Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Most Excellent Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso

Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.
Sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and white miso make these rolls unforgettable.

Imagine warm Parker House-like rolls, as soft and yielding as the plushest down pillow — only made anew with the additions of sweet potatoes, a touch of maple syrup, and white miso.

Yes, miso.

Slightly sweet, subtly briny-salty, sensationally savory, and brazenly buttery, they are everything you want in a roll — plus more.

“Sweet Potato Rolls with Miso” is from “Delectable” (Random House, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the latest cookbook by renowned Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming, a veteran of New York City’s Union Square Cafe, Montrachet, Tribeca Grill, and Gramercy Tavern, as well as Fauchon in Paris. It was written in collaboration with Catherine Young, a former Saveur editor, who has cooked at New York restaurants, including Tribeca Grill, where she and Fleming met.

Fleming is a pastry chef’s pastry chef, revered by those in the industry, but also beloved by home bakers for her straightforward, thoughtful, and do-able recipes.

Read more

Andy Baraghani’s Salt & Pepper Cod with Turmeric Noodles

A tangle of rice noodles, a mound of tender fish, and a zesty-spicy Asian sauce make this an unforgettable dish.
A tangle of rice noodles, a mound of tender fish, and a zesty-spicy Asian sauce make this an unforgettable dish.

Like cilantro, dill can be one divisive herb.

You either love cherish its distinctive taste or avoid it all costs.

If like me, you’re in the former camp, then you will much enjoy “Salt & Pepper Cod with Turmeric Noodles,” which features more than one cup of the feathery herb with the unmistakable sweet, grassy, anise taste.

The recipe is from the outstanding cookbook, “The Cook You Want to Be” (Lorena Jones Books, 2022) by Andy Baraghani, the food writer, recipe developer, and former Bon Appetit magazine food editor who cooked at Chez Panisse.

Take it from me: The cook you want to be is the one who makes this straightforward Vietnamese noodle dish. It’s a riff on one Baraghani fell for in Hanoi, especially with its liberal use of dill and turmeric, flavorings so familiar to him from his Persian heritage.

Read more

Praise for Braised Winter Melon

Juicy, cucumber-like chunks of winter melon get braised gently in this easy dish.
Juicy, cucumber-like chunks of winter melon get braised gently in this easy dish.

Some ingredients like caviar and truffles are unabashedly luxe.

Others like celery decidedly relegated — rightly or wrongly — to mundane.

Winter melon, though, is that rarity that falls equally into high- and low-brow camps.

Like tomatoes, these huge green-skinned melons, which can grow as large as 40 pounds, are actually a fruit that’s most often treated as a vegetable.

As a kid, I still have memories of many a Chinese restaurant Lunar New Year banquet at this time of year, where a waiter would gingerly carry a heaving half winter melon to the Lazy Susan on our table. Its skin would be intricately carved with Chinese characters for a grand presentation and its chasm filled to the brim with bubbling soup fortified with ginko nuts, shredded dried scallops, and the melon’s flesh. It was the epitome of special occasion.

In contrast, I also fondly remember my mom regularly making a much simpler version at home, cutting the melon into chunks to simmer in canned chicken broth with slivers of ginger, and sometimes a little bit of pork or chicken. It was not only an economical way to stretch a meal, but her way of trying to ward off colds and flus, as winter melon is high in Vitamin C.

Whether prepared fancifully or frugally, winter melon is a taste of home for me.

Even though it can be prepared many ways, including in candy and poached in a dessert soup, I’ve mostly had it in savory soups. That’s why this recipe for “Braised Winter Melon” immediately caught my eye as a novel method I just had to try.

Read more

Going Bonkers For Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Your new favorite way to enjoy tofu.
Your new favorite way to enjoy tofu.

“This is like fried chicken!”

That was the startling remark my husband exclaimed upon digging into “Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce.”

And if you know his nickname is Meat Boy, then you know that is truly saying something about this entirely plant-based dish.

Crispy as can be, these pan-fried, sesame seed-coated planks of tofu get dunked into a spicy, garlicky sauce for a dish so addictive that even those wishy-washy about tofu will clamor for seconds and thirds.

This fabulous recipe is from “The Woks of Life” (Clarkson Potter, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It’s the first cookbook by Bill, Judy, Sarah, and Kaitlin Leung, the New Jersey family who shot to fame with their eponymous The Woks of Life blog. It started out in 2013 as simply a personal way for them to document their family history through food. It has since turned into a sensation, growing into the most popular online English-language resource for Chinese cooking.

Read more

Chinese Homestyle Black Pepper Portobello Mushrooms

A plant-based play on the classic black pepper beef.
A plant-based play on the classic black pepper beef.

Versatile, sizeable, and hefty, portobello mushrooms make a fine and satisfying substitute for meat in so many dishes, including this classic Chinese one.

If you’re a fan of black pepper beef, then you will much enjoy “Black Pepper Portobello Mushrooms,” a plant-based play on the classic that’s absolutely delicious.

The recipe is from “Chinese Homestyle” (Rock Point, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is by Maggie Zhu, a New York food writer and creator of the Omnivore’s Cookbook blog.

It’s a collection of 90 plant-based Chinese recipes that are a breeze to make. They’re perfect for anyone who’s vegetarian or vegan or for any home cook who wants to add a veggie-centric dish to a family-style spread.

Get your chopsticks at the ready for everything from “Baked Crispy Tofu Nuggets,” “Char Siu Baos” (made with button mushrooms instead of pork), and “Egg-Less Egg Drop Soup” (with yuba sheets standing in for the strands of eggs) to “Three-Cup Scrambled Tempeh” and “Creamy Red Bean Ice Pops.”

Read more
« Older Entries