Category Archives: Asian

Counting Seconds

Plov: Vegetarian Style

Plov

Sometimes I make a dish with no idea what is going to happen at the end – to include if it will even be edible.  I had heard of Plov before, thanks to Silk Road Bistro, but wanted to make it more of a main dish without the standard lamb.   Lots of googling gave me a good list of vegetables to start with: carrots, onions, and garlic  – along with the addition of some variety of currant.  When it came to the main protein all I knew is that I didn’t want to go with tofu, I wanted something with a firm bite to it as a contrast to the soft vegetables.  I decided to go with chickpeas since their origins in Turkey led me to believe they would have easily spread to the Central Asia region that I was focusing on for this dish.

Counting Seconds

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute before adding the onion and garlic.
  2. Continue cooking the onion and garlic for 15 minutes, the onion should start to caramelize and the garlic should be a rich golden color. Add the rice and stir, until coated in the oil then add the water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then cover and turn heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the chickpeas and recover.
  4. Cook for a final 5 minutes then stir in the cranberries and Serve!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/counting-seconds.html

Another thanks to /r/52weeksofcooking for sending me on another delicious food journey – I’ve learned so much in doing these weekly challenges and can’t wait til the next one! Though of all the dishes I’ve made for this challenge, this one is easily in the top 5 as the ingredients are all standard ones making it super easy to prepare.  Ever since Wegmans added cranberries to their bulk food section I’ve had a fresh supply in my pantry – and while they aren’t burberries they are delicious.

Be Unforgettable

Vegetable Pancit

Pancit

One thing I love about blog challenges is that they push me out of my comfort zone, on the flip side one thing I hate about blog challenges is how they push me out of my comfort zone.  When I saw the theme for /52weeksofcooking was Filipino I was once again thrown for a loop – but unlike other challenges were I was totally in the dark at least this time I had some friends who could help out.  After crowd sourcing ideas and recipes, I decided to make a vegetarian variation of Pancit – a dish I had heard of but never experienced.  Traditionally this dish features one of the white meats and while I debated adding tofu I decided to stick with the normal vegetables featured in the dish just in MUCH larger amounts.

Be Unforgettable

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 scallions, cut half way up the green
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 lb napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 lb red cabbage, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 lb thin rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, low sodium

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large work or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and white part of the scallions. Cook for 7 minutes, and then add the broccoli and carrots. Continue cooking for 5 minutes before slowly adding in the cabbage, being careful to not crowd the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles per instructions on bag (or box). Once cooked rinse with cold water and set aside.
  3. Add the cooked noodles to the vegetables and stir in the teriyaki, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Toss well then top with the green part of the scallions.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/07/be-unforgettable.html

I was blown away but how flavorful this dish was, especially considering how quickly it came together.   Based on the fact he took his chopsticks directly to the pot I think it’s safe to say my other half also greatly enjoyed this dish!  Next time I might leave out the teriyaki sauce since the recipes I found online were rather split on including it – but it was a nice addition to the dish!   Looking forward to seeing where /52weeksofcooking sends me next!

Down to Earth

Spicy Chili Carrots 

Chili Carrots

Before leaving Virginia, we were able to visit a top restaurant in the Potomac area – and with that enjoy some Korean Cajun fusion.  One of the snack items on the menu were these incredible firecracker carrots, they had just the right amount of sweet and spice with a bit of crunch.  Ever since that meal I’ve been trying to figure out how to recreate it, adding this spice and that in an attempt to find that perfect balance.

Spicy Chili Carrots

Serves 4-6, as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut in to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp siracha

Instructions

  1. Place the cut carrots in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt.
  2. Remove to a large skillet over medium heat, then add the ginger along with the brown sugar. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the siracha, then cover, and turn heat as low as it goes. Cook for 10 minutes, or until carrots are slightly tender. Add more siracha as desired.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/down-to-earth.html

While I’m not 100% confident this is the exact recipe, it’s probably as close as I’m going to get without someone on the kitchen staff giving away secrets.  Regardless, they are deliciously amazing and went perfectly with the Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers I made the other week.

Boil the Sea

Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young

When I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was to use a TV show for inspiration I realized two things: 1) there aren’t many vegetarians/vegetarian friendly shows on TV and 2) I don’t really watch that much TV.  As part of our move we did away with cable, relying on Netflix and honestly haven’t missed “normal” TV at all.   So I made a list of possible shows, and then tried to figure out if a vegetarian meal would make sense.  Some of the bigger shows, such as House of Cards or Game of Thrones, it was clear from the beginning that going meatless was not an option.  I debated making some “fish” fingers with pudding for Doctor Who, but the best part of that is the fish so…I enlisted some outside help.  Which lead me to Firely, easily one of the best TV shows ever and one that has a few options when it comes to food.  From mock protein bars to anything involving strawberries. however my friend who suggested Firefly also suggested doing an American/Chinese dish (aka what most Chinese restaurants serve) since that’s all the Alliance seems to be made of.   I debated the options and decided to go with Egg Foo Young, for while delicious it does resemble the protein dish served during Out of Gas.

Boil the Sea

Serves: Yields 4 Egg Foo Young patties

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 inch piece of ginger, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs, soy sauce, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add the vegetables, along with the ginger and bit of salt/pepper, blend well, and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat until oil is around 375 degrees. Test readiness by using the water method.
  3. Spoon 1/4 of the batter into the vegetable oil and use a spatula to hold mixture together. Cook for 5 minutes, then use the ladle to add a bit of the hot oil to the top of the patty to help bind it. Use a large spatula and gently flip. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on the other side, until the egg has browned.
  4. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool for three minutes. Serve topped with soy sauce and enjoy1
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/boil-the-sea.html

As a bonus it turned out Joe had never had this dish, and there’s something rather awesome in introducing someone to a new dish.   At some point I want to figure out a way to vegetarianize the sauce that comes with this dish, but it wasn’t until researching it that I found out it normally contains fish sauce as well as shrimp paste – so I probably won’t be ordering this dish anytime soon.  Another great thing about this dish is it works well for all meals, I served it as part of a weekend brunch – but typically order it as part of dinner.  Nothing like a quick and versatile meal :-)

As Fast as You Can

Aloo Baingan (or Spicy Potatoes with Eggplant)

Aloo Baingan

Over the past week I’ve been reminded of the deep and undying love I have for my slow cooker.  While it’s getting on in age, it’s dependable and loyal – constantly serving up delicious dishes with very little effort.  This past year I received a new book just for this technological wonder “The Indian Slow Cooker“, and boy was I ever thrilled.   I’ve made a few recipes directly from the book in the short time I’ve had it, and have already started adjusting dishes in order to better fit my family.  Today’s recipe falls in to that second category, as the original dish required adjusting flavors halfway thru the cooking time – which (for me) negates the purpose of a slow cooker.  When I use a slow cooker, I want to toss things in and forget about them until it’s time to eat.  Maybe some slight adjustments at the end, adding cheese or breadcrumbs or similar topping, but mostly just want to be done with it as fast as possible.

Aloo Baingan

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 thai chilies, minced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable stock
  • 1 large American Eggplant (or 2 medium Ichiban eggplant), roll cut and then halved
  • 1 lb butter potatoes, quartered (around 3 medium sized potatoes)
  • 1 red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker on low for 6 1/2 hours.
  2. Turn heat to high and cook for a final 30 minutes to insure potatoes are cooked all the way thru.
  3. Serve over brown rice and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/01/as-fast-as-you-can.html

This dish has a bit of a kick to it, but can be cooled down by dropping out the chilies or adding some plain yogurt to take the edge off.  We both enjoyed ours as is, serving over top of some brown rice.  One of these days I’m going to figure out how to make naan and then I’ll be all ready for a real Indian dinner.