Tag Archives: Asian

Bang Bang Broccoli

Bang Bang Broccoli

Welcome to the second official day of my very first Week Of… blog series: BROCCOLI! As I mentioned on Monday, I’m trying to coax myself into liking this uber-healthy, readily available vegetable, so I’ve been experimenting with different ways of preparing it. Today’s prep might just be my favorite broccoli I’ve ever tasted in my life. Seriously.

Of course, take into consideration that that statement isn’t quite as strong as it seems; since childhood, I’ve taken great pains to not eat much broccoli, so take that for what you will. But y’all, it’s so unbelievably delicious.

bang bang broccoli

It’s a rip-off of a dish I had in a restaurant about a year ago. It was one of those small-plates places, where the whole table takes a few bites of everything. This little plate was one of our favorites. I did a little digging online to research what exactly bang bang is (mostly a shrimp dish), and came up with a little something that Matt and I went absolutely nuts over! I cannot encourage you highly enough to give this one a try. I’ll scarf eat broccoli this way any day of the week.

A few recipe notes: as written, the sauce is HOT! And it’s just sriracha, so I don’t really get it, but be warned. If you don’t like it super spicy, back off on the hot sauce a bit. Secondly, you’ll want to serve it right away, or it goes soggy. Thirdly, these little things cook very quickly. Don’t walk away. I think that’s it! Enjoy!!

Bang Bang Broccoli

{One year ago: Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola Galette}

Source: adapted from That’s So Michelle

Ingredients:
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 tbs garlic powder
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
Canola oil, for frying

SAUCE:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sriracha
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbs sugar

Directions:
I recommend making the sauce first, so the flavors can marry together while you’re cooking the broccoli. Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using within the half hour.
Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces, but don’t go too small. The pieces should be a good, hearty bites, not little princess bites. Set aside.
On a plate or in a shallow bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
Pour about 1 inch of oil in a high-sided skillet and heat over medium-high. Test the oil by dropping a pinch of flour in; it should fizzle and rise to the top.
Toss the broccoli pieces first in the cornstarch, then tap off the excess; then coat them in the egg white, making sure to drain off the excess. Then toss them back in the cornstarch to coat, again shaking off the excess. Then carefully place them in the hot oil. Fry, turning once, then remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. They cook VERY quickly, about 60 to 90 seconds total. When they come out of the oil, immediately sprinkle with a touch of salt.
Let them drain just a minute, then toss them in the sauce. Work in batches if need be. Serve immediately.

Banh Mi

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A banh mi just might be the best sandwich on the planet.  If you’ve never tried one before, I implore you to track one down in your city as soon as possible. Or just make this one!

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The banh mi sandwich is Vietnamese street food.  They are very popular in Ho Chi Minh City and in many North American and European cities with a strong Vietnamese immigrant community.  The sandwich came about as a result of French colonization of Indochina.  It’s truly a fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors.  In New Orleans, which has a large Vietnamese community, they are called Vietnamese po’boys. (Which reminds me, Matt and I are headed to New Orleans next week, I need to track one down while we’re there.)

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I ate my first ever banh mi about a year ago, in my own city of New York.  A little bit of searching Google and Yelp led me to a small restaurant on the edges of Little Italy and Chinatown called Banh Mi Saigon.  These are apparently the best in New York you can find, or so I was told. You know what? I believe it.  Matt and I both had a religious experience with those sandwiches.  They were so amazing, and I knew instantly that I had to make them at home sometime.

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A banh mi is marinated pork that is cooked up and sliced or shredded.  The sandwich is assembled on French bread, with mayonnaise (that part is not optional!), and pickled Asian vegetables, plus some sliced cucumber and sliced jalapenos.  You can add Sriracha as a condiment if you like. And some versions call for mousse pate. This particular recipe is based on the NOLA version and does not include it. And I do not recall the sandwich I ate in NYC having the pate. But some do.

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The recipe I made called for pork tenderloin to be grilled and sliced.  You could easily sub in the same amount of pork shoulder, then slow cook and shred it.  Making these at home does require some prep ahead of time, but they are much easier than I was anticipating.  I hope you will make these sometime soon.  There’s no reason to deprive yourself of such deliciousness!

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Source: Emeril at the Grill by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
2 green onions, minced
1 fresh red chile, such as Fresno, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs Vietnamese fish sauce
1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 French baguette
Spicy Vietnamese Mayonnaise (recipe to follow), or plain mayonnaise
Pickled Carrots and Daikon (recipe to follow)
1 Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

Directions:
In a resealable bag, combine the green onions, red chile, garlic, sugar, black pepper, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pork, turn to coat evenly, and seal the bag. Allow the pork to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, turning it occasionally.
Remove the pork from the marinade and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
Pat the pork dry and brush it all over with the oil. Grill the pork, turning often, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 F. Remove pork and let rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 15 minutes. Then cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Cut the baguette crosswise into 4 pieces. Cut each piece in half horizontally, but don’t cut all the way through. Remove some of the interior bread so it is less dense. Spread both sides of the bread liberally with the mayonnaise. Divide the sliced pork evenly among the bottom halves of the sandwiches. Top with the Pickled Carrots and Daikon, then cucumber slices, then jalapeno slices. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves, then close the sandwich. Serve immediately.

SPICY VIETNAMESE MAYONNAISE

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs Sriracha sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp Vietnamese fish sauce

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to blend thoroughly. Serve immediately, or refrigerate a few hours to let the flavors marry more intensely.

PICKLED CARROTS AND DAIKON

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Ingredients:
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp crushed chile flakes
1/4 tsp salt
2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonol
1 cup thinly sliced daikon

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, crushed chile flakes, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive bowl or baking dish and add the carrots and daikon. Make sure they are all coated. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Hot and Sour Soup

Growing up I never liked or remotely appreciated Chinese food.  Since take-out isn’t particularly healthy and is deemed an occasional greasy and guilty pleasure by most people, including my parents, they didn’t push the issue at all.  I think I once tried a wanton and begrudgingly said it was okay.

But, yes, I did manage to make it to my mid-twenties having never really tried much in the way of Asian food.  When Matt and I started dating, he offered to take me to a nice Chinese restaurant once, and I informed him I didn’t really like Chinese.  He told me later he wondered then if this was going to work out.  Instead of breaking up with me, he decided to try and persuade me to at least try it.  I’m glad he did, for two reasons:

1)      I’m glad we’re still together, and
2)      I really, really like most Asian food!

I have now come to appreciate so many Asian dishes and cuisines.  I love sushi (something I previously wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole), I’m obsessed with Thai food, and I think Korean barbecue is delicious.  I now find Vietnamese food wonderful, noodle bowls delightful, and my bucket list includes going to Singapore and eating at a noodle shop.  While at one point this would never have appealed to me, now Matt and I love exploring a city’s Chinatown, or other Asian neighborhood, like K-Town in New York or Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. And frankly, those are some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

I must confess though, that I’ve never completely warmed to hot and sour soup.  I’ve always thought it was okay, but not great.  However, as it is one of Matt’s favorites, I did want to make it for him at least once.  This soup really grew on me as I ate it.  At first I thought the vinegar was too strong, and I would probably recommend cutting back on the stated amount, then adding more as you feel is desired.  However, the soup had really mellowed after a few bites, and I really enjoyed it.  The heat was just the right amount.  All in all, a very nice dish!

So… what is your favorite Asian neighborhood?  What city is it in?  Is it a Chinatown or something different?  What do you love about it?

Source: Global Kitchen, by Jeffrey Saad

Ingredients:
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs cool water
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Sriracha
1 quart chicken stock
2 large eggs
1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water and set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt and Sriracha. Cook for 2 minutes to infuse all the flavors.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. While whisking the soup, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk until combined and the soup starts to thicken. Shut off the heat.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until just mixed. Slowly pour the eggs into the pot, stirring continuously in a circular motion. Continue to stir for 30 seconds. You will see the egg cook in long strands and the soup will take on a creamy look, though it will still have a broth consistency.
Taste the soup to test the vinegar amount at this time. Add more, up to another 1/4 cup, if you think it is lacking. Now add the tofu and cilantro, and serve immediately.