Showing posts with label Asian Cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asian Cuisine. Show all posts

Monday, September 26, 2016

Spicy Caramel Chicken and a History Lesson

I’ve wanted to film an updated version of this caramel chicken for many years. It was one of the first videos I ever posted, and its unexpected popularity made me realize that there were actually people (non-relatives) watching these videos.

The original vision for Food Wishes was an online cooking school, where I’d charge tuition for a series of courses that would mimic the culinary school I’d just left. I started filming a few recipes each week, knowing full well that only a handful of people would see them, but I had to learn my new craft.

Caramel Chicken, Circa 2007
As the library grew, so did the audience, and I realized that instead of charging for the content, I could give it away for free, and maybe survive on the ad revenue that YouTube was just starting to offer. Above and beyond that, I was getting emails and comments, telling me that what I was doing was making them happy.

This wasn’t something I’d anticipated, and while at the time I would have preferred money, it was great to hear, and inspired me to push on. The rest, as they say, is history, and every time I got an email asking for an updated version of this recipe, I would fondly remember how all this came to be.

So, whether you were here from the very beginning, or you’re brand new, and will be trying caramel chicken for the very first time, I really hope you give this fast, easy, delicious, and historically significant recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 large portions:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in about 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup sliced, seeded jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup sliced, seeded mild red chilies, or bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups cooked white rice

For the sauce mixture:
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves finely minced garlic
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Crispy “Peking Duck” Lettuce Cups – Faster, Easier, and Better?

I was going to say that one of these days we’ll actually make a proper Peking duck recipe, but that’s probably not going to happen. That takes multiple steps, several days, and requires a place to hang the ducks to dry. Most modern homes don’t have a duck drying room.

However, using this relatively quick and simple technique, we can achieve something kind of similar, which many people would say, all things considered, is even better. Well, maybe not “many people,” but I would say that. These were really, really good.

Regarding the Chinese five-spice seen herein; mine contained cinnamon, anise seed, cloves, ginger, and fennel; but these ingredients can vary. Believe it or not, despite the name, many contain more than five spices, as things like pepper, nutmeg, orange peel, and cardamom, are also common additions. The good news is, for something like this, any combination of those will work.

If you’re not into lettuce cups for whatever reason, you can also use this technique for serving whole duck legs. The only difference is, don’t cut them up. Since this is something that can be made well ahead of time, it works nicely for large groups. Just simply reheat, and crisp up the skin before serving. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
6 whole duck legs
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
3 green onions, cut into large pieces
5 garlic cloves, halved

For the sauce (everything here is to taste, so please adjust):
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 lemon juiced

Serve in lettuce cups, garnished with cucumber, green onions, and sesame seeds.
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Shrimp Toast – Is Toast the New Wing?

While virtually unknown compared to most other popular fried party snacks, these shrimp toasts are easy to make, and every bit as delicious, and addictive, as those Buffalo wings, or jalapeño poppers. Well, all that’s about to change.

Nobody goes to a friend’s house to watch the game, and expects to see a plate of these crispy-on-one-side, soft-and-savory-on-the-other-side treats, but after a few of you make these, and word spreads, I’m sure it will just be a matter of time.

Speaking of spreads, since we apply the shrimp mixture raw, it’s not like you can dip a finger in to taste it. So, to check for seasoning, especially the salt, you may want to fry a small piece (like during meatball production), and adjust from there. I added a tiny pinch of salt, but thanks to the soy, anchovy, and fish sauce, you may not need any.

These are significantly better served warm than cold, so maybe fry them in batches, and/or keep warm in an oven. And yes, if you don’t do shrimp, any other raw seafood will work. By the way, I have it on good authority that these are magnificent served with cold beer, and for that reason alone I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 16 Shrimp Toasts:
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup green onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 anchovy filet
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
4 large slices white bread
sesame seeds, optional
vegetable oil for frying
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pan-Roasted 5-Spice Pork Loin – Pleasing and Teasing

Now that it’s been posted, I can admit this easy, pan-roasted pork loin was just an elaborate tease for a video I’ve wanted to post for years; the Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich! If you’ve had one, you’ll fully understand my excitement. If you haven’t, do not miss the next video.

Having admitted my true motivation, I will also say that this very tasty technique is impressive enough in its own right. The misleadingly simple marinade produces big flavor, and by splitting/scoring the pork, we not only have something that absorbs the seasoning quickly, but also cooked faster, and more uniformly.

I’ve been trying to get you to buy that bottle of Asian fish sauce for years now, and maybe this will be the recipe that does it. That really is a key here, as is the Chinese 5-spice powder. Mine included cinnamon, ginger, anise seed, fennel seed, and clove; but this can vary brand to brand. Whatever you find should work, otherwise, just combine equal parts of what I just listed, and you’ve made you own.

I think this particular marinade works great for a 30-minute soak at room temp. Just keep turning it over every so often, and that’s it, you’re ready to cook. Or simply wrap and keep in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or even up to overnight. So, stay tuned for the upcoming bánh mì video, and in the meantime, I really hope you give pan-roasted pork loin a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 pound boneless pork loin roast, cut in half lengthwise, and scored
For the marinade:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for the pan

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Bánh Mì – More Than a Sandwich

I’ll never forget my first real bánh mì. It was here in San Francisco, at a place called Saigon Sandwich, and I remember thinking to myself, this just isn’t one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had to eat, but one of the best things, period.

Not only do we get amazing contrasts in flavor, and texture, but also the temperature difference between the crisp, warm, meat-filled roll, and cool, crunchy vegetables, makes this so much fun to eat.

By the way, the secret sauce should be just sweet enough to temporarily put out the fire from the sriracha and jalapenos. Which reminds me, everything here is “to taste.” The amounts below are just guidelines, and by guidelines, I mean guesses.

If you’re not into our roasted 5-spice pork for this sandwich, you can pretty much use any of your favorite sandwich ingredients. Ham is great, as is smoked turkey, and while I’ve not tried it yet, I bet many of our grilled chicken breast recipes would be stellar here. Just don’t forget the pate!

I prefer the smooth, buttery type of pate, and you don’t have to get to fancy. That one from the cheese shop, made with pork and chicken livers is just fine. Stay tuned for the French rolls video coming soon, and at some point very soon, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one Bánh Mì:
1 crusty French sandwich roll
3 tablespoons secret sauce (mayo, seasoned to taste with hoisin sauce, and sriracha)
4 ounces roasted pork
2 ounces smooth pate
1/2 cup *pickled daikon and carrot
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
6-7 jalapeno slices
6 thin spears English cucumber

* To make the pickled daikon and carrot, use equal parts and toss in enough seasoned rice vinegar to coat well. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, or until the veggies get slightly limp. Drain and use, or refrigerate. If using regular vinegar, add a pinch of salt and sugar.
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to Make Fresh Spring Rolls – Authentic is as Authentic Does

Based on the YouTube comments appearing under the newly posted spring rolls video, lots of people missed the part about this not trying to be a specific recipe, but simply a demo featuring the magic that is damp, rice paper wrappers.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the “authentic” spring rolls I so often order at my friendly, neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. Loaded with sweet shrimp, and bursting with vermicelli noodles, they are among the most delicious things ever invented.

However, I do reserve the right to soak rice paper wrappers in water, and… (I hope you’re sitting down for this) ...not make those! What you see here is just what I had on hand that day, and the next time I do a batch of these, who the heck knows what they’ll encase. If I have a point, that’s it.

Speaking of soaking in water, many commenters suggested that I dunk these in warm water for just a few seconds to hydrate, instead of the longer dip in cold water. I’ve tried both methods, and had more issues with the warmer/faster approach. They seemed to get too rubbery, too fast, which I found made the rolling harder.

Anyway, to each his own, and that goes for water temperature, filling ingredients, and dipping sauce. By the way, there are no ingredient amounts below, since that’s up to you entirely. You should be able to get “rice paper wrappers” at any large grocery store with an Asian food section, but if not, they’re easily found online. I hope you give these, or something similar, a try soon. Enjoy!


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