Category Archives: Asian / Chinese / Thai

Pad Thai Recipe and Red Boat Fish Sauce

When writing about Emeril’s Wok Seared Duck Salad, I mentioned his recommendation for fish sauce with the ingredient list.  Shortly after posting, Red Boat Fish Sauce asked if I would try their sauce to compare.  I only recommend products I like and use, so it has taken me a couple of weeks to put it to the test.

Starting with Shrimp Lo Mein, I was pleased with the clean, bright flavor that melded perfectly into the sauce without being too salty or fishy.  The second recipe we tried it in was Pad Thai with Beef (below) and again, it brought a balanced dimension of savory flavor.  I was equally pleased to discover this new sauce has so few ingredients, just anchovies and sea salt.

Additives like hydrolyzed vegetable protein is commonly used in commercial fish sauces as a short cut to enhance flavor.  According to Celiac Solution, “HVP (hydrogenated vegetable protein), HPP (hydrolyzed plant protein), TVP (textured vegetable protein), MSG (monosodium glutamate) could contain wheat if made outside of the U.S.A.” This is a concern for anyone trying to avoid gluten and still enjoy Asian foods.

We cannot always be sure about the ingredients used in restaurants, but at home, I use pure, whole ingredients, as close to the natural source whenever possible.  I look for products like Red Boat to add to my pantry because quality ingredients make a difference in taste and eliminating unnecessary additives from our food is important to us.

To find out where to buy Red Boat Fish Sauce near you, just click on the link or order online directly from Red Boat.

Other recipes to try:
Thai Peanut Sauce
Beef Lo Mein
Thai-Style Pineapple Wraps

Pad Thai with Beef

Pad Thai with Beef

Adapted from Emeril’s Pad Thai
Serves 4
8       ounces  dried rice noodles
1/4    cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
2       tablespoons  rice wine vinegar
2-3       tablespoons  sugar or coconut palm sugar, adjust to taste
1       tablespoon  tamarind paste
1/2     teaspoon  crushed red pepper
3       tablespoons  coconut oil
7       cloves  garlic — minced
1       lb  beef, pork, or chicken (or a combination) — sliced in 1/4″ strips; or shrimp halved lengthwise
2       large  eggs
8       ounces  bean sprouts (about 2 cups) — rinsed and dry
2       cups  green onions (2-3 bunches) — white and green parts, chopped
1/3     cup  roasted, unsalted peanuts — coarsely chopped
1/3     cup  fresh cilantro leaves — minced
1        tablespoon  lime juice
1        whole  lime (optional) — cut into wedges for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the noodles with enough warm water to cover.  Soak until just tender, about 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, tamarind paste, crushed red pepper, and sugar; stir until the tamarind paste and sugar dissolves and is well blended. Set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or just fragrant.  Add the meat and cook until the just cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, about a minute.  Add the onions and allow to cook for 30 seconds to soften slightly. Add the sprouts, onions, fish sauce mixture, and noodles, and cook until mixed well and warmed through, stirring frequently.

Add the reserved meat and peanuts, and cook for 30 seconds to incorporate into the noodles.  Toss with the cilantro, lime juice, and serve immediately with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Premeditated Leftovers Hearth and Soul

Emeril’s Wok-Seared Duck Salad Recipe: Romantic Sizzling Skillets

When the email arrived from The Secret Ingredient with three recipes we could share from Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, I admit, there was a hint of skepticism when I saw this one.  Not really a big fan of duck, but I knew I could not recommend something I hadn’t tried.  Although there was no requirement to use these recipes (see Cajun Shrimp Stew here), it is the ideal “try before you buy” kind of experience. With this in mind, I decided to give duck another chance and Wok-Seared Duck Salad was on the menu.

Oh, man, I am so glad I did not pass this one up!  We loved it! Emeril’s inspiration for this salad marries citrus, ginger, fresh herbs and Thai chiles—and as you might have guessed the seared duck breast tops it off superbly. While it is lighter fare, it is a satisfying main-course salad.

Friday night was dine-in date night, so I served it on one large plate for us to share.  We could not stop talking about the deep heat of the red Thai bird chili, the luscious duck breast, or the playfulness of the fresh herbs with citrus-ginger sauce (okay, maybe that was the one-plate effect). Let the spice in this salad bring a little spice to life and plan a special evening with your sweetheart—yes, salad can be romantic. As it turns out, Wok-Seared Duck Salad is great date food … like me, you might even see duck in a whole new way. 😉

Wok-Seared Duck Salad

This recipe was inspired by a Thai dish called laap, which is made with minced or ground chicken, fish, pork, or duck and seasoned with the wonderful flavors of chiles, ginger, fish sauce, and citrus. I decided to use the same flavors with a seared duck breast and make it into more of a main-course salad. This is a refreshing take on northern Thai street food.
Serves 4

2      tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice
1      tablespoon minced fresh red Thai bird chile
2      magret duck breasts (about 12 ounces each) or 1 ½ pounds other domestic duck breasts
1/3   cup minced shallot
1 ½  tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼     cup fish sauce (see note below)
¼     cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼     cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 ½  teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
½     cup fresh cilantro leaves
½     cup fresh mint leaves
½     cup fresh basil leaves
1       medium head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2       cups bean sprouts
1       cup julienned red bell pepper

1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the rice. Toast the rice, shaking the wok constantly, until all the grains have turned golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mortar and set aside to cool. Once the rice has cooled, grind it using a pestle until it reaches a sandy consistency. Alternatively, grind the toasted rice in a clean spice grinder. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Place the chile in the wok over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the wok, until lightly colored and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the chile from the pan and add to the bowl with the rice.

3. Using a paring knife, score the fatty side of the duck breasts by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern; this allows the fat to render more easily. Place the duck breasts in the wok, fatty side down, and cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board, slice them into thin strips, and return the strips to the wok. Add the shallot and ginger and stir-fry over medium-high heat until the duck is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the duck from the wok to the bowl with the rice and chile and set aside.

4. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, orange juice, and palm sugar and mix well. Pour the mixture over the duck and toss until well coated. Add the cilantro, mint, basil, lettuce, bean sprouts, and julienned red pepper and toss to combine.  Serve the salad immediately.

Notes: Fish sauce can be found in Asian markets and sometimes the international food aisle of the grocery store. There are many brands of fish sauce, but we (Emeril) prefer Three Crabs, Golden Boy, and Tiparos brands.

Additional Notes from Savoring Today:
I recommend Red Boat Fish Sauce based on my own taste test and because it has so few ingredients, just anchovies and sea salt.

If you cannot find fresh red Thai bird chile, dried will work, however be careful when heating the dried chiles in a wok or skillet so the area is well ventilated.  The dried chiles can cause lung irritation when heated in a dry skillet (learned from experience 😉 ).  Also, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of the dried chile will give a lot of spice, so use sparingly unless you are familiar with it (or have a fire hydrant nearby).

Pre-order a copy of Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders here.

Disclosure: For my participation in The Secret Ingredient’s One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a jar of Emeril’s Essence seasoning, and a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece. Once the party concludes, upon my successful completion, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and a set of Emeril’s cookbooks.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites

Kung Pao Chicken: With Gluten-Free Options and Monthly Cooking Instructions

Kung Pao is a standard on any Chinese menu, and while we enjoy the occasional take-out as much as anyone does, it is always healthier when we control the ingredients.  Another great reason to make Kung Pao at home is the freedom to adjust the spice to your own preference.  I would classify this recipe in the medium-heat category, so if you like mouth-numbing, spicy heat, just add more of the chilies.

Over the years, my good friend and cooking buddy Pati, and I refined this dish together.  We forgo dried red chilies or chili paste, instead use chipotle chilies en adobo to bring the heat and add complexity of flavor.  Chipotle chilies in adobo is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, which brings a unique smoky-spicy flavor to this classic Chinese dish—think of it as a small step toward fusion cooking for the home cook.

I have posted the recipe with gluten-free options, as well as instructions for monthly cooking, so next time you think of Kung Pao for take-out, you can just take it out of the freezer!

To make this dish gluten-free, look for the following:
Soy Sauce brands that are Gluten-Free        
Rachael Ray’s Stock-In-A-Box 

Bob’s Red Mill, All Natural Cornstarch
La Costena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Kung Pao Chicken

Serves: 5
4    boneless and skinless chicken breasts — cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
2    tablespoons  peanut or coconut oil
1    bunch green onions — white bulbs chopped; green tops cut separately into 1/4-inch pieces, saved for garnish
1/2  cup  roasted peanuts

MARINADE:
2    tablespoon  soy sauce
2    teaspoon dry sherry
2    teaspoons  cornstarch

SAUCE:
1/3   cup  chicken stock
4     tablespoons  soy sauce
1      teaspoon  dry sherry
2     teaspoon white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2     teaspoon  sesame oil
1/3  cup  honey
3     tablespoons chilies in adobo sauce — removed from sauce, chopped
2     teaspoons  garlic — minced
2     teaspoons  cornstarch

In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with marinade; set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch and mix well over med-low heat. Bring to a low simmer and allow flavors to meld, about 8-10 minutes. Adjust any of the ingredients, to taste. Dissolve cornstarch in a bit of water or chicken broth and add to the sauce.  Cook over med heat until sauce thickens, then remove from heat.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok; add the white part of the onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened.  Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to allow the sauce to coat the chicken. Stir in the peanuts and scallion tops.

Serve over brown rice and diced, stir-fry vegetables.

STIR-FRY VEGETABLES: (Optional – as shown in photo)
2    tablespoons oil
1     cup  celery — coarsely chopped
1     red bell pepper — coarsely chopped
1     cup  napa cabbage or bok choy — sliced thin
2    teaspoons fresh ginger — grated or minced
salt & pepper
**Substitute any favorite vegetable in this stir-fry.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok, add ginger and cook until fragrant. Add prepared vegetables, and cook until crisp-tender.  Salt and pepper to taste and reserve in warm oven until ready to serve.

Monthly Cooking Instructions:

STEPS ON COOKING DAY:
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with marinade; set aside. In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients (excluding the cornstarch) and mix well over med-low heat to meld flavors. Adjust to taste and set aside to cool.

Heat oil and add the white part of the scallions to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 2-3 minutes.  In order to keep the chicken tender, not tough, be sure to not over cook it in this step. Add the sauce and set aside to cool.

Once cooled completely, pour into a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze flat.  If frozen flat, it takes less time to defrost.

Note: The cornstarch is omitted from the sauce when originally prepared because it will lose its thickening properties in the freezer.  Instead, it is added during the finishing steps.

STEPS TO FINISH THE MEAL:
Defrost chicken and sauce mixture.  In a large skillet, heat chicken and sauce; add 2 teaspoons cornstarch and cook on med heat until warmed through and sauce thickens.  Stir in the peanuts and scallion tops.  Serve over brown rice and stir-fry vegetables.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesdays
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck

Spicy Thai-Style Pineapple Wraps: Test Kitchen Tuesday

 

Thai-Style Shrimp and Pineapple Wraps

I saw Spicy Thai-Style Pineapple Wraps demonstrated on Emeril Live, highlighting a cookbook by Food Network Kitchens, Get Grilling.  This recipe looks perfect for summer grilling and the spice easy to adjust based on preference.  Although it was presented as an appetizer for a grilling menu, I plan to serve it tonight as a main course by adding grilled shrimp, creating 3-4 servings.  I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included in this post or include a link to your site with your comment.

Spicy Thai-Style Pineapple Wraps

Source: Food Network Kitchens Get Grilling, Meredith Books, 2005
Serves: 12 as an appetizer

Half a medium fresh pineapple — peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size chunks (about 3 cups)
Juice of 2 limes — (about 1/4 cup)
2       teaspoons  sugar
2       teaspoons  chile paste — such as sambal oelek
2       teaspoons  fish sauce
2       cups  roasted peanuts or cashews — roughly chopped
2/3   cups  roughly chopped fresh cilantro — (leaves and stems)
12     Bibb lettuce leaves — (about 1 head)
Kosher salt

Whisk the lime juice, sugar, chile paste, and fish sauce in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the peanuts and cilantro and stir until evenly dressed with the sauce.

When ready to serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Put about 1/4 cup of pineapple in each leaf and season with salt to taste. Top the pineapple with the nut mixture. Serve, letting your guests wrap (or fold) each lettuce leaf to enclose the filling.

Beef Lo Mein [with Gluten-Free options]

This popular takeout dish will make you want to grab chopsticks and dig in, unless of course, a fork is closer.  But who needs takeout? With just a little extra care in the prep, this dish comes together quickly and easily with beefy, noodley, tender vegetables in savory perfection. Preparing Beef Lo Mein at home is the ideal way to maintain control over quality ingredients, customize vegetables, or accommodate gluten-free diets.  The only challenge is there may not be any leftovers.

To make this dish gluten-free, look for the following:

Panda Brand (Green Label) Oyster Flavored Sauce or Wok Mei All Natural Oyster Sauce
Soy Sauce brands that are Gluten-Free
Gluten-Free Asian Noodles
Rachael Ray Beef Stock-in-a-Box (recommended for flavor by Cooks Illustrated) or Imagine Organic Beef Flavored Broth

Beef Lo Mein

Serves 4
1         pounds  tri-tip or flank steak — cut into 1/4″ x 2″ strips
4         tablespoons  coconut oil or peanut oil
1         pound  thin Chinese egg noodles (fresh)
1         tablespoon  sesame oil
1         tablespoon  garlic — minced
2        teaspoons  ginger — grated fresh
1         cup  carrots — julienned
1         cup  zucchini — julienned
1/2     teaspoon  red pepper flakes — more or less, to taste
1/2     cup  green onion tops — coarsely chopped
1         package  Brown Beech mushrooms — trimmed from the base
4         ounces  snow peas — ends snapped, strings removed
Beef Marinade:
1         tablespoon  soy sauce
1         tablespoon  dry sherry or rice wine
2        teaspoons  corn starch
1         teaspoon  honey or sugar
1         tablespoon  sesame oil
Sauce:
3        tablespoons  oyster sauce
2        tablespoons  soy sauce
1/2    cup  beef broth
2        teaspoons  cornstarch
1/2    teaspoon  black pepper

Mix beef marinade and toss with beef strips; set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes (if using gluten-free noodles, follow package al dente cooking directions).  Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.  Toss with the sesame oil, to coat lightly.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil over med-high heat.  Add the noodles and fry over medium-high heat, gently stirring, until lightly browned on the bottom, about 6 minutes.  With a spatula, flip the noodles over to lightly brown the other side.  Return noodles to the bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, cornstarch, and pepper; stir to dissolve the cornstarch.

In the same skillet used to fry the noodles, add beef to the skillet with 2 tablespoons coconut oil over med-high heat and cook until lightly browned. Remove beef from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, zucchini, and carrots and cook for 1-2 minutes or until garlic and ginger are fragrant and vegetables have softened.

Add the pepper flakes, green onions, mushrooms, and snow peas, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  Return beef to the skillet with vegetables.

Reduce heat to medium, add the oyster sauce mixture, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat, return noodles to the skillet, toss to coat with sauce, and incorporate with beef and vegetables.  Serve immediately.

Posted on the following Blog Hops:
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck

Test Kitchen Tuesdays: Seafood Lo Mein

It’s Tuesday Kitchen Tuesday, so it is time to add something new to the recipe collection.  Seafood Lo Mein sounds so good right now, I am looking forward to trying this recipe I discovered on emerils.com—the sesame oiled noodle cake really piques my interest.  Just glancing at the ingredient list, I can tell already that I’ll probably only use two types of seafood like shrimp and scallops, but will stay true to the rest of the recipe.  Would love to have you join me—jump-in with all the seafood choices or make adjustments as you need to, it’s all good!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are feeling especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included.

Seafood Lo Mein

Source: Emeril Lagasse
Servings: 4-6
5        tablespoons  peanut oil
1        pound  thin Chinese egg noodles
2        teaspoons  sesame oil
2        tablespoons  oyster sauce
2        tablespoons  soy sauce
1        teaspoon  cornstarch
1/2   teaspoon  freshly-ground white or black pepper
1        tablespoon  minced garlic
2        soft-shelled crabs — cleaned and quartered
1/4   pound  calamari — body sacs cut into 1″ pieces, tentacles trimmed
1/4   pound  small shrimp — peeled and deveined
1/4   pound  bay scallops
1/2    teaspoon  red pepper flakes
1/2   cup  green onion tops — half-inch slices
4        ounces  straw mushrooms — wiped clean
4        ounces  snow peas — ends snapped and strings removed

Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan with peanut oil and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  Toss with the sesame oil, to coat lightly.  Place in the greased cake pan.

In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil over high heat to almost smoking.  Add the noodle cake and fry over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 6 minutes.  With a spatula, flip the noodle cake and brown the other side.  Remove from the wok and keep warm until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, and pepper, and stir to dissolve the cornstarch.

In a wok or large saute pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the crab quarters, and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.  Add the calamari, shrimp and scallops and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and the seafood is just cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Add the pepper flakes, green onions, mushrooms, and snow peas, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the oyster sauce mixture and cook until thickened.

Serve immediately over the noodle cake.

Thai Peanut Sauce

A few months ago, I discovered Sister’s Pantry Peanut Sauce at Whole Foods while on the hunt for new ways to prepare vegetables.  It put a great new twist on quick stir-fry meals with a nutty, tangy-sweet, spice that we love.  Bottled sauces and marinades have the advantage of easy, but the cost can be prohibitive and the ingredients questionable.  Though the ingredients were okay, the price was a bit steep for components I mostly had at home, so I set out to make a homemade sauce just like it.

Comparing their label to peanut sauce recipes on-line, this is what I developed.  I passed some along to my friend for a second opinion since I had recommended the Sister’s Pantry brand to her, as well.  The word she used to describe the new Thai Peanut Sauce recipe was incredible, as she told me, she was eating it on everything, hot or cold— morning toast, crackers, vegetables, chicken—whatever it would stick to, I guess.

All of these ingredients can be found at Whole Foods or any oriental market. You can use peanut butter instead of peanuts, but I think it is better this way. Serve as a sauce over stir-fry, as a dip for vegetables or grilled meats, and if you love it that much, spread it on toast or crackers too.  As shown in the photo, a mix of vegetables, chicken-basil sausage links, and brown rice noodles are transformed into an “ooh, I’ll have that” lunch or dinner.

Thai Peanut Sauce

1         cup  dry roasted, unsalted peanuts — or peanut butter
1/3    cup  water
1/3    cup  coconut milk
3         cloves  garlic
1         tablespoon  ginger
1         teaspoon  Tamari soy sauce (gluten-free)
2         teaspoons  sesame oil
1/2     cup  honey — more or less, to taste
3          tablespoons  lime juice
1/2     teaspoon  tamarind paste
2          tablespoons  fish sauce
1          teaspoon  Sriracha hot chili sauce — to taste
1/4     teaspoon  crushed chili peppers

Process peanuts in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Add the remaining ingredients, adjusting for taste–more soy or fish sauce for salt, honey for sweet, hot sauce for spice, or lime for more acidic. To thin, add more water or coconut milk as needed.

Stir-fry Vegetables & Chicken Sausage
w/ Thai Peanut Sauce

1. To create this simple dish, stir-fry bite-size vegetables in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until tender.
2. Cook rice noodles in salted, boiling water according to package directions. We prefer Tinkyada brand.
3. Grill or brown chicken sausage of your choice in a skillet, slice on the bias to create 1/4″ discs.
4. Add sausage and cooked noodles to the skillet with the vegetables.
5. Add enough peanut sauce to coat well.
6. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Serve with more Sriracha sauce at the table.

Also posted on:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck