“for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.”
In mortal danger for his beliefs, Hamed Allahyari and his pregnant girlfriend fled their homeland of Iran, first spending two months in Indonesia and then, after grueling hours long by truck over badly paved back roads and then days crammed aboard a boat another five months on Christmas Island before being granted asylum by the Australian government. Once there, life remained extremely difficult for the young couple who were now parents of two young children, and though Allahyari had been a chef and restauranteur in Iran, no one was interested—or so it seemed—in Persian cuisine.
Unable to find work Allahyari began volunteering at the Resource Center, an organization that provides support, legal advice, and other assistance including meals to refugees and people seeking asylum.
“Every day they feed 250 people a free lunch,” Allahyari writes in the introduction to his cookbook Salamati: Hamed’s Persian Kitchen: Recipes and Stories from Iran to the Other Side of the World. “I started cooking there two days a week, making Persian food for people from all over the world: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Miramar, Sierra Leone, all kinds of places, and most of them had never tried Persian food before. But when they tried it, they liked it. They talked to me about it, asked me about it, and it made me happy.”
At the recommendation of others, Allahyari also began teaching cooking classes, demonstrating how to make such dishes as Zeytoon Parvadrah (Olive and Walnuts Chunky Dip), Abdoogh Khiar, Yogurt and Cucumber soup, Sabzi Pofow Ba Mahi (Fish with Herb Pilaf), and Persian Love Cake. Over the years, Allahyari taught more than 2500 people how to make Persian food. Now, he caters and is chef/owner of SalamiTea, a restaurant located in Sunshine, an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Melbourne. The name is a play on “salamati,” the Persian word meaning both “health” and “cheers.”
Salamati is more than just a cookbook, it’s also a memoir and homage to the country he had to flee. The introduction to the featured recipes in his book might offer a personal connection to the dish, a description of a unique ingredient that helps define it and bring out its best flavors—though he also offers a substitute for such items as Persian dried limes, which might be difficult to locate outside of a major city, and/or puts the food in context with the scenes to Iran.
“This dish is traditionally served in Iranian shisha shops, the cafes where older men gather to smoke water pipes, drink tea and solve the problems of the world,” he writes about Ghahve Khunee Omelette (Street-Food Tomato Omelette). “Shisha shops don’t really serve food but inevitably people get hungry while they’re hanging around, so it’s become traditional for staff to whip up a quick tomato omelette for customers and serve it with bread, raw red onion, herbs and lemon. If you want one, all you ask for is ‘omelette.’ There’s no menu as such.”
Not all the recipes are easy but for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are enough simple ones to get started. Full-color photos of each recipe show what the finished product will look like. And for the adventuresome home chef, Allahyari offers a world of flavors.
Returning to the flavors of his very earliest years, chef Peter Serpico was born in Seoul, Korea and adopted when he was two. Raised in Maryland, he graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary School and cooked professionally at such well-known restaurants as Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City’s East Village. Serpico worked with David Chang, who founded the Momofuku chain, in opening two new restaurants. His job as director of culinary operations for Momofuku, Serpico garnered three stars from the New York Times, two Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. He currently owns KPOD, a contemporary Korean-American concept in Philadelphia’s University City.
Serpico was already an award winning chef when a taste of marinated short ribs and black bean noodles reeled him back through the years, giving him a taste of his original home. Now that reckoning, exploration, and elevation of the foods of his past has resulted in his debut cookbook,Learning Korean: Recipes for Home Cooking (Norton), Serpico has long been recognized as a virtuoso with ingredients but his lesser known talent becomes apparent in this book. He makes Korean home cooking easy. For anyone who has tried to master this intricate and delicious cuisine, it’s a relief to be able to easily cook Korean cuisine in a home kitchen using everyday home equipment.
Serpico starts with kimchi, that Korean staple often served in some guise or other, at every meal (and yes, that includes breakfast) with a recipe for Countertop Kimchi and then quickly segues into a master recipe that can be used to make a plethora of the fermented vegetable dishes.
“I also wanted to develop an easy ‘master’ method that could be applied to any vegetable, regardless of its texture, density, surface area, or water content,” writes Serpico before giving us the way to make Apple Kimchi, Carrot Kimchi, and Potato Kimchi, among others.
He continues with the simplification. Sure, there are some complicated recipes for those who already have or want to advance their skills with such dishes as Crispy Fried Rice–a recipe that’s a full page long. Add to that the ancillary recipes needed to complete the dish–Korean Chili Sauce, Marinated Spinach, Marinated Bean Sprouts, and Rolled Omelette which are all on different pages. But for those not up to or interested in the challenge, just flip to the recipes for such dishes as Easy Pork Shoulder Stew, Soy-Braised Beef, Battered Zucchini, Potato Salad, Chocolate Rice Pudding, and Jujube Tea as well as many others.
And while anyone experimenting with the cuisine of another country understands that they’ll need to purchase some unique ingredients, these are not budget breakers or, in many instances, so esoteric that after one use they’ll sit unused in your cabinet for an eternity. For example Serpico’s recipe for potato salad calls for Kewpie Mayonnaise instead of the mayo we typically have in our refrigerator. The latter uses whole eggs and white vinegar while Kewpie is made from just egg yolks and rice or apple cider vinegar. But the cost difference is definitely reasonable and a home chef might just find the extra richness translates to other recipes as well whether they’re Korean or not.
About the Author
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Peter Serpico was adopted when he was two years old, and was raised in Laurel, Maryland. Serpico graduated from the Baltimore International College Culinary School and his first cook job was at the Belmont Conference Center, where he worked under chef Rob Dunn. In 2006, Peter began as sous chef at the original Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. For the next six years, Serpico worked with David Chang to open Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Momofuku Ko. As director of culinary operations, Serpico earned three stars from the New York Times, a James Beard Award, and two Michelin Stars, among other accolades. Serpico’s highly praised eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia opened in 2013.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Serpico was reimagined as Pete’s Place. In 2022, Serpico and restaurant-partner Stephen Starr launched a revamp of Pod, a long-standing Philadelphia pan-Asian restaurant, as KPod, with a menu inspired by Serpico’s native South Korea. Serpico lives with his family in Philadelphia.
Hobak Jeon (Pan-Fried Zucchini)
For the Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red-chile flakes)
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
For the Zucchini
1 large Korean zucchini or 2 American zucchini (about ¾ pound), sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Make the dipping sauce: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for 1 week.
Prepare the zucchini: In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini and flour, ensuring each piece is lightly coated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and fish sauce, making sure to break down the egg white.
In a medium skillet or sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, dip and coat the floured zucchini rounds in the egg batter, then add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Use a spatula to transfer finished zucchini rounds to a wire rack lined with paper towels.
Serve as banchan or as an appetizer with the sauce. The zucchini can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature; cooked zucchini pieces can be held inside an oven set to warm.
Ground Beef Bulgogi
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion (8 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Cooked white rice, for serving (see NOTE)
Kimchi, for serving (optional)
Fresh lettuce or cabbage leaves, for serving (optional)
In a large bowl, stir together the beef or plant-based meat, onion, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and salt until combined.
In a large saute skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beef mixture and cook, stirring occasionally to break up any large chunks, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Serve the bulgogi in bowls with rice, kimchi, and lettuce or cabbage leaves for wrapping, if using.
On July 21, the Selection Committee presided by Jérôme Bocuse met to decide which countries in the Asia-Pacific region would qualify for the Grand Final of the Bocuse d’Or, a two-day biennial world chef championship. Named in honor of Paul Bocuse, the renowned chef and restauranteur who was the recipient of the coveted France’s prestigious “Meilleur Ouvrier de France,” the Bocuse d’Or is considered one of the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world.
Held in Lyon, the home town of Bocuse, the next competition is scheduled for January 22 and 23, 2023 and is held during Sirha Lyon, the World Hospitality & Food Service trade show. Lyon, the capital city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France is nestled at the confluence of the Rhône and Saô rivers.
According to Inés Carrayrou of Monet+Associates Agency for the Bocuse d’Or Americas 2022, each team vying for a chance to participate in the Grand Final was required to submit a recipe based upon a main ingredient and make a presentation. 24 chefs will ultimately be selected and during the intense two-day competition will have just five hours and 35 minutes–and not a second longer–to prepare their dish which is then presented ‘à la française’ on a tray or platter. Each entry is exquisite and the winner recieves what the Bocuse d’Or website describes as “the most beautiful trophy in the world of gastronomy.”
5 TALENTED TEAMS JOIN THE WINNERS OF THE PREVIOUS 2022 SELECTIONS
The five winning countries are:
Australia – Alexander McInstosh China – Nick Lin Japan – Tomoyuki Ishii New Zealand – William Mordido South Korea – Hwang Byeong Hyen
The teams, the recipes as well as the theme plates they’ll be preparing will be announced this fall.
Listed below are the teams that qualified for the different continental selections.
Bocuse d’Or Europe 2022
1st: Denmark – Brian Mark Hanse 2nd: Hungary – Bence Dalnoki 3rd: Norway – Filip August Bendi 4th: Sweden – Jimmi Eriksson 5th: Iceland – Sigurjón Bragi Geirsson 6th: Finland – Johan Kurkela 7th: France – Naïs Pirollet 8th: United Kingdom – Ian Musgrave 9th: Switzerland – Christoph Hunziker 10th: Belgium – Sam Van Houcke
Bocuse d’Or Americas 2022
1st: USA – Jeffery Hayashi 2nd: Canada – Samuel Sirois 3rd: Chile – Ari Zúñiga 4th: Colombia – Carlos Pajaro 5th: Mexico – Marcelo Hisaki
“Paul Bocuse was the incarnation of French cuisine,” said then-French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018 when Bocuse passed away in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, in Lyon, where he was born and operated his main restaurant. Bocuse, credited with changing French cuisine with the introduction of nouvelle cuisine, a lighter, fresher approach to the classic cookery of France.
Melt the butter in a double-boiler, stirring it with a whisk. Let cool for a few seconds. Add the salt and mix. Add the confectioners’ sugar. Mix. Add the flour in a steady stream, while continuing to mix. Once the dough begins to come together, take out the whisk and continue to mix with a spatula. Work in the baking powder.
Break the egg into a ramekin, beat it with a fork, then pour it into the dough. Mix it until the dough comes together into a ball. Flatten it slightly, put it on a plate, and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
If you prepare the dough the day before, remember to take it out of the refrigerator a bit before you want to use it, so that it is not too hard.
You can also make the caramel several hours in advance. There is no need to reheat it before arranging the apples.
Step 2: Caramel
Heat the sugar over high heat in a saucepan. When the sugar has turned a nice, golden color and is beginning to foam, mix it with a wooden spoon. Add the butter. Mix until the butter is melted.
To make a successful caramel, wipe the pan out carefully before starting the process. Move it around during the cooking of the sugar, but do not use any utensils.
The caramel should have a good color without becoming at all brown. Allow 3 to 4 minutes or so.
Pour the caramel into a 8-inch (20-cm) metal baking dish. Split the vanilla pod in two without separating the two halves. Put it into the pan, right in the middle, to form a “V”.
Step 3: Tart
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Peel and core the apples. Cut them in half vertically. Arrange the apples, standing them upright in the pan. Fill in the center, and fill up any gaps.
It is important for the success of the tart that the apples are all the same thickness. Peel them immediately before cooking to make sure they do not oxidize when in contact with the air.
Place the pan in the bottom of the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check that the apples are cooked. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the dough on parchment paper, and flour it lightly. Roll it out into a circle about 1/8-inch (3-mm) thick. Lay the lid of the dish upside down on the pastry, and cut the pastry out to the same interior dimensions as the lid. Cut away the excess.
Prick the surface of the dough all over, using a fork. Trim the greaseproof paper to within 1/2 inch (12 mm) of the edge of the dough. Slide the dough, on the paper, onto a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Lay the cooked pastry on a cooling rack. Allow it to cool and harden.
It is always helpful to use parchment paper: there is no need to butter the pan, and the transfer of the pastry base is easy.
After 10 minutes of cooking, the pastry will still be soft. It hardens completely when cool. Handle it with care!
A few minutes before serving, gently warm a serving plate. Place the pastry disk over the apples. Unstick the apples by holding the pastry with one hand and turning the pan from all angles.
When the apples are unstuck from the bottom, turn out the tart. Lay the plate upside down over the pan, invert, and lift the pan away. The tart is ready to be devoured!
This recipe was originally published in “My Best Paul Bocuse” (Éditions Alain Ducasse).
“What I remember from eating my grandma’s food is after eating, you feel good,” says Jew whose original family name was spelled Jiu but was changed when the family moved here when going through customs. “That sensation is what I want people to experience. Understanding that chefs back in old China—they were considered doctors too, where they were healing people and giving remedies to fix your ailments. A lot of it was basically what they were feeding you. I try not to take it too seriously, but there are things I feel like as a chef, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make people feel good afterwards too.”
But those years cooking Cal weren’t wasted.
“Cantonese cuisine and California cuisine really align in how ingredient-driven the food is and how minimal—the goal is to do as little to a perfect ingredient,” says Jew. “Finding that perfect ingredient and thinking of the cooking method to showcase its natural flavors the most, to me, is very Cantonese and Californian. I’m using that mentality to bridge the two together.”
A bio major, Jew says it starts with the ingredients.
“There are just some classic things we want to reinterpret,” he says. “There isn’t a lot of specific recipes for a lot of things. Chop suey just doesn’t have really any recipe to it. We’re taking the creative freedom to do our version of that, or even something like egg foo young.”
Anything that needs slow braising will do well in a clay pot. The porous clay distributes an encompassing gentle heat all while sealing in the juices. The slightly alkaline clay also keeps proteins loose and tender. I appreciate a clay pot for its kindness to cooks. It holds heat so well that you can set it aside off-heat for an hour or two and come back to find everything inside still nice and toasty. And if you don’t have one, a small Dutch oven with a tight lid will do. Lion’s head (獅子頭, shī zi tóu in Mandarin) are a classic Chinese meatball (the bumpy texture looks like the curly manes of mythical lions). We use savory ingredients ingredients—mushrooms, seaweed, and a blend of pork—that compounds the sīn flavor exponentially. Use whatever delicious fungi you’ve got. Sometimes I drop a handful of fresh cordyceps (蟲草花, chóng căo huá) sautéed with garlic, or shave matsutake as in this recipe. For the bacon, choose an intensely smoky kind. You can use a meat grinder or hand-chop everything old-school.
Active Time — 1 hour, 15 minutes
Plan Ahead — You’ll need about 3 hours total, plus time to make Chicken Stock; pre-soak the clay pot for 2 hours
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Special Equipment — Meat grinder (optional), soaked 9-inch clay pot or a small Dutch oven
Lion’s Head Meatballs
3 oz / 85g nettles or stemmed lacinato kale
1 tsp neutral oil
4 oz / 115g skin-on pork belly
12 Savoy cabbage leaves, thick stems trimmed
12 oz / 340g pork shoulder, cut into 1½-inch pieces
3 oz / 85g pork back fat
3½ oz / 100g medium-firm doufu
4 tsp peeled and minced ginger
1½ Tbsp light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)
1 Tbsp powdered milk
1¼ tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp fish sauce
1½ cups / 360ml Matsutake Broth (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp neutral oil
3 oz / 85g fresh wild mushrooms (such as matsutake, black trumpets, or chanterelles), chopped if large
½ rosemary sprig, about 2 inches long
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 fresh matsutake mushroom, very thinly sliced or shaved with a mandoline
To make the meatballs: While wearing thick gloves, strip the leaves from the nettles and discard the stems.
In a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the nettles and a pinch of salt and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1½ minutes. If using kale, this will take about 3 minutes. Finely chop and set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
Remove the skin from the pork belly. Add the skin to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds to firm up. Using tongs, remove and set aside. Add the cabbage leaves (work in batches, if needed) to the water and blanch until just wilted, about 30 seconds, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain.
Place the pork skin, pork shoulder, belly, and back fat in a single layer on a plate and put in the freezer until the surface is just frozen but the center is still soft enough to be ground, about 15 minutes.
If using a meat grinder, grind the fat and skin through a fine grinding plate (⅛-inch / 3mm holes) into a large bowl. Switch to a coarse grinding plate (¼-inch / 6mm holes). Regrind about half of the fat-skin mixture back into the large bowl, then grind the shoulder and belly through the same grinding plate. Mix gently to combine. Regrind about half of the pork mixture again. Grind the doufu through the coarse grinding plate into the large bowl.
If chopping by hand, separately mince the pork belly skin, pork belly, pork shoulder, pork fat, and doufu using a chef’s knife or cleaver (two if you got ’em). Transfer to a large bowl as each one has formed a sticky paste and then mix well.
Add the nettles, ginger, soy sauce, powdered milk, 1½ tsp salt, pepper, and fish sauce to the bowl and use your hands to mix until well combined and a sticky paste forms but the meat is not overworked.
Divide the mixture into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball that is firmly packed and smooth. Wrap a cabbage leaf around each meatball, leaving the top exposed (save the remaining cabbage leaves for the clay pot). Refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place the wrapped meatballs in a single layer in a soaked 9-inch-wide clay pot or small Dutch oven. Tuck the remaining cabbage leaves between the meatballs, then add the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Transfer the pot to the oven and bake uncovered until the meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the neutral oil and let it heat up for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, season with salt, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the rosemary.
Spoon the stir-fried mushrooms and any oil left in the pan over the meatballs and top with the pine nuts and shaved mushroom. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 ½ cups / 360ml
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sear the bacon until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sear until very browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low; add the seared bacon, chicken stock, both dried mushrooms, and kombu; and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups / 360ml, about 1 hour.
Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Stir the fish sauce into the broth. Let cool, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
On a weekly basis, my mom would cook corned beef with cabbage, or chicken à la king, or sausage lasagna. It was too expensive to travel internationally, but we got to eat all over the world from our kitchen table. When she cooked food from her childhood, though, she would make us this steamed fish, topped with ginger, green onions, and fermented black beans. The flavor of steamed fish in Cantonese cuisine is all about sīn tìhm (鮮甜), the essential flavor of a fresh ingredient in combination with a pure, smooth sweetness. The final lashing of hot oil in this dish infuses the green onions and ginger into the flesh of the fish and enriches the soy. Take care not to overcook the fish; I like to turn off the heat in the last minutes of cooking and let the steam finish the job. The flesh should pull off the bone in tender morsels, not flake. I always score round, fleshy fish to help it cook evenly. Then I steam the fish only until the thickest flesh right behind the gill area is not quite opaque or, as Cantonese cooks say, “translucent like white jade.”
Active Time — 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Special Equipment — Steamer, 9-inch pie plate
1 Tbsp fermented black beans (optional)
One 1½-lb / 680g whole fish (such as black bass or Tai snapper), gutted and scaled
large handful aromatics (such as thinly sliced ginger, green onion tops, and/or strips of fresh citrus zest)
¼ cup / 60ml high-smoke-point oil (such as peanut oil)
In a small bowl, cover the black beans (if using) with water, let soak for 30 minutes, and then drain.
Prepare a steamer in a wok or a large, lidded pot following the instructions on page 167 and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, using kitchen shears, cut off the gills and the fins (careful, sharp!) on the top, bottom, and sides of the fish. Run your fingers over the skin, especially near the gills and belly, toward the head to check for any last scales; remove the scales with the edge of a spoon or the back of a knife.
On both sides of the fish, make eight 2-inch-long parallel slits into the flesh, not quite deep enough to hit bone, starting about 1 inch from the gills. Place the fish in a pie plate. (The fish can hang over the edges so long as everything fits in the steamer. If not, cut the fish in half to fit and hope none of your guests are superstitious.) Tuck some of your chosen aromatics into each slit, then stuff the remaining aromatics in the cavity. Top the fish with the black beans.
Place the pie plate in the steamer, cover, and steam until the eyeball is opaque and the flesh of the fish is white and flaky at the thickest part near the head and first slit, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the fish is steaming, in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, slowly warm the oil.
When the fish is ready, remove it with the pie plate from the steamer. (Reassemble as a whole fish if you cut it in two.) Drizzle with the soy sauce, then top with the ginger and green onions. Turn the heat under the oil to high and warm until it just starts to smoke. Immediately pour the oil over the fish, getting as much of the ginger and green onions to sizzle as you can. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with a spoon big enough for drizzling the juices.
For this recipe, I prefer medium Chinese eggplants, the pale purple, slender ones that are ten to twelve inches long, over similar-looking but more bitter varieties. This calls for oil-blanching and, because eggplant is basically a sponge, brining them for an hour first until they are saturated but not bloated. During frying, the water turns to steam and makes the eggplant creamy and not at all oily.
Cooking is really the study of water. It takes water to grow everything, of course, and so the amount of water that remains in an ingredient after it is harvested or butchered dictates how it will heat through in the pan, whether it will soften, seize, crisp, or caramelize. You’re adding water when you use stocks, vinegars, or alcohol. You’re creating barriers to water with starches. How you cut ingredients and the order in which you add them to the pan is about controlling how and when they release the water inside them. Even the shapes of cooking vessels are about releasing or retaining moisture. When cooking with a wok, changes to water happen so quickly that split-second timing is essential.
¼ cup / 5g packed Thai or opal basil leaves, torn in half if large
Trim and discard the eggplant ends, then cut into thick wedges, like steak frites—first cut crosswise into three 3-inch chunks, then halve those lengthwise repeatedly until you have 1-inch-thick wedges.
In a large bowl, combine 1 qt / 950ml of the water and the salt and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the eggplant, making sure it is submerged, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Fill a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven with the neutral oil and secure a deep-fry thermometer on the side. Set over medium-high heat and warm the oil to 375°F.
Meanwhile, drain the eggplant and dry very well with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup / 60ml water, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set this sauce aside.
Add the sliced garlic to the oil and fry until crisp and light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Use a spider to transfer them to a paper towel to drain.
Check that the oil in the Dutch oven is still at 375°F. Set up for the second fry by setting a dry wok or large skillet over high heat.
Carefully slide all the eggplant into the oil. Stir until the eggplant has darkened and caramelized at the edges, about 1 minute. Remove the eggplant with the spider and drain well over the Dutch oven, then transfer to the screaming-hot wok.
Immediately add the chopped garlic and most of the chile rings (reserve a few for garnish) to the eggplant in the wok and toss everything to combine. Add the reserved sauce and continue to toss until the sauce thickens to a glaze and the eggplants are browned at the edges, about 1 minute. Add most of the basil leaves and toss until wilted.
Transfer the contents of the wok to a serving platter. Crumble the fried garlic and scatter it over the eggplant with the rest of the basil and chile rings. Serve immediately.
It’s the third in their series of cookbooks, the first two of which were both New York Times bestsellers. Tam, who holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of California, develops recipes based upon the Cantonese meals her mother cooked for the family when she was growing up and the immigrant cuisine of the San Francisco Bay area where she grew up as well as such American teen basics as cheeseburgers and French fries.
Tam and Fong operate on the premise that weeknight suppers should be healthy and flavor-packed as well as fast and simple. Weekends and celebrations, on the other hand, are the perfect excuse to craft elevated (but easy) crowd-pleasers. Nom Paleo Let’s Go! offers crazy-delicious recipes for all occasions, and every single one is free of grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.
Fong is an attorney who does the photography and illustrations for their books as well as the over all design. In all, they both seem to have a lot of fun in the kitchen and in writing their cookbooks.
All three books coordinate with a multitude of specialty diets—paleo, keto-friendly, vegan, nut-free, Whole30, and plant-based and every single recipe is free of grains, gluten, refined sugar, and dairy. But if it all sounds too healthy, no one you’re cooking for needs to know how nutritious the dishes are. And they won’t know based on the taste either as it’s all seriously yummy.
As always, Nom Nom Paleo’s recipes reflect the diverse cuisines Michelle grew up with and culinary ideas from her travels. Often Asian-inspired, Michelle’s unfussy recipes maximize flavor, optimize whole foods, and are presented with photos of each step so they’re absolutely foolproof–even for novice cooks! New recipes include: Cantonese Roast Duck, Nom Nom Chili Crisp, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, Chicken Karaage, Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Stew, and Paleo-Friendly Cream Puffs.
Hash Brown Fish
Umami Stir Fry Powder
⅔ cup dehydrated chopped scallions
6½ tablespoons kosher salt
¼ cup dried shiitake mushroom powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Hash Brown Fish
1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled
½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup avocado oil or ghee, divided
2 teaspoons umami stir fry powder or kosher salt, divided
Four 5-ounce skinless sea bass or cod fillets, each about ¾-inch thick
1 lemon, cut into wedges
MAKE THE UMAMI STIR FRY POWDER (IF DESIRED): Toss all of the ingredients into a mini food processor or spice grinder. Blend to make a fine powder, scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure the dehydrated green onions are totally powderized. (This seasoning will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.)
MAKE THE HASH BROWN FISH: Grate the potatoes with a food processor or by using the large holes of a box grater.
Bundle the shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel. Then, wring out the potatoes and discard the liquid.
In a large bowl, toss together the shredded potatoes, scallions and 1 teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt on the fish fillets.
Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and then add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee to the hot pan.
Add two ⅓-cup mounds of potatoes to the pan and flatten them into rectangles, approximating the size of your fish fillets.
Smush a fish fillet onto each potato layer and cover each one with a thin layer of shredded potatoes.
Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until the bottom layer of potatoes is crisp and golden brown.
Carefully flip the fillet packets over with a fish spatula and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes on the other side.
Once the other potato layer is nicely browned and the center of the fish registers 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, transfer to a plate.
Repeat steps 6 to 11 with the remaining fish and potatoes and serve with lemon wedges.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
This salty, herbaceous condiment is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. It’s traditionally served with whole poached chicken, but growing up, I would put it on everything! This sauce is transformative, lending massive flavor to any savory dish.
Makes 1 cup
1 cup finely minced scallions
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ cup avocado oil
Toss the scallions, ginger, salt, and white pepper in a large heat-proof bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.
Stir it all together.
In a small saucepan over high heat, warm the oil until it’s shimmering but not quite smoking.
Add a tiny piece of scallion to test the heat of the oil. If you see lots of little bubbles, the oil’s ready. (Or just check that the oil reaches 375°F on an instant-read thermometer.)
Pour the hot oil into the scallion and ginger mixture a little at a time. It’ll sizzle and boil, so be careful!
Stir well and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce can be refrigerated in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks or frozen in an ice cube tray for up to 3 months.
All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce
Despite its name, my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce isn’t just for stir-fries: it’s a fundamental component in recipes of all kinds. This ultra-versatile sauce keeps in the refrigerator
Makes 2 cups
1 cup coconut aminos
½ cup fresh orange or pineapple juice
¼ cup paleo-friendly fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup or jar. Mix it all together.
Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork)
Makes 8 servings
½ cup plum, peach, or apricot jam, sweetened only with fruit juice
¼ cup coconut aminos
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon honey (optional, not Whole30)
1 teaspoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Pour the jam into a small saucepan. To stay paleo-friendly, be sure to use a high-quality, 100% fruit jam.
Next, toss in the coconut aminos, tomato paste, almond butter, honey (if desired), fish sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, and ground ginger.
Whisk the marinade as you heat it to a simmer over medium heat.
Once the marinade is bubbling and smooth, transfer it to a measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature. (Not ready to roast the pork? You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days.)
Next, prepare the pork. Blot the pork shoulder with a paper towel. Then, slice the pork shoulder into 2-inch strips of even thickness.
The pork strips should be roughly uniform in size. It’s fine to have fatty pieces of pork because: (1) it’s tasty, and (2) you don’t want to end up with dry char siu. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of kosher salt all over the pork pieces.
Place the pork in a large bowl or in a zippered food storage bag. Pour all except ⅓ cup of the cooled marinade onto the pork. Cover and refrigerate the reserved marinade.
Use your hands to coat the marinade all over the pork strips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 2 to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to roast the pork, heat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Arrange the pork on an oven-safe wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pork pieces at the halfway point. Take the pork out of the oven and increase the temperature to 400°F.
Brush half of the reserved marinade on the tops of the pork pieces. Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan so that you have a thin layer coating the bottom. This will keep the drippings from burning while the pork cooks.
Roast for 25 minutes. Then, flip the pork pieces over and brush on the remaining marinade. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is slightly charred on the edges. Rest the pork for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain into bite-size pieces.
Arrange the pork on a serving dish and garnish with 2 sliced scallions, if desired.
Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken
This easy sheet pan meal is my riff on Huli Huli Chicken, a classic Hawaiian barbecue staple featuring a sweet and savory sauce made with pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Believe me: no one can resist a pan of sticky chicken and pineapple, especially when it’s re-imagined with healthier, paleo-friendly ingredients. Don’t substitute fresh pineapple and ginger for canned pineapple and ground ginger! The fresh stuff contains enzymes that break down proteins, so if you use ’em, they’ll make your chicken mushy!
1 (13.5-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
½ cup paleo-friendly ketchup
½ cup coconut aminos
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Open up the pineapple can and set aside the pineapple rings.
Pour ½ cup of the pineapple juice from the can into a large measuring cup. (We won’t be using the rest.)
Add the ketchup, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, fish sauce, sesame oil to the pineapple juice in the measuring cup. Toss in the ground ginger and minced garlic. Whisk it all together to form a marinade.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Pour in ½ cup of the marinade. Set aside the remaining marinade.
Toss the chicken well. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or up to a day in the fridge.
In the meantime, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside. You should now have about 1 cup of sauce.
Set aside about ¼ cup of the sauce to baste the chicken, and save the rest to serve with the finished dish.
Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode or 425°F on regular mode with the rack in the middle.
Arrange the chicken thighs and the pineapple rings in a single layer on a rimmed, greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Then, rotate the tray and brush the reserved ¼ cup of cooked sauce onto the chicken thighs and pineapple rings.
Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the thickest part of the thighs register 165°F on a meat thermometer.
Garnish the chicken and pineapple with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with the reserved sauce!
“Our life centers on the farm and the field. We eat what we grow,” says Nancy Singleton Hachisu, author of Japanese Farm Food which won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012: USA Winner for the Best Japanese Cuisine Book. It’s a fascinating take on Japanese cuisine from Hachisu, a native Californian who moved to a small village in rural Japan more than 30 years ago, intending to live there for a year. Describing herself as coming for the food, but staying for love, she met and married Tadaaki, an organic farmer, moved to the rural Saitama Prefecture. There she raised a family in an 80-year-old traditional Japanese farmhouse and immersed herself in both the culture and cooking. The book is so very niche that it’s almost like being in her kitchen and on her farm, giving us an amazing insight into a tiny slice of Japanese farm culture.
Hachisu also has written Japan: The Cookbook which she describes as not an examination of regional cooking traditions, as much as a curated experience of Japan’s culinary framework from a specific moment in time. Using both fine and generous strokes, I have put together what I hopes a broad and rich picture of the food of this island nation.”
Her other books include Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen It’s a book offering a clear road map for preserving fruits, vegetables, and fish through a nonscientific, farm- or fisherman-centric approach. Ruth Reichl, author of Tender at the Bone and former editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine writes “Even if you never yearned to make your own miso or pickle your own vegetables, this beautiful book will change your mind. It’s almost impossible to flip through these pages without wanting to join Nancy Singleton Hachisu in the lovely meditation of her cooking. This book is unlike anything else out there, and every serious cook will want to own it.”
Food Artisans of Japan, another of her wonderful books, offers us a look into Japan’s diversely rich food landscape and includes 120 recipes from 7 compelling Japanese chefs and 24 stories of food artisans.
Pork and Flowering Mustard Stir-Fry
Buta to Nanohana Itame
“Tadaaki made this one night when we had fields of flowering mustard and komatsuna. The flowering tops of brassicas, particularly rape (natane), are called nanohana in Japanese and are similar to rapini. Tadaaki tends to throw some meat into his stir-fries because he feels it gives the dish more depth,” writes the author in this simple recipe that is delicate and delicious. “I’m more of a purist, so prefer my vegetables without meat. But this dish really won me over, and I quickly became a convert (almost). Japanese stir-fries can be flavored with soy sauce, miso mixed with sake, or even salt. In this dish, I like the clarity of the salt.”
½ tablespoon organic rapeseed oil
Scant ½ pound (200 g) thinly sliced pork belly
1 tablespoon finely slivered ginger
1 (10 ½-ounce/300-g) bunch flowering mustard or rapini, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths
½ teaspoon sea salt
Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.
Heat a wide frying pan or wok over high heat. Add the oil quickly followed by the pork belly slices and ginger slivers. Sauté until the fat sizzles and there is some minimal browning, but don’t overdo it.
Place the flowering mustard in a mesh strainer with a handle and lower into the pot of boiling water. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until no longer raw. Keep the strainer at the top of the water surface in order to scoop the mustard greens out in one brisk pass. Shake off the hot water and toss into the cooked pork belly. Toss a few minutes more over high heat and season with the salt. Cook for about 30 seconds more, then serve.
Variations: Substitute soy sauce for the salt or chopped ginger for the slivered ginger.
—From Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
The flavors and foods of Miami, with its imaginative and creative cooking, wide ranging cultural traditions, and unique culinary identity, are brought to the fore by its amazingly talented and award winning chefs and mixologists, Sara Liss, who has been writing about the city’s food scene for more than 15 years captures the culinary essence of the city’s fascinating food scene in Miami Cooks. Presenting 75 signature dishes and drinks from 35 of the hottest restaurants and chefs, either just rocketing to fame or James Beard winners, Liss shares their recipes–ranging from craft cocktails to satisfying brunch dishes to airy desserts. The flavors are global–Cuban food capital of America, but it also home to so many other cuisines―Peruvian, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Haitian, Jamaican, Cuban, Mexican, Asian, classic French with a Miami twist, and Floridian (of course). All evoke the passionate gastronomic spirit of The Magic City.
But Liss takes it one step further. Stating that her mission was to make the entire creative process acceptable and achievable for the home chef, she makes it easy for us to take our cooking to the next level.
Miami Cooks, published by Figure 1m is currently available for purchase now.
With beautiful photographs and intriguing recipes, here are a few more to contemplate:
Cubano “Croque Monsieur” – This recipe was crafted by Executive Chef Frederic Delaire from Bar Collins. A Cuban play on a French classic, this towering sandwich teems with slow-roasted pork, an indulgent béchamel sauce, and many layers of ham and Swiss.
Hamachi Cilantro Rolls – “You’ll be sure to wow your mom with some homemade sushi rolls! It might seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, the technique is fairly easy,” writes Liss.
Shrimp Cakes – This recipe is an Executive Chef Klime Kovaceski specialty from Crust. Riffing on the classic crab cake, Chef Klime has created an easy go-to dish when you’re looking for a hearty brunch course.
Golden Geisha – This raspberry vodka cocktail recipe is from Owner David Grutman of Komodo. This refreshing cocktail is deceptively easy to prepare and heightened to a luxe level with edible gold leaf flakes.
Jim’s Yellow Fedora – From Executive Chef Daniel Roy from The Jim and Nessie, Jim’s Yellow Fedora cocktail is made with whiskey and chartreuse – a liquor distilled using 130 natural herbs, spices and flowers. In this recipe, it adds depth to whiskey for a play on the classic green hat cocktail.
Korean Braised Chicken with Glass Noodles
This popular Korean dish, also known as Andong jjimdak, originates in the city of Andong, Korea. All at once savory, sweet, and spicy, it sees spicy braised chicken cooked together with Korean glass noodles for a dish that explodes with flavor.
Serves 2 to 3
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
41/2Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp concentrated pear juice (see Note)
2 Tbsp mirin
11/2tsp sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Note: Korean cooking often calls for pear juice for marinating and tenderizing meat. It can be found in most Asian markets.
2 lbs, bone-in chicken thighs
Marinade (see here)
5 to 6 oz Korean glass noodles (sweet potato starch noodles)
Sesame oil, for searing
5 dried red chiles (divided)
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
5 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 scallions, roughly chopped
In a large bowl, combine chicken and marinade, turning to coat, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Soak glass noodles in water for 20 minutes, until softened.
Coat a large skillet with sesame oil and bring to high heat. Add 3 chiles and sauté for 5 to
7 minutes, until the chiles darken. Discard chiles.
Add chicken to the skillet, reserving marinade, and sear for 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer chicken to a plate.
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the reserved marinade and 4 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, then add chicken, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is almost fully cooked. Add the remaining 2 chiles and the potatoes, onion, and carrot and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
Add noodles, mushrooms, and scallions and simmer for another 6 to 8 minutes, until noodles are cooked. Remove the 2 chiles and serve immediately.
Get Peached–meaning to be flavored smitten–is particularly apt if you’re in an experimental mood when it comes to food. Personally I think you always learn a lot about cooking when you venture outside your comfort range. By doing so either once in a while or really even more often, no telling what you’ll discover.
That’s one reason why I enjoyed chatting with Eric Silverstein who first started cooking from his Austin, Texas food truck, The Peached Tortilla and now runs a restaurant with the same name. He recently wrote “The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas” (Sterling Epicure 2019; $16.99 Amazon price).
A former attorney who decided to pursue a different career path by merging his passions of food and business. Eric was born in Tokyo, Japan. There he was heavily influenced by Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian cuisine and then, moving to Atlanta, Georgia at the age of ten, he learned about traditional Southern cuisine. These divergent flavors and cuisines serve as the backdrop for The Peached Tortilla’s menu.
The recipes are Asian versions of American south and Italian food—fried chicken and arancini—those fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella. If you think of it like that, you can see the possibilities of melding the the three. When I asked Eric for recommendations for readers just getting use to Asian/American/Italian fusion cuisine, he suggested the Umami Chicken because it is a best seller at his restaurant. He also suggested his deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with pureed kimchi and mozzarella cheese because he never met a person who didn’t love them.
“They are so easy to just pop in your mouth, and the fusion element makes the kimchi approachable,” he says.
Kimchi is a Korean dish using salted and fermented vegetables (typically cabbage) that also has chili powder, ginger and other spices. It’s very similar to sauerkraut but spicier and without the vinegary tartness.
He’s adapted his recipes for home cooks. For example, with the Unami Fried Chicken, he calls for par-baking before frying as it’s difficult to control the temperature of a deep fryer at home. By doing that there’s still the crispness of fried chicken without the complications of temperature control.
1 (3 ½-4 pound) chicken, broken down into 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 whole wings, and 4 pieces of breast (breast is split)
To Make the Marinated Chicken
Puree all the ingredients, except for the chicken in a blender. Marinate the broken-down chicken in the fish sauce marinade overnight in a large airtight container or resealable bag.
For the Batter
1 ½ cups rice flour
Whisk the rice flour and 1 ½ cups of cold water in the mixing bowl and set the batter aside. The consistency of the mixture should be thick enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon.
As the batter sits, the rice flour will slowly separate from the water. So make sure to whisk the batter right before you dip the chicken into it.
quarts vegetable oil
Place the pieces of chicken on a baking sheet. Set the oven to 350⁰F and bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature of the chicken while it is in the oven to make sure it reaches 165⁰F. It’s best to take the temperature of the thickest part of the breast, since this is the thickest cut of meat you are cooking off. When the chicken is at temperature, remove it from the oven and set it in the refrigerator to cool. You can remove the chicken from the refrigerator when it is cold to the touch.
Once the chicken has cooled in the refrigerator, heat 2 quarts of oil to 350⁰F in a medium-sized pot.
When the oil is at 350⁰, coat the parbaked chicken in the rice flour batter and then place the chicken in the hot oil. The rice flour batter should be thick enough, so it does not run off the chicken. If the rice flour batter has been sitting for a few minutes, make sure to give it a stir right before you dip the chicken in the batter.
Let the chicken cook in the oil for 2-3 minutes. It should turn a robust brown. Do not let the chicken get too brown or dark.
Remove the chicken from the oil and place it on a cooling rack with a rimmed baking sheet underneath it for 2 minutes before serving.
Serves 5-8 / Makes about 30 balls
5 cups chicken broth
1 ¾ tablespoons butter
¼ small yellow onion, diced
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Kimchi, pureed
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Sriracha
In a medium-sized pot, warm the chicken broth over medium heat. Keep it warm over extremely low heat.
Add the butter to a wide, round pot and stir it over medium-low heat, until it starts to melt.
After the butter has melted, add the diced onion to the pot and sauté it in the butter until it becomes translucent. Season the sautéed onion with salt and pepper.
Add the Arborio rice to the pot and sauté it until it has browned.
Ladle or spoon the warm chicken broth into the rice mixture over the medium-low heat. Start by adding ½ cup of the chicken broth at a time, stirring the rice until it absorbs the broth. This is a similar process to making risotto.
Once the broth is absorbed, add more broth to the rice. Continue to cook the rice and add the broth until you have used all the broth. The entire process should take about 45 minutes. At the end of the process, the Arborio rice should be cooked al dente.
Place half of the kimchi, Parmesan, mozzarella, and sriracha in the bottom of a large baking sheet. Add the cooked Arborio rice to the baking sheet, then cover the rice with the remaining kimchi, mozzarella, and sriracha. Stir the mixture together with a heatproof spatula. The cheese should melt from the heat of the rice.
Refrigerate the mixture, uncovered, for 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.
1 cup, all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
2 quarts vegetable oil
½ cup Wasabi Mayo (recipe included below)
½ cup Sriracha Mayo (recipe included below)
Place the flour, eggs, and panko into separate mixing bowls or shallow vessels. Line them up to create an assembly line.
Moving from left to right, dredge the rice balls in the flour, then the egg mixture, and then roll them into the panko. By the end of the process, the balls should have a nice panko coating.
Heat the 2 quarts of oil in a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet. Once the oil reaches 350⁰F, drop the kimchi balls into the hot oil. The balls should turn golden brown after about 1 ½ – 2 minutes. If the balls start to get a little bit dark, remove them from the oil. If the internal temperature is hovering around 100⁰F, place them back in the oil for another 25-30 seconds or until they reach an internal temperature of 140⁰F.
When the rice balls are done, transfer them to a plate covered with a paper towel.
To plate the dish, top the Kimchi Balls with a little Wasabi Mayo and Sriracha Mayo.
Makes 1 ½ cups
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared wasabi paste
¾ tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk them together. Store the mayo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Makes 1 ¼ cups
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Sriracha Sauce
½ teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
Heavy pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together until they are well incorporated. Pour the mayo into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Her friends call her Tara Teaspoon, a reference to Tara Bench’s more than 20 years spent working as a food editor at Martha Stewart Living, Kids, and Weddings magazines and as the food and entertaining director of Ladies Home Journal magazine. Now a food blogger, recipe creator, and food stylist, Bench has written her first cookbook, “Living Life Deliciously: Recipes for Busy Weekdays & Leisurely Weekends” (Shadow Mountain Publishers 2020) with over 120 recipes designed for both casual and more experienced cooks. To make you feel like she’s In the kitchen cooking along with you, each of Bench’s recipes has a description of her experiences In creating and using It at the beginning. And at the end she offers Tara’s Tips, other options for other ways to prepare It, how to jazz up Its presentation or ways to make It easier and faster.
Crediting Martha Stewart’ Living, her first job after graduating from college with teaching her everything about being a food editor, Bench left the relatively new magazine–It was launched 30 years ago and grew exponentially while she worker there–for the venerable Ladies Home Journal. First published In 1884, LHJ was one of the first women’s service magazines.
“I loved working at a magazine with such an amazing legacy,” she said. “Flipping through the pages of those turn-of-the-century Issues was fascinating.”
Noting that there are obvious and huge differences in the way we cooked and ate from decade to decade, Bench can see both Innovative and regressive changes.
“Can you Imagine being around when people started cooking with small appliances, like a toaster, a blender, let alone a microwave?” she said. “Then, over time there was a desire to relearn to cook from scratch and using traditional cooking methods. We are a bit all over the place right now, with the Insurgence of new machines like Instant Pots and Air Fryers, then whole food trends and unrefined food. What I love Is that there Is always Innovation, and new perspectives on health, wellness, enjoyment, and convenience.”
Bench’s passion for vintage cookbooks Is part of her love for the history food and cooking has created.
“I’m fascinated by old cookbooks and the story they tell about Ingredients, homes, families and what foods brought them together,” she said. “I’m entranced by the techniques and practices of cooks before kitchens had microwaves, and large freezers, let alone electric mixers and food processor. the recipe In some of the old cookbooks are of dishes, Ingredients and styles of cooking that have been forgotten.”
But Bench is in the her and now and when it comes to new cooks wondering how to begin stocking their kitchen, she recommends five essentials–a good and sharp chef’s knife, a knife friendly non-slip cutting board, a heavy, medium-sized saucepan, and a ceramic-nonstick skillet. On, and a dishwasher.
“Ok, skip the dishwasher,” she said with a laugh. “The last one Is a toss-up between a U-shaped whisk and a silicone spatula.”
The following recipes and photos are courtesy of “Living Life Deliciously” by Tara Bench (Shadow Mountain Publishers 2020).
Thai Meatball Golden Coconut Curry
Makes: 6 To 8 Servings
Tara Bench notes that this one-pan coconut curry is easy to pull together with some spices from the pantry and a few fresh veggies.
“The Thai meatballs make this meal extraordinary, and leftovers are rare at my house,” she writes in the recipes introduction. “The full-fat coconut milk gives the dish a subtle sweetness and creates a quick, rich sauce that’s perfect for spooning over rice. The turmeric gives it a luscious gold color and aromatic flavor. Add a few tiny slices of fresh red cayenne chilis for a kick of heat. “
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
1 small red onion, sliced root to tip
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
½ teaspoon turmeric
¾ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1 recipe Thai Chicken Meatballs (see recipe below), prepared
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
Sliced red chilis, like fresh cayenne (optional)
Cooked long-grain rice, for serving
This curry is delicious with more than just meatballs. Try it with sliced chicken breast or shrimp. I cut the chicken into thin strips so it cooks in about the same time it would take the meatballs to heat through. For a vegetarian option, add a few cups of your favorite cut-up veggies in place of the meatballs and use soy sauce in place of fish sauce.
Thai Chicken Meatballs
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 ¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces (can use ground chicken instead)
½ cup packed cilantro
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 egg whites
In a food processor, combine onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and pulse until finely chopped. Add chicken, cilantro, fish sauce, and breadcrumbs and pulse until well blended but not quite pureed; no large pieces of chicken should remain. Add egg whites and pulse briefly.
Heat broiler to high and place rack 4 inches from heat. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a ½ cup to portion mixture into about 30 balls. Coat hands with water and shape into meatballs. Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Broil until meatballs are highly browned, about 4 minutes. Turn meatballs over and broil another 4 minutes. Serve, or continue to add them to another recipe.
To cook meatballs on the stovetop, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook meatballs in batches, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Mexican-Spiced Black-Bean Hash Browns and Eggs
“My take on huevos rancheros involves crispy hash brown potatoes instead of tortillas and seasoned with all the spices that make Mexican food delicious,” she said. “It’s a one-skillet meal filled with crispy and soft potatoes, black beans, eggs, and tasty fixings.”
Toppings, such as salsa, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, diced avocado, and cotija cheese
Heat oil and butter in a large 12- or 14-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add thawed hash browns and onion and stir to coat. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, until just starting to crisp. Stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and jalapeño and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until potatoes start to brown and crisp.
Reduce heat to medium. Stir in black beans and then make 4 wells in the potato mixture. Crack 1 egg in each well, cover pan with lid, and cook eggs to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for soft eggs.
Divide hash browns and eggs between 4 plates and serve immediately with your favorite toppings.
The presentation of the eggs cooked in the hash browns is fun, but you can skip that step and serve the hash browns with fried or scrambled eggs on the side.
Sidebar: Tara Teaspoon On How to Use Herbs and Spices in Cooking
A small amount of a new and different spice will add depth to your dishes. Experiment start with small amounts and have fun in the kitchen.
Make gingerbread caramel sauce. Those staple ground spices you use in the fall can turn caramel into an all year-round holiday. Add ground Saigon cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg to store-bought or homemade caramel sauce for a gingerbread caramel sauce. Drizzle on ice cream, use as a dip for apples and other fruit, sweeten your morning oatmeal or coffee and even to spruce up a cocktail.
It’s good for the soul, and even better when you spice it up: Homemade, or out-of-the-can chicken soup takes dinner to the next level with the addition of herbs and seasonings. Make a Southwest chicken soup by adding ground cumin, ground coriander, oregano, and chili powder to taste. Serve with tortilla chips. Or, add a sprinkle of curry powder, coconut milk and some fresh spinach for an Indian-inspired soup. You could even make a version hearty and comforting by adding a teaspoon of ground sage and grated cheese.
Deviled eggs are a cult favorite, making a play on the food scene in a big way. Zest up your favorite recipe by adding celery salt or Spice Islands Lemon Peel to the egg yolk filling. For a Southwest, smoky flavor add ground cumin and ground ancho chile to the mix, serve with lime wedges for squeezing. You can add an Indian twist to deviled eggs with some garam masala seasoning or curry powder; garnish with toasted coconut.
Make your own house seasoning mix. Restaurants do it all the time—house blends of herbs and spices that get used on roasted potatoes, veggies, meats, on salads and fish. Create your own by combing onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried sweet basil, and grated Romano or Parmesan. Store it in a jar in the fridge and pull it out every day in place of the same old salt and pepper.
It’s almost dinner time and you haven’t thought of anything to cook and haven’t been to the store or farm stand, so what do you do? Well, if you’re Jessica Elliot Dennison, a food writer and stylist as well as owner of 27 Elliot’s, a neighborhood café, workshop and supper club in Edinburgh, Scotland, you just open the pantry.
Since I’ve frequently been in that position, hungry people waiting and no prior planning, I was intrigued when my friend Grace Jensen sent me a copy of Dennison’s latest cookbook, “Tin Can Magic: Easy, Delicious Recipes Using Pantry Staples” (Hardie Grant 2020; $16.99). The premise is that a great meal is just a can opener away.
Sure, it helps that Dennison has quite a culinary background having been part of Jamie Oliver’s retail marketing team, responsible for his 1000-product food and homeware range and that her first cookbook, “Salad Feasts: How to Assemble the Perfect Meal” was a best seller. Indeed, the inspiration for “Tin Can Magic” came from repeated mentions by fans of her first book that the recipes they cooked the most frequently were the ones fans where the main ingredients were already on hand.
So, using nine different tins (that’s what they call them in the United Kingdom, we say cans) of such ingredients as tomatoes, butter beans, sweet corn, cherries, coconut milk, green lentils, anchovies, chickpeas and condensed milk, Dennison came up with more than 60 recipes. Since anchovies aren’t high on many people’s lists of favorite ingredients (I actually like them), I guess we could say there are really eight tins we can use to create meals—unless you’re willing to give anchovies a try.
Dennison doesn’t want us to have to run to the grocery store when making these last minute meals, so she offers lists of substitutions we can use. For example, in the introduction to her recipe for Tomato Butter Sugo with Fettucine and Feta, she notes that it’s the first sauce they teach at their pasta workshop evenings as a way of illustrating how even the simplest of store cupboard ingredients can be turned into something truly comforting and spectacular.
“Fettucine is my go-to pasta for this rich butter sugo,” she says. “But by all means, just cook whatever pasta you’ve got to hand.”
Sugo, In case you’re wondering as I was, is a traditional Italian red sauce and the word means sauce’ in Italian.
There’s an ethnic flair to many of her recipes such as Chili Ramen-Style Noodles with Spicy Tuna and Spring Onion, Crispy Coconut Milk Pancakes with Shrimp and Garlic Vinegar and Cumin and Sesame Roast Chicken Thighs, Silky Butter Bean Hummus, Charred Lemon and Toasted Almond and more familiar ones such as Roasted Pepper, Tomato and Lentil Soup, Cornbread Loaf with Cumin and Chili Loaf and Set Lemon Pudding , a four ingredient dessert made with condensed milk that’s similar to an Italian panna cotta only much easier.
INDIAN-STYLE CREAMED CORN with Naan, Coriander and Toasted Spices
“This is halfway between a dahl and a curry, where a few tins of regular sweetcorn are transformed into something fragrant and special by the help of the spices from the back of your cupboard,” writes Dennison in a forward to this recipe. “I’ve suggested using a stick blender to give your corn a nice creamy texture, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry, just mash some of the corn by hand using a potato masher instead.”
SERVES 2 25 minutes 6 tablespoons rapeseed (canola), light olive or coconut oil 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced 11½ ounces) tins of sweetcorn, drained 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin 1 tablespoon curry leaves (optional) ½ – 1 teaspoon of dried chili (hot pepper) flakes (depending on how spicy you want it) 1 lemon Sea salt flakes 1 large naan or 2 chapatis Handful of cilantro leaves
SUBSTITUTES Onion: Leek Ground coriander: Garam masala Lemon: Lime
First, heat 4 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat in a wide pan. Add the onion and garlic, reduce to low, then fry for 15 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if beginning to catch.
Add half the corn to a jug with a splash of water. Then, using a stick blender or food processor, blitz into a rough pulp.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the onion, then add the spices and curry leaves. Stir for 1–2 minutes until fragrant, then add the creamed corn and reserved kernels. Add the zest of one lemon and the juice of half, plenty of seasoning to taste, and a splash of water to loosen if it’s too thick. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges.
Meanwhile, use tongs to heat the naan bread directly over a gas flame for a few seconds until lightly charred. You can also do this in a hot pan or oven.
Divide the corn and naan between two plates. Roughly tear over the coriander and serve with a lemon wedge each.
Tomato Butter Sugo with Fettucine and Feta Serves 2 Preparation time: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons rapeseed (canola), vegetable or light olive oil 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced 14-ounce tin of chopped tomatoes ¼ teaspoon chili (hot pepper) flakes ½ onion, peeled (not chopped) 2 ounces butter (salted or unsalted) 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus extra to taste pinch of sugar (optional) 5 ounces dried fettuccine 2 ounces feta
SUBSTITUTES Onion: Half a leek, banana shallot, red onion Fettuccine: Whatever pasta you have to hand Feta: Salted ricotta, Parmesan, halloumi, pecorino Chopped tomatoes: Passata (sieved tomatoes), peeled fresh in season tomatoes
First, heat the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until fragrant and beginning to golden (take care not to burn the garlic). Add the tomatoes, chili flakes, onion half, butter and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce over a low heat for 25–30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Splash in some water if it’s sticking or reducing too much. Remove and discard the onion, then taste the sugo for seasoning. You may want to add a pinch of sugar, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes.
After 15 minutes of the sugo simmering, bring a large saucepan of water up to the boil and cook the fettucine until al dente (around 9–10 minutes – check packet instructions for exact timing), reserving a mugful of the starchy cooking water. Using tongs, transfer the fettuccine into the tomato sauce, stirring in spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water until coated in the sauce. Taste again for seasoning (bear in mind the feta will add saltiness).
Divide the pasta between two plates, then finely grate over the feta to finish.
Feast Tip: Roasted or charred little gem lettuce (bibb lettuce) topped with finely grated (shredded) Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon makes a beautiful side dish to this fettucine. Throw in some nice olives, a plate of burrata drizzled with the salsa verde (see the recipe below) plus a good bottle of red and you’ve got a full-on Italian-style feast.
Salsa Verde 1 small garlic clove 1½ tablespoons capers (baby capers) in brine, drained Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves Handful of basil leaves 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard Scant 1 cup) rapeseed (canola) or olive oil ¾ tablespoon cider vinegar ½ teaspoon salt Pinch of sugar (optional)
To make the salsa verde, mince the garlic and crush the capers with a knife. Finely chop the flat-leaf parsley and basil, then add the garlic, capers and herbs to a bowl. Stir in the mustard, oil, vinegar and salt, then taste for seasoning. If it’s too punchy and vinegary, add a small pinch of sugar.
Vietnamese-Style Iced Coffee “I became completely addicted to this way of drinking coffee on a trip to Hanoi a few years back – and as soon as summer kicks off in the UK, I get back into the swing of making them,” writes Dennison. “This isn’t a recipe as such, more of a guide for you to play around with the quantities of coffee and condensed milk to your taste. All I would recommend is to choose a coffee that’s pretty strong, to balance the sweetness of the tinned milk.”