Kimchi Fried Rice

Happy Lunar New Year! I’m not a very superstitious person, which is good since this is not an ideal dish for the new year celebration. Typically, food is eaten whole (whole fish, whole duck, etc…), and this dish requires a good deal of chopping. It could totally be adapted so you there is minimal chopping, but it would definitely not taste the same. Nevertheless, I’ve been loving this rice ever since I first made it. In fact, I had to make a second batch the very next day because we ate all of the first within 24 hours. It is especially good as a late night snack.

original recipe

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice

Ingredients

4 Tbs peanut oil
4 eggs
1 large onion, diced
1 c kimchi, chopped, plus a little of the liquid
6 c cooked rice
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs sesame oil
¼ c chopped green onion

Instructions

  1. Heat a wok (or a skillet) over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 Tbs of oil and fry the eggs to desired consistency. Set eggs on a plate.
  3. Turn heat up to high and add remaining oil. Heat oil until almost smoking. Add onion, and stir fry until beginning to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the kimchi and kimchi liquid and stir fry another minute. Add rice, and stir fry another few minutes. Break up the clumps of rice as it cooks.
  4. Remove wok from heat and add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onion. Stir thoroughly to combine. Divide rice into bowls. Top with a fried egg and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/01/kimchi-fried-rice/

 

 

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Dan Dan Noodles

Before this recipe, the only dan dan noodles that I had were from Pei Wei. They were good, but I had a teeny suspicion that they weren’t quite the same as the real thing. Then one day, Hubs made a version that claimed to be more authentic. I instantly loved them. We have them at least once a month. The key is the Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns. They have a very different flavor than black peppercorns – more herbal, spicy but with a mellower heat. We found them here. We now have a one-pound bag of peppercorns. Not to worry, they will get eaten up.

I adapted the original recipe two ways – the way Hubs makes it, and a version with less obscure ingredients. If you aren’t able to find black vinegar, dark soy sauce, or fresh Chinese noodles, the substitutions are in parenthesis. You can also make a vegetarian version using crumbled tofu in place of the ground pork. The cucumber and bean sprouts are an homage to the Pei Wei version, and a way for me to sneak some veggies into the dish.


adapted from Land of Plenty
by Fuschia Dunlop

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

Ingredients

Sauce
1½ Tbs soy sauce
½ Tbs dark soy sauce (or substitute another ½ Tbs regular soy sauce)
1 Tbs chili oil, or to taste (use less for less spice)
1½ tsp black vinegar (1 tsp rice vinegar and ½ tsp brown sugar)
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
1 Tbs peanut oil
4 oz ground pork (vegetarian option: firm tofu, crumbled)
1 tsp rice wine (dry sherry)
2 tsp soy sauce
Noodles
12 oz fresh Chinese noodles, cooked (spaghetti)
3 scallions, green parts only, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Handful of fresh bean sprouts

Instructions

  1. Mix together the 1½ Tbs soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chili oil, black vinegar, and Sichuan peppercorns. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add ground pork, rice wine, and 2 tsp of soy sauce. Stir-fry until pork is just cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Reduce heat to medium. Add the noodles, and stir to combine. Pour sauce over the noodles and toss. Top with sliced scallions, chopped cucumber, and bean sprouts.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/11/dan-dan-noodles/

 

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Sticky Five Spice Short Ribs

Feeding a toddler is an exercise in patience. My kid is way pickier now than when he started solid food. He’ll eat something one day, and not like it the next. Makes menu planning a little difficult. However, I found one thing that he consistently likes: tender, slow cooked meat. Anytime I make short ribs, he gobbles one down in record time. These were no exception. The adults in the household loved them as well. I especially liked how this recipe cooks down the liquid to make the sticky sauce – very convenient!
by Aida Mollenkamp
as seen on Food Network

Sticky Five Spice Short Ribs

Sticky Five Spice Short Ribs

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 pounds short ribs, English cut
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves, smashed
1-inch piece ginger, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded, and thickly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix together sherry, oyster sauce, and brown sugar until evenly combined; set aside. Pat ribs dry with a paper towel and season well with salt and five-spice powder.
  3. Place a 3-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, shallow pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat and add oil. When oil starts to smoke, add ribs and sear until well browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove ribs to a plate and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings, return pan to stove, and add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in reserved sherry mixture and bring to a simmer.
  4. Return ribs to pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to oven to cook, turning occasionally, until meat is knife tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Increase oven to 400 degrees F and cook, covered, until ribs are sticky, about 20 more minutes.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/11/sticky-five-spice-short-ribs/

 

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Whole shrimp. With heads. And tentacles. All edible. I debated for a while about posting this recipe, which resulted in no blog updates for a week. It tasted fabulous, so much so that we made it twice in one week. But its appearance might be off-putting, possibly intimidating. The shrimp are meant to be eaten in their entirety. In fact, they taste best when eaten this way, since the salty-sweet pepper mixture coats the crunchy shell.

We brought a shrimp to our neighbor so he could try one. He took one look at it and declared us “adventurous eaters.” Hidden meaning: “No way I’m putting that thing in my mouth.” I never really thought of myself as an adventurous eater. I’m not as adventurous as my friend Julia, who has eaten donkey, tripe, live squid, and fried silk worms. Does eating shrimp legs and heads constitute as adventurous eating? The tyke loved the shrimp. Of course, he’ll eat just about anything that’s deep fried.

So here is my question for you readers: if presented with a plate of these succulent, fragrant shrimp, how much of them would you eat? Shell? Legs? Tail? Head?

adapted from a recipe by Luke Nguyen

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Ingredients

1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar
Vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 Tbs more
8 large whole shrimp
1 ½ c cornstarch
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs minced shallot
1 tsp minced fresh red chile or jalepeno chile
3 green onions, green and light green sections sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 lime, quartered

Instructions

  1. Place salt, pepper, and five spice powder in a hot pan over medium high heat.Dry roast for about 1 minute, stirring a few times.Remove from heat to a bowl, and let cool.Stir in sugar.Set aside.
  2. Place enough oil in a fryer or a dutch oven to reach a 3-inch depth.Heat oil to 300ºF.Place cornstarch in a large bowl.Dredge the shrimp in the cornstarch, shaking off excess.Place four shrimp in the hot oil and fry for 1 minute.Remove with a slotted spoon onto a cooling rack.Repeat with remaining shrimp.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.Add garlic, shallot, chile, and green onions.Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add shrimp, tossing to combine.Sprinkle salt and pepper mixture onto the shrimp as you toss, making sure to coat the shrimp well.Remove from heat and serve immediately.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/salt-and-pepper-shrimp/

 

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Beef and Broccoli

Hubs continues to love his wok. He uses it at least twice a week. In fact, he just made 21 lbs. of vegetarian fried rice for dinner for a women’s shelter. With our new rice cooker, it was relatively easy to prep. The fried rice was enough to feed 80 people. They loved it so much that they went back for seconds until it was gone.

Beef and broccoli is one of my favorite takeout dishes, so of course we tried it at home. Hubs found that using the dark soy sauce gave the beef a rich color. It also caramelized a little more when cooked, which flavored the beef. The dish freezes and transports well, which means that my mom will get to try it. It also makes a good dish to take to new/expecting parents.
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients

1 lb flank steak, cut into 2-inch strips along the grain, and then thinly sliced across the grain
3 Tbs dark soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
2 Tbs low sodium chicken broth
5 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs light brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 Tbs)
2 ½ Tbs vegetable oil
2 bunches broccoli, florets cut off and thinly sliced
1/3 c water
1 red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, and cut into small chunks
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

Instructions

  1. Combine beef and soy sauce in a gallon sized plastic bag. Seal bag, make sure all the beef is coated, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour. (I let it marinate for the amount of time it takes to prep the other ingredients.) Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a bowl. Combine garlic and ginger in another bowl.
  2. Drain beef and discard liquid. Heat 1 Tbs vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add beef and break up the clumps. Cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around the edges, about 30 seconds. Cook in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer beef to a bowl.
  3. Add 1 Tbs vegetable oil to wok, and heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds. Add water, cover wok, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Increase heat to high, and add remaining ½ Tbs vegetable oil to wok. Heat until just smoking. Add the red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until peppers start to spot. Clear center of skillet and add the garlic and ginger. Mash with a spoon and cook about 15 seconds. Stir garlic and ginger into the peppers. Return beef and broccoli to the wok and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine, and add to the wok. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened and is evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with scallions and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/06/beef-and-broccoli/

 

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Fried Rice, Forbidden Style


A few months ago, we upgraded our rice cooker. We love it! It makes the BEST rice. We now know what rice is supposed to taste like. The cooker has multiple settings. It reads the temperature of the rice and compensates to keep the rice from over-cooking. It has a timer so you can choose what time the rice will be done. And, it has a retractable cord.


Hubs is now addicted to rice. On average, we have 6-7 varieties in the house at all times. We’ve started buying the giant bags from the Asian market. We eat about 14 cups of rice a week. Uncooked. We may have a problem.


One of the many varieties of rice occupying our pantry is black rice. It is also called “Forbidden” rice because long ago, only the Emperor of China was allowed to eat it. Thankfully, that harsh restriction has lifted. I expected the rice to be chewy like wild rice, but it was soft and nutty. The bacon and roasted garlic added smokiness and richness to the fried rice.


Adapted from Sang Yoon
As seen on Food and Wine

Forbidden Fried Rice

Forbidden Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 Tbs vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
2 c black rice, uncooked
2 c water
8 oz bacon, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
¼ c soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 scallions, chopped into large slices

Instructions

  1. One day before making the fried rice: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place whole garlic cloves on a double layer of foil. Drizzle vegetable oil over the garlic and wrap tightly. Bake for about 1 hour, until garlic is soft and caramelized. Let cool, then chill overnight.
  2. Pour rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover rice, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread the rice on a large baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To make the rice: In a large wok, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate. Drain bacon fat from wok. Add the 2 Tbs vegetable oil. Adjust heat to almost high.
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add bacon, black rice, and roasted garlic and stir-fry until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, garnish with scallions, and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/05/fried-rice-forbidden-style/

 

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General Tso’s Chicken


This is hands down Hubs’ favorite Chinese take-out dish. Whenever we order from the place down the street, this is what he gets. Having had so much success with the orange chicken recipe, I thought it would be easy to find a recipe for General Tso’s.

Luckily, Joelen had a fantastic looking recipe on her blog. It was another Cook’s Illustrated recipe, so I basically made the orange chicken recipe, but with a different sauce. The chicken cooked a lot faster than I thought it would, and had a wonderful crispy texture. One thing about deep frying – if you cook food in oil at the right temperature for the right amount of time, it absorbs very little of the cooking oil. This is why I love deep frying at home. I can control both these factors to get perfectly crunchy food without too much fat.


adapted from What’s Cooking Chicago
originally from Cook’s Illustrated

General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

Ingredients

Sauce!
½ c hoisin sauce
¼ c white vinegar
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs cornstarch
1 ½ c water
1 Tbs vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Chicken
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 large egg whites
1 ½ c cornstarch
½ c all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
Vegetable oil for frying
Garnish
2 green onions, green parts thinly sliced
Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. To make the sauce, whisk together the hoisin sauce, white vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and water in a bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the hoisin mixture. Stir until the sauce is dark brown and has thickened. Remove from heat and cover.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. Whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy. Combine cornstarch, flour, and baking soda in a separate shallow dish. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, and then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, making all sides are coated. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
  3. Heat oil in a fryer (or Dutch oven, or a large wok) until it registers 325ºF. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through cooking. Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  4. Re-warm the sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/04/general-tsos-chicken/

 

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Braised Short Ribs with Cranberry-Teriyaki Glaze

This dish is the perfect example of how Hubs and I work together to cook dinner. I work days; he works evenings. If we’re lucky, we get to eat dinner together twice a week. At certain times of the year even that doesn’t happen. For these ribs, I prepped all the aromatic the previous night. Before he left for work, Hubs browned the short ribs and got them simmering. Once I got home, I made the glaze and finished them off. I’m so glad that he loves to cook as much as I do.

These short ribs are melt-in-your-mouth yumminess. The glaze is perfectly sweet, salty, and tangy.


Adapted from Ming Tsai
As seen on epicurious.com

Braised Short Ribs with Cranberry-Teriyaki Glaze

Braised Short Ribs with Cranberry-Teriyaki Glaze

Ingredients

6-7 lbs of beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs canola oil
2 large white onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, outer layers peeled, tender insides chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 c rice wine
1 c soy sauce
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
Cranberry-teriyaki glaze (recipe follows)
Garnish
2 green onions, light green parts thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh orange zest (use orange from the glaze for this)

Instructions

  1. Pat short ribs dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot over high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches. Transfer ribs to a plate. Reduce heat to medium-high, and add onions, carrots, celery, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice wine, soy sauce, thyme, and bay leaf. Return short ribs to pot and add enough water to cover them. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer about 4 hours. Leave cover on while the ribs cook (no peeking). Make glaze (see below).
  2. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Carefully remove ribs from the stockpot and set on a baking sheet. Brush ribs with cranberry-teriyaki glaze, and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Baste the ribs with the glaze another two times, baking for 5 minutes after each brushing. Remove ribs after the third coating. Garnish with green onions and orange zest.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/03/braised-short-ribs-with-cranberry-teriyaki-glaze/

Cranberry-Teriyaki Glaze

Ingredients

1 Tbs canola oil
¼ c chopped red onion
1 tsp minced ginger
¼ c dried cranberries
Zest and juice of ½ an orange (use other half for garnish)
¼ c soy sauce
½ c cranberry juice
3 Tbs sugar

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the dried cranberries, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, cranberry juice, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by about half. Check for flavor and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Blend until almost smooth (I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender works as well.) Let cool to room temperature.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/03/braised-short-ribs-with-cranberry-teriyaki-glaze/

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the dried cranberries, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, cranberry juice, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by about half. Check for flavor and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Blend until almost smooth (I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender works as well.) Let cool to room temperature.

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Pineapple Fried Rice

 

Since getting our wok, we have enjoyed many varieties of fried rice. We end up making it almost once a week. This Thai-style pineapple fried is one of my favorites. The jasmine rice, crab paste, and fish sauce give it the Thai flavor.


We’ve made this with and without the chicken, and shrimp or pork would work well in the dish. I went through the trouble of hollowing out the pineapple for a nice presentation, but it is totally not necessary.


Adapted from Savoring Southeast Asia
By Joyce Jue

Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 pineapple
2 Tbs vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (keep in chunks)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 eggs
2 Tbs crab paste
2 Tbs hoisin sauce
3 green onions, thinly sliced
4 c cooked jasmine rice, cooled and clump-free
2 Tbs fish sauce
Freshly chopped cilantro
Fried onions

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. Cut pineapple in half from top to bottom. Hollow each half, leaving the shell intact. Set pineapple meat aside. Bake shell halves on a baking sheet, hollowed side up, for about 15-20 minutes to dry out the inside. Check a few times to make sure the pineapple leaves don’t burn.
  2. Remove the core from one half of the reserved pineapple meat. Coarsely chop the pulp. Save unused pineapple for another use. Preheat a wok over medium-high heat. When the wok is hot, add the oil, salt, and garlic. Stir-fry until garlic is a light golden color. Push up the sides of the wok. Add the chicken, and stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Push chicken up the sides.
  3. Crack the eggs into the wok and break up the yolks. Let cook until set, about 30 seconds. Break into pieces. Add the crab paste, hoisin sauce and stir to combine. Add the green onions, rice, and fish sauce. Break up any remaining clumps of rice. Stir the garlic and chicken into the rice mixture, making sure to coat all the rice with the sauce. Add pineapple and toss to combine. Heat another minute.
  4. Spoon fried rice into pineapple shells. Garnish with cilantro and fried onions.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/02/pineapple-fried-rice/

 

Spoon fried rice into pineapple shells. Garnish with cilantro and fried onions.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

For Hubs’ birthday last month, I gave him a propane-fueled 22-inch wok. He had been eyeing this for the better part of last year. Since getting it set up in our garage (the back porch was not big enough), we have had fried rice just about once a week. It is hands down the best fried rice I’ve ever had. He has also made some tasty orange chicken, lo mein, stir-fried cabbage and bacon, and beef and broccoli.


This recipe is easily adaptable to whatever vegetables we have on hand, and many times we omit the meat and make it vegetarian. Because the wok is sooo big, he is able to stir fry the food in stages and then push it up the side of the wok while he moves onto the next step. If you are using a smaller (more normal) wok or a skillet, then stir fry each item, and remove it from the pan. This way nothing will get overcooked, and the pan won’t get too crowded. Add the shrimp and vegetables back to the pan when you cook the rice. Also, make sure to prep all the ingredients, and have them on hand when you start cooking.

Original recipe

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 lb small shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 Tbs soy sauce
¼ c chicken stock
1 Tbs rice wine
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, cut thinly on the bias
1 medium onion, chopped
8 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
4 c cooked rice, cooled (day old rice works well)
1 bunch scallions, root removed and thinly sliced
½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
2 or 3 Tbs peanut oil

Instructions

  1. Prep the shrimp and vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, chicken stock, and rice wine. Set aside.
  2. Heat wok until a drop of water completely evaporates in a few seconds. Add peanut oil by swirling it around the edge and letting it coat the pan. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Do not let them burn. Push the garlic and ginger up to the side.
  3. Add carrots and onion to the wok, and cook for 2-3 minutes until caramelized but still slightly firm. Add mushrooms and cook another minute. Push the vegetables up the side so that the bottom of the wok is empty. Pour shrimp into the bottom of the wok, and cook until opaque, about 1-2 minutes. Push shrimp up the side of the wok. Add another 1 Tbs of oil if necessary. Add rice and mix everything together. Cook until the rice heats through, about 3 minutes. Add scallions and soy sauce mixture and mix until everything is coated. Turn heat to low. Sprinkle cilantro, cover, and let steam for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, toss once more, and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/01/shrimp-fried-rice/

 

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