Asian Noodle Salad

 

imageI just adore the light vibrant flavors of Asian food. I also adore noodles. Boy do I love noodles. So much so that I try to limit myself to making only one pasta dinner a week. Not that there is anything wrong with pasta, it’s just that for me, it’s that one food that I have a hard time with controlling my portions. I’m sure you’ve all experienced that feeling of wanting more of your favorite food, and your belly is saying “I’m all set at this point” but your mouth isn’t quite on the same page. I think one of the things I love most about pasta is the texture. Now, having said all of that, I also love salad. It’s satisfying, flavorful, has interesting texture and really good for you. It is really versatile too.

In this recipe, I combine three of my favorites. I get my noodle fix, but not too much, I get the wonderful Asian flavors I adore in the dressing, and I get the flavors, textures, and many health benefits of all the various vegetables and nuts. You can add whichever vegetables you like here. Be creative! If you want to keep this vegetarian, you can add tofu, edamame beans, or other protein of your choice. You can eat this salad as a light main meal, or along side chicken, beef, pork, fish or shellfish. It pretty much goes with anything in my opinion.

So lets get started by first making the dressing.

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Gather your ingredients and measure them all out into a bowl or some sort of carafe to shake them all up. This dressing gets better as it sits a bit so if you can make it in advance it’s even better.

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When adding the garlic and ginger, I like to use a microplane. If you don’t have one, it’s ok, just mince them very fine so there aren’t any big chunks of raw ginger or garlic in your dressing.

Go ahead and whisk them all together in a bowl, or shake them in a jar or dressing carafe. Let it sit and get all happy and allow the flavors to marry.

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Next gather all your favorite salad vegetables, fresh herbs, sesame seeds and roasted peanuts together. For this salad I chose fresh spinach, sliced romaine hearts, radishes for crunch and heat, sliced, peeled and seeded cucumbers, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, green onions, fresh mint, fresh parsley(cilantro is also good here), white sesame seeds and dry roasted peanuts. Whew! Now that’s a salad!

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Now take your rice vermicelli, place it in a bowl, and pour boiling water over it.

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Work the noodles into the hot water so that they are all covered. Allow them to soften, about 5 minutes. They will still have a little bite to them, but unlike if you boiled them on the stove, they will be just soft enough without going too far and becoming mushy.

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Drain the noodles well and place them in your large salad bowl.

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Now pour just enough dressing over them, and toss them to coat them thoroughly. This will not only season them, but will prevent them from sticking together.

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Finish chopping up all your herbs and vegetables..

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Place all of them, along with the sesame seeds and peanuts on top of your noodles in the large bowl.

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Give your dressing a good whisk or shake, and start pouring over your salad. Do this a little at a time..

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Tossing all your lovely ingredients together, and tasting as you mix. Add more dressing as needed to get it all well dressed but don’t drown it in dressing. You want to still be able to taste all the wonderful vegetables!

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Finally, pick a pretty serving dish, plate this little beauty, sit back and enjoy. I hope you love this one as much as I do! Let me know what you think! 😀

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD (Yields:6-8 Servings)

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

2 c Fresh Spinach

2 c Sliced Romaine Hearts

1/2 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced

5 Radishes, thinly sliced

2 Green Onions, thinly sliced,

1 Lg Carrot, peeled and grated

1/4 c Fresh Mint, chopped

1/4 c Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped

1/4 c Dry Roasted Peanuts

3 TBS White Sesame Seeds

6 oz Rice Vermicelli

For The Dressing:

1 Small Garlic Clove, finely minced

1″ Nub of Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely minced

3 TBS Soy Sauce

2 tsp Mirin( Rice Wine)

3 Limes, juiced

1/2-3/4 c Canola Oil

1 tsp Sesame Oil

1 tsp Sriracha, hot chili sauce

1 tsp Fish Sauce (optional)

1 TBS Honey

Procedure: 

  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl, or shaking them in a jar or dressing carafe. Set aside.
  2. Place the rice noodles in a medium sized bowl, and cover them with boiling water to soften them, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the noodles well, place them in a large salad bowl, and dress with just enough of the prepared dressing to season and coat them well.
  4. Place all the rest of your salad ingredients on top of the noodles.
  5. Slowly add enough dressing, a little at a time, to your salad and toss all together with the rice noodles until the noodle salad is well dressed. Do not over dress the salad so that all the wonderful flavors of the vegetables can be enjoyed. There will be extra dressing left over.

 

 

 

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

imageThai food, as you’ve probably noticed, is one of my very favorite Asian cuisines. I just love all of the different flavor combinations. There is spicy, salty, sour, sweet and in this recipe with unsweetened coconut milk added, there is a light creamy flavor and texture as well. This is a really quick recipe, and very easy to make. Because there is chicken, rice noodles, and vegetables it is a satisfying meal all in one bowl, but it won’t weigh you down. I made a quick chicken broth while poaching my chicken by adding a carrot, onion, celery stalk, a few garlic cloves, and peppercorns. Just strain the broth before using and you’re all set! Why not get all you can out of your chicken right? I used chicken thighs, my favorite, for extra flavor but you certainly can use chicken breast too. If you want to also make the broth, use chicken breast still on the bone if possible. This will keep the chicken more flavorful and moist as well. Of course you can use store bought broth too, low sodium is best, but it is really good with home made broth. If you are not in the mood to cook the chicken, just pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market and save even more time. In addition to the chicken broth I used Swanson brand Thai Ginger Infused Vegetable Broth. It is really tasty and is already infused with ginger, soy sauce, cilantro, lemon grass, coconut and lime, so you don’t even have to worry about adding much else here making this recipe super simple. The fresh carrots, fresh red bell pepper, and frozen peas add lots of flavor, texture and color to this soup. Add whatever veggies you like here. Mushrooms are another great addition if you like them. Be creative and make it your own. I’d love to hear your versions too so feel free to leave any comments! Enjoy!

imageGather all of your ingredients together and prep for the soup. Make and strain your chicken broth(optional) and shred the cooked chicken. Also cut the carrot and red bell pepper into thin strips, julienne.

imageHeat the olive or vegetable oil in a medium sauce pot or dutch oven. Saute the vegetables until just crisp tender.

imageNext add your chicken broth…

imageand the Swanson Thai Ginger Flavor Infused Broth, and bring this to a boil.

imageNow reduce heat to a simmer at medium-low and add in the shredded cooked chicken and peas. Simmer until chicken and peas are heated through.

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Add the unsweetened coconut milk and bring soup back to a simmer……

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break up the rice noodles to shorter strands and add them to the soup. Continue to simmer until the noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes or so.

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Taste the soup, and add more fresh lime juice for fresh bright flavor, and 1-2 Tbs of Thai fish sauce which will add additional salt and flavor to the soup. Add the lime and fish sauce(or Kosher salt) to taste.

imageHere it is all finished! Yummm 🙂

imageENJOY!!!

 

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup (Yields: 4 Servings)

Ingredients:

1 Tbs Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

1 Medium Carrot, cut into thin strips, julienne

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips, julienne

1c Frozen Peas

2c Chicken Broth

2c Swanson Thai Ginger Flavor Infused Vegetable Broth

1 14oz can Unsweetened Coconut Milk

4 oz Pad Thai style Rice Noodles, broken into smaller strands

1 Fresh Lime, juiced, to taste

1-2 Tbs Thai Fish Sauce, to taste

Chopped Fresh Basil or Cilantro, for garnish, optional

Procedure:

1.  Make and strain your chicken broth(optional) and shred the cooked chicken. Also cut the carrot and red bell pepper into thin strips, julienne.

2. Heat the olive or vegetable oil in a medium sauce pot or dutch oven. Saute the vegetables until just crisp tender.

3. Next add your chicken broth and the Swanson Thai Ginger Flavor Infused Broth, and bring this to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer at medium-low and add in the shredded cooked chicken and peas. Simmer until chicken and peas are heated through. Add the unsweetened coconut milk and bring soup back to a simmer.

5. Break up the rice noodles to shorter strands and add them to the soup. Continue to simmer until the noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes or so.

6. Taste the soup, and add more fresh lime juice for fresh bright flavor, and 1-2 Tbs of Thai fish sauce which will add additional salt and flavor to the soup. Add the lime and fish sauce(or Kosher salt) to taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Fried Rice

 

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Fried rice is a pretty quick and easy dish to whip up when you don’t have a lot of time. There are so many ways to make it, with different flavors and “add-ins” that the possibilities are endless. It is even quicker if you have left over white or brown rice from chinese take out. I always seem to and it’s a shame to just throw it away when you can quickly transform it into this tasty dish. Here I made the rice portion of the recipe first as I didn’t have any leftover in the fridge. Instead of just using water to cook your rice, try adding more flavor with chicken or vegetable stock, or in this case even more flavor with a vegetable stock with Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass, lime, cilantro, and coconut! When I cook rice I like it on the light and fluffy side, and not too wet, so I use slightly less liquid than the traditional 2 to 1 rule of liquid to dry rice. I think it comes out much better especially if you plan to fry it. In this recipe I made things easy with just frozen peas and carrots for the veg, but feel free to add in whichever vegetables you like. Mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, bean sprouts… there are so many options. Also there is a little butter in this version because I like the Hibachi style fried rice. It adds a really nice flavor but if you’d rather not add it it’s no big deal. It will still be yummy. There is added protein with the scrambled eggs, and you can take it a step further and add cooked shrimp, chicken, beef, pork or tofu to make it a one dish meal. This fried rice makes a perfect side dish, especially paired with my Grilled Asian Chicken recipe I posted yesterday. So get wok-in! 🙂 (Or obviously a saute pan is fine too)

 

 

 

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Gather all your ingredients and set yourself up, so you’re ready. This moves pretty quickly so it’s best to have your Mise en Place all set.

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Slice your onions, mince your garlic, slightly beat your eggs, and measure out the rest of your ingredients. Next, bring your water or flavored stock to a boil.

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Once the liquid reaches a boil, stir in your dry rice.

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Bring it back to a boil, and continue boiling uncovered, on medium high heat.

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When the liquid has cooked down to the level of the rice, and little steam craters appear, cover the pot tightly, turn your heat down to low, and DON’T PEEK! Let the rice cook for 20-25 minutes until tender, but not mushy.

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Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set it aside until you need it.

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When you’re ready to stir fry, heat your wok or saute pan to medium high and add your oil, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring quickly, until just softened.

 

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Push the onions and garlic to the side and add your butter…

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Then your beaten eggs…

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And fry them up….

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until light and fluffy.

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Next add in your cooked rice, and peas and carrots. Stir fry together..

 

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add in your soy sauce..

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and your Mirin rice wine, and stir fry a couple more minutes to combine all the flavors.

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Et Voila! There you have it, Easy Fried Rice. Enjoy!

 

Easy Fried Rice (Yield: 4 Servings)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c Rice

2 1/2 c Water or Flavored Stock

2 Tbs Vegetable Oil

2 Tbs Unsalted Butter

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced

2 Eggs, slightly beaten

1 c Frozen Peas and Carrots

3 Tbs Soy Sauce

3 Tbs Mirin Rice Wine

Procedure:

1.Slice your onions, mince your garlic, slightly beat your eggs, and measure out the rest of your ingredients. Next, bring your water of flavored stock to a boil.

2. Once the liquid reaches a boil, stir in your dry rice, bring it back to a boil, and continue uncovered, on medium high heat. When the liquid has cooked down to the level of the rice, and little steam craters appear, cover the pot tightly, turn your heat down to low, and DON’T PEEK! Let the rice cook for 20-25 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set it aside until you need it.

3. Heat your wok or saute pan to high and add your oil, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring quickly, until just softened. Push the onions and garlic to the side and add your butter.

4. Pour in your beaten eggs, and fry them up, until light and fluffy.

5. Next add in your cooked rice, and peas and carrots. Stir fry these together, add in your soy sauce and your Mirin rice wine, and stir fry a couple more minutes to combine all the flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Asian Chicken

 

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There is something special about grilled food. It’s light, flavorful, healthy, and really satisfying all around. There are hundreds of ways you can add flavor to chicken. In my opinion, I think it’s necessary, seeing that chicken on it’s own can be pretty bland. My favorite parts of the chicken will always be the dark meat cuts, the thighs, legs and wings, but every once in a while I go with the breast meat too. There is a little less fat so again, it can be more bland than the darker cuts, and needs to be well seasoned. In this recipe I marinate the chicken breast in a citrus, spicy, sweet, savory blend of asian flavors to give the meat a little kick. This marinade works well with steak, pork, and of course whichever chicken cuts you prefer. These flavors along with the grilling method of cooking make this dish very tasty!

So gather all your ingredients, and lets get grilling!

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First prepare your Mise en Place by cutting any extra fat from your chicken. Mince your garlic and ginger,and juice your citrus. Measure out your Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha hot sauce, brown sugar and Thai sweet chili sauce.

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Take all of these ingredients and put them in a resealable plastic bag….

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Mix them all together by gently squeezing the bag…

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And add your chicken pieces to the marinade.

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Remove the air from the bag, seal it tightly, and massage the marinade into the meat. Place the bag in a dish ( in case of a leak) and refrigerate the meat to marinade for 4-6 hours or overnight if you have the time for even more flavor.

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Preheat your grill until it is nice and hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Cook for five minutes without moving the chicken so it gets some nice grill marks going. Don’t throw the marinade away…

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Take the marinade, and put it in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil the marinade for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and kill any bacteria from the raw meat.

 

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The last 5 minutes of boiling the marinade you can make a slurry with 1 tsp cornstarch and some water or chicken stock to dissolve it, and add it to your simmering marinade to thicken it up.

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Flip your chicken breasts over and continue to cook them.

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Now it is safe to use this sauce to baste your chicken as it cooks for added flavor.

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Thoroughly cook your chicken until it is done and no longer pink inside. Careful to make sure the chicken is at 165 degrees, but don’t overcook it. You don’t want dry chicken!

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When the chicken is cooked, cover it with foil and let it rest for a few minutes so it remains juicy.

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Slice your chicken when ready and enjoy over fried rice or with your favorite side dish.

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Happy Grilling!

 

Grilled Asian Chicken (Yield: 4 Servings )

Ingredients:

2-3 Lbs Chicken, Boneless Skinless Breasts, Legs or Thighs

1 Resealable Plastic Bag

Marinade:

1/3 c Brown Sugar
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbs Fresh Ginger, minced
1 1/2 Sesame Oil
1/3 c Soy Sauce
1 Lime or Lemon, juiced
1 Orange, juiced
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 Tbs Thai-Stlye Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tbs Hoisin Sauce

 

Procedure: 

1. First prepare your Mise en Place by cutting any extra fat from your chicken. Mince your garlic and ginger,and juice your citrus. Measure out your Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha hot sauce, brown sugar and Thai sweet chili sauce.

2. Take all of these ingredients and put them in a resealable plastic bag, mix them all together by gently squeezing the bag. Add your chicken pieces to the marinade, remove the air from the bag, seal it tightly, and massage the marinade into the meat. Place the bag in a dish ( in case of a leak) and refrigerate the meat to marinade for 4-6 hours or overnight if you have the time for even more flavor.

3. Preheat your grill until it is nice and hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Cook for five minutes without moving the chicken so it gets some nice grill marks going. Don’t throw the marinade away.

4. Take the marinade, and put it in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil the marinade for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and kill any bacteria from the raw meat. The last 5 minutes of boiling the marinade you can make a slurry with 1 tsp cornstarch and some water or chicken stock to dissolve it, and add it to your simmering marinade to thicken it up. Now it is safe to use this sauce to baste your chicken as it cooks for added flavor.

5. Thoroughly cook your chicken until it is done and no longer pink inside. Careful to make sure the chicken is at 165 degrees, but don’t overcook it. You don’t want dry chicken! When the chicken is cooked, cover it with foil and let it rest for a few minutes so it remains juicy.

6. Slice your chicken when ready and enjoy over fried rice or with your favorite side dish.

 

 

 

Spicy Thai Basil Beef and Noodles

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Thailand  is a country located in Southeast Asia, where it’s people established their first important kingdom during the 1200’s. After being pressed upon by the northern Chinese population, they moved southward out of South China into what is now one of the world’s greatest melting pots.

The food is a balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is very fresh and flavorful and one of my favorites. Some of the many ingredients used in Thai cuisine are rice and rice noodles, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, eggs, fruits and vegetables. They are flavored with lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, chilies, fish sauce, and coconut milk to cool and balance out the heat of the curries and chilies. Herbs such as basil, mint and dill are very popular in Thai recipes and add a bright freshness to the dishes.

Here is just one example of a combination of Thai flavors. Traditionally thinly sliced flank steak is used here, but I happened to have cubed steak on hand and used that. The curry paste adds a good amount of heat, and you can adjust it to your taste. If you’re feeling bold and spicy you can also add a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce or a spicy fresh red chili for more heat, but proceed with caution. You can always add more in, but you still want to taste all of the other flavors as well. Fish Sauce is a pretty funky ingredient. If you smell it on it’s own it isn’t very appealing….at all. Trust me, once it is combined with the other flavors the result is wonderful and essential for the salty component of the dish. You can add whichever vegetables you like. Be creative! I happened to have a lot of nice peppers and wanted to use them this time. So here we go!

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Gather all of your ingredients and start prepping your mise en place.

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In a small bowl, add your minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and whisk them together. Check to make sure there is a nice balance of flavors. If you’d like, you can add a minced or thinly sliced  hot red chili pepper or a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for more heat. Careful, and add this a these a little at a time.

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Take half of this mixture and add it to your thinly sliced beef, mix, cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or longer if you’d like. Save the other half of your sauce for later.

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Next slice your peppers and onions into thin strips.

Once your meat has marinated and you have all of your ingredients prepped. Heat a wok or a large saute pan over medium high heat.

Also, in a large bowl, take your rice noodles and soak them in very hot water for about 8-10 minutes until soft, but not cooked completely as they will finish cooking in the stir fry with everything else. Once softened, drain the noodles thoroughly.

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Add your oil to your preheated wok or saute pan. Add your marinated beef, and cook until browned.

IMG_1246 Once the meat is browned, push it to the side and add in your vegetables. Saute until tender-crisp.

IMG_1247You can now add in the other half of the marinade mixture,

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imageand toss it all together to combine the flavors and finish cooking the noodles.

imageFinally toss in your chopped basil and mint,

imageand chopped roasted peanuts to finish the dish.

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Serve with extra lime wedges and enjoy!

Spicy Thai Basil Beef and Noodles (yield: serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package of Pad Thai Rice Noodles
1 lb Steak, thinly sliced across the grain
3 Tbs Vegetable or Canola Oil
1-1 1/2 Tbs Thai Curry Paste
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbs Fresh Ginger, minced
3 Tbs Fish Sauce (found in Asian or International section of grocery store)
3 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Lime, juiced, plus another cut in wedges for serving
2-3 Tbs Brown Sugar
Fresh Red Chili Pepper, thinly sliced or minced, to taste, optional
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, to taste, optional
1/2 Red Pepper, julienned
1/2 Orange Pepper, julienned
1/2 Green Pepper, julienned
1 Medium Onion, julienned
1/2c Fresh Basil Leaves, preferably Thai Basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 c Fresh Mint Leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 c Dry Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, add your minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, Thai curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and whisk them together. Check to make sure there is a nice balance of flavors. If you’d like, you can add a minced or thinly sliced fresh hot red chili pepper or a few dashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for more heat. Careful, and add this a these a little at a time.

2. Take half of this mixture and add it to your thinly sliced beef, mix, cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or longer if you’d like. Save the other half of your sauce for later.

3. Next slice your peppers and onions into thin strips.

4. Once your meat has marinated and you have all of your ingredients prepped. Heat a wok or a large saute pan over medium high heat. Also, take your rice noodles and soak them in very hot water for about 8-10 minutes until soft, but not cooked completely as they will finish cooking in the stir fry with everything else. Once softened, drain the noodles thoroughly.

5. Add the oil to your preheated wok or saute pan. Add your marinated beef, and cook until browned.

6. Once the meat is browned, push it to the side and add in your vegetables. Saute until tender-crisp.

7. You can now add in the other half of the marinade mixture, along with your softened rice noodles,

and toss it all together to combine the flavors and finish cooking the noodles.

8. Finally toss in your chopped basil and mint, and chopped roasted peanuts to finish the dish.

9. Serve with extra lime wedges and enjoy!