Tag Archives: Asian

Bok Choy, Carrot and Ginger Soup (just chop and simmer)

25 Oct

This was one of those late-season, gotta use up some veggies because tomorrow is another C.S.A. pick up, type of recipes that came together so quickly and made everyone so happy that I have to share it, even though it is embarrassingly easy and yes, I used a stock cube because I was out of chicken stock and my found veggie stocks didn’t seem the right flavor for this.

My parents went wild for this delicate soup.

My parents went wild for this delicate soup.

Bok Choy (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) is also called chinese white cabbage and pak toi or variations thereof. There are also different varieties within this group; the one we get from Restoration Farm has kind of a bulb-like bottom (like fennel), wide stalks like chard, and green leaves like wings on either side. Look for firm yet tender stems and glossy, spot-free leaves. It is very versatile for salad, fried rice, stir fry and the like.

We loved this soup because it was so delicate and yet clearly expressed the flavors of the vegetables, the ginger, and the sesame oil. You can remove the ginger slices if you like; we didn’t. A couple of shrimp or shredded beef would not go astray here either! Done in a flash and ever so delicious!

I find this bok choy soup kind of pretty!

I find this bok choy soup kind of pretty!

Bok Choy Carrot and Ginger Soup (serves 4 as an appetizer; 2 as a very light main course)

4 Cups chicken or vegetable stock (or a stock cube and 4 Cups water)

1 knob ginger, roughly peeled and sliced in thin rounds

1-2 heads bok choy, bottom sliced off, separated and carefully washed*

½ Cup onion, sliced into half moons

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias

¼-1/2 tsp sesame oil

½ – 1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium, if using commercial stock)

Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Add liquid to cover, if necessary. Bring just to a boil, lower heat immediately and simmer until vegetables are tender.

*My mom prefers the bok choy sliced smaller, but my dad and I like it whole. My son thinks it’s a joke that we would even suggest he try it.


Garlicky Ginger Chicken in a Skillet

10 Feb

It’s been a relatively lazy weekend, by which I mean relative to the insanity that is modern American family life: two days of catechism, basketball, LEGO class, church, and a movie. Even a visit to the barber! Plus catching up on laundry, cleaning, and of course, making meals and then washing up after them. (is it any wonder that I slept through a significant portion of the LEGO movie today? At the premium 3-D price, no less.)

Steamy in the skillet

Steamy in the skillet

But nevermind all that; I turned in my latest story for edible Long Island during the week and I don’t have any immediate deadlines for journalism or for my academic life – all grants and travel request forms and registrations and contracts have been taken care of. My grading is up-to-date and my lessons are prepped for the week (fellow educators will immediately understand how nice that feels).

So there was time to read with my son, make hot cocoa, watch some of the Winter Olympics together (the biathlon is so far my favorite), to catch up with some dear friends on the phone late into the night, read a bit for myself, simply stare into space. It was somewhat disconcerting.

A lighter view

A lighter view

None of which has much to do with this easy new dish that I put together this evening. It was a half hour in the making: the chicken and veg were done almost exactly when the rice was ready. It has a bit of Asian seasoning, which is a nice change-up from our mostly Latin and Italian flavors. You can spice it up a bit more; just watch the salt if you are using prepared sauces or don’t have low sodium soy sauce! Continue reading

Short Cut Ham and Veggie Fried Rice

26 Oct

The Race to Nowhere is on at my house…soccer, violin, Spanish school, Cub Scouts, catechism, writing, teaching, giving workshops, and of course making lots of food!….It has been tough to find time to catch my breath (and clean the bathroom). When we do have down time, we dial it waaaaay down, and I haven’t wanted to interrupt our relaxation with blogging, but of course when you are a writer and a teacher by nature, there is only so long you can go without reaching out via the written word.

I just like taking pictures of eggs. I think they are so very, very beautiful and perfect.

I just like taking pictures of eggs. I think they are so very, very beautiful and perfect.

So I am back, with a recipe that saves my butt when I don’t have a menu plan, want to use up bits and bobs, and want it all to come together quick. Cooking the egg separately is definitely an added step, but well worth it in the final result. The egg looks nice because it hasn’t got all yucky with the stir fry sauce and holds its own flavor and texture nicely. I add an extra bit of honey for the little guy that I might not have used for me, but I have come to really appreciate.

autumn muttontownI hope everyone’s autumn is going well; the weather has been spectacular by us and so today’s two-hour Cub Scout hike in the Muttontown Preserve was fantastic. And now we are shot and hunkering down for Saturday night…so enjoy the rest of the weekend!

A bowl that will make you feel good

A bowl that will make you feel good

Short Cut Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables

1 Tbs oil

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1-2 Tbs chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ Cup diced ham steak or sandwich ham

1 Cup mixed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, etc)

Pinch sugar (optional)

1-2 tsp soy sauce (preferably low sodium)

1-2 tsp honey

1 Cup or more leftover cooked rice

Heat a teaspoon of the oil in a skillet. Pour in the egg mixture and allow it to cook at medium-low, flipping once or folding in half and flipping a couple of times until cooked through (about 4 minutes). Remove from skillet and set aside to cool before cutting into small rectangles.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil at medium, then sauté the onions until tender. Add the garlic and ham and cook one minute, then add the mixed vegetables and optional sugar and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften. Make a space in the center of the skillet by pushing aside the sautéed ingredients and add the soy sauce and honey. Stir to combine all ingredients and then add the rice and stir till covered in sauce and heated through. At the end, add the reserved egg and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and serve.

I have no idea what these plants are, but the color of the leaves was spectacular!

I have no idea what these plants are, but the color of the leaves was spectacular!


Cool Off with Cold Chicken Chinois

10 Aug

The hot weather begs for cold chicken that you can really get your hands into.

This is yet another New York Times-inspired recipe for which I happened to have some — but not all – of the ingredients on hand so I had to adapt. I very much liked the Asian inflections in the chicken, but what I noticed most was how moist and tender the chicken stayed and how well it absorbed the flavors with the long, slow simmer. I will be trying the same technique with different seasonings in the cooking liquid in the very near future. In the meantime, do try the wrap idea at the bottom; we took it to the pool for a light evening meal and it was just the thing.

I simmered this one at night when the temperature had dropped, since it was going into the fridge for the next day anyway! Link to the original NYT article at the bottom!

Chilly Chicken Chinois

(factor in overnight refrigeration)

1 lb. boneless chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thick

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 star anise

2 scallions

Season the thighs generously with salt and pepper. Place in a heavy pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise and scallions. Bring to a gentle boil, scooping out any foam. Turn heat to very low, cover and simmer ever so gently for an hour.

Transfer the thighs to a bowl to cool. Skim the fat off the surface of the remaining liquid. Reduce the liquid by half over high heat (5-10 minutes), then strain it over the thighs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with cilantro, slivered scallions and sesame oil. Or….

Quick chicken wrap ideas

Spread a wrap or your choice with mayonnaise. Add cucumber, sliced lengthwise, pieces of chicken, slivered scallions and cilantro. Add a sprinkle of lime/sesame oil and a drizzling of Asian Stir Fry Sauce https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/?s=asian+stir+fry+sauce roll up and serve.

You can do the same by substituting hummus and roasted vegetables for the mayo, stir-fry sauce and cucumber.

Article from nytimes.com which inspired this dish. You will note David Tanis recommends free-range birds; I used organic thighs from Costco with very good result.


Asian Stir Fry Sauce (this time with vegetables and your choice of noodles or rice)

27 Jul

One of my favorite prepared sauces comes from Sang Lee Farms in Cutchogue, on the North Fork of Long Island http://sangleefarms.com/. Their Asian Stir-Fry Sauce is all organic and adds incredible Asian pop to stir fry dishes, without the annoying cloying sweetness and goopiness of other seasonings in a bottle.

However, I run out of it pretty fast, so I am in the process of trying to recreate it at home. I haven’t quite got it, but this version is very yummy and does the job pretty damn well. When I hit exactly the combination I want, I will make larger batches, but for now, the amount in this recipe will season a couple of pounds of vegetables – enough for two to four people, depending on what you serve it with.

We used soba noodles (Leandro’s request, cause the curly noodles and Japanese writing on the package caught his eye and he absolutely loved them). We also had enough left over to drizzle over some cold chicken wraps I made the next day (and which will be the next post, haha!).

Do you make your own stir fry sauce? Please add your ideas in comments in this post!

Soba noodles make a worthy (and fun) accompaniment to stir fry veggies

Asian Stir-Fry Sauce

¼ Cup soy sauce or tamari (preferably low-sodium)

½ tsp crushed garlic

Scant ¼ tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp grated ginger

½ tsp lemon juice

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate overnight if possible.

When you are ready to cook the dish, begin preparing a cup or two of white rice or a package of soba noodles or other pasta of your choice, following package instructions.


2-2.5 lbs mixed stir-fry vegetables, cut into ¾ inch pieces (we used onions, carrots, some leftover chard stems and a beautiful purple pepper, all from Restoration Farm, plus broccoli from the supermarket)

Generous ½ tsp sugar

Heat the  vegetable oil in a 12 inch skillet with a heavy bottom, until just rippling and just beginning to smoke. Add vegetables and sprinkle the sugar over, coat with the oil and cook, stirring frequently, for about eight minutes, looking for caramelization on the vegetables. Lower the temperature to medium if you get a lot of sticking.

Push vegetables to the side and add a tablespoon of the stir-fry sauce , stir to heat, then mix with the vegetables. Add two to three more tablespoons as desired, being wary of making it too salty.

Serve over rice, noodles or pasta.

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