Tag-Archive for ◊ Asian ◊

23 Jul 2011 Beef Skewers

Meat on a stick! Is there anything better?  When I was pregnant with my first child, my cravings were iced tea, tomato soup, and “tasty chunks of beef”!  Twenty-six year later, I still crave tasty chunks of beef!

This is a very easy recipe, resulting is some mighty fine, Asian accented, “tasty chunks of beef”.  Chill the meat for 30 minutes, marinate for 30 minutes, grill and eat.  For a special treat serve with corn-on-the-cob, grilled veggies or a salad and some Bloomin’ Onion Bread!

When I was a single full time working mother of three children I was a master of freezer food.  This was one of my favorites.  Homebaked Chicken Nuggets were another.  I would buy two flank steaks and some skewers.  I’d unroll the flank steaks and then freeze for 30 minutes to make it easier to slice. At the same time I would soak the skewers in cold water.  Then I’d probably sit down with my feet up, an iced coffee and a good book while the the meat chilled and the skewers soaked, LOL!  A sense of humor is a wonderful thing!  More than likely during that thirty minutes I’d finish putting the groceries away, wipe up a spill, ask a telemarketer to put me on the no-call list, solve a kid dispute, feed the dog, move the laundry over, eat lunch and load the dishwasher …  ANYWAY, after thirty minutes I’d slice the beef and thread it onto the skewers.  Then I would layer the skewers into a shoe box sided plastic container.  I’d put wax paper between the layers, and freeze the whole box.  One box would last two or three months and provide plenty of yummy and quick week night main dishes…easily expandable to however many people were home.  Just take out 3-5 skewers per person.  Mix up the marinade.  Marinate the desired number of skewers for 30 minutes, then grill or broil!

Oh, and I often omit the sesame seeds, as I don’t care for them 🙂

Beef Skewers

  • 1 flank steak, approx 1.5 lbs, (unrolled) and slightly frozen (for about 30 min or so)
  • 30 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes)

Marinade

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sake (an opened bottle will keep 1 year in refrigerator)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger (keep any leftover fresh ginger in baggie in freezer, when ready to use no need to defrost, just peel and grate!)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (toast in dry frying pan until fragrant)
  • 3 green onions sliced

  1. Slice flank steak, across the grain, into thin strips.  Thread meat slices onto skewers, accordion style. It’s easy!  Child’s play!  (NOTE: Meat on sticks can be frozen at this point. When ready to use, just remove from freezer.  Let defrost for as long as it takes to make marinade.  Then continue with recipe.)
  2. Combine soy sauce, sugar, and sake; stir well to dissolve sugar.  Add in garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and green onions.
  3. Pour over meat on sticks.  Marinate 30 minutes.
  4. Remove skewers from marinade.
  5. Grill over hot fire or broil for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Good hot, room temperature, and cold! I’ve served these as appetizers and as a main dish.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  I hope I have given you an idea for this weekend’s BBQ and for busy school night meals, too!

    19 Jan 2011 Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

    Depending on where you live, you may or may not have a proliferation of “Pho” restaurants in your community.  If you do have a Pho restaurant nearby, I encourage you to try it out.  You’ll be rewarded with a huge bowl of broth and noodles, to which you add fresh basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, peppers, chili sauce, and freshly squeezed lime.  The broth is quite tasty, and with the addition of all the toppings, the Pho has a very fresh taste.   On your first visit to a Pho restaurant, stick to Beef Pho or Chicken Pho, with the parts of beef and chicken that you are familiar with.  There are some other types of Pho which might be a bit challenging to an uninitiated American palate.

    Having fond memories of Pho, I wanted to make it for myself.  I wanted to have a clear, rich, fat-free broth. I thought it would be great to have some of the broth on hand, and be able to boil it up and stir in some fresh ingredients whenever I wanted to.  I also think Pho would be a great dish to make ahead and then take to share with friends and family at a snow condo or beach house.   I found this recipe adapted from the cookbook Into the Vietnamese Kitchen at Steamy Kitchen.  It’s great!  I served it to seven friends, and three family members, and they all though it was great, too.  SCORE!

    Before you make this dish, you should know how to pronounce it, “pho”  is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “poe” or  “puh” — that’s fuh-sho’!

    If you have made your own chicken soup before, Pho is no more bother.  Follow the recipe below and make sure you buy good bones, start the day before, rinse and blanch the bones, have three hours to let the bones simmer. Then you can let the broth sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the hardened fat can be removed before finishing the pho.

    Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

    The broth

    • 2 onions, peeled, sliced across into 4 slices
    • 4″  of fresh ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise
    • 5-6 lbs of good beef  knuckle bones (beef shanks/knuckles $1.99/lb)
    • 6 quarts of water
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    • 5 whole star anise
    • 1 cardamom pod
    • 6 whole cloves
    • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
    • ¼ cup fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    In the soup bowls

    • 1 rice noodles (dried or fresh)
    • cooked beef from the broth
    • ½ lb flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.

    On the side

    • fresh mint leaves
    • fresh cilantro
    • sliced fresh basil
    • limes wedges (2)
    • 2-3 chili peppers, sliced
    • bean sprouts (about 1 lb)
    • Hoisin sauce
    • Sriracha hot sauce

    Char:

    Turn broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

    Parboil the bones:

    Don’t skip this part! Fill your biggest pot (12-qt capacity would be ideal) with cool water. Boil water first, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

    Boil broth:

    Add ginger, onion, spices, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside. Continue simmering broth for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning – this is a crucial step. If the broth’s flavor doesn’t quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of regular sugar–and another pinch of salt, if needed (I over-salted my broth, so be careful). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect refrigerate broth overnight and remove hardened fat the next morning.

    Prepare noodles & meat:

    Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible – try freezing for 15-30 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Cut or shred the cooked meat from broth and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Guests will garnish their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles – for some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 – 45 second blanch in hot water is all that’s needed.

    Serving:

    Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, bean sprouts, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. The hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests garnish their own bowls with the mint, basil, cilantro, peppers, lime, and sauces.

    I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. It’s a chin dribbling, big bowl of healthy, comfort food with a fresh & crunchy twist.  One of my favorite foods I believe. I have my fingers crossed that I will taste the real thing in Vietnam next year.  I hope this measures up. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

    29 Sep 2010 Chinese Chicken Salad

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    It’s HOT.  Crisp salads and iced tea are what we are clamoring for.

    Here’s my version of  “Chinese” Chicken Salad.  It’s crisp and tasty. It’s made with cabbage, two kinds, which hold up better than lettuce–and lettuce is boring, and it’s in almost every other salad.  How many chances do you have to eat raw cabbage?  Not many, right?  I can only think of this salad and coleslaw.  So try this, with cabbage…, and carrots, cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, and shredded chicken.  You might even want to add some chopped celery and/or sugar snap peas.  Sometimes I even add a can of mandarin oranges, which makes this so not a Chinese Chicken Salad (but it’s good!)

    This recipe makes enough for a small crowd.  (I often take it to potlucks.)  If you’re not the Duggars, and are not going to a potluck, you might want to consider making half a recipe. Leftover Chinese Chicken salad doesn’t keep all that well (the noodles and the cabbage loose their crunch), although teenage boys have been known to devour soggy leftovers up to 24 hours after serving…

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    • 1 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
    • 1/4 head of red cabbage, finely shredded
    • 2 large carrots, grated
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts, optional (I use dry roasted peanuts)
    • 4-5 cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded (Use leftover chicken, or marinate chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce for a few hours, then grill, broil or pan-fry-let cool before using.  You could also use the chicken from a cooked rotisserie chicken)
    • 2 packages of Top Ramen noodles (that soup mix stuff, the rectangular package!), crumbled (any kind, you will not be using the seasoning package)
    • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, optional (To toast seeds, place them in a hot, dry frying pan and swirl around a bit over medium high heat.  As soon as the seeds begin to take on a color, remove from heat.  Keep stirring, the residual heat in the pan will continue to toast the seeds for another few minutes.)
    • Optional additions: chopped celery, sugar snap peas, one can, drained, mandarin oranges

    For the Dressing

    4 tablespoons sugar
    6 tablespoons white vinegar
    1/2 cup salad oil (a light vegetable oil)
    1/2 cup sesame oil
    3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
    1 teaspoon black pepper

    Combine all the ingredients for dressing, blend or shake to mix.  Set aside.

    Toss remaining ingredients together.  If you are making this to serve later, do not add the dressing or the noodles until just before serving.

    Pour desired amount of blended dressing over veggies, chicken, peanuts, and noodles.  I don’t always use all the dressing (extra dressing keeps for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator); I like a lightly dressed salad.  Plus, heads of cabbage come in different sizes…, you will need more or less dressing depending on how much cabbage you have in your salad.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Hope this helps you deal with the hot weather.  Hopefully it will cool down soon and we can get some soup on the stove and some bread in the oven.  If you’d like to receive an email when I post a new recipes, please subscribe.  To view other recipes, just click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” box on the upper left hand side of the page.  If you are looking for an even quicker side dish or pot luck dish check back soon, I just made a no fuss Southwestern Pasta Salad.  I’ll post it just as soon as I get a good picture!  I cook so much better than I take photographs.

    28 Sep 2010 Chinese Pasta Salad

    Chinese Pasta Salad?  Is there such a thing?  I doubt it.  So what is this?!  I don’t know what else to call it! Chinese Pasta Salad is the name it came to me with and I welcome all suggestions for a new name 🙂 This cold pasta side dish is good.  Very good.  I made it for a potluck last night, and three people asked me to post the recipe.  Always glad to oblige! Cold noodles, in a sauce of sesame oil, maple syrup (Chinese?  I think not!), and soy sauce with chopped dry roasted peanuts (again, Chinese?  I think not), green onion and cilantro. I wouldn’t have made this if I hadn’t tried it first.  Believe me, with this dish, the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts!

    An old coworker of mine, Mary Lou Stuart, brought this to an HR potluck at LifeScan on Tuesday, September 20, 2005.  I know the date because I still have the email with the recipe (and that horrible name).

    I changed the method a bit, just to make it easier, but other than that, I made no changes. Please forgive me for mixing up my cultures and photographing this Chinese Noodle Salad (which isn’t) on a Japanese cloth.  Also, the cilantro looks a little old, in the picture, doesn’t it?  It is.  I forgot to take a picture the day I served this. This is a picture of what was left in the refrigerator container because it wouldn’t fit into the serving container.  So that cilantro has been sitting in the dressing for three days.  Yours will look much better. The world is out of alignment today.

    Chinese Pasta Salad (not..)

    1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
    1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B, if you can find it)
    1/2 cup sesame oil
    1/4 cup soy sauce (I have also used teriyaki)
    1 cup chopped cilantro
    1 bunch chopped green onions (6-8)
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts.

    Blend the maple syrup, sesame oil, and soy sauce in the blender.  Pour over cooked and drained noodles.  Add in chopped cilantro and green onions. Refrigerate overnight.

    Just before serving stir in the chopped dry roasted peanuts.

    Mary Lou said she sometimes adds about 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken to the salad (she uses a cooked rotisserie chicken).  I’ve done this once or twice (with a chicken breast poached in a bit of soy sauce and water/broth), but actually prefer this salad without the chicken.  Plus, it’s always nice to have something on the table for the vegetarians and vegans in the group.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you know Mary Lou Stuart, please forward this message to her. I have lost track of her.  If she is uneasy with her name being on this post, I will use a pseudonym.

    23 Sep 2010 Asian Glazed Thighs

    My friend Anne, has a brother John.  He’s a rugged Man’s Man from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  He canoes.  He scuba dives.  He sports shark tattoos. He swims in Lake Superior  (In the winter.  I don’t know why. Something to do with Polar Bears.) John also cooks.  Often on a grill.  John offered to be my guest poster today with this recipe for Asian Glazed Thighs (Note to John, you might consider revising the recipe title…the mind does tend to wander a bit…)

    John  found this recipe in Parade Magazine a few years ago.  Damn.  He reads the newspaper, too.

    John said, when introducing this recipe to me, “Too often, very tasty Asian cooking is drowned in soy sauce.  Not so with this dish.  The orange flavor really comes through because you’re using both the zest and the juice of the orange. You’ll taste the soy sauce, but just a hint of it.”  Now, I did mention that this man swims in Lake Superior, right?  In fact, he took his scuba check out dives in Lake Superior in April.  He had to wade through the ice floating in the lake before submerging…makes you wonder a bit about his judgment, doesn’t it?  🙂  So…, just to be on the safe side,  I tested this recipe before I posted it.  YUMMMMmmm.  I knew, with the first stolen tester off the grill, that he had a GREAT recipe.  I was licking my fingers and moaning, impatiently waiting for the rest of the chicken to be done.

    Just to be on the double-safe side, I took the chicken to Yoga-Massage night to share with my friends and to get their feedback.  To keep their minds on the food, I didn’t mention the name of this dish.  I know them. If they knew they name of this dish they would have gone where we don’t want to go…

    We all loved the chicken.  I got multiple requests to post the recipe ASAP.  So here it is.

    Thanks, John.  If this recipe is well received, John has promised to share his Coffee and Soy Marinated Pork Chop recipe.  Double damn.  He likes coffee, too.

    Asian Glazed Thighs

    Eight boneless/skinless chicken thighs
    2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (I used regular sesame oil)
    Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
    1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
    ¾ c fresh orange juice (juice from about 3 medium oranges)
    1 tbsp minced garlic
    3 tbsp soy sauce
    ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    ¼ c honey
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Sesame seeds (for garnish)

    1.       Rinse thighs and pat dry.

    2.       Combine rest of ingredients for marinade.  Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the marinade, cover and refrigerate (you’ll be using this to baste the chicken later).  Toss the chicken in the rest of the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

    3. Remove chicken and basting marinade from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

    5.       Grill  thighs, basting often, for about 15 minutes. (This is the fun part.  Toss the thighs on a very hot grill-hot enough to char the outside a little.  Then baste often and flip often.  John moves the thighs onto and off of the heat, assisted by a glass of wine, and finds he usually grills the meat for about 15 minutes.)

    6.       Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

    John says,  “The honey caramelizes very nicely on the grill. You can bake the thighs in the oven (350° for about 45 minutes), but why?  The grill adds a very nice smoky flavor.”  John  also grills some sweet peppers (coated in olive oil and sprinkled with Kosher salt) and often  serves over a bed of rice.  See his picture above.  Looks like he eats veggies, too…

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, especially you, John!

    20 Sep 2010 Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Cups

    Mmmmm… Hoisin chicken, wrapped in a crispy, iceberg lettuce leaf.  I don’t remember where I found the original recipe, it was a few years ago.  My daughter and I have tinkered with it a bit over the years and now we think it’s pretty darn incredible! And it’s so fun to eat, too! I love the crunch of the lettuce and the water chestnuts and I love the Asian flavor. This is one of my favorite dishes to serve on a buffet or take to a pot luck.  I’ve served this as an appetizer, a salad, and a main dish!  How’s that for versatility?  To serve, I put out a big bowl of the warm hoisin chicken, add a slotted serving spoon (because the sauce is a bit juicy) then surround the whole thing with “cups” of iceberg lettuce.  Guests assemble their own lettuce cups (and then eat them like a taco!)

    This recipe serves a crowd. You’ll have about 8 cups of filing, which will easily fill 16-20 lettuce cups.  There should be no problem halving this recipe if  you want to make a smaller number of servings.

    Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Cups

    8 boneless chicken breasts
    4-6 Tablespoons oil (2-3 for cooking chicken, and 2-3 for cooking vegetables)
    4 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger (or finely chopped fresh ginger, if you prefer)
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 cups chopped celery
    ½ cup green onion
    3 cups diced mushroom
    16 oz. diced water chestnuts (2 cans), drained and chopped
    1 cup hoisin sauce
    ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 Tablespoons plain/natural rice vinegar (don’t use the seasoned rice vinegar)
    1 cup minced cilantro
    2 or 3 heads of iceberg lettuce (note that not all heads are created equal, some have better leaf “cups” than others)

    Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, add chicken breasts and cook thoroughly (approximately 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken).  Remove from heat and let cool.  Meanwhile, chop celery, green onions, mushrooms and water chestnuts.  When chicken is cool, dice into ½ inch pieces .

    In the same pan, heat remaining oil and ginger and sauté until fragrant.  Add celery, onion, and mushrooms, sauté until soft, about three minutes.  Add diced chicken, stir until chicken and vegetables are incorporated together.  Add drained and chopped water chestnuts, hoisin, Worcestershire and rice vinegar to chicken and vegetables, sauté for an additional minute or so.  When the all the liquid has been distributed and all the flavors have blended remove from heat and stir in cilantro.  Remove chicken mixture to a large serving bowl.

    Make lettuce cups by carefully pulling off individual leaves of lettuce.  They don’t all have to be perfect, or the same size. Place lettuce cups around the bowl of the chicken.

    To serve: With a slotted spoon, scoop ¼-½ cup of chicken mixture into lettuce cup, eat and enjoy!

    NOTE:  the chicken/vegetable mixture can be made ahead of time, stored in refrigerator, and then reheated before serving.  (I actually think the flavor improves after sitting 24 hours). If you are going to make the lettuce cups ahead of time, store in sealed plastic  bags  in the refrigerator–but don’t make the lettuce cups too far ahead, the edges of the lettuce will turn brown-when they turn brown depends on how fresh your lettuce is.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today…, and thanks, Hannah (my older daughter), for being here and tweaking this recipe so that’s it’s pretty much perfect!