Archive for the ‘Ethnic’ category

Vietnamese noodle salad with shrimp and chicken

September 17, 2021

This recipe uses bean threads, an unusual kind of noodle that are made from mung bean flour. They are gluten free, which will please some people, and don’t need cooking, requiring only soaking in hot water to soften them. The are available in any Asian market and some well-stocked supermarkets; they typically come in small (~2 oz) packages with 6-8 packages bundled in a mesh bag. They are sometimes labeled as vermicelli. This salad is really tasty and makes a cool, refreshing meal in hot weather. Serves 4, can be doubled.

Star anise is an important component of this dish, adding a subtle licorice/fennel flavor. It too can be found at Asian markets. It’s cheap and it keeps forever in the pantry. I suppose you could try subbing fennel seeds but I have not tried it.

  • 2 large or 3 small chicken thighs (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 lb shell-on medium shrimp
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/4 inch coins (no need to peel)
  • 6 star anise
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, whites and most of the greens, sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 4 packages bean threads
  • 1 English (Kirby) cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired, and sliced into thin half-circles
  • 1/3 c each fresh mint, cilantro, and Thai basil, chopped (use regular basil if necessary)
  • To taste, fresh hot red peppers such as Thai peppers, seeded and sliced thinly (1-3 peppers, or omit)

Bring 6 c water, the ginger and anise, and 1 TB salt to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for about 20 min. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 min. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.

Return the liquid to a simmer and add the shrimp. Simmer for a couple of moments, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool.

Cut or shred the chicken into small pieces, discarding any skin/bones. Peel the shrimp and cut crossways into 2-3 pieces each.

Strain the cooking liquid, discarding solids, and return to pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in bean threads. Check for texture after 5 minutes and let sit longer if needed. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut thru the noodles a few times with shears to get more manageable lengths. The broth can be discarded or saved for another use.

Put the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar, carrot, scallions, and a few grindings of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the noodles and toss well. Add the chicken, shrimp, cucumber, herbs, and peppers and toss again. Chill and toss again before serving.

Pizza with potatoes, goat cheese, bacon, and onions

September 11, 2021

This is a welcome change from the traditional pizza based on tomato sauce and mozzarella (good as that can be!). I got the idea for a potato-based pizza from the Radius Pizzeria in Hillsborough, NC, and worked up my own version. You’ll want a pizza stone and a peel for this recipe. This makes 2-12 inch pizzas.

  • 1/2 recipe pizza dough (or use store-bought)
  • 2 medium Yukon gold or similar potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 oz soft goat cheese, plain or herbed
  • 6 slices bacon

Make the dough

This makes a double batch, enough for 4-12 inch pizzas I like to make a full recipe and freeze half for another day. Using the food process makes the task easy, and the overnight rising gives better texture. But you can make it the same day if you allow a few hours for the rise.

  • 4 c AP or bread flour
  • 1-3/4 c water at room temperature
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp or 1 envelope instant yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Put the flour, salt, and yeast in the processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running add the oil then most of the water, holding back a couple of TB. Process for 30 seconds or so. If the dough seems dry add the remaining water; if too sticky, a couple of TB more flour. Process 15 sec longer then turn out onto a floured counter. Divide in half; put one piece in a zipper bag for freezing. Use your hands to form the remainder into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Stretch plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge the next morning and leave at room temp to finish rising.

Toppings

Peel the potatoes and slice very thin, perhaps 1/8 inch. Boil for about 3 minutes to partially cook, then drain and set aside.

Peel the onion and cut into thin half-rings. Sauté in a bit of olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, perhaps 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Slice the bacon crossways into 1/4 inch pieces. Using the same pan, sauté until starting to crisp, then spread out on a paper towel to remove excess fat.

The Oven

At least 30 min before baking, put a pizza stone on the middle rack and set the oven to its highest temperature. This will be 500o in most home ovens, 550o if you are lucky.

Assembly

Divide the dough into halves and roll each into a ball. Working one at a time, place on a piece of parchment paper and use your hands or a rolling pin to form a 12″ circle, dusting the dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking. If the dough begins snapping back due to gluten formation, cover it and allow it to rest for 15 min, then proceed.

Layer the potato slices in a single layer over the dough, then spread the onions and bacon evenly. Follow with grape-size blobs of cheese evenly spaced all over, some ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Use your pizza peel to transfer one pizza, with parchment paper, to the pizza stone. Bake 8-12 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove to a cooling rack and discard the parchment. Repeat with the second pizza and serve.

Pasta with summer squash

August 20, 2021

This is a marvelous dish during the height of summer when your garden or the farmers market is bursting with an abundance of squash. I like to use a mix of squash–zucchini, pattipan, and zephyr (the half yellow, half green ones) but you can mix and match as you see fit.

  • 1 lb short pasta fusilli, penne, etc.
  • 1 quart squash, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 c halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 handful basil leaves chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano for serving

In a collander, toss the squash with 1 TB kosher salt. Let sit for at least 1/2 hour. Rinse quickly and pat dry with paper towels.

Put the pasta on to cook.

Hear a few TB olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper and let it sizzle for a moment. Add the squash and cook, stirring now and then, until the squash is just starting to brown and is partially cooked. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir, and simmer for a few minutes. Season with pepper, mix with the drained pasta, and serve with cheese on the side.

Eggs Mexican style

June 8, 2021

While scrounging thru the fridge one morning I came up with this. It has become a regular around here as it’s easy, adaptable, and filling.

For each diner:

  • 2-6 inch corn tortillas
  • 1 handful grated cheese such a cheddar or Colby-jack
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Optional extras (see below)

The extras can be almost anything you like–shredded chicken, chopped onion, pickled jalapeños, chopped olives, etc. But this is fine without extras.

Sprinkle the cheese over one tortilla. Add extras, if using, and put the 2nd tortilla on top, pressing down firmly. Heat about 1 TB of vegetable oil or lard in a frypan and cook until slightly browned and a bit crispy–maybe 1 min. Flip and do the other side. Sprinkle with a little salt if desired and remove to a plate. Cook the egg(s) in the same pan and place on top. Serve with salsa and hot sauce.

Frijoles refritos (refried beans)

March 14, 2021

These are a staple at Mexican restaurants, but often disappointing. They are very easy to make at home, though, and have plenty of uses outside of Mexican cuisine.

  • 4 TB oil or fat (see below)
  • 2-15 oz cans pinto beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 tennis ball-sized onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1 TB ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Lard is traditionally used for this, but is not necessary. Bacon fat is good or use pretty much any vegetable oil–in which case the dish will be vegan.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet. When hot, add the onion, garlic, and Jalapeño and cook over medium heat until starting to brown. Add the beans and a bit of their liquid. Stir and mash with the back of a wooden spoon. When about half mashed, add the cumin and pepper. Continue mashing, add more liquid as needed, until you get the desired consistency. Some people like their beans to be almost completely smooth while others, including me, like to leave a good bit of bean chunks intact (as in the photo). Correct salt if needed.

Gochujang-glazed eggplant

October 7, 2020

Gochujang is the national hot sauce of Korea. It is spicy, yes, but not super-spicy, and it has lots of flavor. It’s become so popular that you can often find it in the supermarket. It makes a great glaze for eggplant. You want the long, dark-skinned, Asian eggplant for this, although our common globe eggplant would work too.

3 large Asian eggplant, about 1 lb or a bit less
2 TB gochugang
1 TB soy sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 small or 2 large garlic cloves
Vegetable oil, about 1/3 c
4-6 scallions

Rinse but do not peel the eggplant. Cut off the stem end and then crossways into 3 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise and then in half again to give you 4 wedge-shaped pieces (12 total). Toss in a colander with 1 tsp salt and let sit for at least 30 min.

Put the garlic thru a press. Mix the garlic, gochujang, soy, and sugar in a small bowl.

Cut the scallions, whites and most of the greens, into 3-4 ” lengths. Cut each piece lengthwise once or twice to get slivers. Set a few lengths of green aside for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. It’s hot enough when a small shred of scallion starts sizzling in a few seconds. Add the scallion white and fry, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the green parts and continue frying, stirring, until all is browned. Remove to a paper towel on a plate (chopsticks are great for this task).

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels–do not rinse. Heat oil again over medium-high and add the eggplant cut side down. Cook until starting to brown, then cook for a few more minutes until starting to soften. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the gochujang mixture. Cook while stirring and flipping the eggplant until the sauce is bubbling, reduced, and just starting to caramelize. Remove to a platter, scatter the fried scallions on top followed by the reserved garnish. Can be served warm, at room temp (my fave), or right out of the fridge.

Note: If your skillet is not large enough to hold all the eggplant in one layer, fry it in two batches then combine in the pan and proceed with the saucing.

Pierogis with sauerkraut or cheese

September 3, 2020

If you are trying to limit carbs and/or fat, read no further. These little guys are irresistible and you always have room for one more! Because the dough in this recipe is made with sour cream instead of water or milk, it is extra rich and tasty. They freeze beautifully, too. I give the sauerkraut recipe first and the cheese variation follows.

For the dough:

  • 2-1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and, using the dough hook, mix on low for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms. If it seems too dry or wet, add small bits of milk or flour as needed. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand to form a smooth ball. Cover and let sit while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut or one 15oz can of sauerkraut
  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 TB butter
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cook in simmering water until completely cooked, then drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and mash with a hand masher or use a ricer.

While the potatoes cook, drain the kraut and put in a bowl of fresh water. Swish around and drain again. Repeat the rinsing and draining one more time. A handful at a time, squeeze out extra moisture. Put on a cutting board and take a few cuts thru it with a knife (to avoid long strands). Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Correct seasoning.

For cheese and potato filling: Replace the kraut with 1-1/2 c sharp cheddar cut into small cubes. Be sure the potatoes are fully cooled before adding the cheese.

Assembly: Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tin can to cut 3 inch circles. Place 1 TB filling in the center of each circle and fold over, pressing the edges to seal. Set on a wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form excess dough into a ball and roll out again to cut more circles.

To freeze, set the baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered. When the pierogi are frozen solid, transfer to a zipper bag for storage.

Cooking: Drop pierogi (fresh or frozen) into gently boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes (6 if frozen) and remove to a plate to drain. Using a nonstick pan, saute over medium heat in a bit of butter and oil until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

Chicken wings Korean or Buffalo style

July 21, 2020

Fried chicken wings are immensely popular and the Korean and Buffalo styles perhaps top the list. This is a way to get tasty and crispy wings without the hassle and mess of deep frying.

Wings, as many as desired
Kosher salt
Sugar
Neutral oil (canola, peanut, avocado, etc.)
Flour

If not already done, separate the wings and discard the tips. Put in a bowl and cover with water in which you have dissolved 1/4 c kosher salt and 1/4 c sugar per quart. Refrigerate for an hour or two then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees using the convection setting if available. Put the rack toward the top of the oven.

Put the wings in a dry bowl and toss with enough oil to coat. Add some flour and toss to coat. Arrange the wings, not touching, on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes then broil until the wings are sizzling and browned. They are perfectly fine served at this point, but for extra crispness turn the wings and broil for another couple of minutes. Remove wings to a bowl and proceed as follows.

For Korean style

Gochujang (Korean hot sauce)
Sriracha
White toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Thinly sliced scallions (optional)

Mix equal parts for gochujang and sriracha to mix with wings to coat. Put on serving platter and top with optional sesame seeds and/or scallions. Pass extra gochujang/sriracha sauce at the table.

For Buffalo style

According to history, or perhaps legend, buffalo wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The story goes that a favorite item on the menu was a fried chicken sandwich, but one evening the cook discovered that the supplier had brought a box of wings instead of breasts. Not wanting to disappoint customers, the cook came up with this now-famous recipe.

Frank’s or similar hot sauce (Texas Pete, for example, but not Tabasco)
Melted butter
Blue cheese dressing
Celery sticks

Toss the wings with the hot sauce and butter then serve with the dressing and celery on the side. Some people sub ranch dressing, but as best I can determine the original calls for blue cheese.

Mexican red rice

June 2, 2020

This is a staple at Mexican restaurants, plopped on your plate next to the refried beans. But with rare exceptions it is but a pale shadow of what it should be, consisting of little more than tomato-tinged rice. It can be so much more, and it’s not all that difficult. It goes well with many non-Mexican dishes, too. It’s very helpful to have a kitchen scale. This is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

2 c long-grained rice, preferably Carolina Gold
1-14 oz can diced or whole tomatoes
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 or 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
1/4 c oil
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
3 whole bay leaves
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed

Rinse the rice well and let drain thoroughly.

Drain the tomatoes and save the liquid.

Put the tomato solids, half of the liquid, onion, Jalapeño, and garlic in a blender and zap for 30 sec or so, until fully pureed. Pour into a bowl on your scale–you want 20-21 oz. Either remove some or add reserved tomato juice to get correct weight.

In a heavy bottom soup  pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and when hot add the rice. Stir until the rice turns a light golden brown, 3-4 min then remove the rice to a bowl. Add the pureed vegetables to the same pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until the raw onion/garlic smell is gone–a few minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and when simmering add the rice. Stir, cover, and simmer slowly until the liquid is pretty much all absorbed. Turn off heat and add peas. Let sit for 10-20 min then fluff with a fork and it’s ready to serve.

Ramja (kidney beans in a spicy tomato sauce)

May 14, 2020

Ramja is a Punjabi-inspired stew of kidney beans in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella. It’s adapted from a NY Times magazine recipe. I like to serve it with white rice and/or a flatbread such as naan.

Preheat oven to 350o

1 large red onion, peeled
1-2 green chilis (serrano, jalapeño, etc) seeeded
1 TB oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled
1 tsp red chili powder
big pinch powdered cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, not drained
2-15 oz cans kidney beans, drained or 4 c of home-cooked beans
1 c diced mozzarella
¼ c white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
¼ c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 c chopped cilantro

Cut the onion into quarters lengthwise. Slice 1 piece thinly and set aside in a small bowl. Put the other 3 pieces in a blender (preferred) or food processor along with the oil, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, chili powder, and green chilis. Process until not-quite pureed. You may need to scrape down the bowl and/or add a bit of oil.

Heat 2 TB of oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the blended mixture and cook, stirring, for about 5 min until very fragrant and just starting to brown. Add beans and tomatoes and stir. Salt to taste and scatter the cheese over the top. Put, uncovered, in the oven and bake (without stirring) until bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, 30-40 min

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and water. Pour boiling water over the onion slices and drain after about 20 sec. Stir in the vinegar mixture. Serve, passing the onions and cilantro at the table.


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