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Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Moros y Cristianos, Cuban Rice & Beans

Disclaimer: This is a traditional recipe based on a historical event. It is not a commentary on any religion or ethnicity.

Why the disclaimer? The recipe is Moros y Cristianos, a dish commemorating the Islamic Conquest of Spain by Moors in the early 8th century, the ongoing wars between the two sides and the subsequent Reconquista by Spanish Christians in the 15th century.
 
WHAT IS “MOROS Y CRISTIANOS?”

Moros y Cristianos means “Moors and Christians” and refers to the popular white rice and black beans dish of Cuba. It was inspired by historic events that are commemorated annually with battle re-enactments across the southern coast of Spain.

Platillo Moros y Cristianos is a staple served at virtually every Cuban restaurant and home. It is the Cuban version of the rice and beans dishes that are consumed throughout the Caribbean, Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, and in the southern United States. It can be simply called arroz moro, moros, moro or congrí.

The black beans, or Moros, represent the darker-skinned Moors; the rice, Cristianos, represents the lighter-skinned Spaniards. They are simmered together or separately with herbs and vegetables: a sofrito* of bay leaf, bell pepper, garlic, onions and oregano. Bacon can also be added.

This nicely seasoned side is often served with grilled or roasted meat, poultry and seafood. It’s a good party dish, too: It can be made well in advance and be served at room temperature.
 
MOROS VS. CONGRÍ: THE DIFFERENCE

In the traditionally preparation, the Moros and Cristianos are prepared separately; they don’t meet up until they’re placed side by side on the plate. In the variation called Congrí, the rice and beans are cooked together†.

These days, many cooks make the rice and beans together Congrí-style, but call it Moros y Cristianos.

There’s no need to split hairs. Both methods work fine, although Steve Sando, the proprietor of Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans who has cooked bean dishes in every way possible, prefers “the sharper, more distinct flavors the old-fashioned technique delivers.”

We’ll start with his recipe, and follow with a very quick version from Kraft.
 
__________________________

*Sofrito is the Spanish version of mirepoix, a chopped vegetable mix that is cooked in oil or butter to add flavor to sauces, soups, stews and stocks. Similar flavor bases include the Italian soffritto and the Portuguese refogado. Depending on the country, ingredients can include bell peppers, carrots, celeriac, celery, onions, and seasonings; refogado includes tomatoes. Cajun and Creole cuisines use what is called the “holy trinity”: onions, celery and bell peppers.

†The beans are first boiled in water; the rice is cooked in another pot with some of the water from the beans. The cooked ingredients are combined with a flavorful sofrito (see footnote above).

   

Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos

Top photo of Moros y Cristianos courtesy Savoir Faire Los Placeres Del Paladar. Center: Side-by-side Moros y Cristianos from HeartOfWisdom.com. Bottom: A creative side-by-side from Fictionique.com.

 
RECIPE: MOROS Y CRISTIANOS (MOORS & CHRISTIANS RICE & BEANS)

This traditional recipe from Rancho Gordo adds another layer of flavor from bacon. Visit RanchoGordo.com for an exquisite selection of heirloom beans, spices and dazzling bean recipes.

Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 4 slices lean bacon, chopped
  • Olive oil, if needed
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder (see note‡)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups cooked black beans in their broth
  • Salt
  • 1½ cups hot cooked white rice
  •  
    _______________________________________
    ‡You can buy New Mexican Red Chile Powder from Rancho Gordo as well as from McCormick. New Mexican Red Chile Powder, also simply called red chile powder, is made from hot red chiles that have been dried and ground. It should not be confused with chili powder, a mixed spice for making chili. If you don’t have red chile powder, substitute cayenne pepper or the milder paprika.

     

    Moros y Cristianos Recipe

    Easy Moros y Cristianos from Kraft. It saves time by using canned beans. The recipe is below.

     

    Preparation

    1. GENTLY COOK the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is cooked through, about 10 minutes. You should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. If there is less, add olive oil as needed until you have 2 tablespoons of fat.

    2. ADD the onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook gently, stirring occasionally until the bell pepper is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the red chile powder and oregano and stir until incorporated. Add the beans and their broth and stir gently until mixed.

    3. COOK over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the salt if needed.

    4. TO SERVE: Spoon some of the rice and the beans alongside each other on each individual plate. Serve immediately.
     

     

    RECIPE: QUICK MOROS Y CRISTIANOS

    This quick recipe, from Kraft, uses canned black beans. You can save even more time by using precooked frozen rice.

    Prep time is 5 minutes, total time 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Half-Cup Servings

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon, onions and garlic in large skillet on medium-high heat until the bacon is crisp.

    2. STIR in the rice, the beans with their liquid, and the oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.

    3. REDUCE the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      

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    RECIPE: Korean Spaghetti & Meatballs

    Korean Meatballs

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/rice noodles indochine kitchen 230r

    Peacock Rice Spaghetti

    Top: Spicy Korean meatballs from Noodles & Company. Center: Cooked rice noodles from Indochine Kitchen. Bottom: Peacock Brand rice noodles, one of our favorites.

     

    March 9th is National Meatball Day. Suggestion: Try something different, instead of the very familiar Italian-American pork blend meatballs with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

    How about a Korean interpretation of Meatballs & Spaghetti? The meatballs are flavored with spicy gochujang sauce (pronounced Go-CHOO-jang); the spaghetti is made from gluten-free rice noodles.

    The meatball and sauce recipes are from Executive Chef Nick Graff of Noodles & Company. THE NIBBLE put them together rice noodles to create the Meatballs & Spaghetti. The substitutions are:

  • Korean BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce
  • Rice noodles instead of wheat noodles
  • Shredded basil or chopped cilantro instead of grated cheese
  •  
    Don’t want spicy Korean meatballs? Try this Italian-influenced veal meatball recipe.
     
    RECIPE: KOREAN MEATBALLS & SPAGHETTI

    Ingredients For 32 One-Ounce Meatballs

  • Korean BBQ sauce (recipe below)
  • Meatballs (recipe below, or use your favorite recipe)
  • Rice noodles (spaghetti or vermicelli—Peacock Brand rice noodles are available at Amazon, Walmart, Wegmans and retailers nationwide)
  • Garnish: black and white sesame seeds, fresh basil chiffonade or cilantro
  •  
    Ingredients For The Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  •  
    Ingredients For The Korean BBQ Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled & minced
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang sauce/paste (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the ground chicken and beef with the eggs, salt and white pepper. Portion and roll into 1 ounce-size balls (the size of golf balls) and place on an oiled sheet pan. Bake for about 20 minutes.

    2. MAKE the BBQ sauce. Place the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, gochujang paste and red chili flakes in a pan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile…

    3. WHISK the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl and add to boiling sauce. Stir until thickened. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the heated meatballs and toss to coat completely with the sauce.

    4. COOK the rice noodles according to package directions, while the BBQ sauce is coming to a boil.

    5 COMBINE the spaghetti, meatballs and sauce, garnish and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gochujang Sauce, The Next Sriracha

    Over the past five years, sriracha, a Thai hot sauce which most of us had never heard of previously, has emerged as the hot sauce of choice. It’s more flavorful than many of the big-brand American hot pepper sauces that had long been the norm.

    But climbing up the ladder is a new (to most Americans) hot sauce alternative: gochujang (go-CHOO-jang). This Korean fermented hot sauce is a mixture of red chili powder, glutinous rice powder, fermented soy beans, salt, other seasonings like garlic and onion, and a bit of sugar syrup or malt. It is then aged.

    As a result, it is even more complex in flavor than sriracha. Some chefs call it “an umami bomb,” combining spicy, salty, sweet and earthy notes.

    Gochujang is a staple Korean condiment also known in English as Korean hot pepper paste. Sweet heat with the consistency of hoisin sauce, it’s used in a wide range of Korean dishes, from bibimbap to dukbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) to tteokbokki to something more familiar: fried chicken. And of course, it can be used in American recipes instead of barbecue sauce, ketchup and other condiments.

    It deepen the flavors (and color!) of everything from broth to noodle dishes and vegetables. Incorporate it into a recipe, or serve it as a table condiment so people can add their own.

    A group of 18 recipes from Bon Appetit includes recipes for, among others:

  • Bibimbap
  • Chicken Wings
  • Congee
  • Grilled Sesame Shrimp
  • Hangar Steak
  • Kimchi
  • Pork Ribs and Pork Shoulder
  • Stews, including Sundubu with Clams and Tofu
  • Veggies: Brussels Sprouts and Tofu Stir-Fry, Roasted Winter Squash, Sautéed Cabbage
  •  
    When mixed with Korean red miso (doenjang), it creates ssamjang, a condiment for lettuce wraps (ssam) and raw or blanched vegetables.

     

    Gochujang Sauce

    Gochuchang Sauce

    Korean Fried Chicken

    Top: Gochuchang sauce, also called paste because of its consistency. If you can’t find it locally, you can buy it online or make your own. Center: A bowl of gochuchang, served as a condiment. Photo courtesy Trifood.com. Bottom: Spicy fried chicken. Here’s the recipe from SBS.com.au.

     
    Add some gochujang to mayonnaise as a spread or a dip for crudités or fries. Serve it plain with eggs. Put it on a burger or hot dog. You can blend in fruit for an even more complex sauce.

    Add it to dressings, marinades and sauces to add some spicy flavor. You can make a Korean-style arrabiata sauce for pasta, or pair it with other noodle dishes and rice.

    Although it contains no tomatoes, some Americans think of gochujank as spicy Korean ketchup.

    What are you waiting for? Add it to your shopping list!
     
    BUT WHAT BRAND?

    All commercial gochujang is imported, and some labels are only in Korean.

    “The best gochujang” is a matter of personal taste. You may like more sweetness, we may like less. That said, if you’re in an Asian market with multiple options, you could ask a clerk to explain the differences.

    If you pursue a close relationship with gochuchang, you may discover different styles, including chalgochujang (sweet rice gochujang) and taeyangcho (sundried, i.e. the paste is actually dried under the sun).

    However, as with ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and other condiments, you won’t find a disappointing one.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Eggplant & Tomatoes With Indian Seasonings

    Eggplant and tomato dishes have found their way into world cuisines: ratatouille and tian in France; caponata from Sicily; Middle Eastern eggplant, tomato and chickpea casserole; among so many others.

    In this recipe, Maya Kaimal, the doyenne of fine prepared Indian foods in the U.S., adds layers of flavor with Indian spices. Slices of fried eggplant are folded into a spicy tomato sauce. Use a nonstick skillet to minimize the amount of oil needed for frying.

    You don’t have to wait until tomato season to enjoy this recipe. You can use canned tomatoes, and fresh in the summer. (We use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes in the off season.)

    Find more of Maya’s authentic recipes at MayaKaimal.com.

    RECIPE: EGGPLANT & TOMATOES WITH INDIAN SPICES

    Use a heart-healthy oil (coconut oil, olive oil, Malaysian palm oil) and this is a “good for you” way to eat your veggies. Prep time is 40 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 thin Japanese* eggplants cut into ¼-inch rounds (about 4 cups)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water as needed
  •  
    For The Spice Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ____________________
    *You can substitute a standard Italian eggplant, cut into ¾-inch chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough eggplant to cover the pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

     

    Eggplant & Tomato Recipe

    Brown Mustard Seeds

    Fennel Seeds

    Top: Eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce. Photo courtesy Maya Kaimal. Center: Brown mustard seeds from Maille. Bottom: Fennel seeds from SilkRoadSpices.ca.

     
    2. WIPE the pan clean. Over medium-high heat, heat the mustard and fennel seeds in 1 tablespoon oil until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt and spice mixture. Continue frying over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes turn orange and pieces break down to form a soft paste, about 5 minutes.

    3. ADD the reserved eggplant and stir very gently to combine with the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the eggplant is cooked through, adding water in small amounts if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste and add salt as desired.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: International Pancake Day

    Scallion Pancakes

    Scallion Pancakes

    Monte Cristo Pancakes

    Top: American-style scallion pancakes. Photo and recipe by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz. Middle: Chinese-style scallion pancakes from Zesty South Indiana Kitchen. Here’s the recipe. Bottom: Monte Cristo Pancakes, like the sandwich but with pancakes instead of bread. Photo courtesy Bakerita.com.

     

    International Pancake Day is held each year on Shrove Tuesday, also called Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) and in the U.K., Pancake Day. The date changes each year according to the date of Easter Sunday, and can vary from February 3rd to March 9th.

    Shrove Tuesday is the last day of feasting before Lent begins, on Ash Wednesday. It is observed mainly in English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. But it is also observed elsewhere.

    Each country has its own customary food.

  • In Spain it’s an omelet (tortilla) made with sausage or pork fat.
  • In Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, it’s doughnuts (fried dough pastry), a custom brought to Hawaii by Portuguese laborers in the late 1800s.
  • Pastry or sweet buns are consumed in Estonia, Finland and Sweden.
  • In the U.K., Canada and Australia, the custom is eating a meal of pancakes.
  •  
    Why pancakes?

    They’re a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. (The same applies to doughnuts and other pastry). The Lenten fast emphasizes eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy or eggs.

    Your Pancake Day celebration does not have to include conventional pancakes with a sweet syrup. Here are ideas for the savory palate.

     
    RECIPE: EASY SCALLION PANCAKES

    This recipe adds garlic powder and sliced scallions to regular pancake batter (or use a conventional Chinese Scallion Pancakes recipe).

    Serve them alongside steak and eggs or simply top with butter. Can you serve them with bacon and sausage? Absolutely!

    This recipe was developed by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz, who used its Buttermilk Pancake Mix. Prep time is 5 minutes, total time is 10-12 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4-8 Pancakes

  • 1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or green onions
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a pancake griddle or skillet over medium heat and grease lightly. Whisk together pancake mix, water, garlic powder and scallions until combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not overmix.

    2. POUR 1/4 cup of batter onto the preheated griddle and cook pancakes for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
     
    We enjoyed ours served with Korean beef bulgogi and a fried egg, adding an Asian twist to American steak and eggs.
     
    MORE SAVORY PANCAKE RECIPES

  • Bacon, Corn & Cheese Pancakes recipe
  • Bacon Potato Pancakes With Corn Salsa recipe
  • Monte Cristo Pancakes, with ham and cheese recipe
  • Potato Chips & Beer Pancakes recipe
  • Potato Pancakes (Latkes) recipe
  •  
    *Shrove is a form of shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. It was/is customary for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

     
    SEE ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PANCAKES.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bibimbap, A Korean Classic For The Lunar New Year

    We love bibimbap (bee-bim-BOP), a signature Korean dish. It’s a variation of our currently trending rice bowl. The word literally means “mixed rice”—rice mixed with several other ingredients.

    We’ve written about bibimbap previously, but for the eve of the lunar new year (this year, it’s Sunday, February 7th), it’s especially appropriate. It’s what Koreans traditionally eat on their new year’s eve.

    It also happens to be Super Bowl Sunday; if your friends are foodies, this is a good dish for a crowd.
     
    WHAT IS BIBIMBAP?

    A bowl of warm white rice is topped with seasoned vegetables*; sliced beef, chicken or seafood; and a raw or fried egg. The yolk of the egg (or the entire raw egg) binds the ingredients when they are mixed together.

    Chile paste, fermented soybean paste or soy sauce are served as condiments. After the ingredients are blended each individual diner, condiments added at the table.

    For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so that adjacent colors complement each other.

    The recipe below, from Good Eggs, requires 15 minutes of active time, and a total of 35 minutes. It doesn’t require you to be handy with a knife: Instead of thin slices of beef, you use ground beef.

    If you like bibimbap as much as we do, you can experiment with other grains. Quinoa bibimbap with kale, anyone?

    RECIPE: BIBIMBAP RICE BOWL

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2 cups of sushi rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons of mirin (rice wine†)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, plus a little more for seasoning
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, shaved thinly
  • 1 bunch of scallions, both green and white portions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Raw or fried egg for each serving
  • Optional: other vegetables as desired
  •    

    Bibimbap

    Bibimbap

    Top: Bibimbap served with a raw egg at Kristalbelli | NYC. Bottom photo: The ingredients mixed together. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

  • Optional: chili paste/red pepper paste (gochujang), sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds
  • ____________________________________
    *Commonly vegetables used include bean sprouts, julienned cucumber, julienned or shredded daikon (Japanese radish), julienned zucchini, nori (dried seaweed), shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms or whole enoki mushrooms, and spinach. Diced tofu, either uncooked or cooked, can be added.

    †Mirin and saké are both called “rice wine.” Both are fermented from rice; mirin has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content (as an analogy, thing of sweet and dry vermouths. If you have saké but no mirin, make a substitute by adding a half teaspoon of sugar to the saké, and warm it slowly to dissolve the sugar.

     

    Bibimbap

    Dolsot bibimbap, bibimbap served in a very
    hot stone bowl (our favorite way to enjoy
    bibimbap at restaurants). Photo courtesy
    Souschef.co.uk.

     

    Preparation

    1. RINSE the rice a few times in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Add the rice to a pot and cover with water. Let it soak for 20 minutes, then strain it again. Add the rice back to the pot and add 3 cups of water. Bring the rice and water to a boil, uncovered. When the water reaches a rolling boil…

    2. TURN the flame to low, cover the pot and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it steam for 10 minutes with the cover on. After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork: It’s ready. While the rice cooks

    3. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the meat and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down and add the soy sauce and mirin, and stir. Cook for another 5-6 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove from the heat.

    4. SERVE: Spoon some rice into a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds, a splash of mirin and a little bit of soy sauce. Top with beef, cilantro, scallions, radishes, cilantro and a spoonful of kimchi.

     

    BIBIMBAP HISTORY

    Bibimbap was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year, to enable households to use up all of their leftovers before the start of the new year. All of the leftovers were put in a bowl of rice and mixed together.

    Use up your leftovers, or buy fresh ingredients. Or plan a party: Like paella and other rice main dishes, bibimbap is a good dish for a crowd.

    Of course, bibimbap can be made from scratch with chosen ingredients. Each region and each cook has a preferred mix of ingredients.

    At Korean restaurants you can get dolsot bibimbap (stone pot bibimbap), served in a stone bowl so hot that the ingredients sizzle. The raw egg cooks as soon as it’s mixed in.

    Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom can be coated with sesame oil, which makes the bottom of the rice cook to a crispy state, like the soccorat at the bottom of the paella pan.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Really Good Chinese Egg Rolls

    Egg Rolls

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/egg rolls redstixs 230r

    Top: Egg rolls with BBQ pork and sweet and
    hot chili dipping sauce, from the National
    Pork Board. They’re baked, not fried (recipe).
    Bottom: Egg rolls from Red Stix | NYC, served
    with a mix of rice vinegar and soy sauce.

     

    For the Chinese New Year, why not make your own egg rolls? Serve them as an appetizer, or as a snack with a cold beer.

    EGG ROLL HISTORY

    Like Chinese chicken salad, crab wontons, duck sauce, fortune cookies, General Tso’s chicken and sweet and sour pork—not to mention the pu pu platter—the egg roll is a Chinese-American invention. Food historians believe it was first created in New York City in the early 1930s.

    But over time, what was initially a richly layered roll with a mix of bamboo shoots, roast pork, scallions, shrimp and water chestnuts evolved into a bland cabbage roll—a stuffing of shredded cabbage, flecked with bits of pork and carrot. [Source]

    If you’d like to go back to the golden age of egg rolls, make your own! If you don’t like to deep fat fry, you can bake them.

    This recipe came to us via Melissas.com, from Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook.
     
    RECIPE: CHEF MARTIN YAN’S EGG ROLLS

    Ingredients For 12 Pieces

  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¾ pound ground pork, chicken or beef
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 12 ounces green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • Cooking oil for frying
  •  
    Don’t forget the condiments: hot mustard, jalapeño pepper jelly, plum sauce, ponzu sauce, sweet and sour sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce (sweet and hot) or just plain soy sauce. We like to serve two different options: Colman’s prepared mustard (a better version of “Chinese mustard”) and Thai sweet chili sauce (you can buy it or make your own).
     
    OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

    You can add just about anything to an egg roll, as long as it’s finely chopped and well drained (don’t add moisture).

  • There are fusion egg rolls that include pastrami (a Reuben egg roll) and corned beef and cabbage egg roll.
  • The menu at Rhode Island’s Egg Roll Cafe features the classic egg roll plus these flavors: Bacon-Egg-Cheese, Cheeseburger, Crab Rangoon, Fajita, Ham-Egg-Cheese, Pizza, Shrimp, Spinach & Feta, Steak & Cheese and Taco, among others.
  • Check out this recipe, featured in the Merced [California] Sun Star, which includes classic ingredients plus peanut butter and cinnamon. The creator, Fanny Go, was born and raised in Southern China (where there are no egg rolls) and now lives in Chicago.

    In addition to her basic recipe, she suggests these optional extras which you can incorporate into Chef Yan’s recipe:

  • ½ cup boiled shrimp, cut into dime-size pieces
  • ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, soaked, squeezed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup well-drained bamboo shoots, julienned
  • ¼ cup water chestnuts, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup bean sprouts, well drained
  • Editor’s choice: Chinese sausage (if you can get hold of it)
  •  
    Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with your favorite fillings, from vegetarian to Swiss cheese—or anything that goes well with beer or wine.

    Back to Chef Yan’s recipe:

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides of the pan. Add the pork, ginger and garlic; stir-fry until meat is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain the excess oil.

    2. COMBINE the pork, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes.

    3. COMBINE the cabbage, carrot and green onions in a large bowl. Add the meat mixture; toss well and let it cool slightly.

    4. FILL the rolls: Place a wrapper on a clean flat surface in front of you so that it looks like a diamond. Place 3 tablespoons of filling in the center. Fold the bottom point up over the filling and roll once. Fold in the right and left points. Brush the beaten egg on the top point. Continue rolling until you have a tight cylinder. Place the filled rolls on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth while filling remaining rolls.

    5. FRY: Heat 2-3 inches of cooking oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or wok, to 350°F. Add the egg rolls, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

    Serve with sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce, hot mustard or jalapeño pepper jelly.

    Recipe copyright Yan Can Cook, Inc., 2014
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EGG ROLLS, SPRING ROLLS & SUMMER ROLLS

    It can be very confusing, but we’ve done our best here to explain the differences.

    While some countries, including China, serve fried egg rolls and spring rolls, the terms are not synonymous. An egg roll has a heavier pastry wrapper of wheat dough that contains eggs—hence the name. The cooked roll can be sliced into sections. Spring roll wrappers are made without egg. A fried spring roll is very fragile and can shatter like phyllo.

  • Egg rolls are deep fried. The wrappers are thicker, making egg rolls more of a filled pastry. They can have a vegetable, egg, meat and/or seafood filling. The filling varies by chef, and can include chopped shrimp, ground beef, ground chicken or turkey, matchstick-sliced pork or Chinese sausage, minced cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger and mushrooms.
  •  

    Egg Rolls

    Spring Rolls

    Top: Chef Martin Yan’s egg rolls, served with sweet and sour sauce. Photo courtesy Melissas.com | Yan Can Cook. Bottom: Translucent rice paper enables spring and summer rolls to show off the ingredients inside. Photo courtesy Nature Box.

     

  • Spring rolls can be fried or not. The fried versions use thinner wheat wrappers and are narrower and more finger-like. They can be filled with pork and/or shrimp. Spring rolls can also be served in an uncooked rice noodle wrapper. These are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival in China, hence the name; and are also popular in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Thee rice noodle wrappers are moistened into pliancy and translucency, then filled with seafood, bean thread vermicelli, red lettuce or Boston lettuce leaves, shredded cabbage and carrot, plus wonderfully refreshing herbs—fresh mint, basil and cilantro leaves. They are served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
  • Summer rolls are made in the style of spring rolls, but with more seasonal ingredients. They are always in a rice noodle wrapper and never fried. The ingredients can be cooked, raw or a mixture, and the colors and shapes show through the translucent wrapper. Ingredients typically include pork and/or shrimp or vegetables, rice vermicelli (noodles) and fresh herbs (basil, cilantro and mint). The dipping sauce for summer rolls is typically a blend of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce or tamari, with minced scallions and a splash of toasted sesame oil.
  •  
    The dipping sauces for the different rolls can be mixed and matched. Our favorites include peanut sauce, a blend of peanut butter and hoisin sauce with garlic; sweet and hot red chili sauce; and rice vinegar/soy sauce.
     
    The way to best learn the differences, of course, is to go out and eat them, or make them at home. But note that even restaurants and retail establishments can abel these different rolls incorrectly.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Egg Drop Soup

    Chinese Egg Drop Soup

    Fresh Cilantro

    Top: Egg drop soup is known for its strands
    of eggs. Bottom: A fresh herb garnish
    —chives/green onion, cilantro or parsley—
    makes a big difference. Photos courtesy
    Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

    Chinese egg drop soup is a very simple concept: chicken broth with thin strands of cooked egg. The strands are created by pouring a thin stream of beaten eggs into hot broth at the end of cooking.

    It’s the easiest dish you can make to celebrate the Chinese New Year—also called the Lunar New Year, since other countries in Asia celebrate the holiday. With no added fat or carbs, it’s also spot-on for new year’s diet resolutions—American or Chinese versions.

    The recipe below, from Good Eggs in San Francisco, is more sophisticated than what you get at Chinese restaurants in the U.S. Star anise and miso give the soup so much flavor, it becomes a knock-your-socks-off alternative to the standard American version—typically a bland, gummy (from too much cornstarch) soup.

    While you’re at it, make your own Chinese fortune cookies for dessert!
     
    EGG DROP SOUP HISTORY

    In China, the dish that we call egg drop soup is called egg flower soup. Food historians can’t pin a date on the emergence of the recipe, but the domestication of fowl for eggs was recorded as far back as 1400 B.C.E.

    Similar recipes combining chicken broth and eggs appear in other cultures as well.

  • In France, tourin, a garlic soup, is made with chicken stock that is drizzled with egg whites and thickened with an egg yolk. Unlike egg drop soup, the egg whites are whisked in rapidly to prevent strands from forming.
  • The Greeks added fresh lemon juice to create avogolemono soup. The eggs are added for body and don’t create strands.
  • In Italy, the addition of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese created stracciatella. As with egg drop soup, the eggs form strands.
  •  
    In China, versatility is the name of the game.

  • Tastes vary across regions, with southern Chinese preferring to thicken the broth with cornstarch, and northerners favoring a thinner soup without it.
  •  

  • Tomatoes, corn and green peas may get tossed in as well.
  • Other add-ins can include bean sprouts and tofu cubes.
  • Familiar garnishes may include black pepper, chopped green onions (scallions), and a drizzle of sesame oil, but that’s just the beginning of a whole slew of possibilities.
  •  
    In the U.S.:

  • The soup is thickened with cornstarch, as is done in southern China.
  • It is typically served without a garnish or extra add-ins—but make yours as customized as you like.
  • We like to add cooked chicken strips and chopped green onions, plus fresh cilantro or parsley—whichever we have on hand.
  •  
    As with any recipe, you can (and should!) make it your own.

     

    RECIPE: CHINESE EGG DROP SOUP

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    You can buy the broth or make it with this recipe.

    Ingredients For 2-4 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced into thin pieces
  • 1 quart chicken broth/bone broth
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 4 eggs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat in a big soup pot. When the oil is hot, add the leek and cook for about 6 minutes, until it is soft and starting to turn golden brown. At this point, turn the heat down to medium and carefully add the broth. Then whisk in the star anise, soy sauce and vinegar.

    2. ADD the miso: Pour a ladleful of the broth into a small bowl and add the miso. Whisk to incorporate, then pour the enhanced broth back into the pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes. While the broth cooks…

    3. WHISK the eggs vigorously in a mixing bowl that has a pouring spout, until the whites and yolks are completely (and we mean completely) combined. When the broth has simmered and you’re ready to eat, turn the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat back down to low and wait until the broth is at a steady simmer.

     

    Star Anise

    Midget Corn

    Star anise is perhaps the most beautiful spice. Photo courtesy SilkRoadSpices.ca. Bottom: Customize your soup with ingredients like baby corn. Photo courtesy Alibaba.com.

     
    4. At this point, hold the bowl of eggs in your left hand and slowly stir the broth with a whisk in your right hand. Pour the egg into the broth in a slow and steady stream and watch it form an eggy ribbon as soon as it hits the broth. (If it doesn’t immediately form a ribbon, the broth needs to be hotter—so stop pouring and turn up the heat for a few minutes before trying again.) Continue to pour and stir slowly until all of the eggs are in. Let the broth stand for a few minutes for the eggs to finish cooking, then garnish with parsley and serve.
     
    WHAT IS STAR ANISE?

    Perhaps the prettiest spice, star anise (photo above) comes from an evergreen tree native to Vietnam and China. Although it is not related to the herb anise, it closely resembles anise in flavor since both contain the organic compound anethole.

    Star anise, the seed of the tree, is harvested from the star-shaped pericarp*.

    It is widely used in China, where it is a component of Chinese five-spice powder; in India it is a major component of garam masala. It is also prominent in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisines. In Vietnam, you’ll find it in our favorite soup, pho. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia.

    The French use it in mulled wine (vin chaud).
     
    *Pericarp is a type of plant tissue, the outer layer of the flower’s ovary wall. It surrounds the seeds, in this case, the star anise.
      

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    RECIPE: Bhaji, Indian-Style Onion Rings

    Onion Rings Indian Style

    A yummy twist for onion ring fans: spiced onion rings with spicy ketchup. Photo colurtesy Maya Kaimal.

     

    If you’re looking for interesting Super Bowl fare, add a spin to onion rings with this recipe from Indian food doyenne Maya Kaimal.

    Serve it with spicy ketchup—store bought or home made, by mixing some heat into your regular ketchup.

    RECIPE: BHAJI, INDIAN-STYLE ONION RINGS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable oil for deep frying, or as needed
  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), peeled, cut into ½-inch thick rings
  • Maya Kaimal Spicy Ketchup or make your own spicy ketchup
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a wok or 4-quart pot over medium heat, to 350°F.

    2. MIX the chickpea flour, cumin, cayenne, turmeric and salt in a medium bowl. Add the water and stir until batter is formed. It should be just thick enough to coat an onion ring without sliding off too quickly. Adjust with more water if necessary.

    3. DIP the onion rings into batter and coat each thoroughly. Deep-fry the rings, in 3 or 4 batches, in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

    4. SERVE with spicy ketchup.

    FIND MORE RECIPES AT MAYAKAIMAL.COM.

     
      

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    INNOVATION: A New Way To Enjoy Breakfast Cereal

    What’s new in breakfast? How about some of America’s favorite breakfast cereals, served with spicy Chinese food? It’s a unique fusion experience, and it’s DEE-licious!

    The concept is a joint venture between Kellogg’s and innovative Chinese chef Danny Bowien.

    Chef Danny is a James Beard Rising Star Chef Award winner, chef/co-founder of the acclaimed restaurants Mission Chinese Food in New York and San Francisco and Mission Cantina in New York, and co-author of The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook.

    Danny worked with Kellogg’s to create original approaches to breakfast cereal, combining American cereal with popular Chinese dishes from his menu. We were lucky enough to be invited to taste his creations (just $6 each!). They’re a revelation, and an inspiration for all of us to create our own innovative cereal combinations.

    The result:

    The marriage of familiar and unexpected flavors, the sweet and crunchy Kellogg’s cereals with the soft and spicy Mission Chinese cuisine, is a winner! We loved every one.

    In fact, we went home and re-created Danny’s pairings as best we could, with the ingredients we had on hand. Since all the thinking had been done for us, it was pretty easy, although with a less refined result than the master’s.!

    The limited-time specialty breakfast menu is available from December 18th to 20th; proceeds (with a minimum donation of $25,000) will benefit The Bowery Mission, which provides meals to homeless men and women in New York City.

     
    THE BREAKFAST MENU: 5 NEW & NIFTY COMBINATIONS

    Each pairing is a conventional cereal course, accompanied by a Chinese dish.
     
    Corn Flakes + Westlake Rice Porridge

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, yogurt and berries.
    Paired With: Westlake Rice Porridge, essentially the wonderful Chinese dish of congee with chunks of oxtail meat, Dungeness crab and a soft-cooked egg.
    Our Home Version: Corn Flakes, yogurt, berries, Cream Of Rice cereal with a swirl of sriracha.
     
    Corn Pops + Thrice Cooked Bacon

     

    Westlake Rice Porridge With Corn Flakes

    Kellogg's Mini Wheats With Cashew Butter

    Frosted Flakes With Matcha Milk

    TOP PHOTO: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with rice porridge (congee). MIDDLE PHOTO: Kellogg’s Mini Wheats with cashew butter and persimmon jelly. BOTTOM PHOTO: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes with matcha powder, matcha milk and matcha noodles. Photos courtesy Mission Chinese Food.

     
    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Pops with bacon-infused soy milk, topped with a fried egg.
    Paired With: Thrice cooked bacon with stir-fried rice cakes, bitter melon and chili paste.
    Our Home Version: Corn Pops, bacon and eggs with chili paste-braised tofu (alas, we had no rice cakes).
     
    Frosted Flakes + Green Tea Noodles

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha (green tea powder).
    Paired With: A carafe of matcha-infused milk and a side of matcha noodles.
    Our Home Version: Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha, green tea soy milk and angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil and matcha “pesto.”
     
    Frosted Mini Wheats & Beef Jerky Fried Rice

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats on a bed of cashew butter and persimmon jam.
    Paired With: Beef Jerky Fried Rice, peanut-infused milk and a scattering of roasted peanuts.
    Our Home Version: Mini Wheats with peanut butter and fig jam. Next time we’ll make cashew fried rice to go with it.
     
    Raisin Bran + Mapo Tofu

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran quickly braised in warm almond milk, agave and lime.
    Paired With: Spicy Mapo Tofu—tofu set in a spicy chili-based sauce.
    Our Home Version: Raisin Bran with more of the chili paste-braised tofu and a squeeze of lime juice.
     

    For more ideas on how you can innovate with cereal, visit the Kellogg’s site StirUpBreakfast.com.

    Our fondest wish: that this breakfast menu gets a regular gig.

      

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