Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Orange Beef That Raises The Bar

The orange beef of my dreams -- and yours.

The orange beef of my dreams — and yours.

 

Chef Dale Talde is a very talented chef, who became known as much for his fly-off-the-handle eruptions as his ferociously flavorful cooking when he appeared on “Top Chef.”

But it’s hard to blame a guy for getting emotional when good food is on the line.

Case in point: His no-holds bar feelings about the stand-by take-out Chinese classic of orange beef.

He laments to no end how this dish has been debased, turning into an evil concoction of cheap beef, battered and fried into oblivion, then tossed with a gloppy, over-cornstarched, candy sweet sauce.

It gives me shudders just thinking about it, too. I never order this dish at a restaurant. Exactly for those reasons.

But in the right hands, it could be a great dish. I mean, beef kissed with a deeply orange-y sauce and garnished with still-crunchy, bright green broccoli — how can that not be delicious?

In Talde’s hands, it actually is. “Orange Beef” finally gets its rightful treatment.

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The recipe is from his cookbook, “Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes From the Philippines to Brooklyn” (Grand Central Life & Style, 2015), of which I received a review copy, by Dale Talde with food writer JJ Goode.

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Cooking by Comic Book

A spicy, savory Korean pancake that cooks up in no time.

A spicy, savory Korean pancake that cooks up in no time.

 

For me, comic books were something my older brothers and cousins collected — first-edition superhero ones that surely would be worth a fortune now, had my aunt not thrown them out years ago, alas.

But to cook out of a comic book?

Now, that’s a new one on me.

But Robin Ha’s delightful “Cook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes” (Ten Speed Press), lured me to do just that. The unique, whimsical cookbook, of which I received a review copy, was both written and illustrated by Ha, a professional illustrator and creator of the blog, Banchan in 2 Pages, who was born in Seoul and now makes her home in New York.

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A Cake With An Unusual Ingredient

Simple and not-too sweet. A perfect pick-me-up with Chinese tea.

Simple and not-too sweet. A perfect pick-me-up with Chinese tea.

 

This cake is like the vanilla wafer of cookies.

Its appeal lies in its plainness, simplicity, and for me, its nostalgic taste.

Other kids may have grown up with snack cakes baked in a square or rectangular pan in the flavors of chocolate, vanilla or apple spice.

But I grew up eating this pale golden sponge cake that was steamed, and bought by my Mom at Chinatown bakeries. It usually came in tall squares or big wedges, its interior sporting tiny, airy bubbles. I could never resist squishing a corner of it between my fingers before taking a bite.

It was the polar opposite of a birthday cake. It was unadorned, plain-Jane, and hardly sweet at all. But unlike birthday cake, I didn’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy it, just a regular trip by my Mom to pick up other provisions in Chinatown. She brought it home in the familiar pink box tied with red twine that I tore into the moment she walked through the door.

I have eaten countless squares of that cake, yet I never knew it included a rather surprising ingredient: soy sauce.

all-under-heaven

That is, until I spotted a recipe for it in the new cookbook, “All Under Heaven” (Ten Speed Press and McSweeney’s), of which I received a review copy.

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The Joys of Summer Salmon

A fun, delicious dish that makes the most of pricey wild King salmon.

A fun, delicious dish that makes the most of pricey wild King salmon.

 

One of the true great pleasures of summer is indulging in local King salmon.

Rich, oily, luscious and deep pinkish-red in color, it’s my favorite fish.

When an assignment took me to Half Moon Bay, I tossed a cooler in the back of my car in hopes of scoring some fresh catch to take home.

I stopped in at Princeton Seafood Company, intent on buying a few fillets. But I walked out with an entire California King salmon instead. At first, the $150 or so total price tag for the nearly 8-pound fish made me gulp. But when you consider that local wild salmon fillets sell for upwards of $28 a pound there and at farmers markets, paying $19 per pound for the entire fish really made more sense, especially if you can’t get enough of salmon like me.

At Princeton Seafood, the friendly fish monger will scale the fish and cut it up however you like. I asked for fillets, skin-on, and for all the bones, too. After all, crispy salmon skin is a true treat to nibble on. I know some people can’t be bothered with the bones, but trust me, they are a trove of meat.

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Five Favorite Memories of My Dad

My Dad relished the simple pleasures of this particular dish.

My Dad relished the simple pleasures of this particular dish.

 

1. My Dad never met a sweet he didn’t like. I think that’s where I get my own ginormous sweet tooth from. When my husband and I would visit on a lazy afternoon, toting an apple pie, he’d hurry to cut himself a slice even though dinner was just an hour or two away. I think he considered it his version of an appetizer.

2. Watching my Dad walk the aisles of his office at Greyhound, where he was a bookkeeper, and where my brothers and I all spent summer vacations helping out at temp jobs there. People would smile as he went by their desks, and he’d always have a friendly hello for each and everyone. It was the first time I saw my Dad as more than just Dad. I cherished seeing the respect he got from his co-workers there.

3. Crazy father-daughter dance sessions when I was a youngster. I remember putting a record on the turntable (yes, remember those!) as we’d just let loose, shimmying and shimmering together, giggling loudly the whole time, until the song ended, and we were exhausted as much by all the belly-laughing as by the dancing.

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