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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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

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Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Other Ways To Use Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

If you like spicy Thai peanut sauce on noodles, expand the ways you use it:

  • On grilled chicken, shrimp or other seafood, along with rice or noodles
  • As the sauce for Thai chicken pizza (top with diced cooked chicken breast, sliced green onions, grated mozzarella, grated carrot and chopped fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, diced red pepper—bell pepper or hot variety)
  • On Pad Thai, Thai chicken, beef or fish wraps; grilled beef/chicken fish, satay or skewers
  • As a dip with crudités
    Crudités have long been served with a creamy dip based on mayonnaise, sour cream and/or yogurt—which means cholesterol, unless you use fat-free products. Substitute creamy butter and keep the creaminess, while trading the animal fats for healthier peanut oil.

    If you don’t like heat, spicy peanut dip can be made without the spice. It’s still delicious.


    A creamy, spicy peanut dip for raw vegetables. Photo by Andrea Hernandez | Peanut Butter & Co.



    Makes 3 cups sauce. If you’re using the sauce on an entrée, versus as a dip, make it more complex by adding the two optional ingredients.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced; or 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1-1/4 cups coconut milk (you can substitute water; the result will be less rich)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Optional for dinner sauce: 1/2 cup chopped peanuts


    1. HEAT oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add onion and sauté until tender.

    2. ADD garlic, jalapeño and ginger; stir for 2 minutes.

    3. ADD peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and honey; stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat; add vinegar.

    4. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: Add shredded basil. Heat through, and remove from heat.

    5. OPTIONAL for an entrée sauce: stir in chopped peanuts.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Chirashi Sushi At Home

    Chirashi sushi: fish layered atop a bowl of
    rice. Photo | Dreamstime.


    Making sushi rolls or nigiri—the slices of fish atop a bed of rice—takes some training and dexterity.

    But you don’t need the skills of a sushi chef to serve chirashi sushi at home: sliced fish arranged atop a bowl of rice. Or, you can make our Japanese-American “fusion chirashi”: sliced fish atop a green salad.

    Chirashi is not pressed together like other forms of sushi (see our Sushi & Sashimi Glossary for the different types of sushi). The word “chirashi” means “to scatter.”

    Japanese cooks are too disciplined to scatter the ingredients willy-nilly, so an appealing placement of fish and vegetables is presented.

    You don’t have to use as much fish on top of your chirashi as shown in the photo, as long as you cover at least half of the rice with fish and vegetables. Look for whatever is fresh at the fish market—ask the fishmonger for recommendations. Cooked shrimp and salmon caviar are wonderful ingredients. We’re partial to raw scallops and oysters.


  • Sushi rice. Make this sushi rice recipe, slice some fish and enjoy chirashi sushi at home.
  • Add cooked fish. Since a variety of sushi/sashimi fish ingredients are precooked (octopus and squid, for example; mackerel is marinated), feel free to add canned tuna to your creation.
  • Condiments. Serve your chirashi with conventional soy sauce and wasabi, plus a wedge of lemon or lime. It isn’t authentic Japanese, but we love a hearty squeeze of citrus on our sushi and sashimi, and it cuts down the amount of soy sauce required. Even if you use low-sodium soy sauce, the sodium quotient is high, more than 500 mg of sodium per tablespoon.
  • Vegetables. Add sliced cucumber, chopped scallions, homemade pickled vegetables and anything else that appeals to you.
  • Pickled ginger. You may be able to find Japanese pickled ginger at your market. Or, pickle your own by marinating thin slices of ginger in rice vinegar and sugar. The pink color, if you want it, is a tiny amount of red food coloring.
  • Other ingredients. Be creative, go fusion. While olives, for example are not part of Japanese cuisine, they go nicely with raw fish. It’s the same with Chinese ingredients such as water chestnuts. And if you’ve had cans of baby corn, bamboo shoots or bean sprouts on the shelf for too long, it’s time to use them.
    You can serve chirashi sushi as an appetizer or a main course. You can serve individual portions, as at restaurants, or make one large bowl family-size bowl, which is typical in Japanese homes. If you don’t have chopsticks, forks are fine.

    Now, think about chirashi atop a green salad. Start by choosing your greens:




  • Mesclun
  • Frisée
  • Endive and/or radicchio
  • Shredded cabbage and carrots (cole slaw mix)
  • Green onion, red onion or sweet onion
  • Assorted fish and shellfish
  • Wasabi vinaigrette (recipe below)

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1/2 teasppon grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Sashimi with a shredded cabbage-frisée salad. Here, the tuna is cut into chunks instead of sashimi-style slices. Photo courtesy Triomphe | NYC.



    1. COMBINE vinegar and soy sauce; whisk in wasabi.

    2. WHISK in oil and sesame seeds. Season as desired.
    Enjoy: It’s healthful and low in calories!



    GIFT: Tortilla Warmer For The Microwave

    Looking for an inexpensive but useful gift for a fan of Mexican food?

    We’ve gotten a lot of use out of our microwavable tortilla warmer. It’s just $9.78 on

    The tortilla warmer—an insulated pouch—holds up to 12 tortillas, and keeps them warm and moist for up to one hour.

    Simply place the tortillas in the pouch, then heat it in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds.

    For a more elaborate gift, add a couple of bottles of gourmet salsa.


    Tortillas remain warm and moist. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Tostadas

    Pile your favorite ingredients atop a tostada and dig in. Photo © Lessthanempty |


    A tostada is a crisp-fried corn tortilla. When the edges are curled up to form a shallow bowl, it’s called a chalupa. It’s frequently topped with shredded beef, chicken or pork, shredded or crumbled cheese, chopped vegetables (tomatoes, green onions, cilantro) and often, refried beans, guacamole and/or salsa; then topped with sour cream.

    You can buy packaged tostadas and make Mexican-style dishes, or take the fusion road and top tostadas with popular American fixings.


    Top your tostada with:

  • Beef: cooked ground beef or other meat, shredded lettuce, shredded Cheddar or jack cheese and diced tomatoes.
  • Chili: chili, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, topped with sour cream and served with sides of salsa and guacamole.
  • Chicken: shredded chicken or grilled strips, shredded lettuce, shredded Cheddar or jack cheese, diced tomatoes and
  • Other Poultry: duck with green onions and hoisin sauce, turkey with mashed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.
  • Pork: shredded pork and crumbled feta or goat cheese and diced cucumber.
  • Surf & Turf: grilled shrimp and/or skirt steak strips with guacamole and refried beans.
  • Ceviche: shrimp, scallop or mixed seafood ceviche with cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes and avocado (ceviche recipes).
  • Fish: seared tuna, salmon or other fish with ginger coleslaw.
  • Fish Tartare: tuna or salmon tartare with guacamole.
  • Canned Fish: canned tuna or salmon.
  • Jumbo Nacho: a tostada covered in melted cheese, sliced jalapeño and salsa, with optional guacamole
  • Veggie: grilled vegetbles and crumbled feta or cotija or goat cheese.
  • Eggs: fried, poached, scrambled.
  • Salads: chicken salad, green salad, shrimp salad, tuna salad.
  • Green Salad: shredded carrot, lettuce, red cabbage; chopped tomato, red or green onion; guacamole, sour cream.
  • Freestyle: chopped chicken liver, cream cheese and jelly, peanut butter and jelly—go for it!


    In addition to a protein or grilled vegetables and shredded lettuce, the tostada can be accented with:

  • Baby arugula
  • Beans: kidney, refried, pinto
  • Bell pepper strips (green, orange, red)
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced mango or pineapple, apple or pear matchsticks, dried blueberries/cherries/cranberries or other fruit
  • Diced tomatoes or tomatillos (the difference)
  • Green onion or red onion
  • Green or red salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Heat: sliced or minced jalapeño or other chile
  • Herbs: cilantro, parsley, other favorite
  • Jalapeño or pickled jalapeño, sliced thin
  • Shredded lettuce

    Grilled vegetables on a tostada. Photo © Lessthanempty | Dreamstime.

  • Shredded Cheddar or jack cheese, crumbled cotija or goat cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Wedge of lime
    Did we leave something out? Let us know!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Edamame, Snack & Ingredient

    Habitués of Japanese restaurants know edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MA-may), the young, green soybeans full of flavor and nutrition.

    They’re available nationwide in the frozen vegetables aisle of supermarkets. These baby soy beans are not only delicious; they’re rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, edamame are the only vegetable that offers a complete protein profile, equal to both meat and eggs in its protein content. A bonus: They’re inexpensive.

    And they’re a fun snack: Veggie-averse kids and grown ups will enjoy squeezing them from pod to mouth. They can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. (We warm them in the microwave.)

    In addition to snacking, add edamame to casseroles, salads, stir-frys and soups. Make a healthy dip. Garnish: Garnish just about any savory food, from baked or mashed potatoes to steaks and chops.


    Edamame: the pods hold delicious baby soybeans. Photo courtesy Seapoint Farms.


    Pick up edamame the next time you’re at the market. And check out:

  • Edamame Facts—all about edamame
  • Edamame Health & Nutrition
  • Seapoint Farms Edamame Products Review
  • Edamame Recipes and More Recipes
    You can find edamame frozen in the pod, frozen shelled and dry roasted, in conventional and organic varieties.


    Edamame are traditionally served with coarse salt. But you can garnish them as you like. Some of our favorites:

  • Hot sauce or chili flakes
  • Lemon juice or lemon zest
  • Rice vinegar or soy sauce
  • Spices: chili powder, curry, paprika or, most appropriately, the Japanese seven-spice blend shichimi togaroshi
  • Toasted sesame seeds (add sesame seeds to a dry skillet and toast over a medium flame for a few minutes until they start to pop)

    Find more of our favorite veggies and recipes.



    PRODUCT: The Best Mexican Chocolate

    Chocolate lovers: Have you tried Mexican chocolate?

    Also called Oaxaca chocolate, Mexican chocolate is a cinnamon-scented sweet chocolate accented with cinnamon. Some varieties include clove, ground almonds and/or nutmeg.

    Mexican chocolate is used primarily to make hot chocolate, but it’s also an ingredient in pork rubs, as a seasoning for beans, and of course, in Mole Poblano or Mole Negro.* You can also just eat it like candy, bake with it, make ice cream and do anything else you’d do with chocolate.

    The Ibarra brand is a large commercial brand and can be found in the U.S.

    But for those who want the best Mexican chocolate, take a look at the artisan product—handmade and stoneground—from the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project. An American company and a Mexican company are working together to help small farmers continue to grow the indigenous foods of Mexico.


    Handmade, stoneground Mexican chocolate: an artisan treat. Photo courtesy


    From state of Guerrero, on the southwest coast of Mexico, a cooperative of women grow their own cacao and then harvest it and toast it on clay pans called comales. They then stone grind it with piloncillo (an unrefined sugar) and canela, a loose-bark variety of cinnamon grown in Ceylon (it’s easier to grind than hard-stick cinnamon).

    The result is rich, dense, 70% cacao chocolate: intense, delicious and rustic with hints of smoke.

    You can buy it at
    *ABOUT MOLE (moe-lay): Each region of Mexico has its own mole recipe. One of the most famous, mole negro from Oaxaca, uses the base mole ingredients—roasted dried chiles, unsweetened chocolate, almonds and spices—plus peanuts, plantains, cloves, cinnamon, onion, garlic, sesame seeds and five different chiles. Mole poblano, from Pueblo, uses the base ingredients plus tomatoes, raisins, bread, lard, anise, cloves, cinnamon, three different chiles, garlic, sesame and other ingredients. The sauces accompany beef, chicken, enchiladas, seafood and turkey, and are served with rice and tortillas.



    COOKING VIDEO: Japanese Miso Soup For American Breakfast


    Asians drink soup for breakfast (Japanese miso soup and Thai pho, for example). Americans looking for something quick, hot, nutritious and comforting should consider the option.

    All you need to make a bowl of miso soup is hot water and a spoonful of miso paste, available in many supermarkets as well as in Asian food stores.

    You can add nutritious vegetables to your miso soup, as shown in the video, or have it plain, as it’s served at Japanese restaurants. The soup can be made in advance and microwaved in a minute, which is especially convenient if you want your soup with veggies.

    Beyond a quick cup of soup before you dash out, you can carry a thermos, thermal mug or a portable coffee mug full of soup as you leave. Your soup supply can also be part of a low-calorie, healthful lunch, snack or dinner.

    Here are more ways to use the miso paste.



    Find more of our favorite soups in our Soup Section.

    Want a more conventional breakfast? Check out our Cereals, Pancakes & Waffles Section.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Tortillas With The Salad Course

    Adapt this dinner plate as a first course or
    snack. Photo courtesy Weldon Owen.


    We saw this healthful lunch or dinner plate in the book,  target="_blank">Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, by Karen Ansel and Charity Ferreira. We repurposed the idea as a snack or first course.

    The authors suggest a healthful meal of two small tortillas topped with salsa and chicken, and a side of nutritious beans.

    We especially like this idea to use up leftover chicken, grilled seafood or tofu.

    Once you have your protein, make or buy fresh mango salsa (you can substitute peach salsa, but mango provides more complex flavor).

    Then, just cook the tortillas, assemble and serve. If you’d like to turn this into a salad course, replace the beans in the photo with dressed greens.


    Serving size for a snack, first course or salad course: 1 tortilla. The mango salsa recipe makes 1-1/2 cups, enough salsa for 8 tortillas.



  • 6″ corn tortillas
  • Mango salsa
  • 1-2 ounces grilled chicken or tofu, 1 large shrimp or scallop or two smaller pieces
  • Garnish: thinly-sliced radishes or jicama matchsticks

    Mango Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (how to cut a mango)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. MAKE SALSA. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and blend.

    2. COOK TORTILLAS. Heat a dry cast iron skillet or other small, heavy pan over medium high heat. Add 1/6 teaspoon (half of the 1/8 teaspoon measure) olive oil to the center of the pan. Place the tortilla in the pan and swish it around so that the oil evenly coats the pan. Cook the tortilla for 5 seconds, flip and cook the other side for 5 seconds.



    1. Place the tortilla in the center of on a luncheon-size plate; if including a green salad, use a dinner plate and place the tortilla on one side of the plate.

    2. Top with 2 tablespoons of drained salsa; top salsa with the protein and garnish. Add optional green salad and serve.

    Corn is a whole grain, so corn tortillas are more nutritious—and more flavorful—than those made from refined white flour.

    If you enjoy snacking on tortilla chips, making your own corn tortilla bowls is a better option: Chips can have quite a bit of added salt.


    Want to make healthy, meals? Pick up a copy of  target="_blank">Healthy In A Hurry. Photo courtesy Weldon Owen.


    For more tortilla fun, you can buy tortilla bowl molds in large, for salads and other foods, or mini size to hold salsa, individual portions of guacamole, etc.

    We really enjoy a “tortilla salad”—like the ones served in restaurants in jumbo tortilla bowls. Add lettuce or other greens and a protein, and you have an appealing light lunch or dinner. Eat as much of the tortilla as you like—it’s better for you than most bread.

    To make your own, get a set of these nonstick tortilla bowl molds.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Skate Wing Recipe

    We love skate, a group of cartilaginous fishes belonging to the family Rajidae, the rays. The firm white flesh, which comes from the “wings” of the ray, is sweet, succulent and distinctively delicious.

    We always order skate when we see it on a menu—invariably at a French or seafood restaurant. Often, it is served in brown butter with capers; but however it is prepared, it is always a treat.

    Because skate isn’t the easiest fish to find at the market, we never cooked it at home—until this super-easy recipe sent us on a skate wing hunt. The recipe is from Brooklyn Wok Shop, a New York restaurant that has reinterpreted Cantonese cuisine using classic French techniques.

    Chef Edric Har worked at some of New York City’s great restaurants (Le Bernardin, Veritas, Cru) and his wife, Melissa, grew up in her family’s Chinese restaurants in Orlando. They call their concept Chinese Food 2.0.


    Skate has a delicious white flesh that is distinctly different from other fish. Photo courtesy Brooklyn Wok Shop.


    We enjoyed the recipe so much, we’ve made skate our tip Of The Day. It may not be easy to find, so call around to your local fish stores.

    Skate with Ginger and Scallions

    Serves 2-3 with a side of rice.


  • 1 pound skate wing filets
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 scallions, washed and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Your favorite rice (we like fragrant jasmine rice with this dish)


    1. Cut each skate wing in half to create two palm sized pieces.

    2. In a pot large enough to fit all the fillets, fill with water about 5 inches deep and bring to a boil. Note: The skate will curl as it cooks, so allow enough water to cover.

    3. Once the water is boiling, season with salt and add the skate. Turn off the heat and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the skate.

    4. Remove fish to a plate with a slotted spoon and top with scallions and ginger.

    5. Heat canola oil until just smoking and pour over the ginger and scallions. Drizzle soy sauce over the fish and season with white pepper. Serve with rice and a side of your favorite greens (broccoli rabe or conventional broccoli go nicely).

    Find more of our favorite fish and seafood recipes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Michelada For Cinco de Mayo

    A tall, cold michelada is begging for your
    attention on Cinco de Mayo. Photo courtesy
    Bohemia Beer.


    Not everyone wants a Margarita on Cinco de Mayo: Some people would rather have a beer.

    If you enjoy a little heat, don’t reach for your regular beer. Have a michelada, a traditional Mexican beer cocktail (“cerveza preparada,” in Spanish).

    Pronounced mee-cha-LAH-dah, a basic michelada consists of beer, lime and hot sauce served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.

    Michelada is the combination of the words “mix” and “chela.” Chela is Mexican slang for a cold beer. “Mix” refers to the mix of ingredients added to the beer.

    Thanks to Bohemia Beer—one of our favorite Mexican beers—for the recipe.




  • 2 fresh lime wedges, cut in half
  • Chipotle rimming salt (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (we use the Frontera brand) or 1 teaspoon puréed canned chipotles en adobo
  • Ice
  • 6 ounces chilled Bohemia beer or other Mexican beer*
  • 1 slice cucumber for garnish
    *You can use any lager you have on hand, but Mexican beer celebrates the spirit of the holiday.


    1. Use a piece of lime wedge to wet the rim of a tall glass. Dip the rim of the glass into the chipotle rimming salt.

    2. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime pieces into the glass and then add all the lime pieces. Stir in the chipotle hot sauce or puréed chipotles in adobo. Fill the glass with ice.

    3. Pour in the beer. Mix gently. Garnish the glass rim with a notched cucumber slice. Serve.

    Chipotle Rimming Salt Recipe

    Thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons coarse (kosher or sea) salt and 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile powder in a small bowl. Pour out onto a small plate to use for rimming beer glasses.


    Short for michelada, the chelada is a michelada variation with sauce, spices and chile. This version uses the fixings of a Bloody Mary.

  • 3 ounces cold Mexican beer
  • 3 ounces chilled tomato juice
  • Several dashes Worcestershire Sauce, Maggi Sauce† and hot sauce
  • Pour into a tall glass filled with ice and stir.

    †Maggi Sauce, made by Nestlé, is a seasoning of salt, spices and pepper. The recipe varies around the world, based on local tastes. You can substitute soy sauce and freshly-ground pepper.



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