Category Archives: Asian Recipes

The Grape Tomato Kimchi You Didn’t Know You Needed

An easy-peasy tomato kimchi you will devour from the first spoonful.
An easy-peasy tomato kimchi you will devour from the first spoonful.

How incredible is this “Grape Tomato ‘Quick Kimchi’ “?

Let’s just say that it makes about 2 1/2 cups of kimchi — and my husband and I nearly polished off all of it in one night.

An umami bomb that’s a little spicy and a lot refreshing with bursts of juicy summer fruitiness, it’s just that addictive.

Best yet, it takes practically no time to make.

I spied this recipe by Eric Kim in the New York Times archives, and knew I had to try it.

It’s not your typical kimchi that takes days, weeks or even months to ferment. As Kim writes, it’s more of a muchim or seasoned salad, but it sports the flavor profile of classic kimchi.

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Summer’s Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork

Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.
Sweet, caramelized tomatoes stuffed with a dumpling-like pork mixture.

Times were when I’d make a special trip to the grocery store at the drop of a hat just to get the precise -sized tomatoes needed for this recipe.

These are not those times, obviously.

Which is why you see this mismatch of tomatoes in this dish instead.

But I’m happy to report that like many things in life, well, size doesn’t matter so much.

Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they'll do in a pinch.
Yeah, not quite all the same size. But they’ll do in a pinch.

“Pan-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Pork” will work out perfectly well, no matter if you have all the same-sized tomatoes or not.

This fun recipe is from “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press, 2019), the best-selling cookbook by my friend Andrea Nguyen.

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The Simple Pleasures of Homemade Pickled Ginger and Gingery Ground Beef with Peas Over Rice

Easy-peasy soboro donburi -- with homemade pickled ginger and fresh summer tomatoes.
Easy-peasy soboro donburi — with homemade pickled ginger and fresh summer tomatoes.

Anyone who knows me knows I am an absolute, unabashed, crazed ginger fiend. I’m the one sitting at the sushi bar, who’s always nagging the chef for seconds — even thirds — of pickled ginger. Yup, I am that person.

Yet surprisingly, I’d never made my own pickled ginger.

And what a fool I’ve been, now that I know how embarrassingly easy and fast it is to make at home.

My impetus for making my own pickled ginger came about when I saw that it was a garnish for a dish of “Gingery Ground Beef with Peas Over Rice” that I intended to make.

When I scanned the ingredients list of various jarred pickled gingers sold online, I was aghast. Quite a few of them contained the artificial sweetener, aspartame. Why? Oh, why?! That was such an immediate turnoff, that I decided to make my own instead.

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Savor Thai Barbecued Chicken — Inspired By Cream Co. Meats

My whole chicken from Cream Co. Meats was turned into this turmeric- and curry-tinged grilled chicken feast.
My whole chicken from Cream Co. Meats was turned into this turmeric- and curry-tinged grilled chicken feast.

Before the pandemic, Oakland’s Cream Co. Meats were available only to celebrated San Francisco chefs such as David Nayfield of Che Fico; Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and The Progress; and Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s.

A distributor for sustainable and regenerative ranches across the West, Cream Co. it is one of the few USDA-certified processing facilities in Northern California.

If there’s one shining light in this COVID madness, though, it’s that this certified whole-animal butchery has pivoted to offer its top-notch products directly to everyday consumers now.

The "Basic Bunker Box'' from Cream Co. Meats in Oakland.
The “Basic Bunker Box” from Cream Co. Meats in Oakland.

That means even if you can’t dine in at restaurants these days, you can still enjoy the premium meats they use — if you’re willing to do the cooking, yourself.

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What To Cook With Half A Pound of Ground Lamb …

Better than takeout: Ma po tofu, made with ground lamb instead.
Better than takeout: Ma po tofu, made with ground lamb instead.

As cookbook writer Andrea Nguyen learned on a trip to Chengdu, there is no one way to make the classic dish of ma po tofu.

As she writes in her seminal cookbook, “Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home” (Ten Speed Press, 2012), this home-style, saucy dish is sometimes made with ground beef; other times, ground pork. And sometimes chile bean sauce; or other times, a heap of Sichuan peppercorns.

So hopefully, she won’t consider it sacrilege that I actually made it with ground lamb instead.

But when I had a half a pound of ground lamb left over from another recipe, and was looking for a home for it, I found it ideally in this recipe of hers.

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