postheadericon Clams in Black Bean Sauce

clams in black bean sauce There’s something sultry about this dish.  It’s earthy, aromatic, salty, slippery and a bit a spicy.  Don’t confuse Chinese black beans with Mexican black beans.  Chinese black beans are also known as fermented or salted black beans and are made from fermented soy beans.  They are pungent and quite strong so it’s important to soak and rinse them for a bit before cooking.  You can find Chinese black beans at Chinese and other Asian markets.  Fermented black beans are usually paired with garlic, ginger and chilies because they are so strong in flavor and marry well with these bold aromatics.  If you don’t have fermented black beans feel free to substitute with store-bought black bean sauce.  Just add the same about of sauce when you’d normally add the soaked and rinsed fermented black beans.  You can buy black bean sauce in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market.   Continue reading “Clams in Black Bean Sauce” »

postheadericon Indian Cooking Unfolded {Giveaway}

Indian Cooking_MECH_FINAL 03.indd My dear friend Raghavan Iyer just released his newest cookbook Indian Cooking Unfolded.  He is an amazing chef, teacher and author and anyone who meets him basks in the warmth of his smile. Raghavan’s book has been featured in The Wall Street Journal,  NPR and The Splendid Table,  just to name a few.   Raghavan hails from my hometown of Minneapolis and hosted the Emmy-Award winning Asian Flavors documentary (I know, he’s a dynamo) which featured my late mother Leeann Chin!  I am so excited to be giving away 10 copies of his book.  See details below for your chance to win!  Continue reading “Indian Cooking Unfolded {Giveaway}” »

postheadericon Chinese New Year Menu

Chicken Lo Mein GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!!!  Chinese New Year falls on Friday, January 31st!  Welcome to the Year of the Horse.  I wanted to share my favorite dishes for Chinese New Year so you can start planning your own celebration.  I always serve Long Life Noodles for longevity (the longer the noodle, the longer the life!), a whole steamed fish with ginger and scallions for abundance and Firecracker Shrimp for good luck.  You are what you eat on Chinese New Year’s Day so why not increase your chances for good luck, wealth, good health and longevity in the New Year and besides, everything is delicious!!

Long Life Noodles with Chicken


  • Serves 4
  • 8 ounces (1/2 box) spaghetti or linguine
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 3/4 cup snow peas, blanched and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar


  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and set aside.
  2. Toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it turns white.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the bean sprouts, snow peas and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and sugar and stir-fry until blended, about 1 minute. Add the reserve chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the reserve noodles and toss until coated. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Steamed Whole Fish

Whole Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions


  • 2 tablespoons salted black beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds whole walleye, seabass or red snapper, well cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 green onions, with tops
  • 1 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger


  1. In a small bowl, place the black beans and cover with warm water. Stir the beans for about 2 minutes to remove the excess salt. Remove the beans from the water, rinse and drain well.
  2. Slash the fish crosswise 3 times on each side. In a small bowl, mix the ginger, vegetable oil, black beans, garlic, salt, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil; rub the cavity and outside of the fish with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.
  3. Cut the green onions into 2-inch pieces; shred lengthwise into fine strips. Place in a bowl with ice water to cover; let stand 10 minutes, or until the strips curl. Place the fish on a heatproof plate (See note below). Place the plate on a rack in a steamer, cover, and steam over boiling water until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. (Add boiling water if necessary).
  4. Heat the remaining two tablespoons oil in a sauce pan until you see smoke. Add the shredded ginger and fry for 10 seconds to “pop” the flavors. Pour this cooking oil + herbs over the fish. You’ll hear a very satisfying sizzle! Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Firecracker-1 I know I just posted this Firecracker Shrimp recipe but it’s such an important part of my Chinese New Year menu, I decided to include it again.  I’ve never heard a complaint about re-posting Firecracker Shrimp because they’re just SO good.  

Firecracker Shrimp


  • 12 large shrimp, in the shell
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
  • 4 sheets spring roll wrappers
  • 24 carrot strips (3x 1/4inch)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Dipping Sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying


  1. Removing the shells and leaving the tail intact, make a deep cut lengthwise down the back of each shrimp; wash out the sand vein. Place warm water in a bowl and add the salt; stir to dissolve. Place the shrimp in the salt water and swirl. Leave the shrimp in the salt water for 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water, drain, and pat dry on paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt.
  2. Cut each spring roll wrapper into thirds, making 3 long narrow strips.
  3. Place the carrot strips in a small bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon
  4. garlic salt, and set aside.
  5. Brush the egg at the top of the shrimp. Place 2 carrot strips in the slit of each shrimp. Brush each spring roll strip with egg and roll each shrimp up tightly in the spring roll strip, with the egg holding it together. The tail of the shrimp should be protruding from one end and the carrots from the other – to resemble a firecracker! Continue process until all the wrappers are folded with the shrimp and carrots.
  6. To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and Srircha
  7. sauce. Set aside.
  8. In a wok or deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Fry the shrimp
  9. rolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning 2 to 3 times. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Re-posting Chinese New Year customs again too in case you missed them the first time around!

Here are some other Chinese New Year traditions and customs to ensure luck, prosperity, good health and wealth in the coming year:

-Distribute red envelopes (lai see) to children and the unmarried for joy and luck in the coming year

-Don’t use foul language or bad words on Chinese New Year’s Day or they will follow you throughout the year

-Don’t sweep on Chinese New Year’s Day or you’ll sweep out all your good luck

-Don’t wash your hair because you will wash away your good luck for the year

-Greet your friends with oranges or tangerines during the New Year to ensure that your friendships remain intact

-Don’t use scissors or knives on Chinese New Year’s Day or you’ll cut out all your good luck              

-Stepping into new shoes on New Year’s morning to start your year off on the right foot (my personal favorite)  


postheadericon Sweet & Spicy Thai Glazed Cashews

Thai Cashews I’m throwing a Grammy-viewing party this Sunday and couldn’t think of anything better than to serve these Sweet & Spicy Thai Glazed Cashews from my new cookbook.  People just go NUTS for these cashews.  I love the sticky sweetness from the honey accented by a kick of cayenne pepper and exotic notes from the curry powder and fish sauce.  These nuts will be music to your friends ears and mouths.  They’re so easy you can literally throw them in a bowl and toss with the five simple ingredients, roast in the oven and have them out on your table in less than 15 minutes.  Try serving them with Thai beer.  My hubby loves to sprinkle them on ice cream too.

Sweet & Spicy Thai Glazed Cashews


  • ¼ cup (85 g) honey
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 4 cups (140 g) dry-roasted cashews


  1. Combine the honey, curry powder, cayenne pepper, oil and fish sauce in a medium bowl. Add the nuts and stir to combine.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Spread nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning often with a wide spatula, until golden brown. Remove from oven and continue turning as they cool down. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thai Cashews


postheadericon Firecracker Shrimp

Firecracker Shrimp Gung Hay Fat Choy!!  Happy Chinese New Year!  Chinese New Year is Friday, January 31st and it is the Year of the Horse.  Chinese New Year is a very special holiday as everything you eat on this day and everything you do determines how your entire year will unfold. Chinese people eat things like Long Life Noodles to symbolize longevity (the longer the noodle the longer the life!) or a whole steamed fish to symbolize abundance.  I like to serve my family and friends these delicious Firecracker Shrimp because firecrackers light up the sky in China on Chinese New Year and bring good luck.  This appetizer is incredibly easy and so addicting I usually quadruple the recipe because my friends can’t get enough of them.  The kick from the srircha mayo pairs wonderfully with the crispy shrimp.  You can find srircha sauce in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market.   Continue reading “Firecracker Shrimp” »

postheadericon Thai Mango and Prawn Salad

Thai Mango and Prawn Salad Happy New Year everyone!!  After devouring my sister’s amazing Beef Wellington and grilled lobster on New Year’s Eve followed by my chocolate molten lava cake, I’m staring at my Fit Bit (Christmas present from hubby) knowing I’ll need to triple the steps I take this week to burn that dinner off.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to indulge during the holidays and I savored every single bite  but now I’m craving something clean, light and healthy so I’m reposting  this beauty.   I love this Thai Prawn and Mango salad because it’s packed with juicy mango, crunchy peanuts, healthful red bell paper, cucumber and baby greens and lean protein from the shrimp.  The dressing is bursting with sweet, sour, hot and salty flavors from the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, samba oelek (garlic-chili sauce) fresh minced ginger.  It has a ton of  flavor and not a lot of fat in every sweet, sour, salty and hot bite.  Wishing you and your family all things delicious in the New Year!

Thai Mango and Prawn Salad


  • Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh galangal or ginger
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce, preferably Sambal Oelek
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salad
  • 16 shelled and deveined medium-sized cooked shrimp
  • 1 cup (165 g) sliced fresh mango
  • ½ cup (52 g) chopped cucumber, peeled and deseeded
  • ½ cup (46 g) chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 4 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
  • 4 cups (350 g) mixed baby greens


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, mango, cucumber, red pepper, coriander leaves and peanuts. Add dressing and toss to combine. Divide the baby greens evenly among four plates. Place salad mixture on top of the baby greens. Serve immediately.

Thai Mango and Prawn Salad

postheadericon Edamame Hummus

Me and Kyle I just did a book signing at the Kyle Kares – Shop for a Cause Event to benefit the American Cancer Society at Kyle Richards‘ (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) store Kyle by Alene Too.  I served two appetizers from my new cookbook along with a vegan option, Edamame Hummus on a Wonton Chip.    Continue reading “Edamame Hummus” »

postheadericon Pineapple Duck Curry

Pineapple Duck Curry This month’s issue of Ventura Blvd Magazine includes an entertaining feature to celebrate my new cookbook, “Everyday Thai Cooking” at the home of my dear friend and TV personality Jeannie Mai.  I served an eight course Thai menu for our holiday dinner which included this Pineapple Duck Curry dish.  It’s sweet and spicy and slightly sour with bright notes from the pineapple and grape tomatoes.  I love the complex layers from the cilantro, mint, kaffir lime leaf, red curry paste, Thai chilies, fish sauce, Thai basil and soothing coconut milk in this dish.  It’s the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly winter night.   Before I share the recipe with you, here are some highlights from the night… Continue reading “Pineapple Duck Curry” »

postheadericon Chocolate Dipped Holiday Fortune Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies Looking for some good fortune this holiday season?  These chocolate dipped holiday fortune cookies are a huge hit every year.  I couldn’t resist reposting this fun recipe because the cookies are so unique.  Make these and you’ll be the talk of the Holiday Cookie exchange    I like to package them up in holiday themed Chinese take-out containers.  They have a great selection at Cost Plus World Market.  They’re also great to bring to parties because they make the perfect hostess gift.  The best part is that the don’t require any baking and kids love to help out making their own creations.  

Cooking toppings I also like to use a variety of colorful sprinkles and bits of toffee as well.   You can even put candy canes in a food processor to make a candy cane dust.  It’s pretty and so yummy sprinkled on white chocolate dipped fortune cookies.  Use your imagination and create your own signature toppings like finely chopped macadamia nuts mixed into white chocolate or a dusting of edible gold dust which is beautiful against a coat of dark chocolate.   You can buy Candy Melts candy coating at Michael’s Craft Stores and readily available at grocery stores around the holidays.  

postheadericon Coconut Shrimp with Orange Lime Sauce

Coconut Shrimp Happy Turkey Day everyone!  I don’t know about you, but in addition to planning the big Thanksgiving menu I have to think about two other meals to make while my in-laws are in town.  We usually host a make your own pizza night (because the kids love that) and an Asian night (duh).  From Uncle Andy and Grandma Nance to the grand kids and Aunt Emily, these coconut shrimp are a huge hit with everyone in the family and I couldn’t resist re-posting these beauties.  Crunchy, sweet and succulent, this is an easy recipe and great to make ahead.  You can just toss them in an oil bath as your guests arrive.   I like to serve these with some bubbly or an Asian beer like Tsiang Tao or Kirin.  Make sure to make an extra batch or two because they seem to fly off the plate.  The orange lime sauce is equally as addicting and pairs beautifully with the shrimp.  Continue reading “Coconut Shrimp with Orange Lime Sauce” »