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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Ponzu Sauce

ponzu-fotoosvanrobin-flickriver-230

Ponzu sauce. Photo © Fotoos Van Robin |
Flickriver.

 

Following our recent endorsement of rice vinegar as an everyday condiment is this one for ponzu sauce.

Ponzu is a thin, dark brown citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Often mixed with soy sauce (shoyu), it is a popular all-purpose condiment and dipping sauce.

If you’ve ordered tempura in a Japanese restaurant, it was likely served with a small dish of ponzu.

Ponzu sauce is traditionally made with rice vinegar, mirin (rice wine), katsuobushi (bonito tuna flakes) and konbu (seaweed). Some recipes use saké, a less sweet rice wine with a higher alcohol content.

The ingredients are simmered and strained, and then citrus is added, typically yuzu, a bitter orange, or sudachi, a mandarin. (You can use lemon if you’re making it at home.)

USES FOR PONZU SAUCE

Mark Bittman of The New York Times calls it the rough equivalent of vinaigrette.

Ponzu is an attractive condiment with both Western cuisine and its native Eastern cuisine. We recently substituted it for malt vinegar with French fries, and instead of mignonette sauce with oysters on the half shell.

 
More ways to enjoy ponzu sauce:

  • With cooked and raw fish or seafood (try it with tataki, sashimi or a raw bar; it’s great with lightly-grilled fish and as a ceviche marinade.
  • With broiled or grilled beef, pork or poultry (baste with it).
  • As a dipping sauce for anything, from dumplings and tempura to nabemono and shabu-shabu from the East, to crudités and French fries from the West.
  • In marinades.
  • In stir-frys and stews (add during the last few minutes of cooking).
  • Instead of Worcestershire sauce in recipes.
  • Mixed into a dressing (with a little olive oil) for salads or cooked vegetables.
  •  

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE PONZU SAUCE

    This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman. It presumes you won’t have access to yuzu juice and uses commonly-available citrus. But in many cities, bottled yuzu juice (another of our favorite condiments) is readily available at specialty food stores and Asian markets.

    Ingredients For 2-1/2 Cups

  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup quality soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup saké and 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 3-inch piece kelp (konbu)
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/4 ounce) dried bonito flakes
  • Pinch cayenne

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight to let flavors meld.

    2. STRAIN before using. Refrigerated in an airtight container, ponzu will keep for at several days.

  •  

    ponzu-bottle-yakamiorchard-230

    Yakami Orchard makes very high quality Ponzu. Nicely packaged, it makes a fine gift for a good cook. You can buy it online. Photo courtesy Yakami Orchard.

     

    PONZU VS. CHIRIZU SAUCE

    Chirizu is a spicier variation of ponzu, made with daikon, lemon juice, saké, scallions, soy sauce and shichimi togarashi, a table spice made of seven ingredients, including red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods (which provide heat).

    It can be served with stronger-flavored sashimi that hold up to the heat (mackerel instead of fluke, for example); as well as with fried fish.

    Here’s a recipe if you’d like to make your own.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Deconstructed Enchilada Salad

    Deconstructed-Enchilada-Salad_davidvenableQVC-230r

    Deconstruct enchiladas into an enchilada
    salad. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    We always enjoy a taco salad, but had never set eyes on an enchilada salad until we received this recipe from QVC’s chef, David Venable.

    Instead of wrapping enchilada fillings in a tortilla, the fillings become part of a crunchy salad, and the tortillas are toasted and cut into crispy strips.

    David sent this recipe for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also a good choice for a light, flavorful warm weather lunch or light dinner.

    Notes David, “With all of the flavor but half of the prep of regular enchiladas, this is a great recipe to whip up for a weeknight celebration.”

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED ENCHILADA SALAD

    Ingredients

    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut in thirds
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  

    For The Salad

  • 3 corn tortillas*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, bones/skin removed and shredded
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  •  
    *You can substitute ready-made tortilla chips. They don’t provide the same flavor and texture as frying your own, but they’re delicious in a different way.

     

    tortilla-strips-annahinmancrunchycreamysweet-230

    Homemade tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Anna Hinman | CrunchyCreamySweet.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing: Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

    2. TOAST the tortillas: Pour the oil into a 10″ skillet and set the heat to medium. Heat for 5 minutes, add one tortilla, and fry for about 30 seconds, or until crispy. Flip and fry the other side until crispy. Remove the tortilla from the oil and drain it on a paper towel. Prepare the remaining tortillas as directed and when cool, roughly chop into strips.

    3. ASSEMBLE the salad: Place half of the romaine lettuce in a clear glass salad bowl and layer the ingredients in this order: tomatoes, red onion, the remaining romaine, corn, olives, chicken, red peppers, chopped tortillas, queso fresco, and scallions. Serve with the dressing.

     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Grilled Shrimp Tandoori Salad with Mango Dressing

    We really enjoyed this grilled shrimp salad recipe from McCormick, and can’t wait to make it again.

    Similar to the tandoori oven cooking method, these Indian-spiced shrimp skewers are roasted on high heat on the grill. They are then added to a salad packed with bold sweet and sour flavors. A fresh mango dressing adds a splash of fruitiness and color.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SHRIMP TANDOORI SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Mango Dressing

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper, ground
  •    

    grilled_shrimp_tandoori_salad_mccormick-230

    A delicious twist on grilled shrimp salad. Photo courtesy McCormick.

    For The Salad

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 packages (5 ounces each) mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup halved small heirloom or specialty tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  •  

    garam-masala5276734GeorginaPalmer-230

    The components of garam masala. Photo by
    Georgina Palmer | IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the mango dressing: Process mango in blender or food processor until puréed (about 1 cup purée). Add lime juice, oil, garam masala, salt and cayenne; process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    2. MIX 1/4 cup of the mint, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, honey, garam masala, ginger, salt and cayenne in small bowl. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush with mint mixture. Thread mango onto skewers. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

    3. GRILL shrimp skewers over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once and brushing occasionally with mint mixture. Grill mango skewers 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred.

    4. ARRANGE greens, tomatoes and onion on 6 serving plates. Top with grilled shrimp, mango and remaining 3 tablespoons mint. Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing.

    5. STORE remaining dressing in the fridge. Serve over salad greens, grilled or broiled shrimp or chicken, or toss with couscous or quinoa.

     
    WHAT IS GARAM MASALA

    Garam masala is an aromatic spice blend originating in northern India. It is like other spice blends in that the ingredients and proportions will vary somewhat by cook or manufacturer.

    The ingredients generally include black, brown and green cardamom pods; black and white peppercorns; cinnamon; clove; coriander; cumin; nutmeg and/or mace*; and turmeric.

    Other ingredients can include bay leaf, fennel seeds, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mace, malabar leaf, mustard seed, saffron, star anise and tamarind.

    In Northern Indian cuisine, garam masala is typically used in powder form, while in Southern India it is often made into a paste with coconut milk, vinegar or water.

    In fine cooking, the spices are toasted and ground before use, to maintain the intensity of the flavor. But you can buy preground blends, like McCormick’s garam masala.

    If you want to blend your own, here’s a very simple recipe. Start with these proportions and then adjust to your particular preferences:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (cilantro seed)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  
    *Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree, while the more mild mace is the dried reddish covering of the seed.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie

    One way to get people to eat more spinach is to serve spanakopita, the delicious Greek feta-and-spinach pastry in flaky phyllo (also spelled fillo or filo) dough.

    A good filling comprises not just spinach and crumbled feta cheese, but leeks, dill and parsley. It’s the leeks and lots of fresh dill and parsley, plus nutmeg, that make homemade spanakopita so much more flavorful than diner and deli versions. (We like nutmeg so much, we double the amount.)

    While spanakopita is typically layered in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, it can be rolled into individual triangles—more elegant but more labor intensive.

    In Greece, spanakopita is usually eaten as a snack. In the U.S., it makes an attractive first course, a light lunch with a salad or a dinner entrée for vegetarians.

    Because it can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, we like to serve spanakopita at parties, picnics and cook-outs as well. We’re making a tray of it as our contribution to upcoming Memorial Day festivities.

     

    spanakopita-plate-kontos-230

    Spanakopita is one of our favorite ways to enjoy spinach. Photo courtesy Kontos Foods.

     
    Here’s the personal recipe of Chef Demetrios Haralambatos, executive chef at Kontos Foods, a producer of traditional Mediterranean foods:

    RECIPE: SPANKOPITA (SPINACH PIE)

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds spinach, steamed, squeezed, chopped, and drained (or frozen spinach, fully thawed)
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped or 1/4 cup green onion (scallion), chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil for brushing pastry
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough
  •  

    spanakopita-tray-kontos-230

    Delicious party, picnic and cook-out fare.
    Photo courtesy Kontos Foods.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX together the spinach, feta, dill, parsley, leeks, eggs, salt and pepper.

    2. BRUSH the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan with olive oil.

    3. PLACE a sheet of phyllo in the pan; brush lightly with olive oil. Use kitchen scissors to trim the phyllo to fit. Repeat until you have 6 layers, lightly brushing each layer with olive oil.

    4. PLACE the spinach and greens mixture on top of the 6 layers of phyllo, in an even layer. Flatten with a spatula. To create a “top” for the spinach pie, layer another six pieces of phyllo on top of the spinach mixture, brushing each layer with olive oil as you go.

    5. BAKE for 30-50 minutes at 350°F, until golden brown.

     

    Variations

  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to the filling.
  • Use puff pastry instead of phyllo.
  • Use kale instead of spinach, or a mixture; or a combination of spinach, leeks, chard and sorrel (a blend that is popular in rural Greece).
  • Subsitute tofu instead of feta for a vegan filling.
  •  
    ABOUT SPANAKOPITA

    Spanakopita (spa-na-KOE-pee-tah), a Greek savory snack pastry, is a member of the burek family of savory baked or fried filled pastries. The name means spinach pie.

    Burek pastries are typically made with paper-thin phyllo dough or a thicker, calzone-like dough. They can also be made with puff pastry.

    The pastries are filled with cheese, egg, minced meat or vegetables. This style of pastry is believed to have been invented in the early era of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), in what is now modern Turkey.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Dobladas

    Today is National Empanada Day, and were celebrating with dobladas: folded, stuffed tortillas from Guatemala (the name means “folded”*) that can also be made in the form of a classic empanada. They can be served as an appetizer (cut into wedges), lunch, light supper or snack.

    Like tortillas, dobladas are made from nixtamalized masa (maize dough). They are then filled, folded over themselves and cooked, usually fried. In Guatemala, Mexico and other Latin countries, a clay griddle is used, as with tortillas.

    The cooked dobladas are topped with repollo (a shredded cabbage salad) or shredded lettuce, tomato sauce† and/or hot sauce.

    You can use a variety of stuffings, including beans, cheese—cottage cheese, farmer cheese, Monterey Jack, queso fresco or queso de capas)—chorizo, ground meat, mashed potatoes and pork rinds.

    The recipe was winner of the U.S. Potato Board’s “Ultimate Potato Recipe” Contest, in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens magazine. A team of recipe tasters picked this winning entry out of 334 total entries!

     
    *Pupusas, are a similar food, but they are not folded over.

     

    dobladas-potatogoodness-230-b

    Dobladas with potatoes and chorizo. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.

    †Tomato sauce in Latin recipes refers to a homemade sauce, as opposed to Italian-style pasta sauce.Tomatoes are boiled with, celery, chiles, cilantro garlic, onion and sometimes red bell pepper, and cilantro roots. The result is puréed with water or chicken stock, with salt and pepper to taste.
     
    RECIPE: POTATO & CHORIZON DOBLADAS

    Ingredients For 10

  • 2 medium (5- to 6-ounce) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 15-ounce package uncooked Mexican chorizo sausage
  • 10 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Garnishes: chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage slaw, sour cream, salsa, crumbled cotija or other cheese, hot sauce
  •  

    klondike-rose-230

    Use leftover mashed potatoes or make them from scratch. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with lightly salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash with a potato masher.

    2. COOK chorizo thoroughly in a large skillet cook and drain well. Stir cooked chorizo into mashed potatoes.

    3. ADD 1/4 cup of the filling to a warm tortilla and fold in half. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas.

    4. HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 to 3 dobladas to the skillet; cook 3 minutes for flour tortillas, 6 minutes for corn tortillas, or until crisp and golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dobladas, adding additional oil as needed.

    5. SERVE warm and top with shredded lettuce or cabbage slaw, sour cream, salsa, and crumbled cheese as desired.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pxali, Georgian Spinach Dip With Walnuts

    Americans love creamy spinach dip, sometimes made with added artichoke hearts (here’s a rich and lovely spinach and mascarpone dip recipe).

    But there are other types of spinach dip, some even better for you. Here’s a Georgian-style dip—actually more of a spread, which is chock-full of walnuts for protein and made with no cholesterol or added fat.

    That’s Georgia, the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, and part of the former Soviet Union.
    This recipe was created by California-based chef Boris Portnoy for the California Walnut Board. Chef Portnoy, of Georgian ancestry, notes that this dish originated in Georgia but has been adopted in other parts of the Caucasus.

    The name for the spread is pxali, a general term denoting a spread or dip that can be made from a variety of vegetables. Spinach is traditional. The dip is green if spinach is used, red if beet leaves are used or white if young cabbage leaves are chosen.

    Whatever the vegetable, the dip/spread is always bound with a rich walnut paste into a thick mass, which can be used as a side dish at dinner or a main dish for lunch served with bread or lavash.
    It is best made a day ahead, so the flavors can develop more fully.

     

    walnut-dip-pxali-walnutboard-230sq

    A different type of spinach dip. Photo courtesy California Walnut Board.

     

    RECIPE: PXALI, GREEK SPINACH DIP WITH WALNUTS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 1 pound spinach leaves (bagged and pre-washed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek*
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili flakes or red pepper flakes (the more use, the spicier the dip will be)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: pomegranate seeds and flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish
  • Crisp flatbread or crackers, or a rustic country-style bread, thinly sliced
  •  
    *Ground mustard seed can be substituted. Fenugreek is in the spice section. If your supermarket doesn’t carry it, check international markets or buy it online.

     

    fenugreek-seeds-malaysiankitchen-230sq

    Fenugreek seeds. The spice is also sold
    ground. Photo courtesy Malaysian Kitchen.

     

    Preparation

    1. CHOP the walnuts finely in a food processor, until they are the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.

    2. PLACE the spinach in a large pot, cover tightly and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until the leaves are wilted. (Alternately, microwave the spinach in a covered bowl until wilted.) Rinse the spinach with cold water, which cools it and stops the cooking. Squeeze the moisture out of the spinach, a handful at a time.

    3. CHOP the spinach finely in the food processor as well, and add to the walnuts. Stir in the garlic and water. Add the vinegar, coriander, fenugreek, chili flakes, cilantro and parsley to the mixture and blend thoroughly. Season with salt to taste. If the spread seems too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

    4. TRANSFER to a serving dish and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley. Serve with flatbread, crackers or sliced rustic bread. Makes about 3 1/2 cups dip.

     

    WHAT IS FENUGREEK?

    Fenugreek is a plant that was likely first cultivated in the Near East. The oldest samples have been found at an Iraqi archeological site, carbon dated to 4000 B.C.E. Seeds were also found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

    The largest producer today is India, with Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Nepal, Morocco, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey also major producers.

    In India, the seeds are used to make daals, pickles, spice mixes and vegetable dishes. They are often roasted to reduce bitterness and enhance flavor. Fresh fenugreek leaves are used in some Indian curries; sprouted seeds and microgreens are used in salads.

    The sweet-smelling plant produces an herb (dried or fresh leaves), a spice (the seeds, which are used whole or ground), and a vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens).

    A member of the Fabaceae family of agricultural and food plants, fenugreek’s relatives include alfalfa, beans, carob, chickpeas, licorice, peas, peanuts and soybean.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Dim Sum At Home

    We live in a city with a large Chinatown—lots of places to enjoy dim sum. But even if you’re many miles from the nearest restaurant, you can make delicious dim sum at home.

    Not frozen dim sum but your own homemade treats, but ones made with your own flour, ground meat, seafood and veggies. It may look complex, but most dishes are quite simple to make. Just check out this easy dim sum cookbook.

    There are also many recipes and videos online.

    Many Americans think of dim sum, a Cantonese tradition, as weekend brunch. But it can be enjoyed every day, for every meal.

    There are tempting options for every palate, from vegetarian and vegan to meat and seafood. Some of our favorites:

     

    dim-sum-mackenzieltd-230

    More, please! Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

  • Bean curd dishes
  • Bread-based dishes like steamed barbecue pork buns
  • Dumplings of every allure—boiled, pan-fried, steamed and potstickers
  • Meat and fish dishes
  • Rice dishes
  • Sautéed vegetables
  • Scallion pancakes
  • Desserts, like almond pudding, mango pudding and egg custard tarts
  •  
    If you’re a fan of Cream of Wheat or Cream Of Rice porridges, make the savory Chinese version, congee (with a soft “g”).
     
    All dishes can be made ahead and many can be frozen.

     

    pork-shumai-ramarfoods-230sq

    A true pleasure: your own homemade
    shumai (pork dumplings, pronounced
    shoo-MY). Photo courtesy Ramar Foods.

     

    PARTY TIME

    Dim sum can be served for brunch/lunch and as cocktail party fare.

    If the idea of preparing dim sum is intimidating, plan a co-op party with friends who like to cook. Everyone can make one or two dishes.

  • You can do it “cookie swap style,” choosing to dine together or bring the food home to your family.
  • You can also have a “prep party,” rolling and dicing with friends.
  •  
    What to drink with dim sum? Tea, of course!

    A dim sum party is an opportunity to sample a few different teas as well. Take a look at chrysanthemum, dragon well, jasmine, gunpowder, keemum, lychee, oolong, pu-erh—brewed from whole leaf tea, of course! (Check out the different types of tea.)

     
    DIM SUM HISTORY

    Dim sum derives from an older tea house tradition, yum cha (tea tasting), in the Canton province southern China. Travelers would take refreshment at roadside teahouses; locals would stop by to relax after a day of tilling the fields or other labor.

    At some point teahouse owners began to add snacks: hence the development of dim sum. The translation of dim sum, “touches the heart,” shows that it was originally not a main meal but a snack.

    Over the centuries, dim sum evolved from an afternoon respite to a major meal, from breakfast through mid-afternoon. Some modern restaurants extend dim sum to dinner time; it is now a staple of Cantonese dining culture and served all over China.

    For a dim sum holiday head to Hong Kong, the dim sum capital of the world. If you’re in a major U.S. city, head to its Chinatown.

    In New York City, our favorite is Jing Fong, a huge restaurant with the largest selection we’ve ever seen. The food is wheeled around on carts by servers; you point to what you want. Food is priced by the dish, but you can gorge yourself for not much more than $15-$20 a person.

    To end the confusion of what’s what, you can get this dim sum pocket guide, in paperback or Kindle editions.

    Sihk faahn (that’s eat, the equivalent of bon appétit, in Cantonese)!

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Corned Beef & Cabbage Tacos

    Who thought that inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day would come from La Tortilla Factory?

    Corned beef and cabbage tacos!

    We love fusion food, but these tacos do present a challenge:

    Should we serve them with mustard, or with tomatillo salsa?
     
    EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT MAKING TACOS

    The answer to this question and others concerning nouvelle tacos can be found in the new book, The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz.

    The book covers both traditional and new recipes, with chapters for beef, chicken, fish, pork, vegetable, breakfast and specialty tacos, plus sides, sauces and taco party advice.

    On the nonconventional list, there are fusion tacos galore, including:

  • Avocado and tofu taco
  • BLT taco
  • California roll taco with wasabi sauce and soy sauce for dipping
  • Caprese taco with mozzarella, tomato and basil
  • Chicken salad taco and tuna salad taco, both with mayo
  • Chicken tikka taco (say that three times fast)
  • Falafel tahini taco
  • Hawaiian pizza taco
  • Korean taco of rice and kimchi
  • Orange chicken taco
  • Reuben tacos with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese taco
  • Steamed broccoli taco
  • Thanksgiving taco with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce
  •  

    corned-beef-cabbage-tortillas-tortillafactory-230sq

    Tacos for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy La Tortilla Factory.

     

    Salivating or simply intrigued? Get your copy at Amazon.com in hardcover or Kindle editions.

      

    Comments

    TIP: Glamorous Edamame

    We enjoy both the flavor and the nutritional benefits of edamame. We always order a bowl at Japanese restaurants, and have bags of frozen, shelled edamame in the freezer at home.

    The bright green color of the boiled soybeans adds perkiness to anything from scrambled eggs to salads to mashed potatoes. You can ready almost any savory dish for St. Patrick’s Day by mixing in, scattering or garnishing it with edamame.

    Hannah Kaminsky reports from a trip to Hawaii that the local restaurants serve a much more inspired dish of edamame than most of us know from Japanese restaurants on the mainland. She writes:

    “A popular pupu (appetizer) at dives and fine dining establishments alike, edamame seasonings start with the most basic sprinkle of sea salt. But these humble soy bean pods are rarely ordered in that plain state.

    “Garlic edamame, studded with plentiful chunks of coarsely minced garlic, guarantee you the most powerful but worthwhile dragon breath* you’ve ever experienced. (Editor’s Note: To counter the effects, sauté the garlic to take the edge off, and add fresh minced parsley.)

     

    edamame-sauce-hannahkaminsky-230

    Edamame and soybean poke. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     
    “Spicy edamame (or sweet-and-spicy, with added honey) adds either crushed red pepper flakes or a drizzle of sriracha into the mix. It’s a real treat when you can find edamame dressed up poke-style, in sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, and sliced sweet onions.

    “The beans pictured here are a specialty from the newly opened Izakaya Torae Torae in Honolulu: Teriyaki truffle edamame. Just toss the edamame in truffle oil before drizzling with teriyaki sauce.”

    And while you’re at it, you can make homemade teriyaki sauce.

     
    *What causes garlic breath: The sulphuric compounds that give garlic their desirable taste and health benefits and also create that unpleasant odor. Here’s more information, including how to fight garlic breath.

     

    Teriyaki-Sauce-olivethis.com-230

    Homemade teriyaki sauce. Photo courtesy OliveThis.com. Check out their recipe for Grilled Chicken with Honey
    Ginger Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce.

     

    WHAT IS TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Teriyaki is actually a Japanese cooking technique, in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and sugar. According to Wikipedia, in Japan the cooking style is mainly used for a variety of fish, while in America, salmon teriyaki and chicken teriyaki are typically found on menus.

    The word derives from the noun teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content of the tare, a term for dipping sauces used in grilling; and yaki, the cooking method of grilling or broiling.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    or honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic†
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger†
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Preparation

    1. MIX all but last two ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over a medium flame.

    2. MIX cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to pan. Heat until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick for you, you can thin it with water.
     
    †You can substitute garlic powder ground ginger, but fresh tastes better. Reduce the amounts of dried herbs, as they are more concentrated.

      

    Comments

    CHINESE NEW YEAR: Chinese Long Beans

    It’s Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Horse begins today (the actual year is 4712). Make a Chinese-inspired dish.

    Chef Daniel Boulud take Chinese long beans, steamed them and tied them into knots, topped with chicken (see the photo below).

    What a fun way to get people to eat more green beans!

    Our recipe, below, is much simpler, and the Chinese-style beans can be served with any dish that pair with green beans.

    You can find Chinese long beans in Asian markets, or plan ahead and grow your own yard-long string beans with these string bean seeds from Burpee.

    You can substitute regular green beans, which are just as tasty, if not as striking in appearance.

     

    Chinese long beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    RECIPE: CHINESE LONG BEANS

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  •  
    *Available in the Asian products section of most supermarkets, in Asian specialty stores and online; Lee Kum Kee is a quality brand. See more about oyster sauce below. You can substitute Hoisin sauce, but it gives the dish a sweeter flavor than the pungent oyster sauce.

     

    Daniel Boulud’s long bean knots with
    chicken. Photo by Richard Patterson |
    RichardPattersonPhoto.com | Restaurant
    Daniel.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds.

    2. ADD the beans; cook and stir until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. STIR in the sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Continue cooking/stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.
     
    WHAT IS A CHINESE LONG BEAN?

    Its botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. It is best known as the long bean or Chinese yardlong bean, but also as the asparagus bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, pea bean, snake bean and yardlong bean. The pods are actually about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis means “one and a half feet long” (half a yard).

     

    While its flavor is similar to the green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), it is from a different genus. In fact, it is a member of the cowpea species, which includes blackeyed peas.

     
    WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?

    A popular condiment in Chinese and Filipino cuisines, oyster sauce is often used in stir fries and as a topping for steamed vegetables.

    The viscous sauce is prepared from oysters and brine. A true oyster sauce is aromatic with intense flavor, and is expensive. Most oyster sauces on the market are cheaper, diluted solutions of concentrated ones. There are also vegan versions made from mushrooms.

    Oyster sauce was invented in 1888 by Mr. Lee Kam-Sheung of Nam Shui Village in Guangdong Province, Chinas, an island where oysters were abundant.

    Originally born in another village, Lee was a farmer who had to leave town following threats from local gangsters. He opened a restaurant in his new village, using the local oysters to make stock. One day he forgot about a pot of stock on the stove, and when he returned to it the stock had boiled down to a thick, aromatic and delicious sauce: a happy accident!*

    His company, Lee Kum Kee, continues to produce oyster sauce along with a wide variety of fine Asian condiments.

    *Source: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong: A Casebook, edited by Ali F. Farhoomand. Here’s the page reference.

      

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