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” »
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!
- 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
- 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
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
- 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.
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” »
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” »
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.
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.
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” »
I recently met my friend Susie at Lukshon Restaurant in Culver City and we had the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly lettuce wraps with a sweet, sour and salty hot sauce. The luxurious and rich pork belly was brilliantly paired with bright sauce bursting with Southeast Asian Flavors. I felt inspired to try my own version of it. If you’ve never made braised pork belly before, don’t worry. It’s not hard at all but it does take a some time so I wouldn’t plan to make this on a busy weeknight. Better saved for a weekend when you can truly savor the results of this amazing dish. I adapted Ching He Huang’s (Cooking Channel) method to braise the pork belly and created my own dipping sauce made with fish sauce, fresh ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar and lime juice. I also swapped out the crispy pig ears garnish (not really prepared to take on frying pig ears this week!) with crispy fried shallots. You can find premium sesame oil in the gourmet section of Cost Plus World Market.
- CRISPY FRIED SHALLOTS:
- 2 shallots, sliced thinly
- vegetable or corn oil
- PORK BELLY:
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh pork belly, with skin
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- butter lettuce leaves
- shredded red cabbage and napa cabbage
- thinly sliced scallions for garnish
- Dipping Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce, such as sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- Make the crispy fried shallots: Toss the shallots (make sure they are still moist) in flour. Heat a deep skillet with oil to 160 degrees. Fry the shallots for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Set aside.
- For the pork belly: Bring a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil. Add the pork belly and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the pot, rinse under cold water and then dry with some paper towels. Slice the pork into 3 even pieces and set aside.
- Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the pork pieces and stir-fry for about 1 minute per side to brown. When the pork is browned, add the dark soy and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate that will fit inside a large bamboo steamer with at least a 1-inch margin between the plate and the steamer.
- For the sauce: In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir to combine the vegetable stock, light soy sauce, brown sugar and rice wine; set aside. Reheat the wok and add the peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, Sichuan peppercorns and star anise and then stir-fry for a few seconds. Add in the sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the pork.
- Place the plate of pork into a steamer over a wok or pot filled halfway with water and bring to a boil. Steam the pork over medium heat until the pork is tender, 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Check the pot occasionally to be sure that the water hasn't completely evaporated. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Whisk all of the dipping sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
- Slice the pork belly into 1" x 2" slices. Place some of the shredded cabbages in a butter lettuce leaves. Place pork belly pieces on top of the cabbage. Garnish with scallions and reserved crispy fried shallots. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
“Without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t be as sweet.” I just love that quote. We’ve had our share of sour lately (I won’t go into it but we were left nanny-less in the middle of throwing several book launch parties). In the scheme of things though (especially after hearing about the hurricane in the Philipines), I need to remind myself that life is pretty darn sweet. All my thoughts on the sweet and sourness of it all inspired me to post my mother’s famous Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. Tender pieces of chicken are coated in a delicate batter, flash fried and then tossed in tangy, sweet and flavorful glaze. Combined with tomatoes, pineapple and bell pepper, this recipe will win raves from kids of all ages in your family.
As we “fall” back this weekend, I thought I’d post something hearty, soul-satisfying and sear-iously delicious. A simple combo of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and rice vinegar is whisked together for the marinade. You can find premium sesame oil in the gourmet section at Cost Plus World Market. It’s so easy you can whip this together on a hectic weeknight. I use flank steak for this recipe because it’s lean, flavorful and affordable. Now here’s my ancient Chinese secret: sprinkle the flank steak with baking soda and let it sit for an hour or so and then rinse it off before marinating. This is how Chinese restaurants create the most tender, almost silken-like beef dishes. The baking soda actually breaks down the proteins and improves the texture of the steak. Try it and I promise you’ll be using the baking soda trick for everything from fajitias to stir-fries. If it’s too cold right now to grill where you live, then simply broil for 3-4 minutes per side. And remember, always slice against the grain for the most tender results! Continue reading “Grilled Asian Steak” »
Besides the Real Housewives of ______ (fill in the blank), Walnut Shrimp is my guilty pleasure. If you’ve had this crispy, creamy, sweet and citrusy dish with prawns and crunchy honey glazed walnuts, you know exactly what I mean. This is not an everyday recipe I make on busy weeknights. It takes some extra steps and is pretty indulgent so it’s something I make on weekends or for a dinner party. That’s not to say kids won’t love it. Kids of all ages gobble up this addictive and amazingly delicious dish. Believe it or not, the lusciousness of this dish comes from a combo of condensed milk, mayonnaise and fresh lemon & lime juice. I like to get my garlic salt from Cost Plus World Market in gourmet section. It’s a terrific blend of sea salt and garlic. Sweet, tart, crispy and nutty…Try this recipe and you’ll be hooked!
- 1 egg white
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
- 4 cups + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
- 1 lb extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup store-bought candied walnuts
- In a small bowl, mix together the egg white, cornstarch, baking soda, garlic salt and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to a smooth paste. Add the shrimp and blend to coat very well.
- In another small bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, mayonnaise , and lemon and lime juices until smooth. Set aside.
- In a wok or large deep skillet, heat the remaining 4 cups vegetable oil to 350°F. Deep fry the shrimp until light brown, 3 to 4 minutes, turning as necessary. Remove from the oil. Increase the oil temperature to 375° F. Cook the shrimp for 1 more minute and remove; drain well on paper towels.
- Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the shrimp and stir until well covered. Place onto a platter, sprinkle the candied walnuts on top and serve immediately.