Archive for October, 2012

postheadericon Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

When I think of my poor friends (Frank, Michael, Jamie, Raquel, Cady, Katie and Sophie — this means you!) in NYC whom are suffering through Hurricane Sandy, all I want to do is make a big pot of Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai) and magically beam it over to them.  This soup is bursting with sweet, sour, salty and hot notes and is an explosion of classic Thai flavors  from the coconut milk, lime juice, roasted red chili sauce, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and fish sauce.  It’s a sure fire way to soothe any weary (or just plain hungry) soul and couldn’t be any easier to make.  The kaffir lime leaves and roasted red chili paste are optional but if you have access to them at your local Asian market, it’s worth the effort and once you make it you’ll understand why!

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)


  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock (see page ___) or store-bought
  • six 1/4-in thick slices galangal or fresh ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2" long pieces and bruised
  • 4 kaffiir lime leaves, torn in half (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons homemade roasted red chili paste (page ____) or store-bought (nam prik pao, optional)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1-in (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2-3 fresh hot red or green chilies, preferably Thai, smashed
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Bring the stock, galangal, lemongrass, lime leaves, sugar and roasted red chili paste to a boil in a medium pot. Add the coconut milk, reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and mushrooms and continue simmering until chicken is white and opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Quickly stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. Float the chilies on the soup. Dish out into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

postheadericon Southeast Asian Vegetables with Tofu

I was so honored to participate in City of Hope’s KNBC Channel 4 Los Angeles segment in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  As City of Hope’s (COH) Culinary Ambassador, my role is to educate people about the 5 Super Foods – mushrooms, pomegranates, blueberries, cinnamon and grape seed extract – that Dr. Chen and his team at COH have identified as having potential cancer-fighting powers.  For the segment, I made this hearty, soul-satisfying one-pot dish with salty, sweet and hot flavors from the lemongrass, Thai Chilies, cilantro and coconut milk.  It stars not one but two kinds of the Super Hero Super Food Mushrooms – Shitake and White Button Mushrooms.  This is a complete one-pot meal which you can make in your rice cooker!  Substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth for vegan adaptation of this dish.

Me with KNBC Producer Daisy Lin demonstrating Super Foods recipes at the City of Hope Campus. Humbled to have been interviewed along with Dr. Chen of City of Hope!

Southeast Asian Vegetables with Tofu


  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bunch green onions (white and green parts) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 6 inches only, bulb and tough outer leaves removed, bruised with a mallet
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, minced
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash (2-inch chunks)
  • 1/2 cup halved stemmed shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup diced firm tofu, blotted dry
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, broth, soy sauce, fish sauce and chili sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In the rice cooker bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, green onions, lemongrass, chili pepper, squash, mushrooms and barley. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the top. Set the rice cooker for the Regular cycle and set a timer for 30 minutes.
  3. When the timer sounds, check to make sure the vegetables and barley are tender. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Switch to the Keep Warm cycle and stir in tofu. Close the lid and let stand for 35 minutes, then serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and peanuts.

postheadericon Mini Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Sauce

My hubby and I just rented the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel over the weekend.  This sweet film transported us to Jaipur India in all its colorful glory.   Since then, all I can think about is Indian food.  I LOVE Indian food, especially samosas, although (between preschool pickups and cookbook editing) it’s highly unlikely that I’m going to actually make samosa dough from scratch.   This recipe combines a savory and authentic vegetarian filling with quick and easy wonton wrappers.  Yep, you can make these mini samosas with wonton skins and the results are crispy and light.   These are great to serve at cocktail parties because they’re a smaller bite than traditional samosas and they’ll really add the Best Exotic spin to your next party.

Mini Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Sauce


  • Samosa Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp Ginger (crushed)
  • 1-2 Green Chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 3 potatoes (boiled, peeled & mashed)
  • Cilantro-Mint sauce:
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • one 1-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water
  • oil for frying


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chilies, coriander powder and garam masala and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the peas and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the potato and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool room temperature.
  2. While the filling is cooling, make the sauce: Place garlic and ginger in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mint, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, salt and lime juice, water and puree until blended. With the motor running, pour the olive oil into the mixture until combined.
  3. Spoon 1 tsp of the potato filling into the middle of each wonton skin. Brush the edges of the wonton skin with egg wash. Bring the edges together and seal to form a pouch.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees. Fry the samosas, a few at a time, until golden brown. Drain the samosas on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Serve immediately with Cilantro-Mint Sauce.

postheadericon Korean Shrimp Rice Bowl

WBTT (Way Before the Twins) were born, I used to galavant all over Koreatown devouring Korean BBQ, Kim Chee Fried Rice and Chap Chae with my peeps before our weekly karaoke  outings.   I get to K-Town when I can these days, but whenever I start craving garlicky, sour, spicy and sweet Korean flavors I whip up this dish which is incredibly easy and really flavorful.  It’s great to have a jar of kim chee on hand in your fridge for this dish.  Kim chee can be found at Asian markets.  It varies terms of heat levels so depending on your heat-o-meter this dish can be mildy spicy to nuclear.  Omit the red pepper flakes and stick to mild kim chee if making this dish for kids.

Korean Shrimp Rice Bowl


  • Stir-fry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 8 oz. kim chee, coarsely chopped
  • hot jasmine rice
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or skillet or medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until it turns pink. Add the red and green bell pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the kim chee and reserved stir-fry sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Scoop jasmine rice into 4 bowls. Place stir-fry over the bowls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

postheadericon Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

Now that the Fall season has officially kicked in (even though it was 90 degrees in Los Angeles this week!), I wanted to share this yummy wonton soup recipe with you.  My family considers this to be Chinese comfort food in a bowl:  savory wontons swimming in a light chicken broth spiked with ginger and dotted with tender crisp snow peas and bright carrots.   It’s also great for entertaining because you can make extra wontons and throw them in a hot oil bath for a fast and delicious crispy wonton appetizer.  A steaming hot bowl of wonton soup paired with an Asian salad makes for a healthy and soul-satisfying lunch the next day.

Wonton Soup


  • Serves 8
  • 1/4 pound medium-sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 ounces group pork or chicken
  • 3 canned water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions (with tops), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • dash of white pepper
  • 24 wonton skins
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 ounces snow peas, trimmed and tips removd
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • two 1/4-inch peeled fresh ginger slices
  • 1/4 cup sliced canned bamboo shoots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (with tops)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Chop shrimp finely. Mix the shrimp, pork or chicken, water chestnuts, 2 green onions, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and dash of white pepper.
  2. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center of wonton skin (cover remaining skins with a dampened towel to keep them pliable. Fold the corner of the wonton skin over the filling to opposite corner, forming a triangle. Brush the right corner f the triangle with egg white. Bring corners together below filling; pinch left corner to right corner to seal. Repeat with remaining wonton skins.
  3. Heat water to boiling a medium pot. Add the wontons. Return to boiling and then reduce heat to medium low and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove wontons with a slotted spoon and place in ice water (to keep them from sticking).
  4. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place snow peas in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Drain. Cut pea pods lengthwise into halves. Slice the white button mushrooms in 1/4 inch slices.
  5. Heat chicken broth and mushrooms to boiling a medium sized pot. Drain the wontons and stir them into the broth. Add ginger slices, bamboo shoots, 1 teaspoon salt and dash of white pepper. Heat to boiling then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the snow peas, 2 tablespoons green onions and sesame oil. Dish into bowls and serve immediately.

Wonton Soup

postheadericon Crispy Calamari Salad

Don’t 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.  This exciting combination of flavors will take your taste buds on a joy ride!  Buckle up and hold on tight.

Crispy Calamari Salad


  • 1 lb calamari, cleaned and cut into ½-in rings
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon five spice powder
  • pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or corn oil for frying
  • more salt and pepper to taste
  • Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salad
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Thai or Italian basil
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups mixed baby greens
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Combine flour, cayenne pepper, five spice powder and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. In a large wok or deep skillet, heat 2 to 3 inches (5 cm – 7.3 cm) of the oil to 350ºF (175°). Toss the calamari in the seasoned flour mixture. Shake excess flour off the calamari and fry in the oil until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon or spider and allow to drain on cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, palm sugar, red pepper flakes, cilantro and mint. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and sesame oil until well blended.
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, cilantro, basil, red pepper and baby greens. Add all but 2 tbsp dressing and toss to combine. Arrange calamari on top of salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over calamari. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Welcome to The Sweet
and Sour Chronicles!

Hi! I’m Katie Chin, an Asian food expert, cookbook author, tv host and food blogger. I'm also a mom, so I know what it takes to get dinner on the table in a busy household. I specialize in everyday Asian recipes for real people on real schedules and real budgets. more

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