Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Burmese chicken stir-fry

Have you ever had Burmese food before? I certainly had not. So when I saw this recipe in Saveur (which happens to be my new favorite food magazine), I knew I wanted to try it as something totally new. Burma is a country we are familiar with in our house because Craig worked for clients there when he was working for the Public International Law and Policy Group. But being familiar with the political situation in Burma gave us no clue about the country’s cuisine. After trying this recipe, though, I would certainly like to try more.

In order to make this recipe, I had to convince myself that I was totally over my fear of too much fish sauce, which I pretty much did. I still reduced the amount a little from what was in the original recipe, but I pretty much went for it. The end result was excellent. Because it cooks entirely over high heat (this was the key technique emphasized in the stir-frying issue of Saveur in which it appeared), this stir-fry produces lots of those wonderful dark browned bits that give a dish like this so much flavor. This dish is also a nice change from the Chinese-style stir-fries I usually make, since it contains none of my usual sauce ingredients (soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, etc.). It has a great saltiness from the fish sauce, it’s spicy, and the flavors work together really well. And as a bonus, if you try it, you can say you’ve had Burmese food.

Burmese chicken stir-fry

Lightly adapted from: Saveur


  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ thick strips
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small onion, cut into 3⁄4″ pieces
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika (I only had smoked, so I used that, but reduced the amount to about 1 tsp. since it’s a stronger flavor)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  1″ piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 red bell pepper,  cored and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1” sticks (this ingredient is in the print version of the magazine, but does not appear in the online recipe for some reason. I highly recommend using it.)
  • 1 large Anaheim or poblano pepper, seeded and diced (I used Anaheim)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (due to my fear of too much fish sauce, I used about 1.5 Tbsp. Either way works.)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • My additions (optional): small squirt of Sriracha sauce and dry-roasted peanuts


1. Combine chicken, 1Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl; let marinate for 15 minutes. 

2. Combine paprika, cumin, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside. 

3. Heat a cast iron skillet (or a wok) over high heat. Add ½ Tbsp. oil. Add onions; cook until softened but not too dark, 1–2 minutes. Move onions to side; add remaining oil to center of pan. Add chicken in a single layer. Let cook without stirring for 1 minute. Continue cooking, tossing vigorously, until chicken is opaque, about 1 minute more. 

4. Add spice mixture; cook, tossing constantly, for 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and Anaheim pepper, along with Sriracha if using; cook, stirring constantly, until peppers begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and continue to cook until just tender and chicken is cooked through, 1–2 minutes. Stir in chili powder; season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice and sprinkle with peanuts if desired.


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When I was a freshman in high school, my family took a trip to Hawaii.  I’ve always loved to travel, and I could spend hours leading up to a trip reading Fodor’s and Frommer’s guides, picking out places I have to go and, of course, things I have to eat!  One of the food items that caught my attention at that time was the bento box.  I believe this is a concept the Hawaiians picked up from Japanese cuisine, as our local Japanese place makes them as well.  Basically, it’s a divided tray of various meats, salads, rice, etc. that are designed to compliment one another – a more fun version of a boxed lunch.

For some reason, bento boxes came back into my mind recently, and I decided to make one with some mahi mahi I’d picked up.  I ultimately decided I wanted to make quick Asian pickles, and after consulting a few quick pickle recipes, I came up with my own concoction.  The key was slicing them very, very thin on the mandoline.  I was extremely happy with how they came out, and I can’t wait to make a bigger batch once my garden cucumbers are ripe (they have huge flowers – it won’t be long now).  I was really bummed that I didn’t have any fun, divided plates to make this dish a true bento box, but otherwise, everything was very good.

Quick Asian Pickles

After consulting a few other pickle recipes, I came up with this one on my own


  • Half of a large English cucumber or several small pickling cucumbers
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • Light green parts of 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. grated fresh ginger


1. On a mandoline, slice the cucumber into very thin rounds.  Lay the rounds in a single layer in a strainer and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, scallions, hot sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and another small pinch of sugar in a small bowl.

3.  Add the cucumbers to the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine.  Add additional salt to taste.  Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

For Bento Box:


  • Homemade teriyaki sauce
  • One 1/2-pound mahi mahi filet
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • Quick Asian Pickles


1. Prepare rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and place the fish on it.  Broil fish until just firm, about 7 minutes.

2. Thaw edamame under cold water.  Pat dry with a towel.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

3. Plate the rice.  Cut the fish in half for 2 portions and gently dip each half in the warm teriyaki sauce to fully coat.  Add a serving of the edamame and a serving of the pickles, all atop the bed of rice.  Serve and enjoy!

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I am back! Well, sort of. The demands of finishing up my Master’s degree and securing a full-time job have had me bogged down lately. Not only has my blog been suffering, but my cooking has shifted to faster and easier dishes as well. However, there is an end in sight as I will complete all requirements for my M.A. on June 15! I am looking forward to having a lot more time for all things food-related – cooking, blogging, and gardening (more on that coming soon). In the meantime, I wanted to share this awesome recipe for a dish I made a couple of weeks ago: beef bulgogi.

Bulgogi is a Korean dish. Craig could not say the word “bulgogi” at all, which led to a lot of teasing. The dish is pretty simple – it consists of very thin strips of beef, marinated and quickly sauteed. This recipe, which comes from the Culinary Institute of America and purports to be authentic, has you serve the beef as lettuce wraps, with a lot of Korean-style accompaniments such as kimchee and sticky rice. However, I wanted the beef to stand out (and I couldn’t find a lot of the Korean accessories at the grocery store), so I decided to go with a simpler presentation. I wrapped the beef in thin tortillas and added a small amount of oven-baked brown rice, a few blanched asparagus spears, and plenty of the pan juices. In terms of the actual beef, though, I followed the recipe’s instructions pretty much to a “t”. I highly recommend this dish. The key is to slice the beef as thinly as possible and resist getting lazy and slicing it thicker as you go. To make the slicing easier, as they suggest, you can pop the sirloin in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before slicing. If you do that, this will turn out great.

Korean beef bulgogi

Adapted from: Epicurious.com


¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil

1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

¼ Asian pear, coarsely grated (about 1/4 cup) (follow their instructions and grate it – mine was too ripe to grate, so I diced it, but then I had to take out the pieces that were left after I sautéed it since I didn’t want them in the finished dish)

½ medium onion, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, plus additional for garnish

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound beef sirloin, trimmed of excess fat and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons canola oil



1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet and allow to cool (if you have not already done so).

2. In large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, pear, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and pepper. Let marinade stand 30 minutes at room temperature, then add beef and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour (or more – up to overnight. I did about 2 hours).

2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Remove beef from marinade, draining it very briefly over bowl to remove excess liquid, and then cook until browned and done medium-well, 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Serve as desired!

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Curry-roasted whole chicken

curry roasted chicken

So, I didn’t get the best picture of this one (we were already eating), but this is a fantastic recipe. I found it when Craig said he wanted to have something to go with the last piece of garlic naan that was sitting in our freezer. This is a great way of giving a new flavor to a whole roasted chicken. And if you have never cooked with curry before, this is a good, mild introduction to the flavor, and the yogurt pan sauce that you make at the end is an excellent addition. I served this meal with a big bowl of fresh pineapple. I will definitely be making this chicken again!

Curry-roasted whole chicken

Adapted from: Food & Wine


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

One 4-pound chicken, at room temperature

1 large onion, cut into quarters

2 cups fresh tomatoes, roughly diced

2 seeded, thinly sliced serrano chiles

1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt (I used Fagé)



1. Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a bowl, mix the butter with the minced garlic and curry powder.

2. Pat the chicken dry. Rub half of the butter under the skin and the rest over the chicken; season with salt and pepper. Set the chicken breast-side-up on a rack in a roasting pan. Scatter the onion, tomatoes, chiles and add 1/2 cup of water. Roast for 30 minutes, until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots.

3. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down and roast for 20 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned.

4. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up. Add another 1/2 cup of water. Roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 175° (this took another 30 minutes for me, but my chicken was 4 and a half pounds).

5. Tilt the chicken to drain the cavity juices into the pan; transfer the bird to a cutting board. Remove the rack from the pan and spoon off the fat. Set the pan over high heat. Add the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the yogurt just before serving. Carve the chicken and spoon over the pan sauce.

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Indian feast!

Tonight I cooked up an Indian-inspired feast, and it turned out really great. I made chicken tikka masala awhile back and was amazed at how juicy the yogurt coating kept the chicken. I wanted to make that chicken again, but minus the masala. While that was tasty, I wanted something slightly healthier and wanted to branch out on my own. I was really proud of how the chickpeas and spinach came out with very little recipe guidance, and the chicken was as juicy as last time. What made this truly a “feast” is that I served it with both oven-baked brown rice and a piece of storebought garlic naan. Even my husband, who is skeptical of Indian food, went out of his way to say how much he liked this meal.

I am filing this under the “Vegetarian” tab as well since you could easily make a meal out of the chickpeas and spinach over rice, which would make for a tasty meatless option.

Tandoori Chicken

Adapted from: a combination of this Food Network recipe and Cook’s Illustrated



1 cup plain yogurt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts



1. Combine all spices and yogurt in a large bowl. Marinate chicken breasts in yogurt mixture for one hour.

2. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and let chicken breasts drain slightly before placing on baking sheet.

3. Broil chicken until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and coating is lightly charred in spots, turning once during cooking. This should take about 20 minutes total.

4. Remove chicken to a plate and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.


Indian-Inspired Chickpeas and Spinach in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Adapted from: my head


One can chickpeas (I like Goya), drained and rinsed

4-5 large handfuls baby spinach (about 4 oz.)

1 ½ cups low-sodium plain tomato sauce

1/3 cup whipping cream, at room temperature

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

½ Tbsp. olive oil

¼ tsp. Asian chili garlic sauce

¼ tsp. ground cayenne

¼ tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. garam masala

½ cup water


*Note: I did not measure the spices, so these proportions are approximate, and you should feel free to adjust to your tastes. I tried to underestimate the amounts I used so that more of any particular spice could be added according to your preferences.



1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chickpeas and toast, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes or so.

2. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in all remaining spices and check seasoning, adding more of your favorite spices if desired.

3. Whisk in cream and return to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently.

4. Begin adding spinach in batches, adding small amounts of water as necessary to wilt the spinach and keep sauce at desired thickness.

5. Once all spinach is added and wilted, turn the heat down very low and cover. Simmer 5 minutes covered, and hold warm until ready to serve.


Serve with brown rice and/or garlic naan, and enjoy an Indian feast!


11/30/08 Update – I am submitting this post to a contest hosted by Joelen’s Culinary Adventures









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I’m back! After a long month of a new job, weekend travel, and, as always, grad school work, I have reemerged to finally share this shrimp recipe with you. This was a dish I’d been wanting to make for awhile. Frying is always a little intimidating, especially when it comes to seafood, and I wasn’t sure whether to deep fry these, pan fry them, or broil. I just knew I wanted them to be super crispy with the panko. I finally settled on shallow frying them in our cast iron pan. I had watched a new show called The Cooking Loft, on which she made fried chicken and demonstrated how the flour should sizzle and then immediately dissolve when the oil is at temperature, so that eliminated the need to go out and buy a frying thermometer. I put in enough oil to go a little more than halfway up the shrimp and turned them once. This worked out very well and I will definitely use this method for frying shrimp in the future. The homemade sweet and sour sauce was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be making these shrimp as an appetizer the next time I have someone over.

Panko Shrimp with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Adapted from: Ming Tsai, Food Network


1 minced shallot

½ Tbsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. Asian chili garlic sauce, or to taste

½ cup fresh orange juice

½ lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

½ Tbsp. sugar

½ Tbsp. soy sauce

Canola oil to cook

Salt and black pepper, to taste

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup all-purpose flour, in a shallow dish

2 eggs, beaten, in a shallow dish

1 cup panko, in a shallow dish



  1. In a saucepan coated lightly with oil on medium heat, saute shallots and ginger until soft, about 3 minutes.  Deglaze with juices, chili sauce, sugar, and soy sauce.  Check for seasoning. Reduce by 50 percent until a syrup consistency is achieved. Set aside.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Dredge shrimp in flour, then egg, then panko.
  3. Heat oil until shimmering and a sprinkling of flour sizzles and immediately dissolves. Fry shrimp until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes total, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve sauce in a ramekin, surrounded by the shrimp.

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My husband and I were fortunate enough to have my younger brother visit this weekend on his way back for his senior year of college at the Citadel. As you can see from the photo above, my “little brother” Dustin is no longer so little! Dustin has loved shrimp all his life, and I had just gotten some awesome-looking udon noodles from my favorite grocery store, Wegman’s, so I decided to make kung pao shrimp over udon for a home-cooked meal while he was here. I love the kung pao recipe that Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, and this is my version – pretty much true to the recipe she has, but with just a few small changes.

Kung Pao Shrimp over Udon

Adapted from: Bridget’s blog


21 extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons plus ½ tablespoon soy sauce
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½  tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 medium red or orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips
3 medium scallions, sliced thin

3-6 oz. packets udon noodles



1. Toss shrimp with mirin and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until shrimp have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chile flakes in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, ½ tablespoon soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. When water boils, turn off the burner and add udon noodles. Gently separate noodles with a fork and let stand in water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about once every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30 to 40 seconds; add peanuts and chiles, stir into shrimp, and continue cooking until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside.

4. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined.

5. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions and udon noodles and toss. Add shrimp and peanut mixture and toss to coat with sauce and warm through, about 1 minute; transfer to shallow bowls with 7 shrimp each and serve immediately.

Serves 3.

Thanks to my husband, Craig, for snapping the photos for this entry!

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