Archive for ‘Winter’

July 15, 2012

Dan Dan Noodles (擔擔麵)

A Sichuan favorite! Sichuan peppercorns are necessary in this dish and give it the characteristic “ma la” flavor. If you get the whole peppercorns, toast them slightly in a dry wok or frying pan before grinding them in a spice grinder. Ya cai or Sichuan preserved greens, which can be found in Chinatown markets, is also an important component of this dish, but they can be omitted if you can’t find them. The dish will still taste amazing!

Adapted from Red Cook

Total time: 40 minutes

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

1 lb. fresh Shanghai style noodles (if you can’t find fresh noodles, boxed spaghetti/noodles will suffice)

4 tablespoons light soy sauce (生抽)

4 teaspoons Chinkiang black vinegar

Chopped cilantro and scallion for garnish

Pork Topping

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 oz. ground pork

2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine

a pinch of salt

4 oz. Sichuan preserved greens (芽菜 ya cai) or pickled mustard (optional, only if you can find them)

Sesame Sauce

4 tablespoons sesame paste

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Chili Oil

5 tablespoons chili oil

1 tablespoon dried chili flakes

2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (花椒)

1. Mix all the ingredients for the sesame sauce and set aside.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the chili oil and set aside.

3. In a wok, heat the vegetable oil until just beginning to smoke then add the ground pork. Stir-fry the pork until just cooked then add the rest of the topping ingredients and continue to stir-fry until the liquid completely evaporate. Set the topping aside.

4. Divide the sauce by putting one quarter of the sesame sauce mixture and chili oil into each of four bowls. Add one tablespoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of Chinkiang black vinegar to each bowl.

5. In a large 8-quart stockpot bring four quarts of water to boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water for about three minutes or until the noodles are just al dente. Divide the noodles into four portions and put them in each of the bowls. Top the noodles with one quarter of the pork and Sichuan preserved greens topping, and garnish with chopped cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately.

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July 11, 2012

West African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter and Black Beans

This soup is amazing: hearty, comforting, and DELICIOUS. It also happens to be both vegetarian and vegan, although you could certainly add meat to this dish (chicken and beef would go well here). This soup honors fall flavors while paying homage to both Thai and African culinary traditions. I would say the addition of the Thai curry paste, lime, and brown sugar makes this soup Thai-African fusion.

Total Time: 45 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Serves 4-5, adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced very finely
1/2 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1 quart vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (or sunbutter for those allergic!)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
3 tsp brown sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the curry paste and cinnamon.  Stir for a minute so that the olive oil gets infused with spice.  Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, bell pepper, and jalapeno.  Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the beans and broth.   Add the peanut butter to the mix.  Add the red pepper flakes.

3. Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer.  Cook until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.

4. Stir in the lime juice and brown sugar.  Season with salt and black pepper, if needed. Top with chopped cilantro.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Colorful Roasted Beets

Beets are in season and they’re so easy to make! Beets come in gorgeous vibrant colors; I found these lovely beets at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market. The hardest part about this recipe is peeling and cutting them. Once that’s done, just pop them in the oven for a half hour to an hour (depending on how soft you like them) and go do other stuff. This recipe is one of the simplest ways to make beets, but you can add other seasonings depending on what you like: rosemary, garlic, and balsamic vinegar go very well together, so does ginger, cinnamon, and butter. Beets and feta is also a classic. Experiment! You can also make a big batch of this and it will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, perfect as a side dish or snack.

Total Time: 45-65 minutes, largely unattended

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30-50 minutes

Serves 4

1 pint of beets, washed, peeled, and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces

Olive oil or canola oil

Salt (optional) and pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Toss the beets with oil, salt (if desired), and pepper to coat evenly.

3. Place the beets in a baking dish lined with foil and roast for 30-50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

4. Remove the beets from the oven.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Panang Curry with Tofu, Eggplant, Potatoes, Sweet Red Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil

I’m a fiend for curry and Thai curry is one of my favorites. There are many different Thai curries (Massaman, Panang, Red, Green, Yellow, Karee, Kaeng Kua, Khing, etc.), each with a unique flavor that stems from the different ingredients in their pastes. If I was an authentic Thai chef, I’d grind my spices in a pestle and mortar and crack a coconut and strain its milk. Let’s just say I’ve tried to make authentic curry before in just this manner and ended up with multiple bruises on my forehead and a chipped countertop. Since I’m a college a student with no time, the following recipe is one that I’ve made up over the years and is as convenient as can be without sacrificing taste. You can use any protein you want (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, duck, etc.) and any vegetables or fruits you want (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, etc).

Again, this recipe is a simple concept where you can mix and match to find your favorite combination:

Concept: curry paste + coconut milk + protein + vegetables = delicious curry.

This is a great recipe for making a huge batch and reheating the leftovers throughout the week. Curry will taste even better the next day when all of the flavors have had time to mingle. A batch of curry will last for about a week in the fridge.

If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, you could use light coconut milk (best deal is at Trader Joe’s, $0.99/can). However, this will make your curry runnier (since light coconut milk is essentially diluted coconut milk) and, in my opinion, less delicious. You could do 1 light can, 1 full-fat can to compromise, but from my own experience, just use the unadulterated coconut milk and eat less of it. Trust me, the taste and texture of your curry will be absolutely amazing and it will be worth it.

Chao Koh is the best authentic brand of canned coconut milk for foodies and Thai home cooks alike, and is available at Safeway. The next best brand is Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk, which is available at Whole Foods.

I always use Maesri brand curry paste, which I get from Asian grocery stores, but Thai Kitchen curry pastes are good, too. You can find those at Safeway and Whole Foods.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp of neutral oil such as canola, peanut, safflower, or vegetable

2 13 oz cans of coconut milk

1 can (4 oz, or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste (or any curry paste)

1 medium eggplant

3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small potatoes)

1 14 oz box of firm or extra firm tofu (spongy tofu, tofu gan, or any form of tofu will work, but firm will hold up better in the curry)

1 red bell pepper

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Heat up a medium to large pot to medium heat.

2. Stir fry 4 oz (or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste with 2 tbsp of oil.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir to integrate the curry paste with the coconut milk. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, chop the tofu into small 1/2 inch chunks.

4. When the mixture boils, add the tofu and stir thoroughly.5. While the tofu is cooking, chop the eggplant and potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks.

6. Add another can of coconut milk and add the chopped eggplant and potatoes. If the liquid doesn’t cover the newly added eggplant and potatoes, add some water, but not too much, since the eggplant and potatoes will reduce down as they cook.

7. While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking, remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and slice the pepper into strips.

8. After 20 minutes, check to see if the eggplant and potatoes are tender by sticking a fork or chopstick in it. The potatoes should not be too hard or too mushy. If they’re too hard, let them cook for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Once the potatoes are tender, add in the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve immediately over jasmine rice or by itself. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. If you like it spicy, you can also garnish with fresh red chilies.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

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