Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Shio Koji-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A hot oven and a rub of shio koji all over the leaves gives these Brussels sprouts extra flavor and crispiness.
A hot oven and a rub of shio koji all over the leaves gives these Brussels sprouts extra flavor and crispiness.

Have you discovered shio koji, the darling ingredient of so many chefs?

Maybe you’ve spotted it at a Japanese store, given it a quizzical look, then moved on.

Next time, pick some up and get cooking.

Shio Koji is rice inoculated with a specific mold commonly used to make soy sauce and miso, then mixed with water and salt, and left to ferment.

Available in the refrigerator section of Asian markets, it comes in whole rice grains, pureed or liquid.

It tastes salty, though less so than miso, with a light sweetness and a moderate pickled sharpness, as well as a slight funkiness.

If you’re wondering what to do with it, pick up a copy of the new “The Modern Larder: From Anchovies to Yuzu, a Guide to Artful and Attainable Home Cooking” (Roost Books), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Michelle McKenzie, a food writer and professional cook who was formerly the program director and chef at 18 Reasons, a non-profit community cooking school in San Francisco founded by Bi-Rite Market.

This marvelous book will introduce you to 58 ingredients, some familiar and some less so, and show you ingenious ways to use them through more than 260 recipes.

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Pasta That Does A Body — And Planet — Good

A Japanese-influenced cacio e pepe made with a new high-fiber, nutty tasting artisanal dried pasta.
A Japanese-influenced cacio e pepe made with a new high-fiber, nutty tasting artisanal dried pasta.

Pasta has gotten such an unjust bum rap of late.

Too many carbs. Full of gluten. Way too caloric.

Yet few foods are as craveable, comforting, and lusty.

So, go ahead and indulge, especially when it comes to Semolina Artisanal Pasta Upcycled Strozzapreti, a dried pasta that purports to be good not only for your body, but the planet.

That’s because this pasta was made in partnership with ReGrained, the innovative Bay Area company upcycles or reuses spent grain from beer-making and turns it into nutritious new products such as energy bars and snack crisps. ReGrained’s resulting SuperGrain+ — made of barley, wheat, and rye — has more than three times the fiber of wheat flour, and twice the protein of oats.

Leah Ferrazzani of the Semolina Artisanal Pasta company in Pasadena, whose pasta products are beloved by Southern California chefs, took that SuperGrain+ and combined it with her usual semolina to create strozzapreti, the striking elongated, twisted noodle shape. But it took a few fits and tries to get it just right.

The pasta has a suede-like hue and a singular shape.
The pasta has a suede-like hue and a singular shape.

“We had to find the right ratio of semolina to SuperGrain+, and extrusion speed, to help maintain texture and shape, and to keep a balanced flavor,” Ferrazzani told me in an email. “The resulting pasta packs a punch — the flavor of the SuperGrain+ isn’t subtle — but it’s something truly unique and special.”

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You Need Char Siu Yams In Your Life

Grilled sweet potato wedges that taste just like Chinese barbecued pork. Who can resist?
Grilled sweet potato wedges that taste just like Chinese barbecued pork. Who can resist?

Imagine the smoky, sweet, star-anise warmth of everyone’s favorite Chinese barbecued pork.

Now, consider those same devilishly delightful flavors enveloping sweet potatoes instead.

That’s exactly what’s in store for your taste buds with “Char Siu Yams.”

This clever, addictive recipe is from “How to Grill Vegetables: The New Bible for Barbecuing Vegetables over Live Fire” (Workman Publishing) by one of America’s great grill meisters, Steven Raichlen.

In his myriad of grilling cookbooks, Raichlen has always included vegetables. But this book, of which I received a review copy, represents the first time he’s put the entire focus on them.

Learn how to grill, wood-smoke, cedar-plank, hay-smoke, and fire-blister veggies to add flavor and depth. The recipes span the gamut from “Smoked Hummus with Sesame Grilled Pita Chips,” “Rotisserie Brussels Sprouts with Turmeric Oil and Curry Leaves,” and “Nashville Hot Cauliflower” to “Cedar-Planked Eggplant Parmigiana,” ” Smoked Deviled Eggs with Wasabi,” and “Hasselback Apples Grilled on Cedar Planks.”

To make “Char Siu Yams,” you’ll need a disposable aluminum foil pan, plus wood chunks or wood chips (pre-soaked) for even more smoky flavor.

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A “Spam” Musubi That’s Vegan

A musubi that's not quite what you think it is.
A musubi that’s not quite what you think it is.

It looks exactly like everyone’s guilty-pleasure Hawaiian snack food.

Only this musubi is vegan.

Indeed, this one spotlights a new plant-based version of Spam.

To the growing list of faux “beef,” “chicken,” and other proteins now comes OmniPork.

Designed to mimic pork, it’s made from a blend of non-GMO soy, peas, shiitake mushrooms, and rice. It was developed in Canada by food scientists for Hong Kong-based food innovation company, Green Monday, which owns OmniFoods.

It’s available in three forms — OmniPork Ground, Strips, and Luncheon, each for $5.99 per package. All three can be found in the freezer cases of Sprouts; while the Strips and Ground are carried by select Whole Foods.

When I received samples of all three, I went straight for the Luncheon first, curious to see how it would compare to the familiar stuff in a can. The verdict? Quite impressively.

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Get Your Fun On With Toad-In-A-Hole Sheet-Pan Kimchi Hash Browns

A novel version of toad-in-a-hole.
A novel version of toad-in-a-hole.

In the United States, it’s the childhood favorite of an egg cooked inside the cut-out-center of a bread slice. In the United Kingdom, it’s the homey dish of stubby sausages baked in airy Yorkshire pudding batter.

Now comes the creative minds of America’s Test Kitchen re-imagining toad-in-a-hole as a big ol’ pan of sunny side-up eggs nestled in a raft of hash browns and kimchi.

How marvelous does that sound!

Best yet, it’s from the new cookbook entitled, Five-Ingredient Dinners: 100+ Fast, Flavorful Meals” (America’s Test Kitchen), of which I received a review copy, meaning it takes few ingredients and little time to actually put together.

The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes for complete meals that are sure to spark the appetite, such as “Steak with Shichimi Togarashi Charred Cabbage Salad,” “Chipotle Shrimp Risotto,” “Grilled Garam Masala Chicken, Tomatoes, and Naan with Chutney” and “Chili-Crisp Steak with Rice Noodles.”

Like most five-ingredient cookbooks, this one does take some liberties, most notably not counting staple ingredients, which would then put the count over. That’s why with each recipe, you’ll see a box labeled “Staple Ingredients” that you’ll also need, including salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter.

“Toad-in-a-Hole Sheet-Pan Kimchi Hash Browns” was simply too much fun to pass up making.

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