Roasted Chili Paste / Nướng ớt

A Home Cooking Staple
Annatto and Sichuan Pepper Are Key

Using Sichuan pepper, hua jiao, to cook delicious Sichuan dishes

Sichuan Pepper, Hua Jiao

This spicy version of Chili Paste is a staple of Vietnamese cooking. It is very intense, so a little goes a long way.  Annatto Seeds and Sichuan Peppers are key to the flavor balance here. Continue reading

Curry Paste Philippine Style / Almuwasahin Paste

A Complex Curry Taste
Good with Dumplings and Stir-Fries

Belachn Shrimp Paste

Belachan, Shrimp Paste

his Filipino style Curry Paste is good with a lot of things, including Dumplings and stir-fry dishes, as well as blander presentations of Fish, Chicken and Shrimp. This recipe Continue reading

Fresh Cabbage Kimchi

Essential Korean Dish
Hundreds of Varieties

Cooking with Napa Cabbage

Celery Cabbage

Kimchi, Korean style pickled vegetables, are an essential to any Korean meal.  Cabbage Kimchi is probably the most popular.  There are said to be more than 200 ways of making it, but that may be an understatement!

Here’s a simple way to Continue reading

Chicken Curry Indo-Japanese Style

Indo-Japanese Fusion Dish

How to cook delicious and healthy Asian dishes using tomatoes

Tomatoes

There are so many ways to make Chicken Curry. This version was adapted from a Japanese acquaintance who was interested in South Asian spices and food preparation and researched cooking techniques of South Asia, adapting them to the Japanese kitchen. Continue reading

Beef and Shrimp Balls in Lettuce Cups / Cha Gio

A Vietnamese Fusion Dish
Memories of Old Saigon

Cooking with Vietnamese Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

Beef and Shrimp Balls, or Cha Cio, are a classic of Vietnamese cuisine, with a variety of recipes and versions.

The Beef may be a part of the Northern heritage in Vietnamese cuisine, as Beef appears rather frequently as an ingredient in the country’s cooking.

Beef and Shrimp Balls in Lettuce Cups
Cha Gio

Vietnamese Fusion

Ingredients:

Shaoxing Wine2 ounces Mung Bean Noodles (Cellophane Noodles)
½ pound Ground Beef
¼ pound raw Shrimp, ground
2 teaspoons Ginger, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Chinese Shao Xing Wine or Dry Sherry
2 teaspoons minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
½ teaspoon Sugar

For the Sauce:

3 tablespoons Nam Pla, Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons Water
Juice  of half a Lime
1 tablespoons Sugar
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried hot Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

For the Garnish:

12 Boston Lettuce leaves
12 Coriander leaves
12 fresh Mint leaves
12 Green Onion pieces, each 2 inches long

Method:

Garlic

Garlic

First, soak the Mung Bean Noodles in warm Water for 30 seconds and then drain them thoroughly.  Chop them into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.  Add the Pork, Shrimp, Ginger, Wine, Garlic, Vegetable Oil, Salt and Pepper.  Mix well to combine.

Divide this mixture into 12 portions and shape them into oval sausage-like pieces about an inch thick and set aside.

To make the Sauce, mix all the ingredients.  Ladle into four small serving dishes to ber used for dipping.

To prepare the dish, cook the Beef/Shrimp Balls in a hot broiler or over white-hot charcoal grill.  If you use charcoal, they should be 6 inches from the charcoal, and turn them until they are thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes.

To serve, use one Lettuce leaf for each ball.  Top with Coriander leaf, a Mint leaf and Green Onion piece in the center of the Lettuce Leaf. Add one meat ball, wrap the Lettuce leaf to enclose the fillings.  Dip the end of the fitted leaf into the dipping sauce and enjoy them.  You may dip as often as you like in the sauce.

The recipe makes appetizers for four to six persons. Soaking time is about half an hour, and preparation would take about 20 minutes. The dish cooks rather quickly, say another 10 minutes once everything is ready.

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Viet Nam - Saigon 1966 - Cyclopousses

Bitter Melon Salad

Ampalaya Meets Eggplant
Christmas in Pampanga

Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Salad, a Filipino dish

Bitter Melon (Ampalaya) Salad

Bitter Melon Salad is a classic Philippine recipe.  This one is from a friend from the island of Pampanga, where the dish is very popular.  The dish makes use of the affinity between Bitter Melon and Eggplant, two vegetables Continue reading

Poke Smoked Salmon

Hawaiian Fish Salad
Low in Calories, Higher in Salt

Cooking Asian dishes with onionsPoke is the Hawaiian name for a Fish Salad, normally made with raw Fish, and so a bit like Japanese Sashimi or Chirashi Sushi.  It is usually more highly seasoned however.

Poke is rather low in calories, but due to the Continue reading

Bitter Melon Salad

A Filipino Favorite
A Purely Vegetarian Dish

Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon are popular in Philippines cuisine, where they are commonly known by their local name Ampalaya.

Here’s a recipe for a salad based on Bitter Melon that’s very good when chilled overnight. It’s purely vegetarian, and comes from an acquaintance who hails from the island of Pampanga, where this is a typical preparation.

Continue reading

Indian Cuisine

India - Sculpture head, Buddha meditating, India 12th century

Buddha Meditating, India 12th c.

Fish Curry From Bananas
Halva From Meat

“It is possible to eat what you believe to be a fish curry only to learn it was made from unripe bananas, or to taste a sweet halva and find it was made not of fruit or vegetables but meat.” — Attia Hosain and Sita Pasricha

An Ancient People and Cuisine: The Indian civilization is one of the oldest and most important in Continue reading