Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Who Can Resist Candy Pork?

The most appropriately named Candy Pork.

The most appropriately named Candy Pork.

 

If there were two things that my Dad loved, it was candy and it was pork.

After all, when you are of Chinese ancestry, pork is practically in your DNA.

And when you live most of your life in San Francisco, where boxes of See’s Candies are apt to be offered up as gifts for most any occasion, you can’t help but develop a fondness for all things sweet.

That’s why if my Dad were still alive this Father’s Day, I would cook up a batch of “Candy Pork” for him. Because it’s like the best of both of his favorites combined into one.

The recipe is from San Francisco food writer extraordinaire Jessica Battilana’s new cookbook, “Repertoire: All the Recipes You Need” (Little, Brown and Company), of which I received a review copy.

Repertoire

After collaborating with chefs on a half dozen cookbooks, this is her first cookbook filled with her own recipes. After she and her wife had two kids, Battilana’s life became so time-pressed that her style of cooking had to change. The result is this cookbook of 75 recipes, most of them completely do-able on a harried weeknight, and others not that much more involved for weekends or special occasions.

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Discover Kinako Ice Cream

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.

Ice cream flavored with a toasty tasting Japanese product.

 

When my husband heads to the store to buy ice cream, I just roll my eyes.

Because he always gets the same flavor, no matter what.

In a world of Chunky Monkey, Tin Roof, strawberry cheesecake, Vietnamese coffee and more, he reaches for vanilla. Every single time.

Oh, he’ll tell me that he might get something different this time.

But of course, he never does.

So I am left to my own devices — to make my own. And in my mind, the more distinctive, the better.

ThePerfectScoop

That’s why when “The Perfect Scoop” (Ten Speed Press) was revised and updated recently, I couldn’t wait to pore through my review copy. The original frozen desserts bible by food writer and popular blogger David Lebovitz, who worked at Chez Panisse for a dozen years, was published a decade ago — when I didn’t yet own an ice cream machine. This time around, I was ready. Boy, was I, to make something creamy smooth and unique.

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Grilled Romaine with Feta and — Wait For It — Nuoc Cham

An Asian riff on romaine salad.

An Asian riff on romaine salad.

 

This romaine salad is not your usual suspect.

It’s not even your typical odd uncle of grilled romaine.

Not when it’s garnished with feta — and nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce.

The creative combo of ingredients that make up “Grilled Romaine with Feta and Nuoc Cham” comes from the mind of Bill Kim, the South Korea-born chef of Urbanbelly and bellyQ, both in Chicago.

Kim, who immigrated to the United States at age 7, grew up helping his mother cook at home, before going on to work at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Bouley Bakery in New York, and Susana Foo in Philadelphia.

KoreanBBQ

It’s featured in his new cookbook, “Korean BBQ” (Ten Speed Press), co-written with Chandra Ram, editor of Plate magazine, a publication I’ve been fortunate to contribute to.

As the name implies, this book, of which I received a review copy, is all about grilling with bold Asian flavors. In fact, if you master Kim’s seven master sauces, which includes nuoc cham, you’ll be good to go to not only make any recipe in this book, but jazz up any type of barbecue dish you routinely make already.

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Better Sweet-And-Sour Spare Ribs

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

Not your usual sweet-and-sour pork.

 

This is not your battered to oblivion, deep-fried, unnaturally red, gloppy sauced sweet and sour pork that’s a standard at Chinese restaurants.

No, this is a home-style version that eschews all of that — and tastes even better as a result.

“Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs” is from the new cookbook, “Chinese Soul Food” (Sasquatch Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Hsiao-Ching Chou, a Seattle food writer and cooking instructor.

ChineseSoulFood

She grew up in Columbia, MO, where her parents settled in 1975. At the time, there were no Asian markets there. In fact, the family had to drive 10 hours to Chicago to stock up on decent soy sauce and other Chinese provisions. Her parents eventually opened a Chinese restaurant in 1980, which lasted for 23 years.

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Juhu Beach Club’s Desi Jacks

Sweet, savory, and spicy -- these aren't your childhood Cracker Jacks by any stretch.

Sweet, savory, and spicy — these aren’t your childhood Cracker Jacks by any stretch.

 

Juhu Beach Club in Oakland may be shuttered now, but its spirit lives on in “The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook”
(Running Press) by Preeti Mistry with East Bay food writer Sarah Henry, of which I received a review copy.

Mistry has vowed that Juhu Beach Club, which she ran with her business partner and wife Ann Nadeau, will rise again in some form, though details are scarce at the moment.

In any event, you can still enjoy her cooking at her very fun Navi in Emeryville with its unique pizzas, toasts and cocktails.

Born in London and raised in suburban Ohio, Mistry, a former “Top Chef” contestant, is an inventive, inspired cook who is adept at remastering comfort food with bold Indian flavors and flair. On her trips to her ancestral country of India, she fell in love with street food. There’s a playfulness in her food that reflects that.

JuhuBeachClubbook

That’s evident in recipes such as “Shrimp Po’Bhai,” “JBC Fried Chicken & Doswaffle,” “Chai-Spiced Bacon,” and “Bloody Meera.”

Take her “Desi Jacks.” This revved up version of caramel corn is featured at Navi. It’s even free during the daily Happy Hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

This is a snack that’s sure to get the party started.

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