Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Halibut with Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce

Halibut with Ginger Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce

Ever walked into a higher-end restaurant and just get the feeling that your meal is going to be average? Something about the decor maybe or the clientele is turning you off?

And then had your socks literally knocked off? Yeah, I sorta had that experience a few months ago.

I was taking a much needed break from the city with my parents in Door County, Wisconsin. For those of you who do not know, Door County is the peninsula of Wisconsin. It’s a vacation get-away for people from Milwaukee and Chicago (note Chicagoans – yes, you are called FIB by Wisconsinites. I am now a FIB myself and am coming to terms with it. Google it if you must know) . Filled with cute shops, antiques and quaint little restaurants, such as Al Johnson’s with the goats grazing on the roof , it’s perhaps the Mid-West version of Martha’s Vineyard.

One of the quaint restaurants was the Inn at Kristopher’s located in Sister Bay. We walked in and the interior seemed a little old. Not terribly out of date – but maybe early 90’s. And well, Door County really isn’t the hippest place on the planet. Needles to say, I guess I wasn’t expecting much.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

My father and I both had the blackened Ahi Tuna (we are both suckers for raw tuna – still…even though the dish is seriously done way too often) which was absolutely fabulous and served with wonderful tender crisp Asian vegetables. But the real standout was what my mom ordered –Salmon with a Ginger Beurre Blanc sauce. I’m not one for salmon…ever…but the sauce was outstanding. Seriously wonderful combination of flavors that I had never had before. Words cannot describe how good this was. I HAD to replicate this at home.

So off to google and I came across this wonderful recipe for a Citrus Ginger Beurre Blanc sauce and I must say, this was pretty dang close. Of course, I’m so not in the mood to reprint the recipe – and I didn’t change a thing so head over there if you are interested.

Give it a whirl some time.  I served it with Halibut and some shaved cucumber and carrot over a bed of jasmine rice. At the restaurant, it was served over whipped potatoes. Do whatever you wish. 🙂


Ms. Pantry Raid

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Teriyaki chicken wings... er...thighs.

A few years back, my cooking club made these fab chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds and cilantro. I loved the flavor of the sauce but I do admit, I’m not all that keen on chicken wings. Gnawing on bones is so not my thing. So I’ve decided to make the recipe using chicken thighs instead (more meat, less gnawing) and served the whole shebang over rice.

But since I’m SOOO not in the mood to translate the recipe into EXACTLY what I made (and I alright, I don’t totally remember but I did follow it pretty closely), I’m putting the exact recipe down here. I halved it and used pineapple juice instead of grapefruit juice (alright, it was orange pineapple blend if you must ask!) and googled the chicken thigh cooking time.

Teriyaki Chicken Wings (Thighs)

From Tyler Florence
Serves 12 cocktail servings
Note: I halved this recipe when I made it
2 dozen chicken wings, about 3 1/4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry (I used thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned
Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Teriyaki Sauce:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup grapefruit juice (I used pineapple juice)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 fresh, hot red chile, halved
5 garlic cloves, halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a large knife


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil on them to prevent sticking. Lay the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin gets crispy and the wings are cooked through. NOTE: Chicken thighs will take longer – maybe 35-40 minutes. Use your thermometer and your best judgement!!
  4. Meanwhile, combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a large saucepan.
  5. Simmer over low heat and reduce until slightly thickened.
  6. Pour the sauce into a large bowl. Dump the wings into the bowl and toss to coat them with the sauce.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve hot.

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Seriously using up the Asian condiments with this one!

Seriously using up the Asian condiments with this one!

AKA – a recipe to use up a TON of Asian condiments sitting neglected in your fridge.

Lately, I’ve had a thing for green beans. Not sure why. I mean, they are so average. Predictable. Every day. I think there is something about their crunch that is winning me over (yeah, I’m one of those people who BARELY cooks vegetables. “Crisp tender” is probably overcooked to me. “Crisp crisp” is more like it).

So enter Szechuan Green Beans. I will readily admit to never having had them at a restaurant. Supposedly, they are normally deep fried – which seems a sorry fate for my beloved green beans. Then you mix in some ground pork, sauces, a little heat and some chopped peanuts for more crunch. Um, what’s not to love here folks?


I came across a super flavorful recipe from Guy Fieri. But he deep fries them and I just can’t bring myself to doing it. Plus, he doesn’t include any pork. So that’s two strikes.

Then I came across a Cook’s Illustrated recipe and they just stir fry the little guys on high heat till they get nice and shriveled and burnt. I thought that would do nicely. But I like Guy’s sauce. A LOT. So that stays, but I use the method (and the pork!) in the Cooks Illustrated recipe.

Give it a try. It comes together fast (we are talking 20 minutes tops including prep) – so it’s perfect for weeknight cooking. I usually serve over rice to make a full meal.

Szechuan Green Beans

Adapted from Guy Fieri and Cook’s Illustrated

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 ounce hot chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or white wine
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 pound green beans, cleaned
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional – I usually forget this part)

1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.

2.Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds.

3. Quickly add soy sauce, chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin, mirin, sesame oil and cilantro. Return green beans to pan. Toss to combine.

4. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped peanuts and parsley.

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Chewy, delicious and so easy to make at home.

Chewy, delicious and so easy to make at home.

This post is gonna be straight and to the point. I whipped up some Naan a few months ago – ate most of them right away (some of it as I was making it – it was so good) and froze the rest. I had a recipe set aside for a dish I wanted to make with the Naan, but it so far has not happened. So instead, we’ll just have this fabulously chewy Indian bread on it’s own.

Do you have any idea how ridiculously easy it is to make Naan? Well, you would if you’ve made it before. Make your dough, let it rise, separate it into mini loaves for the second rise, stretch out the dough and fry it up. Easy! The hardest part is realizing you have, oh, I don’t know, 13 more loaves to fry up before you are done.

But it is totally worth it.

Oh, you don’t have a tandoor? Yeah, me neither. I used a cast iron skillet and it worked out just great.

Here’s the recipe. Whatever you do, don’t get the bright idea to add garlic powder (yeah, don’t ask). That was a bad, bad idea on my part.


Ms. Pantry Raid

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Shrimp and Pork Steamed Beggars Purses

Shrimp and Pork Steamed Beggars Purses

I enjoy blogging challenges. They often get me out of my comfort zone and trying something new. Case in point: Asian dumplings and potstickers for the latest Daring Cooks Challenge. This is my first time making potstickers. To be quite honest, it’s one of the first times I’ve ever eaten them too. For whatever reason, they aren’t the first app I think of when dining in Asian restaurants.

The challenge involved making the dumpling wrappers as well as the filling. I made two different kinds – standard potstickers (fried) and steamed beggars purses wrapped with a blanched Chinese chive. In retrospect, I will say I’m glad I did it once, but probably not doing it again. Can’t help it. It’s a lot of work for the outcome. I’ve also had quite enough experience in my past making wontons, raviolis, etc etc and I’m not the sort that finds it therapeutic. Granted, today was the last day I should have attempted doing this. After gardening with my condo peeps for five and a half hours, the last thing I wanted to do was make these dumplings. And of course, I had to make Szechuan Green Beans as well. But more on that later.

Shrimp and Pork Potstickers

Shrimp and Pork Potstickers

Anyway, my dumplings turned out alright. A little gummy – but I think I made the dough too wet? And again, maybe they aren’t my thing? Perhaps there is a reason I never order them when I’m out??

The dough recipe came from sponsor of this challenge, Jen at Use Real Butter. Really, go to her site cause she’s got so much fantastic information regarding dumpling/potsticker making that I won’t even bother to repeat it.

The filling came out of a fabulous book my husband picked up for me awhile back – The Cooks Book by Jill Norman. I love this book – it’s all about technique and is filled with great recipes by top chefs. This is where the idea of the beggars purses came from. The recipe also recommended serving with a ginger vinaigrette, but I preferred using the sauce from the Szechuan Green Beans instead. I would recommend any soy based dipping sauce.

Alright, since I already gave you the link regarind how to make your own dumpling wrappers, I’m just going to share the filling recipe here.

Shrimp and Pork Dumpling Filling

From The Cooks Book by Jill Norman
8 oz peeled, deveined shrimp
5 oz ground pork
1 T veg oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 t chopped ginger
1 Thai green chile minced
8 Shitake mushrooms thinly sliced
1 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
2 t Oyster sauce
1/2 t ground white pepper
3 scalllions
1/2 bunch cilantro minced (I left this out).

1. Finely chop the shrimp.

2. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and saute the garlic, ginger and chile briefly. Add the mushrooms and saute till softened. Remove from the heat and add the sauces, season with pepper. Let cool.

3. When cool, add shrimp and ground pork.

4. Fill dumpling wrappers according to whatever directions you are following.


Ms. Pantry Raid

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Burmese Pork Curry

Burmese Pork Curry: very flavorful with tamarind, hot peppers and turmeric.

Another round of What I’m Reading Now: Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States – A Dinner Party

So I came across this book awhile back that combines foreign policy AND food. Interesting concept, I thought. Admitted, I find foreign affairs intriguing, but food is my first love and takes up most of my free reading time. Alas, I am rather uninformed on global goings-on. This book manages to combine the two topics into an extraordinarily interesting book.  

Mission of Burma

The author takes us to what she considers the “Axis of Evil” – North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, India, Pakistan, Cuba, Burma, China, and “the Great Satan” USA (if you thought this book wouldn’t be left-leaning, you are sorely mistaken) discussing who has nuclear weapons, who wants them and who is the biggest threat regarding worldwide peace. Then she shares the food and culinary history of the region.

The great U.S. of A. gets Beer Butt Chicken. What could be more All-American than sticking a beer can up a chicken’s butt? As much as I’d like to give it a try, I opted to make something a little different and headed to the chapter on Burma which, if you read this book, you probably won’t call Myanmar ever again.

Wata Majeedi

I chose the Burmese pork curry mostly cause I have a package of tamarind paste that’s been sitting in my cupboard for months now, begging to be opened.  The curry was super flavorful and really easy.  The only real changes I made were to reserve the marinade and then throw it in to the pot towards the end of cooking – just to add more flavor and make more of a sauce.  

You are supposed to serve the curry with a garnish of fried, crispy onions. But I FORGOT. Meaning, I went through all the trouble of making the stupid onions but when the time came, I was so hungry I completely forgot I had set them aside. Of course as I dished up the curry, I thought to myself, “this could use something crunchy”. Um, yeah…like crispy, fried onions perhaps?? Alas, I threw some slivered almonds over top and called it day. Worked well, but when I found the onions during kitchen cleanup, I was MOST displeased!

Wata Majeedi (Pork Curry with Tamarind)

Adapted from Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party


1/2 cup tamarind water (requires soaking tamarind paste in water – see steps below)

2 t fish sauce

1 inch piece of ginger – grated

5 cloves garlic – crushed

1 medium yellow onion – chopped

1-3 serrano chiles or small, Asian chiles

1 t turmeric

2 t paprika

1/2 t salt

1 lb pork loin or shoulder – chopped into 3/4 inch cubes

3 T onion oil (see fried, crispy onions garnish recipe below) – or 2 T canola and 1 T sesame oil

2 1/2 cups water

For garnish – chopped cilantro, fried onions (see recipe below). I added chopped almonds for crunch.


1. Make tamarind water – soak 2 inch cube of tamarind paste in 1/2 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Remove tamarind pulp – squeezing as much water as you can out of it. Discard tamarind pulp.

2. Puree the fish sauce, ginger, garlic, onion and chiles in a blender or small food processor (alternatively – just chop them fine).

3. Make the marinade – in a bowl (or whatever dish you want to marinade the meat in), mix the puree made in step 2 with the tamarind water, turmeric, paprika, and salt. Add the meat and marinade overnight (or on the counter for 15 minutes. But overnight is better).

4. Heat the oil in a heavy pot. Remove the meat from the marinade. Add the meat to the pot and brown on all sides. Reserve leftover marinade.

5. Add the 2 1/2 cups water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Check the meat and add another 1/2 cup water if it is dry. Continue to simmer partially covered (may need to increase heat) for another 20 – 30 minutes. You want the liquid to reduce quite a bit, but don’t want the meat to scorch the pan.

6. Stir in the reserved marinade to the pot and bring to a simmer. Check the meat to see if it is tender. When tender, serve.

I served the meat over basmati rice with chopped cilantro and slivered almonds. I was SUPPOSED to serve with fried onions (recipe below), but as I said earlier, I am dumb and FORGOT!!!

Fried, Crispy Onions and Onion Oil


3 medium yellow onions

1 1/2 cups peanut oil

1 t turmeric


1. Slice the onion into very thin strips.

2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat

3. When the oil is hot, fry the onions. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet. Stir from time to time to prevent burning.

4. Let the onions brown evenly. When they are a nice dark golden brown (not burnt!), remove from the oil using a slotted spoon. 

5. Place onions on folded up paper towls to absorb the excess oil. Onions can be stored in the fridge for a week or two to use as a condiment. Reserve the oil to use in the pork curry or wherever you would want to use onion oil.


Ms. Pantry Raid

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Enliven your taste buds!

So, every month I get together with a group of women to cook. To be quite honest, while the dishes we make are tasty, they are not the most adventurous. Usually we prepare something from Ina or Giada’s latest tome. More recently, we’ve been cooking a lot from Suzanne Goin (you’ve read her book, yes? If not, stop reading immediately and go get it!). This always promises great results, but sometimes I crave something a little more exciting. 

Enter Clifford Wright’s Some Like It Hot. If your weekly meals are a little on the blah side, or you’re stuck in a rut, this book is exactly what you need. From Jamaican Jerk Shrimp to Indian Pork Vindaloo to Louisiana Gumbo, Wright takes you from Peru to Ghana – one spicey dish at a time. He gives a little history of the region, introduces you to a few new spices and guides you through authentic recipes. Great food AND you learn something new!

Can this be as good as my favorite Thai place?

A greater depth of flavor than my favorite Thai place.




Crying Tiger

My all-time favorite restaurant dish is from a Thai place nearby my house. It’s an appetizer consisting of chargrilled flank steak doused in a sauce containing typical Thai hot, sour, spicey and sweet flavors. The dish at this particular restaurant is called Neau Sa Ded, but more often, you’ll see it listed as Crying Tiger or Tiger Cry.

I crave it.


When all the beef is gone, I swat away my server’s attempts to remove the dish before I can pour the sauce on anything/everything else that comes to the table. It’s on my “if you could only have one dish for the rest of your life” list. I think you get the picture, yes? I’ve tried semi-successfully to recreate it at home. Thanks to Clifford Wright, I’m getting quite a bit closer. In fact, this is probably more complex than my beloved Neau Sa Ded. 

Dipping sauce - this is some hot stuff!!

Dipping sauce - this is some hot stuff!!

Dipping Sauce

 The dipping sauce uses quite a few dried chili peppers. If you can’t stand the heat, by all means, tone it down (I would never do such a thing myself…). The recipe also calls for galangal. I came across this root at Whole Foods a few months ago and quickly snatched it up and stashed it in my freezer for safe keeping. I always came across recipes requiring it but could never find it. Of course, once I found it, I had lost the recipes. Anyway…now I’ve had it and I can say I prefer the taste of ginger and would use that instead.

The only major changes I made to the recipe were to add a little sugar to the dipping sauce and finish it off with a little more vinegar – just to make sure the sweet and sour flavors were covered.  To make a meal, I served the meat and dipping sauce over jasmine rice and stir-fried green beans. Hot stuff my friend! But I loved every minute of it!

Crying Tiger

Adapted from Clifford Wright’s Some Like It Hot


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
1 T sugar (beef) + 2 t sugar (dipping sauce)
1 lb beef rib eye or beef round (London Broil) in 1 piece
2 heads garlic
2 t oil
1/4 cup dried and crumbled birds-eye chilis, piqun chilis or chile de arbol
1/2 t salt
1 shallot chopped
1 T chopped cilantro
1 one-inch cube of fresh galangal or ginger, chopped
3 T fresh lime juice
1 t rice wine vinegar


1. In a baking dish large enough for the beef, combine soy sauce, 2 T fish sauce and 1 T of sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves. Place beef in dish, let marinate for 1 hour, flipping once.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut tops off of heads of garlic. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast until insides are soft – about 40 minutes. Cool, the squeeze garlic out into bowl of food processor. Set aside.

3. Prepare the dipping sauce. In a small cast iron skillet, dry-roast the chilis over high heat with salt until chiles begin to blacken – 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool and add to the food processor.

4. Add the shallot, cilantro and galangal to the food processor. Puree into a paste. 

5. Add the remaining 2 T fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar and remaining 2t sugar to the food processor and continue to puree, scraping down the sides when necessary, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl for serving.

6. Preheat grill. 

7. Place steak on the grill and cook until center is medium rare – 8 to 10 minutes. 

8. Remove the steak and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

9. Slice crosswise into thin slices and serve with the sauce.



Ms. Pantry Raid

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Not your typical bbq pulled pork - five spice powder gives these bite sized apps an Asian flair.

Not your typical bbq pulled pork - five spice powder gives these bite sized apps an Asian flair.

Asian Pulled Pork

For Valentine’s day, among the myriad of tapas I was assembling, I wanted to make pulled pork stuffed in wonton cups. I sought out an Asian inspired recipe as I thought it was most appropriate. I was quite surprised at the outcome of this recipe. It was dang tasty but still let the flavor of the pork shine through. I scooped it into the wonton cups and topped with a little diced mango. I meant to make the mango into more of an Asian salsa, but time got away from me. I will say I think this pulled pork is the perfect filling for bite sized wonton cups. I woke up the following morning craving the combo (thankfully, I still had two left).  

What is five-spice powder anyway?

 Five-spice powder is a seasoning in Chinese cuisine. It incorporates the five basic flavors of Chinese cooking – sweet, sour, bitter, savory, and salty. Most commonly, it consists of Szechuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel. I have forgotten how much I love it. When you are sick of making the same old stir fry, try adding a little bit. It definitely livens up the party. I made a Five-spice Chocolate Cake once that was too die for. I think it came out of America’s Test Kitchen Restaurant Recipes, but here’s an online version.

Five spice pulled pork with Asian BBQ sauce, sauteed cabbage and a wonton crisp.

Five spice pulled pork with Asian BBQ sauce, sauteed cabbage and a wonton crisp.

A variation

Later in the week, I still had a lot of pulled pork to use up. I thought it would be nice to pair it with an Asian BBQ sauce. So I sauteed some cabbage with a little ginger and garlic to use as a bed for the pulled pork. Then topped the pork with a little of the bbq sauce and a wonton crisp (cause shoot, I am addicted to the crunch. Now I know to make crispy little crackers out of leftover wontons!). Once again, a fantastic combo.

For a variation on your normal bbq pulled pork, give five spice pork a try. You won’t be disappointed.


Five-spice Pulled Pork

Adapted from here. I made this into a slow cooker recipe cause I just couldn’t be bothered to do otherwise.

Serves 6


1 medium onion, sliced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled 
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (3ish pound) pork shoulder, deboned or 3 lbs boneless country ribs
1/2 cup water


1. Place the sliced onion in the crockpot.

2. Pulse the ginger, garlic and shallot in a food processor to a fine mince or paste (it will be rubbed into the pork).

3. Mix all the dry spices, salt and the brown sugar together in a medium bowl.

4. Rub the minced ginger, garlic and shallot paste into the meat. Then follow with the dry spice rub.

5.Fold the roast into a compact shape, and put it (or country ribs if using that) in the crockpot on top of the sliced onion. Add the water to the crockpot.

6. Cook in crockpot on high for 4-5 hours. You can alter the cooking time (put on low for longer) to suit your schedule, but I was running out of time and needed this cooked asap. 

7. Remove from crockpot when it is fork tender. Shred pork with 2 forks (or your hands – whatever works best). 

8. Serve

Serving suggestion – put in wonton cups, top with a little Asian BBQ sauce, maybe some mango. Or a variation on any of the above.

Wonton Cups / Crisps


Wonton wrappers (however many you want to make)
Vegetable cooking spray


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place wonton wrappers on work surface; spray lightly with oil.

Flip wonton over and give the second side a spray (Important – remember to spray both sides! Otherwise they bake up extremely sharp – and, um, painful to eat).

Press each wonton wrapper into muffin tin. Or, alternatively, place on baking sheet for flat squares.

Bake until wonton cups/crisps are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Cool completely in tins/baking sheet. (Can be made 3 days ahead).

Remove cups from tins and store airtight at room temperature.

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