Crunchy Asparagus Rolls

I’m kind of a quiet person.  I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of “oversharing.”  It’s not the most conducive personality toward self-promotion in the blogging world, but it’s how I am.  I constantly ask myself the question, “How much should I share with my readers?” I have a personal blog where I post lots of stories and pictures about family life.  I feel like this blog should focus more on the food and recipes.

So, in a break from my reserved self, I want to share this story with you.

Very recently, I was pregnant.  Then, heartbreakingly, I wasn’t.  It wasn’t the first time.  Or even the second.  I didn’t realize it would be so difficult to have another child. At first, I couldn’t even talk to my family about it.  Eventually, I told a few friends, and trusted that they would discreetly pass the information along to others.  In private, I cried a lot.  At work, I focused on connecting with my students, doing well on an important evaluation, and getting through the day.  I neglected this blog and social media for a bit.  I gave my son extra hugs and kisses.

For the three months that I was pregnant, I craved all the foods that I was supposed to avoid – hot dogs, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and sushi.  Oh, sushi.  How I missed you.  One of my favorite sushi restaurants served the best crunchy asparagus roll.  I started making them at home to satisfy my sushi craving.  It wasn’t the same as my beloved spicy tuna kobachi, but the toasted seaweed-seasoned rice-crunchy exterior combination took enough of the edge off the craving.

original recipe

Crunchy Asparagus Rolls

Crunchy Asparagus Rolls

Ingredients

Rice
3 cups water
2 cups sushi rice
1/2 c rice vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
Asparagus
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c panko crumbs
Oil for frying
Rolls
4 sheets toasted nori
Wasabi paste

Instructions

  1. For the rice: heat water and rice in a saucepan until boiling, stirring a few times. Turn heat to low, cover, and let cook until water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer rice to a wide bowl. With a rubber spatula, fan rice out to cover the entire inside surface of the bowl. Let the rice sit for a minute to cool off, then gently bring rice back together in the center of the bowl. Repeat fanning process 4-5 more times until rice has cooled to room temperature. Sprinkle rice vinegar, sugar, and salt over the rice and gently stir to evenly distribute.
  3. While the rice is cooking and cooling, prepare the asparagus. Blanch asparagus spears in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove spears from boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking process. Lay on a clean towel to dry.
  4. Set up a dredging station with three shallow dishes; place flour in first one, egg in the second, and panko crumbs in the third. Coat asparagus in the flour, then the egg, then roll in the panko. Place on a baking sheet. Pour enough oil in a cast iron skillet (or something wide enough to hold the asparagus) to make a 1-inch layer. Heat to 350 degrees and fry asparagus in batches until browned on all sides, about 1-2 minutes total. Place fried asparagus spears on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  5. Assemble the rolls: lay one sheet of toasted nori on a rolling mat (optional.) Carefully spread rice in a thin, even layer over the nori, leaving a 1/2 inch of the far edge of the nori bare. Gently pat the rice flat. Place three asparagus spears on the rice, and roll the nori, starting with the edge closest to you. Gently press the roll together as you roll. Cut the sushi roll into 6-8 even pieces. Serve with a dollop of wasabi.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/05/crunchy-asparagus-rolls/

Read More:

Share

Chicken Soup with Rice

 

The world lost a beautiful soul in Maurice Sendak.  Terry Gross and Stephen Colbert – gave moving tributes to him.  Along with millions of people, I love Where the Wild Things Are.  I also love the sets he designed for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

Recently, I looked up his list of works, and discovered that he wrote another favorite childhood book, Chicken Soup with Rice.  Little seven-year-old me loved reading this book countless times in the library.  They had a carpeted, claw-foot tub that I would climb into to hide away and read.  This book is simple in concept – a child recounts all the ways he enjoys chicken soup with rice throughout each month.  The rhymes and illustrations are simple.  And perfect.

original recipe

Chicken Soup with Rice

Chicken Soup with Rice

Ingredients

2 Tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
8 c chicken stock
2 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
3 c cooked rice
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring occasionally (about 1 minute.)
  2. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chicken stock, turn heat to high, and bring to a gentle boil. Gently add the chicken breasts, meat side down. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken to a cutting board. Separate meat from the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add meat back into the soup, along with the rice and parsley. Let simmer another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/05/chicken-soup-with-rice/

Read More:

Share

Crispy Duck Fried Rice

We are fortunate to have a well-established Asian district in the heart of our city. The Mills-Colonial intersection and the surrounding blocks are packed with restaurants, groceries, and independent businesses that cater to the Asian community. We have a number of favorites in this area – three of our favorite Vietnamese restaurants, one of our favorite noodle shops, one of our favorite banh mi shops, and two of our favorite groceries.


My husband found a restaurant in this area that sells whole roasted duck. For a few extra dollars, they even chop the duck up for you. I have yet to visit this place, and am dying to take pictures of a whole (intact) duck. We have taken advantage of this convenience for a number of dishes at home, including this fried rice.


This recipe makes a LOT of rice, about 8 servings. I wanted to include ingredient amounts that used all the duck meat. If you don’t want to make that much at once (or if your wok isn’t big enough to handle that much food), then definitely halve the recipe.


original recipe

Crispy Duck Fried Rice

Crispy Duck Fried Rice

Make sure the duck skin gets really dark and crispy when stir frying. The meat won't burn as long as you keep stirring it.

Ingredients

Sauce
¾ c chicken stock
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs dark soy sauce (1 Tbs soy sauce plus 2 T brown sugar)
2 Tbs black vinegar (2 Tbs rice vinegar)
2 Tbs sweet chili sauce
Rice
4 Tbs peanut oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs peeled and chopped fresh ginger
Meat and some skin from 1 roast duck (white and dark), shredded
2 ½ lbs baby bok choy, leafy green parts only, chopped
4 c diced mushrooms (we used beech mushrooms)
12 c cooked rice, cooled
3 bunches green onions, green parts only, sliced on the bias

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside. Make sure all other ingredients are prepped before starting to cook.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil and heat until nearly smoking. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds, until softened. Move to the top of the wok. Add the duck meat and stir fry until the skin and meat become crispy, stirring frequently (about 4-5 minutes.) Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the bok choy and mushrooms and cook until softened, about another 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring all the ingredients together. Pour the sauce over the rice, and continue to stir fry while constantly mixing, until the rice begins to get a little crispy, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the green onions, and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/03/crispy-duck-fried-rice/

 

Read More:

Share

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/

 

 

Read More:

Share

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/

 

Read More:

Share

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.

Read More:

Share

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/

 

Read More:

Share