground pork
- 1 tsp hot bean sauce
- soy sauce
- 1 slice fresh ginger, julienned (or 1/2 tsp ground)
- 2 stalks green onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- corn starch
- cooking oil
- Soak mung bean noodles in cold water for 1 hour+. Drain and set aside.
- Marinate pork in 1/2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbs soy sauce and ginger for 30min-1 hour. Discard ginger.
- Dissolve ~1 tsp+ corn starch in 1 cup of cold water and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbs oil in wok/large saute pan on high. When pan is smoking hot (smoKING), add meat. Using the edge of the spatula, break up the meat as small as you can. When evenly brown and cooked through, remove from heat and set aside. NOTE: I used a sharp pair of kitchen scissors to cut meat up even smaller after cooking.
- In remaining oil over medium high heat, fry garlic and green onion until fragrant ~ 1-2 min. Add ~3 more tbs soy sauce, HALF the corn starch mixture, and stir. When mixture starts to bubble, add meat back in and stir evenly.
- Add noodles. COVER and let it steam for 3-5 min. If not enough liquid to steam noodles, add more corn starch mixture. (this is not meant to be a soupy dish, just enough liquid to cook the noodles is fine). Remove from heat.
- Top with fresh chopped scallions and serve.
August 24, 2012
Here is my easy/no fuss version of Kung Pao Chicken. I always though Kung Pao Chicken was just another one of those fake Chinese food dishes you get at those ubiquitous Asian fast food joints with the fat and fluffy ursine mascot. I believed this for most of my life, until the day I actually ORdered this dish from [insert panda themed restaurant name] and was like, “wait. my mom makes this.”
So yea. I’ll eat my own words. I guess this stuff is authentic after all.
Anyway, I believe stir fry purists would say you should 1) marinate for 30 min then cook the chicken until mostly done, remove. 2) heat oil back up again, add garlic, fresh ginger, and chilies to release the full flavors, then 3) add the chicken back in, the sauce, then the green onions, and lastly the nuts (my mother uses peanuts).
But MAN that sounds way too complicated. And after a long freaking day at work, I do NOT want to have to think about “what do I do next again?” Solution? Add everything into the marinade. Sure my mom still makes it better. But mine is FASTER. and with WHITE meat. JUICY white meat, I might add… because I marinate overnight instead of on the counter for 30 min (I chalk that tradition up to the fact that my ancestors did not have refrigerators and to let your chicken sit overnight is to kill your whole family w/ salmonella.)
So here goes. Kung Pao Chicken, simplified:
- 1.5 lb chicken tenders
- ~1/2+ cup soy sauce or enough to cover chicken
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1-2 tsp sesame oil
- ~5 dried chili peppers, sliced diagonally
- 1 tbs dark brown sugar
- 1-2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tbs Chinese rice wine
- optional: Chinese black vinegar (I had none. Didn’t miss it)
- 2 talks green onion, chopped in 2 inch sections
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
- oil for stir frying (NOT olive oil. something with a high smoke point like peanut oil is better)
- Cut chicken into small pieces, about 1 inch cube.
- In a deep container (I like to use glass tupperware) mix soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, chili peppers, and corn starch until thickened. Adjust to taste. Add chicken, cover, and marinate overnight (if using dark meat, 15-30 minutes is plenty. Overnight is if you want to make
healthy crappy white meat juicier.).
- Heat a wok or large frying pan on high. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Add chicken and marinade. Stir until chicken is cooked through. Add green onions and cashews. Toss until green onions become fragrant (1 min or so). Remove from heat and serve.
Stir Fry Tips:
- Use a hot Guo1, or pot/wok. I mean HOT. Like smoking red hot. Then add oil and let it heat until shimmery. Always. Hot pot and hot oil = less crap sticking to your pan.
- Always add green onion last. You still want to stir fry it a bit to let the flavors release (you’ll be able to smell it when it does), but cook it any longer than absolutely necessary and you’ll get limp ugly green onion. Green onion should act as a garnish as well as an aromatic. It should be bright, green, and pretty.
Thank you, Mama Chen for teaching me well.
August 5, 2012
Didn’t really expect this to turn out as well as it did, seeing as I totally winged it and just threw in stuff from my fridge. But I’m DEFINITELY making this again. Probably one of my most successful creations.
Love these Bunashimeji mushrooms, btw. A bouncier, more complimenting texture to the clams than enoki, which is what I usually keep at home for soups and hot pots. Here’s my Japanese mushroom pictionary reference source: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2340.html
- 1 lb live manila clams
- 1 tbs peanut oil/cooking oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- handful of small basil leaves
- 1 batch Bunashimeji mushrooms (see pic)
- 1 spoonful of white Shiro Miso
- ~1/4 cup soy sauce (add to taste)
- 1 -2 tbs Mirin
- 1/4 cup Moscato or other sweet white wine (or regular white wine + 1 tsp sugar)
- 1 tbs good, unsalted butter
- red chili pepper flakes, for color mostly…little sliced chili peppers will do, too
- Prepare clams: Scrub the suckers clean. Then submerge clams in a deep bowl with salt water. (Like..ocean-water-salty. Makes sense, no?) Add a few ice cubes to keep it cold. Do this well in advance, at least a few hours before cooking. Drain and rinse clean. This gives the clams time to spit out sand and crud.
- In a medium sized saute pan (with a lid), heat a bit of oil over medium high until shimmery and hot. Saute garlic until just fragrant (careful not to burn), then add soy sauce and mushrooms. Stir fry 1-2 min to soften.
- Stir in miso until dissolved. Add mirin and white wine (if you’re using a regular, non sweet white wine, dissolve in a tsp of sugar). Bring to a boil.
- Add clams and cover immediately. In about 3 min, clams should slowly start to open up. Wait for it. Some are slower than others to respond (like humans). Uncover and add basil and butter. Stir until butter melts into the sauce. Remove and plate. Toss out unopened clams (they were dead before they hit the pan. No good.) Sprinkle on red pepper flakes and serve.
NOTES ON BUTTER:
- Adding butter at the end instead of sauteing with it in the beginning lets the flavor of butter stand out more. It’s also used to thicken the final sauce. Something I read somewhere. So don’t waste good butter on early steps of a recipe. And DON’T buy cheap butter you don’t mind wasting.
- When in doubt, get unsalted. You can use it for cooking aND baking.
- Don’t bake with salted butter. It messes up the ingredients ratio.
- Learn to make Ghee. THIS you can saute with. In fact, use it instead of oil from here on out. It doesn’t burn. It doesn’t smoke. It doesn’t spoil. And it tastes like HEAVEN.
- Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is rich and creamy. Kind of cheesy. Which can be good or bad, depending on your preference. Smells divine. Good for finishing sauces.
- For batch baking, or making ghee in large quantities (which is the ONLY way to make ghee), Land O Lakes is surprisingly amazing. Very rich butter flavor, doesn’t taste like artificial popcorn flavoring like other cheaper brands, and it has this awesome FLAVOR protecting wrapper.
Oh, and I’ve taken to keeping a 4 pack of Sutter Home Moscato in my fridge at all times. Use what you need and drink the rest. Perfect one time servings for those that don’t drink enough to buy a whole bottle for one recipe.
July 12, 2012
Definitely making this again. Careful with the salmon! I purchased a very thin, very expensive, tail-end filet of sockeye salmon today and over cooked it at 10 minutes. ): Always adjust recipes depending on the cut of fish you have. Other than being slightly dry, flavor was great. Thank you, Epicurious.
Oh, and I’m actually rather proud of my wasabi lime concoction. Only reason why that made it to the table today is ’cause I had a craving for a spicy tuna roll while shopping at Whole Foods. It came with little packets of wasabi. And seeing as spicy tuna rolls are spicy as is, I had a bunch of left over wasabi. Annnnd because I try to keep white potatoes out of my kitchen, I only make sweet potato mash these days. Sweet, spicy, tangy. Can’t go wrong.
SESAME GLAZED SALMON
adapted from epicurious.
- 1 lb salmon fillets(4 filets)
- 3 tbs soy sauce
- 3 tbs lime juice
- 3 tbs honey/agave nector
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbs butter
- ~1 tsp corn starch, dissolved in water
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add garlic and rep pepper flakes, saute until fragrant.
- Add sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium high.
- Add corn starch mixture and stir. Continue to reduce glaze until it reaches the consistency of honey. ~10 min.
- Lay filets on greased aluminum foil. Brush on thin layer of glaze. Bake 5-10 min, depending on thickness of filet.
- Brush on more glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over garlic-y saute spinach.
WASABI LIME MASHED POTATOES
- 1 large white sweet potato
- 1 tsp wasabi paste or to taste
- juice of 1/2 small lime
- 1 pinch ginger, powder
- 1-2 tbs butter
- 1/3+ cup milk
- salt to taste
Dice potatoes into small cubes. Cover with wet paper towels. Microwave 5 min. Mash in butter, milk, seasonings to consistency of preference.
June 17, 2012
Have lots of crusty bread on hand. You will want to DRINK this broth afterwards.
And for the millionth time, I apologize for my crappy iphone camera. It tastes so much better than it looks… And mussels are really f*ck up free. Promise. Just try it.
- 2 lb fresh mussels (in a pinch, frozen half shells work too)
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 4 two inch pieces and smashed with flat of knife.
- 1 tbs tumeric (mostly for color)
- 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 2 slices of fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 0.5 – 1 cup white wine
- 2 small cans of coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
- In a large bowl, rinse mussels in cold water. Clean and cut off fuzzy green bits (beards). Let it soak and rinse ~20 min.
- In a 3 qt pot, saute shallots until soft ~3 min. Add garlic and continue to saute 2 min. Add tumeric, chili pepper flakes, lemongrass, ginger. Salt generously. Stir and saute another 3 min.
- Add wine and let it reduce by half. Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 min.
- Add mussels and COVER. Steam 3-5 minutes or so, until all the mussels open. Don’t check on it repeatedly as this releases the steam.
- Remove from heat and pour into large bowl. Squeeze on lime juice and top with fresh chopped scallions or cilantro as garnish.
June 17, 2012
So I did a little experiment. I tried the recipe on black cod ($$$) and on regular cod.
GET THE BLACK COD.
Trust me. It’s worth it. Cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to buy $30 worth of fish to feed two. It’s pretty amazing, so don’t make any for your friends if you’re cheap. Ha.
- 1 to 1.5 lb black cod filets
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 4 tbs white miso paste
- 3 tbs white granulated sugar
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring mirin and sake to a boil. Let the alcohol evaporate for 15 seconds. Reduce heat to medium.
- Dissolve miso, bit by bit, into the liquid. Stir continuously.
- Increase heat to high. Stir in sugar until also completely dissolved. Remove from heat immediately and let it cool to room temperature.
- Pat cod filets dry. Marinate in miso mixture, covered, in refrigerator for 2 days.
- Important: Scrape miso off cod! It’s salty stuff. And it’s already been marinating for a few days. You don’t need an extra coating of it. Trust me.
- Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Arrange cod evenly across pan. BROIL for 5 minutes or so or until just begins to brown. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes until cod cooked through.