Exploring Asian Dishes.

I’m trying to remember the first thing I cooked that could remotely be considered Asian, and bonkers as it sounds I think it was probably something that – at the time, anyway – I would have considered pretty elaborate, mostly because of the ingredients called for. Now, I keep most all of these things in my pantry anyway, so this would be even easier to make.

The story goes: I’d gone to a cooking at class at Lola and watched Michael Symon make Chinese-Style BBQ Pork, which I later attempted to replicate at home with surprisingly nice results. It really is an easy recipe, and pork tenderloin is awfully difficult to screw up.

Chinese-Style BBQ Pork
Courtesy In the Kitchen with Michael – cooking class

Ingredients
3 lbs pork tenderloins
2 T five spice
1/2 c hoisin
1/3 c sugar
3T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T hot bean paste
2 cloves chopped garlic

Method
Rub pork with five spice. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over pork, and let marinate for 3-5 hours. Place on grill and cook until medium. Let rest and slice. Serve over basmati rice.

Lately, I’ve found myself seeking out Asian recipes, including Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean and Indian dishes. Assuredly, if you’re finding these in the recipe section of Good Housekeeping, these are certainly Westernized or at least adapted so that the average grocery store shopper could make them. Of course, many “average” grocery stores offer a much wider variety of spices, sauces and ingredients than ever before – even the bare-bones neighborhood grocery down the street from me can be relied upon for hot bean paste! Specialty markets are a great source of any ingredients with which you might be unfamiliar, and in some cases (I’m thinking of spices used in Indian dishes here) they are priced much more reasonably.

In any event. In addition to the pork tenderloin above, some of my favorite easy Asian-influenced recipes include this bulgogi from, yes, Redbook magazine. I’ve made this a number of time for dinner and a couple of times for guests and it’s always good. Because you can marinate the meat in advance and cut up/portion out all of the accoutrements, all that’s left come party time is the grilling.

I’ve also become very fond of this Asian Chicken Noodle Soup, which is easy and super good and makes grown-up use of those 10-for-a-dollar ramen noodles you bought in college. I don’t even like mushrooms very much and I happily dropped them into this soup because they are so perfectly delicious in there.

Just tonight I made Japanese-Style Meat and Potatoes from the great Keepers cookbook. This is one of those dishes you can pretty much make without going to the store – in fact that’s the reason I made it tonight: I didn’t want to go to the store. I used ground turkey instead of beef or pork and it was great. I also used cooking wine instead of…well, drinking wine because that’s what I had. If you make this substitution remember that cooking wine often has added salt, so adjust seasoning accordingly. Keepers also has a Coconut Chicken Curry that I love and make frequently, and I’ve already blogged about it here!

Lastly, I have also often turned to this Quick Chicken Tikka Masala, with a few small changes. I don’t use the peas – instead, I like to add a drained and rinsed can of chick peas. I also skip the lemon juice as I have found the yogurt lends enough tartness.

I’ve also run into some duds along the way – so unmemorable I wouldn’t even know where to find a link to warn anyone away. I tend to be gun-shy about recipes that call for a lot of cloying sweetness and for some reason this translates as “Asian” to some people. I made a slow-cooker Mongolian beef that I thought was going to be mouthwatering when in fact in was almost too sweet to eat.

Next, I want to try pho and a different pad thai recipe – I have one that we like but it’s not quite the way I want it to taste. Share if you have any ideas!

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2 thoughts on “Exploring Asian Dishes.

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