Category Archives: Asian

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.

Too Cold

Thai Coconut Curry

Thai Yellow Curry

As part of my New Year’s pledge I’m trying to participate in all of the challenges on /52weeksofcooking – which means I have to actually finish the ones from 2013.  Luckily I’m only two behind, and I’ve already figured out two of the ones for 2014 so I’m not horribly behind…or something like that!  First up is from week 51: Thai!  I’m a HUGE fan of Thai food and rarely get to enjoy it because of Joe’s peanut allergy (tho I’m rather certain he’s worth it).  I debated making drunken noodles, but wasn’t able to find the right type of rice noodles so I decided to go with a simple yellow curry.   I found a great recipe for a homemade yellow curry powder, tweaked it as needed to get the right spice level, and went to work.

Yellow Curry Powder

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and add the spices. Stir continuously for three minutes then remove everything to a small bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature then use!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/01/too-cold.html

Too Cold

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 Japanese Eggplant, roll-cut
  • 1/2 lb sugar peas
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli, roughly cut
  • 1 14.5 oz can light coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Heat vegetable oil in wok then add the shallots and garlic, cooking for five minutes before adding the curry powder. Stir well for 2 minutes, until shallots start to turn golden.
  2. Add the eggplant and cook for 7-10 minutes, eggplant will start to turn light purple/brown and become soft. Add the sugar peas along with the broccoli and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk, then bring mixture to a low simmer. Cover and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed then serve over rice or rice noodles and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/01/too-cold.html

This dish came together incredibly fast, and making the curry powder from scratch added a new level.  I’ve always used store brand curry powder, and occasionally curry paste when I can find some that is fish sauce/shrimp paste free.  Was also pleasantly surprised that making it myself wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Nuts about You

Spicy Chili Peanut Sauce

Peanut Chili Sauce

For the most part my house is a peanut free place, since I find my husband functions best when not dealing with an allergic reaction.  However this move has us spending work days apart while I wrap things up in NoVa, and he starts his new position in Maryland.  Needless to say I have gone a bit peanut crazy, to include eating peanut butter straight out of the jar.  The other week I was doing a basic stir-fry when I decided to add some peanut butter to the dish, to see what would happen.  The result was incredible so I decided I had to replicate it and figure out how to get the perfect balance between the spicy chili and the delicious peanut butter.

Spicy Peanut Chili Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, roll cut
  • 1/2 lb bok choy, chopped whites and torn greens
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook 3 minutes or until garlic starts to turn golden. Add the eggplant and the white section of the bok choy and cook for 7-10 minutes, the eggplant should start to turn slightly brown and become soft.
  2. Meanwhile mix the rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, and chili sauce. Once the eggplant is soft add the sauce along with the bok choy greens and toss well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then stir and taste - adding more of the chili, soy sauce, or peanut butter as needed.
  3. Serve over brown rice or soba noodles and enjoy!

Notes

If sauce is too salty or spicy add vegetable stock or water, 1/2 tbsp at a time until desired taste is reached!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/10/nuts-about-you.html

The first time I made this dish I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, but learned once again that randomly experimenting with ingredients can produce spectacular results.  One tip, if using creamy peanut butter make sure to add some fresh peanuts to the dish in order to keep the satisfying crunch!  I’m sending this over to 52weeksofcooking for their nuts week, which I’m thankful fell during the time when my hubby was out of the house :-)