Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Aloha to Maui-Style Kalbi Short Ribs

A feast of grilled Maui-style Korean ribs makes summer entertaining a breeze.

A feast of grilled Maui-style Korean ribs makes summer entertaining a breeze.

 

When I bite down on these sweet, gingery, soy-infused, toothsome short ribs, I practically feel the tropical sun on my face and the warm white sand between my toes.

“Maui-Style Kalbi Short Ribs” will do that to you.

It’s a taste of Hawaii — in your own home.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai’i” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. Maui native Alana Kysar, who blogs at Fix Feast Flair, may live in Los Angeles now. But a large part of her heart — and stomach — are clearly still in Hawaii.

Aloha Kitchen

The cookbook is a loving look at some of the most iconic Hawaiian home-style dishes, the ones you queue up for at food trucks or Hawaiian plate-lunch spots, or look forward to most if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a local’s backyard family feast. Turn the pages and feast on everything from “Soy-Glazed Spam Musubi” and “Loco Moco” to “Ginger Misoyaki Butterfish” and “Double-Chocolate Haupia Pie” and prepare to get very hungry.

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The Wonder of Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it's vegetarian.

A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it’s vegetarian.

 

When I was a tot, as both my parents went off to work, my older brother would walk me a couple blocks away to the babysitter’s every weekday morning before he trotted off to school.

I didn’t always go gladly.

But what soothed me every time was lunch.

It was the same thing every single day, by my own choice — a bowl of Chinese wheat noodles, boiled until toothsome, then dumped into a bowl before being stirred up with a couple glugs of oyster sauce right out of the bottle.

Even then, a mountain of umami-packed noodles had the power to make everything seem right in the world.

One forkful of “Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta” was all it took to send me back to those childhood days.

Family Cookbook

It’s from the new cookbook “Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. Written by food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon, it’s filled with vibrant vegetarian fare that I found a lot more imaginative than many books in this genre.

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Long Weekends — Or Any Day — Were Made for Hoisin-Glazed Lamb Burgers

Five-spice, hoisin sauce, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers turn this lamb burger sensational.

Five-spice, hoisin sauce, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers turn this lamb burger sensational.

 

It’s reminiscent of a steamed clamshell bun folded over Peking duck — but done up burger-style with lamb instead.

How can that ever be bad?

Those sweet, savory, garlicky, addictive Asian flavors of hoisin sauce are what make this burger such a winner. That unmistakable Chinese condiment not only combines with five spice powder to flavor the ground lamb that makes up this burger, but gets slathered on the cooked patty for a final flourish. In a sense, hoisin sauce takes the place of ketchup. One taste, and you’ll never go back, too.

“Hoisin-Glazed Lamb Burgers” is from the new cookbook, “The Ultimate Burger: Plus DIY Condiments, Sides, and Boozy Milkshakes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

Ultimate Burger

It’s one of 138 recipes for burgers of every type, as well as home-made buns, condiments, side dishes and drinks. With summer around the corner, it’s the perfect time to whet your whistle with recipes such as “Italian Pork Burgers with Broccoli Rabe,” “Spicy Brown Rice-Edamame Burgers,” “Grilled Southwestern Salmon Burgers,” and “Smoky Grilled Potato Salad.”

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Of Chinese Five-Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs and Tales of Courage and Empowerment

Short ribs laced with star anise and lemongrass from a pioneering Chinese woman.

Short ribs laced with star anise and lemongrass from a pioneering Chinese woman.

 

For powerful reasons — both good and bad — we are in a defining time for women.

As such, “A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food” (Little, Brown and Company) couldn’t have debuted at a more appropriate moment.

The new book, of which I received a review copy, is by food writer and photographer Deepi Ahluwalia, and Stef Ferrari, senior editor of Life & Thyme Magazine.

It shines a bright light on the enterprising, pioneering women in food who more often than never received the recognition they deserved. They include such icons as Lena Richard, an African-American women who grew an empire of restaurants, cookbooks and even had a television snow — all during the height of segregation in America; and Clara Steele, who started a family dairy in Marin County that went on to produce the highest volume of cheese in California in the mid-1800s.

Interspersed throughout the book are 10 recipes from notable female culinarians.

A Woman's Place

I had never heard of Esther Eng (1914-1970), but because of this book I now know what a pivotal figure she was. An openly gay Chinese woman, Eng was a film director turned restaurateur who grew up in San Francisco before moving to New York. It was there that she opened Bo Bo’s, a Chinese restaurant where Chinese-American actors could find steady work and work on their English when they weren’t making movies. The food was so amazing that none other than Craig Claiborne praised it. In so doing, Eng managed to break through and rise to the top of two characteristically male-dominated industries.

Thinking about that achievement makes her “Chinese Five-Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs” all the more transportive.

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Andrea Nguyen’s Herby Oven-Steamed Eggs

This herby oven-steamed egg custard is one smooth operator.

This herby oven-steamed egg custard is one smooth operator.

 

One of the dishes I most fondly remember my Mom making when I was a kid was a Chinese savory custard, redolent of seasoned ground pork and with a surprise duck egg yolk the color of a Hawaiian sunset hidden at its very center.

I also remember her expression when it did not turn out perfectly smooth.

She’d wait till it was done steaming to lift the lid to reveal the outcome. If it had a bubbly interior, she would frown and fret — even if the taste was still delicious. But if it was as smooth as creme brulee, she would take it as a personal triumph.

I thought of my late-Mom when I spied “Herby Oven-Steamed Eggs” in the new “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s the latest and greatest by my friend and colleague, award-winning Bay Area food writer Andrea Nguyen.

Vietnamese Food Any Day

As the name implies, this cookbook aims to streamline Vietnamese dishes so you can enjoy the vibrant flavors of the cuisine any day of the week without special trips to Asian markets.

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