Tag Archives: Asian food

Mapo tofu

20 Oct

Mapo tofu

Mapo tofu stirs up a lot of memories for me… Many years ago, I spent the best part of a month in China. It had only recently opened its borders to independent travellers, and hadn’t quite worked out what to do with them. This resulted in a mind-bending mixture of bewildering petty controls and anarchic freedom.

Prevented from disembarking with the other passengers on a long-distance bus journey because a particular town was off limits, we were left free to wander off along the Great Wall with a sack full of bedding and sleep overnight in a watch tower. Continue reading

Kimchi meatloaf

28 Sep

Kimchi meatloaf

My first thought on seeing this recipe for kimchi meatloaf was “why didn’t I think of that?” I tend to find meatloaf a bit meh – too often it’s dry and lacking in flavour. Because meatloaf is my dad’s favourite meal, mum would serve it for his birthday every year. Otherwise, it seldom made an appearance. Continue reading

Gado gado

16 Sep

Gado gado

To my regret, I have yet to visit Indonesia. The closest I’ve managed to get so far is watching The Year of Living Dangerously – and eating delicious Indonesian dishes like gado gado.

Making gado gado is all about the preparation – boiling potatoes and eggs, steaming green beans, blanching cabbage and beansprouts, frying the tempeh, and achieving a perfect balance of flavours in your peanut sauce. After that, simply a matter of a few moments to pile everything on a plate and tuck in.

Continue reading

Prawn and pork wonton soup

10 Sep

Wonton soup A steaming bowl of wonton soup is a very satisfying supper on a cool autumn evening. I put Lyra to work assembling the wontons – her little fingers are very good at pinching the wrappers together. The recipe makes enough filling for about 50 wontons. Leftover filling can be formed into meatballs and dropped into broth unwrapped, or else saved for another day. Continue reading

Vietnamese salad rolls

2 Sep

Vietnamese salad rolls

A good Vietnamese salad roll is one of my all-time favourite things. When I lived in Vancouver, there was a great Vietnamese place called Vina round the corner from my apartment, and  I would regularly pick up an order of  salad rolls for dinner on the way home from work. Continue reading

Lime and Thai basil sorbet

31 Aug

Lime and Thai basil sorbet

I found this recipe for basil-lime sorbet in a magazine I was leafing through in the doctor’s waiting room. I thought it sounded interesting, and jotted it down. The first time I tried it, I didn’t much like it, but decided to try it again with Thai basil.

What a transformation… The liquorice-cinnamony Thai basil combines beautifully with the sweet lime syrup to produce a palate cleansing, mouth tingling, refreshing sorbet. I often serve it with strawberries, but blueberries also work really well. Continue reading

Banh mi sandwich

23 Aug

Banh mi sandwich

We’ve been making banh mi sandwiches for a while now, and have eventually settled on a house version. It calls for little meatballs instead of grilled meat, doesn’t include paté, and features cabbage in the pickle instead of the usual daikon radish – works for us! Continue reading

Sri Wasano’s infamous rice salad

6 Aug

Sri Wasano's rice salad

Sri Wasano’s infamous rice salad featured regularly in my veggie years, when the Moosewood Cookbook was my go-to source of inspiration. The recipe sounded impressive, looked exotic, and tasted great.

I’ve always wondered who Sri Wasano was and whether the salad has any connection whatsoever to Indonesia. A two-minute web search uncovered an interview with author Molly Katzen. She revealed that the recipe was a version of a version of a dish someone she knew once ate in an Indonesian restaurant in the Netherlands – and that it had nothing whatsoever to do with anyone called Sri Wasano.

While the list of ingredients seems long, the salad comes together quickly, the dressing is sensational, and the texture contrast between the chewy rice, juicy pineapple, and crisp vegetables is interesting (in a good way). If you’re concerned about eating raw beansprouts, blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so, then drain and refresh under cold water before adding to the salad. Continue reading

Yakitori

4 Aug

Yakitori

The smell of grilling yakitori takes me straight back to Tokyo, and late nights spent in izakaya bars with friends and colleagues. Plate after plate of skewers would arrive – not always identifiable, always delicious. But however many I’d eat, it never seemed enough to absorb the amount of sake I managed to drink…

I usually make my yakitori with chicken thighs, but breast meat works too – especially if you allow a bit of time to marinate the meat before grilling. Continue reading

Prawn laksa

1 Aug

Prawn laksa
Laksas always go down well around here, as long as I don’t overdo the chilli. I usually make this recipe with prawns, but occasionally do a chicken version instead. After frying the paste, I sauté pieces of chicken for several minutes, before simmering it in the stock. Continue reading

Asian slaw with citrus miso dressing

30 Jul

IMG_5808

I was going to steam some mange tout to accompany the salmon phyllo parcels, but decided to shred them into an Asian-style slaw instead. I just go with whatever vegetables I have on hand – cabbage, carrots, peppers, bean sprouts, celery, and daikon radish are all options.

I usually add grated ginger to the dressing as well, but I thought the fish had that base covered. Continue reading

Salmon phyllo parcels

26 Jul

Salmon phyllo parcels

This is a lovely way to prepare salmon. The fish steams in its pastry wrapping, and is soft and full of flavour, contrasting beautifully with the crispy phyllo.

The recipe comes from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection. The biggest change I have made to the recipe is the name. Delia calls them “Thai salmon filo parcels”, but I don’t see how adding lime juice and coriander makes something “Thai”. And I prefer “phyllo” to “filo” (which always makes me think of Filofaxes…) Continue reading

Goi ga (Vietnamese chicken salad)

18 Jul

goi ga

Goi ga – Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad – features pretty regularly around here, especially in the summer. Both girls eat it happily, as long as I don’t make it too hot. Learning from experience, I now add about half the chilli when I prepare the salad, and keep the rest aside for Adam and I to add at the table.

I grow Vietnamese coriander (also called Vietnamese mint) in the summer, so added a few leaves with the regular mint. The dressing is closely based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe in Nigella Bites. Continue reading

Chicken karaage

6 Jul

chicken karaage

Chicken wings Japanese-style – what’s not to like? Continue reading

Cucumber maki

6 Jul

cucumber maki

These are very easy to make — Lyra often does them by herself once I assemble the elements for her. Continue reading

Miso soup with tofu and seaweed

6 Jul

IMG_5540

I sometimes knock together a super quick bowl of miso soup by boiling water in the kettle, pouring it into a cup with a teaspoon of miso paste, then adding some chopped tofu and green onion. But it’s still easy – and tastes a lot better – when I take the time to measure the ingredients. I use a recipe in At Home With Japanese Cooking by Elizabeth Andoh. Continue reading

Bibimbap

26 Jun

bibimbap

We eat bimbimbap at least a couple of times a month. In fact, Lyra was surprised to discover that her friends don’t eat it at their homes. The name means “mixed rice”, and one of the most satisfying things about the dish is stirring the carefully arranged rice, gochujang, egg and vegetables into a delicious, sticky mess. The only “speciality” ingredient is the gochujang, which is available from Asian grocery stores. Continue reading