Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Holy crap, I made a stir fry dish that didn’t suck (not including fried rice)!!!

Five or six years ago, while simultaneously being so excited and so overwhelmed at IKEA, I stumbled upon a wok.  FOR $5!  So crazy!  I had to buy it.  I was so excited about my new smart purchase that I stir fried my heart out.  Veggies, rice, frozen meals from TJ’s, you name it.  It was glorious.  But I never attempted any real Asian dishes, if you will, I just made stuff up.  Fast forward to three months ago when I started receiving Food Network Magazine with the occasional, deceivingly delicious looking Asian stir fry recipe.  Out of the dozens of recipes from FNM I have tried, the three wok recipes I tried were the only three I disliked.  They all were soupy and gross, SUCH a disappointment… especially coming from my beloved FMN.

Last week, while browsing Ranch 99, I forgot my recent wok adventures, and bought some chow mein noodles.  Then I got home and realized what I had done.  Fourth time’s a charm?  I searched allrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com for recipes.  As I usually do, I picked out parts I liked from some recipes and mushed them all together to make my own.  And by golly, I was victorious!!  It was really delicious, and EASY, yay!  I apologize for lack of pictures, I was too busy sleeping off a chow mein food coma to worry about such details.


  • 1 pound chow mein noodles, cooked according to the package (mine said to boil for about a minute, then drain)
  • 1 – 2 pounds of cut up chicken pieces (I used one pound, and it worked, but 2 would be better, also some stores have already cut up stir fry pieces!)
  • 5 – 6 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (you can use veggie, or olive, but the sesame really adds to the taste!)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger peeled and minced (food processor really helps)
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves, minced (if you already have the food processor out…)
  • 2 – 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 or 2 heads of broccoli, broken down into florets
  • about ½ head of cabbage (I used regular ol’ green), sliced up into strips approximately ½ inch wide
  • 1 (8-ounce) can baby corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Obviously you can add whatever other veggies you like; mushrooms, bok choy, snap peas, etc.

PS You will need a really big wok!  Or cut the recipe down if you don’t have a whole family to feed/ don’t like leftovers.


  1. Boil the chow mein noodles as necessary, no more than a min or two, drain
  2. In your super cool wok, heat the oil over high heat.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the noodles and chicken!  And cook some more, maybe another 3 minutes, constantly stirring
  5. Add all other veggies.
  6. Add the broth, hoisin, soy sauce.  Continue cooking and stirring until all the veggies and most importantly chicken are cooked.  Keep the sauces handy in case you need more to add in as you are cooking.
  7. Garnish with the green onions and eat your delicious meal!

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Chicken “steak”

There is this Filipino dish I absolutely love (beefsteak) but since I gave up beef years ago (personal reasons), I haven’t had it since and that kinda sucks. Fortunately, I found some thinly sliced chicken breasts in Chinatown. I mean RICE PAPER thin.

I marinated the chicken for a day by the way:

  • Soy sauce
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sesame oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Sliced onions
  • Pepper

I cooked EVERYTHING in a pan at the same time. Serve with steamed rice.

$ breakdown:

  • $2 for a pack of the thinly sliced chicken

PS – a link to the Filipino beefsteak recipe – http://pinoycook.net/bistek-filipino-beef-steak/

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Ginger and Scallion Lobster

This is a staple at Chinese restaurants and it’s incredibly easy (and much cheaper) to make at home.

  • Diced ginger
  • Diced scallions
  • Minced garlic
  • Seafood broth (I used chicken broth)
  • Salt & pepper

So technically, you’re supposed to coat the lobster with flour and fry it a bit in some oil. I forgot to do this. PLUS, I was dealing with 3 live lobsters..

Anyway, sautee the garlic, ginger and scallions in some evoo and then add about 1/3 to 1/2 C of broth. BTW, this was all in a shallow frying pan. I am without a stockpot (Santa, add this to my list please! Thanks! XO) so I divided the garlic/ginger/scallion broth into a pan and a pot.

I wasn’t too sure how to go about cooking the lobster. Should I steam it? Drop it in boiling water? Maybe bake it? I ended up pan-frying-slash-steaming them. OH GOD, IT WAS HORRIBLE. I screamed each time they died 😦

I pan fried the lobsters first and then stuck them in the pot and covered the pot with foil to garner enough steam. The flour & pan-frying didn’t really work but the lobsters were definitely cooked. Maybe it’s for the best the pan-frying didn’t work because at the end, we had this delicious broth to pour on top over our rice to accompany the lobster.

$ breakdown:

  • 3 lobsters for $19 (YES, $19 TOTAL!!!)

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I cheated. I bought marinated chicken from an Asian market this past weekend. I HATE using anything prepackaged so I’m not too sure why I caved in and bought this chicken.

I was craving something similar to what I’ve had at Korean fast food places and I figured it shouldn’t be too difficult to make (especially since I already had the marinated spicy chicken).

  • Slivered onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • A few pieces of baby bok choy (separated)

Heat some sesame oil in a pot over medium-high heat and toss in the garlic and the chicken. After about 2 minutes, turn the chicken over, put the rest of the ingredients in and cover the pot with a lid. Because the mushrooms and bok choy release a lot of water (also combined with the covered pot), the chicken will cook through and you’ll have a bit of a sauce from the marinade. You can choose to make this sauce thicker by adding a bit more broth or water & some cornstarch/flour, or you can leave it as is.

It won’t take long to cook, btw, maybe about 8-10 minutes. In the meantime, you can boil water and cook the vermicelli noodles. I mixed them with sesame oil and some hoisin sauce after they were cooked and strained.

$ breakdown:

  • $4 marinated chicken from the Asian grocery store (I got it from M2M in the east village but I’m sure it would’ve been cheaper if I went to Koreatown or Chinatown)
  • $2 bok choy
  • $2 vermicelli

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Mapo tofu

I bought this block of extra firm tofu but wasn’t too sure what to do with it, so I decided to dig into my ASIAN roots and make some mapo tofu. Lately I’ve been steering away from ready-made sauces and really testing my ability to cook by making all my own sauces.

The mapo tofu sauce is incredibly simple:

  • Chili garlic sauce (to taste)
  • Black bean sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Maybe some cornstarch/flour to thicken the sauce


And add everything else:

  • Diced mushrooms
  • Diced shallots
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced bell peppers
  • Chives
  • Diced chicken breast tenderloin (people commonly use some type of minced ground meat though)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sesame oil

Actually, I put EVERYTHING together to marinate but the chicken broth; I added that while everything was cooking so it’d simmer.

$ breakdown:

  • $3 chili garlic sauce
  • $2 black bean sauce
  • $3 chicken breast tenderloin
  • $2 mushrooms
  • $1 bell pepper

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Thai Green Curry

Thai green curry is perhaps one of the easiest SE Asian dishes to put together, especially if you have ready-made curry paste. I use the Mae Ploy curry paste, which you can find at your nearest Asian market. They sell it at Whole Foods, too, but I’m not sure if it’s the same brand.

Another good tip — PREPARATION. This dish is basically a stew so make sure everything you need is chopped and ready to go.

  • Slivered onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Rinsed baby bok choy (I prefer mine separated but you can keep them in bunches if you prefer)
  • Canned sliced bamboo shoots
  • Marinated sliced chicken (sesame oil, soy sauce, garic salt, fresh minced garlic and some scallions)
  • Sliced scallions

Start off by sauteeing the garlic and onions in sesame oil. Once the onions turn clear, add about a teaspoon or 2 of curry paste to cook. Throw in a can of coconut milk and about 1 to 1.5 cups of water. Add the chicken bamboo shoots and the bok choy. I’d actually add some fresh basil but I didn’t have any =\

Let everything simmer for about 20 minutes. If the broth is too spicy, add some lemon juice to neutralize the flavor. Some people also add some sugar and fish sauce; I added a teaspoon of dark brown sugar but had no fish sauce. My friend Russell actually adds fresh tomato slices in lieu of the sugar.. that works out pretty well.

You can also add different types of meat to this dish; it’s not limited to chicken. Or you can make it vegetarian!

Serve over rice!

$ breakdown:

  • Green curry paste – ~$3-5, depending where you get it
  • Can of coconut milk – $1 – $3 (mine was $3 because I bought it from frickin Whole Foods because I was impatient)
  • Can of bamboo shoots – ~$1
  • A bundle of baby bok choy – $2 from Chinatown

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