I remember coming home from cross country ski practice with a ravenous appetite. Yep, I grew up in Minnesota and I often cross country skied to school during snow storms. I was terrible and won “Most Improved” at the end of the school year, a title they made up just for me! On many of those wintery days, I’d walk through the door to the aroma of my mother Leeann’s famous fried rice. In her restaurants, her fried rice is one of the most popular items and my niece tells me the Leeann Chin Uptown location is packed with teens inhaling fried rice and cream cheese puffs after school.
Fried Rice is my go-to one-dish weeknight meal or I make it for an easy breezy weekend lunch. It couldn’t be easier to make and the best part is that you can throw in any leftovers you want. From last night’s store bought roast chicken to the leftover steak you grilled for Father’s Day, just chop it up and pop it in the pan while the rice is almost done cooking. You can also use whatever veggies you have on hand or have in your freezer. I used frozen peas for this recipe for convenience. You can also add some edamame for added protein. For best results, use leftover steamed jasmine rice which has been refrigerated overnight. Using freshly steamed rice can yield mushy results. You can find premium soy sauce at Cost Plus World Market in the gourmet section. Continue reading “Shrimp Fried Rice” »
I spent this morning pretending to be Princess Leia while my almost 5 year-old son Dylan wielded a pretend light saber (it was my Swiffer handle). It was the only way I could get him to eat his bagel with cream cheese. From Star Wars to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Samurai, Dylan is obsessed with warriors these days. After juggling deadlines, soccer practice, summer camp registration and prepping for my Sutter Home Build-A-Better-Burger judging gig, I felt like a warrior today too. It inspired me to make this Mongolian Beef dish.
Although no one is quite sure how this popular recipe got its name (it doesn’t actually hail from Mongolia), I know that it’s simple, delicious, savory and fit for a warrior’s (both large and small) appetite. And the best part is that there’s no sword required. The key to tender-melt-in-your-mouth beef is to cut across the grain with a sharp knife. I like to freeze the beef for 30 minutes as it’s easier to slice. Dark or black soy sauce is slightly sweeter, thicker and darker than regular soy sauce. You can find it at Asian markets. If you can’t find it, you can add a bit more regular soy sauce and sugar. White pepper adds a subtle authentic Asian flavor and can be found in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market. Continue reading “Mongolian Beef” »
If feels like spring has finally sprung everywhere (including Minneapolis where my sister Laura told me the 8 inches of snow that fell last week finally melted!) and it’s put me in the mood to re-post this delicious Crispy Calamari Salad. Why? Because the bright colors and zingy dressing along with the crispy crunch of the calamari just feels so fresh and pretty, like the perfect spring day.
Don’t you just love it when you order crispy calamari at a restaurant? It’s crispy and flavorful but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. Maybe you thought you couldn’t tackle it home but I’m here to tell you that it’s super simple and fast. Here’s my Thai version with the crispy calamari perched atop mixed greens, tomatoes and veggies in a refreshing dressing made with cilantro, mint, lime juice, brown sugar and lemongrass. I just made this salad for my fashion super star friend Jeannie Mai. Jeannie’s on a gluten free diet so I simply dusted the calamari in cornstarch and omitted the flour. You can find 5 Spice Powder in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market. This exciting combination of flavors will take your taste buds on a joy ride! Buckle up and hold on tight. Continue reading “Crispy Calamari Salad” »
“Tikka” means bit or chunks. I learned to make this delicious Tikka Masala dish from one of my roommates in college. It means grilled or broiled chicken pieces served in a spicy, creamy sauce. Although I ate Chinese food almost every day growing up, I had never tried Indian food until I was a sophomore at Boston University. I couldn’t believe how complex all of the spices were and how the heat was so sublimely tempered by the cooling yogurt in the marinade. I know Tikka Masala may seem complicated at first but it really isn’t hard at all. You just have to plan ahead because the key is marinating the chicken at least 2 hours or up to overnight for the best results. From there, you broil the chicken and then saute the sauce ingredients. Although it takes a couple more steps than other styles of Asian cooking, it is so totally worth it. The saffron rice is elegantly hued and fragrant and also very easy to make. You can get the adorable elephant dish pictured here and all of the spices you need including garam masala in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market.
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thigh
- salt and pepper
- Saffron Rice:
- 1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron
- 2 cups boiling water, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, not rinsed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- One 14.5 ounce can whole peeped tomatoes, finely chopped with juices reserved
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup thawed frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- Combine all of the marinate ingredients in a large glass bowl.
- Make a few shallow cuts in each chicken thigh with a sharp knife. Place the chicken thigh in a large sealable plastic storage bag. Pour marinade over the chicken. Place in the refrigerator fro 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Pre-heat broiler. Scrape as much marinade as possible off of the chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for 12 minutes, turning once or twice, until just cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- While chicken is broiling, make the rice: Steep the saffron in 1/2 cup boiling water. In a skillet that can be tightly covered, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the rice and salt. Cook, stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the butter and becomes opaque. Be careful not to brown the rice. Quickly pour in the remaining 1 1/2 cups water along with the saffron water. Cover immediately, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside covered.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and swirl until it melts. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute until onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Add the garam masala, chili powder and cayenne pepper and saute for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and stir until combined. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. Add the cream and peas. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in reserved chicken and let simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper ot taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately over the saffron rice.
Want to add a little Southeast Asian flair to your pesto? This recipe is filled with fresh basil, cilantro and mint with a touch saltiness from the fish sauce and heat from the srircha. It’s bright and fresh and perfect for a summer night. I love this recipe because just like Italian pesto, you can whip this up in your food processor in a flash. Double or triple the pesto recipe and freeze some in freezer bags for a quick weeknight dinner. I used medium sized shrimp for this recipe which I pan-fried and then tossed with the pesto. You could also grill the shrimp on skewers and brush with the pesto before serving. Make a larger batch of sauce and toss with the shrimp and some freshly cooked pasta. Srircha sauce can be found in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon srircha sauce
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 pound medium shrimp (21-25), peeled and deveined
- Place all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until it turns pink and is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add the reserve pesto and toss to coat the shrimp. Serve immediately with hot jasmine rice.
As many of you may know, I am a Culinary Ambassador to City of Hope and its Super Foods initiative. City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Researchers there are developing cutting-edge treatments and technology to help find cures for these diseases. They’ve also identified five super foods that could help fight cancer — grape seed extract, pomegranates, cinnamon, mushrooms and blueberries. I’m so proud of the work I’m doing on behalf of City of Hope and was so completely honored when I was asked to becomea Citizen of Hope. Because I lost both parents to cancer, the amazing work City of Hope does hits home for me in a very personal way. You can help support City of Hope’s lifesaving work by becoming a Citizen of Hope and creating your own badge — like the one above – symbolizing what gives you hope. Please join me, Kiefer Sutherland, Taraji P. Henson, Archie Panjabi, Josie Maran and thousands more by becoming a Citizen of Hope: www.cityofhope.org/gh.
As part of its partnership with Good Housekeeping, 10,000 City of Hope recipe cards featuring some of my Super Foods recipes are being distributed on Tuesday, April 30th at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbuilt Hall throughout the day. If you’re in NYC, please come by Vanderbuilt Hall and pick up some recipe cards. Here’s an example of one of the recipe cards featuring Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad (starring the Super Food Pomegranates in the dressing)! Here’s the printable recipe:
- 2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- ½ cup canola oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
- 2 small Asian Pears, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh Pomegranate Seeds
- ½ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
- Prepare Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, crush the pomegranate seeds to release juices. Add the vinegar, sugar, shallots and canola oil and whisk until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the greens onto a large platter. Place the pears over the greens and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and gorgonzola on top. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.
I believe that life is mostly sweet and sometimes sour but always delicious. I wanted to treat you all to some sweet deliciousness with these Nutella cookies. I mean, who doesn’t love Nutella? The crazy thing about Nutella is that if you mix it with some flour and eggs, you can whip up the most chocolatey, chewy and yummy cookies ever. That’s right, you heard me — there are only three ingredients in these cookies! You can add almost anything else you feel like from M&Ms to nuts. I’m giving you three options here — Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s and chocolate chips but by all means get creative and put your own stamp on these unbelievably addicting cookies. You can find Nutella in the gourmet section of the Cost Plus World Market.
My friend Lisa begged me to repost this Orange Chicken recipe. Her teenage daughter Samantha can’t get enough of it and spends most of her allowance at the mall getting Orange Chicken at the food court. Lisa wanted to learn how to cook this recipe at home because she knows her whole family looks forward to eating together when she makes something that everyone loves. If you love orange chicken, you’ll be thrilled to master this dish at home which has a much lighter batter and sauce compared to the gloppiness you sometimes find with Chinese take-out and at the mall. Tender pieces of chicken are marinated and then lightly fried in a simple batter. The sauce is sweet, sour and slightly spicy and when poured over the chicken, the result is mouthwatering, crispy, juicy and delicious! Forget takeout and a trip to the food court, here is the key to your family’s favorite Chinese dish. You can find rice vinegar in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market. Skip the crushed red pepper if you’re cooking for young children. Continue reading “Orange Chicken” »
There’s nothing like biting into a crispy wonton. I love the sensation of that first crunch followed by a tender and juicy pillowy center of yummy shrimp, chicken and water chestnuts. These are so easy to make and are great for entertaining because they only take a couple of minutes to fry. They’re also extremely economical as you can make 50-60 wontons with this recipe using only about 1/2 pound of shrimp and 1/4 pound of ground chicken. The other cool thing is that you can put a few wontons aside before frying and drop them into boiling chicken broth with some veggies and voila! you have wonton soup. That’s what I call Double Happiness!! Whenever an Asian recipe calls for sesame oil, make sure it’s dark or toasted sesame oil. You can find Asian sesame oil in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market. Continue reading “Crispy Wontons” »
We had a Final Four viewing party the other night. Nothing says March Madness like Asian Sliders and ice cold Tsing Tao Beer! These tender and juicy burgers are layered with delicious Asian flavors from the ginger, garlic, hoisin and oyster sauce. I love to serve them with a cool and cruncy Asian slaw and a dollop of spicy Srircha mayo. If you can’t find slider buns, then you can use King’s Hawaiian rolls (which I’ve used here). The rolls are highly addicting so I always buy an extra bag. I used ground beef for this recipe but feel free to use ground turkey or ground pork. I like the Lee Kum Kee brand of hoisin sauce which you can find in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market. Continue reading “Asian Sliders” »