Myanmar

We’ve really enjoyed the Burmese food we’ve eaten in the past year or so. One of our faves is Susan Feniger’s Burmese Melon Salad from Street. I’m not sure I’m ready to own a Burmese cookbook but I’ve read good things about Naomi Duguid’s “Burma: Rivers of Flavor.” Then I saw it on Eater’s list of 21 Essential Cookbooks for 2012.* And then I realized that I had the Food & Wine issue with the recipe pictured in the Eater article. Um, fate. This dish was relatively easy and quick delish. Is Burma (also known as Myanmar) the new black?!

*Also psyched to see our Vietnamese cookbook on the Eater list.

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Fried Rice with Shallots (Naomi Duguid’s “Burma: Rivers of Flavor,” via Food & Wine)

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, plus more for frying
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 1/2 cups cold cooked jasmine rice (see Note)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. In a small skillet, heat 1/4 inch of peanut oil until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup of the sliced shallots and fry over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain.
  2. In a wok or large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the turmeric and the remaining 1/2 cup of shallots and stir-fry over moderately high heat until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute. Add the peas and stir-fry until the rice and peas are hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the fried shallots and season with salt. Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve with lime wedges.
Notes If you don’t have leftover rice on hand, you’ll need to cook 1 1/2 cups of rice.

Thai Brussels

Hey look, it’s my 200th post! It’s fitting that this post contains brussels sprouts, which we eat a lot these days. I was looking for a new Asian way to make them (since we do the Momofukus A LOT). I had been wanting to try a bunch of things from this Thai article in Bon Appétit, both because they look awesome and because they’re from Portland’s big Thai guy, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok. I also had just bought this great new Thai sticky purple rice. (Pictured in the top left corner.) I think colored rice is gonna be our new thang. It’s how we’ll roll.

This recipe was awesome and not too difficult. I only had dried chiles, so I used those (but dumped out the seeds). Still nice and hot. I wound up with a lot of sauce but it tasted damn good. A new regular!

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Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Chile (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups halved brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, preferably Thai thin soy sauce (such as Healthy Boy)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) 1/8″-thick slices of red Thai chiles
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • ingredient info

    Many Thai ingredients and tools can be found at your local Asian market or from thaigrocer.com.

Preparation

  • Blanch brussels sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 15 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl.
  • Increase heat to high; add brussels sprouts. Stir-fry until they begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and next 5 ingredients. Stir-fry for 30 seconds; add chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced slightly, about 2 minutes; add more chiles, if desired. Stir in garlic.

Vietnamese

We absolutely love Vietnamese food, so it’s no surprise that we are loving our Vietnamese Home Cooking book by Charles Phan. Lots of stuff looks pretty complicated but so far the effort has been well worth it. This was a tasty new way to eat sweet potatoes. Many steps, and it certainly would have been easier (and tastier) with a real grill instead of a grill pan, but the end result was delicious. (And the sizzling scallion oil was super cool.) Not that I have any business saying this, but perhaps an easier variation could be roasting the sweet potatoes and then tossing with the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime?

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro, Scallions, and Lime (Charles Phan)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup scallion oil (see below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Zest from 3 limes

Preparation

1. Fill a large wok or stockpot with water. Place a three-layer bamboo steamer in the wok or over the top of the pot, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil.

2. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on each layer of the bamboo steamer. Cover and steam 5 to 6 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just tender. Transfer to a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat grilling in a charcoal grill (you should be able to hold your hand 1 inch above the grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Put the sweet potatoes on the grate and grill, turning once, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, until they are a deep golden brown.

4. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the scallion oil, cilantro, and lime zest. Toss well to coat and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Scallion Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green part only
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Preparation

In a heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, sugar, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Pour the oil over the scallions; it will sizzle vigorously. Stir gently, then let cool. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. The oil will keep for up to 1 day.

Birthday Pho!

The attractive nuisance made me pho for my birthday! From our new favorite cookbook: Vietnamese Home Cooking, by Charles Phan.

I’ve seen pho recipes that say, simply, don’t bother. It’s too much work, just go out and have some Vietnamese grandma make it for you. We’re big fans of Vietnamese grandmas’ pho, but this was a cool experience and totally delicious. Don’t try this at home if you don’t have many hours to devote to it. And when you make the broth, be forewarned, that bag of chicken parts from the butcher may include a chicken head. (Photo taken but not included. You’re welcome.) But if you are going to make pho, this was a good recipe. It took time but it was not as difficult as some others I’ve seen. We find that eating pho is so satisfying. So you can only imagine how satisfying it is to eat pho that you’ve made yourself.

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Pho Ga: Chicken Noodle Soup (Charles Phan)

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-pound) whole chicken
  • 6 whole scallions
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 quarts chicken stock (see chicken stock recipe)
  • Fish sauce, for seasoning
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Crispy fried shallots

Garnishes

  • Thai basil sprigs
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • Jalapeño chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced into rings

Serves 6

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken, scallions, ginger, and salt and boil for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 15 minutes. If your chicken is larger than 3 pounds, let stand 10 minutes longer.

2. Just before the chicken is ready, prepare a large ice-water bath. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot (discarding the cooking liquid) and immediately submerge it in the ice-water bath, which will stop the cooking and give the meat a firmer texture. Let stand for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cool enough to handle easily, remove from the water, and pat dry. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Shred the meat with your fingers; you should have about 4 cups. (This step can be done a day ahead.)

3. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Taste for seasoning and add fish sauce, if needed.

4. To ready the garnishes, arrange the basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chiles on a platter and place on the table.

5. Divide the rice noodles evenly among warmed soup bowls. Top each serving with about 3/4 cup of the shredded chicken, then divide the scallions and cilantro evenly among the bowls. Ladle the hot stock over the top, dividing it evenly, and sprinkle with the fried shallots. Serve immediately, accompanied with the platter of garnishes.

Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled
  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • 7 pounds bony chicken parts, such as back, wings, and necks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces light brown palm sugar or 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Makes about 5 1/2 quarts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the onion and ginger on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, until the onion is soft and beginning to ooze. Remove from the oven and let the onion and ginger cool until they can be handled. Peel the onion and cut in half. Slice the unpeeled ginger into 1/4-inch thick coins.

2. While the onion and ginger are roasting, blanch the chicken bones: To ensure the pot is large enough to blanch the bones without boiling over, put the bones in the pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Then remove the bones, set aside, and bring the water to a boil.

3. When it is at a rolling boil, add the bones, return the water to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the bones into a colander and rinse under cold running water. Rinse the pot and return the rinsed bones to the pot.

4. Add the onion halves, ginger slices, salt, sugar, and 8 quarts of fresh water to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface. Lower the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer and simmer for 4 hours, skimming as need to remove any scum that forms on the surface.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and, using a spider or slotted spoon, remove and discard the large solids. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container, let sit for a few minutes (or refrigerate overnight), then skim most of the fat from the surface (leave some, as it gives the stock better flavor and mouth-feel). Season to taste with salt.

6. Use immediately, or let cool completely, then transfer to practical-size airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Crispy Fried Shallots

Ingredients

  • 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large shallots)
  • 2 cups canola oil

1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 275 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

2. Increase the heat to high and place a fine-mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl. When the oil registers 350 degrees on the deep-fry thermometer, add the once fried shallots and cook until they are crispy and well-browned, about 1-2 seconds, watching carefully so the shallots don’t burn.

3. Immediately pour the oil and shallots through the sieve to stop the cooking, then transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the oil for another use. The shallots will keep, stored in an airtight container for 1 day, but they’re best the day they are made.

Soba, so good

More Love & Lemons! This was easy and tasted great. And since I’m technically writing this from the future, I can say that I’ve already made it more than once. It also gives us a chance to use our new favorite noodle bowls with chopstick holders.

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Peanut Soba Noodles with Edamame and Kale (Love & Lemons)

serves 4
loosely adapted from the Tastespotting the blog

INGREDIENTS:
8 oz. soba noodles (or rice noodles if gluten free)
1 pound kale (5 or 6 large leaves), chopped
1 cup edamame (cooked and shelled)
3-4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
juice of one lime
1/4 cup crushed peanuts

sauce:
2 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon honey (or agave or brown rice syrup)
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water, (to thin sauce)
1 tablespoon sesame oil

METHOD:

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles.

Whisk together sauce ingredients. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chopped kale, cook for about 30 seconds (tossing it as you go – bringing wilted leaves from the bottom to the top). Add edamame and scallions. Cook, stirring, for about 30 more seconds. (you could also just blanch the vegetables…boiling water + ice water)

Pour in the dressing and noodles and toss together. (If your skillet isn’t large enough for this transfer to a large bowl).

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir in basil and cilantro. Squeeze lime on top and garnish with chopped peanuts.

Cooking Malaysian street food is no biggie

Just whipped up some Mee goreng. It’s Malaysian street food. Don’t worry about it.

But if you want to say the same thing to your friends and family, make this. You’ll feel cool! And full. It’s really good. Only tip I’ll offer is that you should cook the noodles according to their package’s instructions before throwing them in the wok. It’s probably just boiling them for like 10 seconds, but starting with soft noodles is a good thing. Trust me.

Oh, and I’ve been to the Asian market and stocked up on some items. Here’s what I’ve learned: there are a lot of different kinds of soy sauce (not just the red kind and the green kind). I own three. (Wait! Four!) I’m sure you could substitute and still make a delicious dish but I’ve definitely enjoyed using authentic ingredients when I can.

Don’t skimp on crisping up those shallots. I learned that you do this by lightly coating the slices in a little bit of flour before throwing them in some oil. Once they look good, remove and put on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.

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Mee goreng (from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 oz firm tofu, cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips
  • 4 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into half at an angle
  • 4 oz choi sum (or boy choy), cut into large chunks (both leaves and stalks)
  • 11 oz fresh egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (or another savory chile paste), plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp thick soy sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 oz Mung bean sprouts
  • handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tbsp crisp-fried shallots
  • lemon wedges to serve

Set a wok or a large pan on high heat. Once hot, add the oil and then the onion, and cook for about 1 minute to soften a bit. Add the tofu and French beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to give the tofu a bit of color. Stir gently as you cook, trying not to break up the tofu.

Next, add the choi sum. When it wilts, add the noodles and carefully spread them in the wok using tongs or large chopsticks. You want the noodles to get a lot of heat, almost to fry. Mix gently, cooking the noodle for about 2 minutes. Now add the spices, sambal oelek, soy sauces, water and bean sprouts and toss carefully. Cook for about a minute, or until the noodles are semisoft.

When ready, top with lettuce, transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with crisp shallots. On the side, serve lemon wedges and a small bowl of extra sambel oelek.

Sprout envy

I’ve got some great go-to brussels sprouts recipes (well, mainly our fave Momofuku sprouts) but when I saw this, I realized I had to try it. SO glad I did. Seriously delicious. So delicious that I decided to type out the entire recipe for those of you without this cookbook. See, that’s a major commitment to brussels sprouts!

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Brussels sprouts with tofu (from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sweet chile sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 5 ounces firm tofu
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • about 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • salt
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 small fresh red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Whisk together in a bowl the chile and soy sauces, 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, the vinegar and maple syrup. Cut the tofu block into 3/8-inch-thick slices and then each slice into two squarish pieces. Gently stir into the marinade and set aside.

Trim the bases off the sprouts and cut each from top to bottom into three thick slices. Take a large nonstick pan, add 4 tablespoons of the sunflower oil and heat up well. Throw in half the sprouts with a little salt and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t stir much. You want the sprouts to almost burn in a few places and cook through but remain crunchy. Remove to a bowl. Repeat with more oil, salt and the rest of the sprouts. Remove all the sprouts from the pan.

Add 2 more tablespoons of the sunflower oil to the pan, heat up and saute the green onions, chile and mushrooms for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the sprouts bowl.

Leave the pan on high heat. Use the tongs to lift half of the tofu pieces from the marinade and gently lay them in the pan (be careful as the oil will spit!), spacing them apart and in one layer. Reduce the flame to medium and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until they get a nice caramelized color. Transfer to the sprout bowl and repeat with the rest of the tofu.

Once all the tofu is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and return all the cooked ingredients to it. Add the remaining tofu marinade and half the cilantro leaves. Toss everything together and allow to cool down slightly in the pan. Taste and add salt, if needed. Stir in the remaining sesame oil (plus extra, if you like). Serve warm, but not hot, garnished with the sesame seeds, if using, and the rest of the cilantro.