All posts tagged: asian

Grilled Japanese Chicken Wings

These wings are based on Japanese yakitori grilling – grilled, then dipped in tare sauce – but to do true yakitori wings, I should be skewering them, and grilling them over direct heat. But…direct heat and wings don’t work for me. No matter how careful I am, how often I flip, I burn the wings before they cook through. I have better luck with chicken wings when I grill-roast them with indirect heat, rendering fat and browning the wings. I finish them with a dip in the sauce and a quick sear over direct heat. Even then I have to be quick – the wings still want to burn, so I sear them in small batches, turning them often, pulling them off the grill at the slightest hint of char. I could take the easy way out and skip the direct grilling. The wings are crisp, and a dip in the sauce works pretty well. After all this, why do I risk burning the wings? A quick sear tightens up the sauce, turning it into …

Sichuan Roasted Pepper Salt | DadCooksDinner.com

Sichuan Roasted Pepper Salt

I’m trying to lose weight. I start every day with a high protein breakfast – which means lots of hard boiled eggs. They’re quick, easy, portable…and boring. Or, at least, they were boring. Then, one morning, I had enough of boring. I went looking through my pantry, and noticed my jar of Sichuan pepper salt. I use it often when I stir fry, but on eggs? It was a revelation. The flavors in the Sichuan pepper make all the difference – now I look forward to hard boiled eggs every day. When I used up the jar I bought at Penzeys, I decided to make my own, following the extremely simple recipe in Barbara Tropp’s China Moon cookbook. But first – Sichuan pepper? Or Szechuan? Maybe Szechwan? The confusion comes from converting the Chinese pronunciation into English letters. (Kind of like Peking duck coming from Beijing.) Sichuan is the pinyin spelling of the Chinese province. Pinyin was chosen in 1982 as the international standard for converting Chinese characters to English. Before then, the Szechuan spelling …

Grilled Miso BBQ Chicken Wings

We made a trip to Noodlecat, the casual ramen restaurant owned by Jonathon Sawyer of Cleveland’s Greenhouse Tavern. The ramen was great, of course, and I’ll be working on my tonsoku broth recipe for a future post. The kids loved the art – there were huge paintings of cats, manga style, hanging on the wall. But what really grabbed me were the miso BBQ chicken wings. There are no hints on Noodlecat’s menu about what ingredients go into the miso BBQ sauce, and I forgot to ask the server. I need to visit Noodlecat again – exclusively for research, of course. But the weather was so nice this week, and I had some miso in the fridge. I decided to wing it.*Get it? Wing it? I amuse myself. And yes, I use ketchup in the recipe. The glaze needed a red color, some vinegar, and some sweet flavors; ketchup provides all three. And ketchup is the base of all my barbecue sauces, so it just seemed right as part of a miso BBQ sauce.*I sound defensive. Ketchup …

Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Thai Style

I have been looking for a Thai flavored variation of my turkey lettuce wraps. After a lot of trial and error,  I have one worth sharing. Ground Turkey can be dry and lean; it needs a good sauce to help it out. I’ve been fascinated Larb*, the Thai/Laotian ground meat and toasted rice dish that is served with lettuce. I’ve been playing with the sauce, trying to find that balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet that is the backbone of Thai cooking.*AKA Laap, or Laab, or Larp. Why so many names? Apparently, there is no standard way of transcribing Thai script into English. I was struggling until I came across Leela Punyaratabandhu’s blog, SheSimmers.com. After reading her posts, especially the one on Thai Three Flavored Sauce, the light bulb went on. I was making this more difficult than I needed to. Instead of trying to build all the flavors into my sauce, I layered them throughout the dish. I stripped the sauce down to sour (lime juice), salty (soy and fish sauce), and sweet (brown sugar). I …

Turkey Ramen Soup

I say it every Thanksgiving: make stock with your turkey carcass! *My friends roll their eyes when I ramble on about the glory of after-Thanksgiving turkey soup.  I always make a traditional turkey noodle soup, but a turkey carcass makes a whole lot of stock. This year’s soup is inspired by the ramen-centered first issue of Lucky Peach.Where are the best places to eat ramen? (in Japan, of course.)  What are the regional variations? How do you make Momofuku style ramen broth? (David Chang, chef-owner of Momofuku, created Lucky Peach.) Harold McGee explains the science behind alkaline noodles. John T Edge visits New Orleans for Seventh Ward Ramen. David Chang shares Momofuku’s simple recipe for slow roast pork shoulder and pork belly.*My favorite article was Ruth Reichl’s taste testing of packaged ramen noodles. She confesses to serving tons of them when her teenage son and horde of friends descended on the kitchen.  In spite of Harold McGee’s article on how to make perfect alkaline noodles, I’m going with the old standby – packaged ramen noodles from the …

Korean Grilled Beef Lettuce Wraps (Bulgogi)

Bulgogi makes me ask: Why haven’t I heard more about Korean grilling? It is beautifully simple; thin sliced beef with a quick marinade, served in a lettuce wrap. *And then it is topped with with kimchi. I’m not sure I’m sold on the kimchi part. But the rest? Genius. For bulgogi, you want a tender cut, one that would be used for American steaks.  My favorite is rib eye, but New York strip or sirloin are also good. The steak is sliced very thin, marinated in a sweet soy marinade, grilled quickly, wrapped in lettuce, and served. It is quick enough to cook on a weeknight, and uses pantry ingredients (though my parents may differ).  And the taste? My wife demanded I make it again. She’s the one who usually asks for me to cook more vegetables. The only hard part about Bulgogi is slicing the beef. You can cut the beef yourself, 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick, from a small roast. *This requires a steady hand. Steadier than I am able to muster. The one …

Slow Cooker Chinese Red Cooked Chicken Thighs

I’ve been reading a lot of authentic chinese cookbooks recently, looking for ideas to expand my weeknight stir-fries. One technique that caught my eye was red cooking, braising meat for a long time in a Shaoxing wine, soy and caramelized sugar broth. The result of red cooking is tender meat with a reddish hue from the broth. I don’t have one of the traditional Chinese sand pots that are used for red cooking.  And, I was looking for a weeknight dinner, not a weekend extravaganza.  So, I turned to my trusty slow cooker. It seemed like a natural for red cooking – a long simmer at low heat is exactly what the slow cooker does best. My cooking instincts were good – red cooking chicken thighs in the slow cooker is a great idea. The chicken was fall off the bone tender, and flavored through with the sweet, sour and salty broth. The only problem was the aroma – it smells so good, but you have to wait six hours to eat! Now, my red-cooked chicken thighs …

Thai Noodle and Pork Stir Fry

Noodle stir fries are a quick weeknight meal in my recipe arsenal. I turn to it when I’m bored with my standard chicken stir fry with a side of white rice. The kids would be happy if we had rice every night, but I want some variety in my stir fries. I can’t live on rice alone.*I think my kids would be willing to try living on rice alone. Rice vermicelli noodles are the key ingredient. They are a quick cooking replacement for the rice, and they add some needed bulk to the meal. Rice vermicelli doesn’t need boiling water; the noodles soften when soaked in hot tap water for 20 minutes. Drain them, and they’re ready to go in the pan with the stir fry. This recipe is improvised from Su-Mei Yu’s rice noodle stir fry technique (Fine Cooking Feb/Mar 2006). I was thinking about Pad Thai when I started, but I was missing some key ingredients. I adapted what I had into a general Thai noodle dish. Thai flavors are a big hit …

Ginger Fried Rice, Bittman and Vongerichten Style

I’m a fan of Mark Bittman’s Minimalist column in the New York Times. His best recipes seem to be inspired by working with professional chefs. Mark combines his knack for stripping a recipe down to its minimalist essence with the flavor combinations that the chefs have painstakingly developed. His work with Gary Danko produced his baked mustard chicken thighs recipe, which is in heavy rotation at my house. And no-knead bread, made with Jim Lahey, was an sensation on the Internet, and deservedly so – it revolutionized home bread baking. Bittman has been collaborating for years with Jean-Georges Vongeritchen, head chef of the Jean-Georges restaurant empire. They have worked together on many books; the brilliance of Jean-Georges’ French and Asian flavor combinations, and the simplicity of Mark Bittman’s basic approach makes them a good team. *I’ve heard great things about their Simple to Spectacular cookbook. When I was writing this post, I realized that I’ve never read it. I just added it to my Amazon wish list for future reference. Mark recently posted Jean-Georges’ ginger fried rice …

Rotisserie Pork Shoulder, Char Siu Style

My second most popular post is my rotisserie pork shoulder recipe. *I love that recipe, because it was one of the first recipes I created exclusively for this blog. I was trying to come up with a new rotisserie idea, and it worked out better than I could have hoped.  It has become a standard in my recipe rotation. **Get it? Recipe “rotation”? On the rotisserie? OK, I’ll try again later. I was looking for a follow up, because pork shoulder (aka pork butt) is one of my favorite cuts of meat. I wanted another way to cook it on the rotisserie. When I was researching my Peking duck recipe, the idea came to me. Could I adapt char siu, Chinese barbecued pork, to the rotisserie? The rotisserie turned out* to be a great way to make char siu. You get the sweet, glazed, crispy exterior that says “Chinese barbecue” with the juicy, tender interior that only long cooked pork shoulder can give you. The only trick to the recipe is…sugar burns easily, so you …

Thai Coconut Soup

Thai Coconut Soup is another chicken broth based soup that I make a lot. I view it as a variation on the Tortilla Soup recipe I posted yesterday. *I think this is a universal recipe; every culture has it. Yesterday we did the Mexican version, today we’ll do the Thai version. We did the American version with our turkey noodle soup from a while back.The basic steps are exactly the same; saute your aromatics and spices, add your chicken broth, simmer, then pour over your starch and meat.  The differences are in the details.  As an example, let’s look at the aromatics:Mexican: Onion, hot pepper, garlic, tomato, lime juice, cilantro, cuminThai: Onion, hot pepper, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, thai curry paste, coconut milk There’s a lot of overlap on those lists, no? Recipe: Thai Coconut Soup Ingredients: 1 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil) 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin 1 tsp Thai Curry Paste (use up to 1 tbsp if you like hot food) 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed …

Grilled Chicken Wings, Spicy Asian Glazed

As much as I like my grill-roasted chicken wings, the recipe doesn’t make enough wings to serve more than a couple of people. Wings take up a lot of space on the grill, and the indirect cooking method uses up more of the precious space on my Weber kettle. *I really need to get the recently released 26-inch Weber kettle, but that’s another story. One about lust and grills, that ends in tears for my checkbook. I decided to try cooking them with direct heat, so I could use my entire grill surface. What I found is that this is not a recipe for the easily distracted. You get good, crispy wings, but they have to be in almost constant motion. The hot spots and flare-ups you get on a charcoal grill are magnified by the large amount of chicken fat that will drip from the wings. If you lose focus for a minute, the result will be black, charred, and not very appetizing.* *I had a few wings turn out like that, so I …

Korean Grilled Short Ribs (Kalbi) | DadCooksDinner.com

Korean Grilled Short Ribs (Kalbi)

This recipe is the most authentic lettuce wrap that I know – Korean grilled short ribs, or Kalbi. Lettuce wraps are a favorite way to sneak extra vegetables into my diet. We serve them like we do “taco night” – everything goes on the table, and people assemble their own wraps. Of course, the kids won’t touch the lettuce, so they just grab the rest of the components of the meal. This is authentic, easy to make, and quick to cook. All the ingredients are available at your local grocery store. Sounds too good to be true, right? The hard part is finding the ribs cut this way. Check out your local Asian market, or ask your butcher to cut some short ribs very thin – 1/4″ thick is what you want, but 1/2″ thick is OK. *Or substitute thin sliced flank steak or skirt steak – see the notes. Korean Grilled Short Ribs (Kalbi) recipe Equipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Food processor or blender (I used my KitchenAid …

Road Trip: Cleveland CAM Asia Market

It’s Technology Free week, where we try to get the kids to detox from the TV, Wii and iPhone.**Yes, I’m cheating. Shhh. **[Note 4/30/2009]…and I got busted while I was posting this. Ben caught me, and said “Dad! You’re using the computer!” I love going to Cleveland Asia Market. (website here) It has the best part of going to an ethnic store – you get to feel like you’re a world traveller, without needing a passport. And! It has good lighting, wide aisles, and signs in English and Chinese.**At least I think they’re Chinese. I feel very provincial by not knowing what language they’re in. Which reminds me of a joke: Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?A: BilingualQ: What do you call someone who speaks one language?A: American I’ll be here all week – drive safely, and don’t forget to tip your waitress. [Added 4/30/09]: Joking aside, having the price tags under every item in English helps out a lot. A common problem I have in Asian grocery stores is identifying …

Stir Fried Bok Choy with Basil-Lemon Sauce

Here is a recipe I use often, for a quick stir-fry side dish. I usually make it after I’ve made the protein stir fry – I wipe the pan out and move on to the vegetable side. I put this one together from vegetables we got from our CSA share this summer. My apologies to Pam, who split the CSA share with me. I’ve had these pictures waiting for me to write up the recipe for quite a while now, and she kept asking me “what are you doing with all these vegetables?!?”. I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to get around to the answer to that question. As I’ve said before, the key to a stir-fry is the stir fry technique. Organization is key – you need to have all the vegetables prepped before you start. When I do a stir-fry with a main dish and a side, I prep both at the same time – You’ll see the vegetables I used in my weeknight chicken stir fry recipe in some of …

Stir Fried Chicken with Peppers and Onions

This recipe is one of my go to weeknight meals. Stir-fried chicken, plus a stir fried vegetable side and white rice – I can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes. The key to this recipe is the stir fry technique; once you have the stir fry technique internalized, this recipe comes together quickly. Recipe: Stir Fried Chicken with Peppers and Onions Veg prepped.  Note the bok choy, for my veg side, is also ready to go Ingredients: 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken (thigh or breast) Marinade: 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp dry sherry Sauce: (Soy/Sesame sauce) 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 tbsp dry sherry or rice wine vinegar 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 1 large onion 1 large red pepper 2 large cloves garlic 1 tsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp vegetable oil (For meat stir fry) 2 tbsp vegetable oil (For veg stir fry) Instructions: (Again, see the stir fry technique for an overview) 1. Prep protein: Slice the chicken into 1/2″ thick strips, then toss in a …