Tag Archives: Asian

Garlicky Soy Honey Green Beans


One of the most popular requests I receive is for inspired side vegetable dishes.  Something easy, something delicious, something that (hopefully) everyone at the dinner table will eat.


Green beans are one of those vegetables that pretty much everyone likes.  You hear complaints about broccoli or eggplant or spinach, but green beans are quite well-loved, or at least pretty inoffensive.


This recipe takes this ho-hum vegetable and with a new preparation technique and just a handful of ingredients, transforms it into something altogether different than what you’ve likely encountered before.  It’s inspired by green beans I’ve eaten at Chinese restaurants.


Plus it doesn’t involve the oven or even steaming (a bonus for these summer months).  Sauté the green beans until they’ve blacked a bit, then add soy, honey and garlic and you’ve got yourself some mean beans.


And with this post, I’m going to say so long for a few months.  As I type, our London house is being packed up and on July 4th we fly back to the States (oh, the irony!).  We’ll be vagabonds for the summer traveling through California and the midwest, until we settle in Boston at the end of August, hopefully timing our arrival with that of our household goods from London.  I’ll be back with more recipes probably in September, once my Boston kitchen is up and running.  Enjoy the summer and happy cooking (and eating).  xo

1 year ago:  Salmon Salad with Dill and Capers

Garlicky Soy Honey Green Beans (serves 4 as a side dish)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

12 ounces (340 grams) green beans, trimmed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon honey

In a medium sauté pan heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.  When the butter is melted, add the green beans and salt.  Cook, stirring the beans occasionally, until most are well-browned, shrunken and tender, 8-10 minutes.  (The butter in the pan will have turned dark brown.  If beans aren’t browned at 8 minutes, turn up heat a bit.)  While the beans are cooking combine the soy sauce and water in a small bowl.

Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the garlic is softened and fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Carefully add the soy and water mixture then the honey.  Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glaze that coats the beans, about 1 minute.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish, scraping the pan with the spatula to get all of the garlicky sauce, and serve.

Adapted from finecooking.com



Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Fast Vietnamese Caramelized Trout


I’m always leery to use terms like “fast” or “30-minute” or “easy” or “best ever”.  Oftentimes they’re tagged onto recipes which don’t live up to the hype and you’re left disappointed.  I’d rather just be told the truth.  Not every recipe has to be fast, but if one is sold to me as fast, I’ll usually make it when I’m in a hurry and then when it takes too long and I’m stressing out to get dinner on the table before having to run off to something else….argh!!  Don’t like that.


At my Asian cooking class a few months back we discussed favorite Asian dishes that we make at home.  My lovely friend Stacy was kind enough to email links to a bunch of delicious-sounding family-friendly, quick Asian meals. This Vietnamese Caramelized Trout not only appeared to be quick but the ingredient list had me hooked.


The original New York Times recipe calls for bluefish, but as that isn’t available in the UK (at least not at my local fish market), I found some delicious whole trout that the fishmonger filleted for me.  Since the trout is relatively thin, it cooks quickly, and indeed makes this a quick 30-minute meal.  The lemongrass, soy, brown sugar, ginger and fish sauce make a sweet, flavorful pan sauce.  The green onions added at the end lend color and a bit of oniony bite.


If you’re looking for a true 30-minute meal, give this one a go!

1 year ago:  Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting, Chimichurri with Steak

Vietnamese Caramelized Trout (serves 4)

Note: Lemongrass is found in many supermarkets, but if you don’t find it in your local store try an Asian food market.  Or substitute lemongrass with some strips of lime zest (use a vegetable peeler).  You don’t need to bruise the peel (as you have to bruise the lemongrass).

4 (6-ounce) skin-on trout filets (or substitute bluefish, mackerel or salmon) – thinner filets are best

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 stalk lemongrass (or use lime zest, see Note above)

1/3 cup (70 grams) brown sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 spring onions/scallions, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander

Cooked rice, for serving

Brush fish all over with oil. Remove outer layer of lemongrass stalk and cut stalk into 2-inch lengths.  Using the butt of a kitchen knife, pound and bruise stalks all over.

Place lemongrass pieces, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger and black pepper in a large skillet.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and reduce sauce for 1 to 2 minutes, until syrupy.

Place fish, skin side-down, in pan. Simmer, basting fish frequently with pan sauce, for 2 minutes; carefully turn fish and continue cooking until fish is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Transfer fish to a serving plate and garnish with scallion, jalapeño and cilantro. Drizzle with additional sauce.  Serve over rice, if desired.

Adapted from The New York Times


Filed under Main dishes

Sticky Glazed Chicken Wings


I would be remiss if this week’s entry didn’t involve Super Bowl-appropriate nibbles for the big game this Sunday.  So here it is, America’s favorite bar food:  chicken wings.


Though I’ve partaken of my fair share of wings, I’d never attempted fixing them myself.  I looked through recipe after recipe with endless variations – baked, fried, slow cooker, buffalo, Korean, etc. – but all had a common denominator, of which I was completely unaware.  Wings are comprised of three parts: tip, wingette and drumette.  When you eat them at Buffalo Wild Wings you’re eating the wingettes and drumettes.  However most supermarkets sell the wing whole requiring a carving job by the home cook.  I’ll admit I was a bit put off.  Hacking up a chicken wing seemed like a bit of an ordeal.


YouTube to the rescue!  Thanks to YouTube I was able to watch several videos, some of which made cutting up a chicken wing appear ridiculously easy – akin to a knife through butter.  It isn’t quite that easy, but it’s not exactly difficult either.  Watch a few videos and I assure you, you’ll figure it out too.  The whole watching and cutting process took maybe 10 minutes max.


Now for flavorings, I knew I didn’t want buffalo wings as they’re too spicy for the entire family, so I was thinking more Asian style.  This was the first recipe I tried and it couldn’t have been simpler with amazing results.


I am not waiting another 40+ years before making my next batch of wings.  In fact, I’ll be fixing them up for Sunday’s Super Bowl – it’ll be a good midnight snack while we’re watching the big game here in London.

1 year ago:  Frittata

Sticky Glazed Chicken Wings (makes 4 dozen wings)

Note:  This was my first attempt at making chicken wings at home which means it was also my first attempt at cutting a whole chicken wing into sections (tip, wingette and drumette).  If you have never sectioned a chicken wing, I suggest watching a tutorial on YouTube.  Search “cut chicken wings” and you should find quite a few.

24 chicken wings (about 4-5 lbs or 2 kgs)

1 cup (250 ml) soy sauce

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry red wine

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.  Cut off wing tips and halve the wings at the joint, so that you have a wingette and drumette.  Discard the tips or save them to make chicken stock (which you can use in Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup).  Arrange the wingettes and drumettes (you should have 48 pieces total) in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking tray in a single layer.  If all the pieces don’t fit, put excess in another pan/tray.

In a small saucepan heat the remaining ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).  Pour liquid evenly over the wings and then using tongs or your fingers, gently roll the wings in the sauce so they are coated on all sides.  Bake for 45 minutes. Turn wings and continue baking until the liquid becomes thick and sticky and wings become dark brown (a few burnt bits are ok), another 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Let wings cool for about 5 minutes, transfer to a platter and serve….with lots of napkins.

Adapted from Gourmet (La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings)


Filed under Appetizers and snacks

Slow-Roasted Chicken in Sweet-Soy Braising Sauce


“I love that I’m the girl that shares recipes now!”

That’s the subject of an email I received back in November 2008 from my dear friend Maureen.  Maureen and I go way back.  Prior to this the only recipe I’d probably ever received and/or discussed with her was for mojitos that she learned to make in Cuba.  But back in 2008 Maureen was settling into domestic bliss with her fiancé Rob and dabbling in the cooking arena.


She always appreciated good food – organic, local – and especially loved her breakfast.

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Sadly Maureen was taken from us last week way too soon after a long struggle with breast cancer.  “Mama Sunflower” had a light and a spark that most of us only dream of having.  Everyone remembered Maureen!  So many were touched by her and are struggling to understand her loss and grieving in their own ways.


So I’m going to honor Maureen in the way I know best: with food.  This was the first (and only) recipe that Maureen sent me, in that email titled “I love that I’m the girl that shares recipes now!”.  I made it today and felt closer to her.  It’s a simple chicken dish, slowly cooked with a sweet-spicy sauce – much like Maureen’s vibrant personality.  Her heart was filled with so much love, usually so patient and tolerant, but she also had a side-dish of sass.

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Make this comforting dish and be that girl (or boy) that shares their recipes and food with their loved ones.  Because I do believe that food is a way of showing love.  And as Maureen and her family always remind us, love is the answer!!


Slow-Roasted Chicken in Sweet-Soy Braising Sauce (serves 4-6)

Note:  I prefer to buy my chickens from our local butcher as they taste so much better than the mass-produced chickens from the supermarket.  As an added bonus, your butcher will probably butterfly the chicken for you (as mine does!).  If you are butterflying the chicken yourself, check out this tutorial.  There are also lots of videos on Youtube.  Basically you just remove the spine and flatten it, so that as much of the chicken as possible is in the braising sauce.  Another sidenote: I”m seriously dreaming of pouring the sweet-soy sauce over some chicken wings and baking them for seriously delicious sticky wings!!  Let me know if you try that.

4 lb (about 2 kg) whole chicken, butterflied

1 onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 red peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/3 cup (75 ml) soy sauce

1/3 cup (70 grams) brown sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup (60 ml) cider vinegar

1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry

10 garlic cloves, minced (I recommend using a food processor or mini-prep for mincing…definitely speeds things up)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-3 tablespoons siracha, or other hot sauce, to taste (I used 1 tablespoon and it wasn’t too spicy for my spice-averse kids)

Rice, grain or small pasta – for serving

Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C).  Spread chicken as flat as possible in a shallow pan.  I use a deep-dish pizza pan but a large sheet pan would work well too.  A 9″ x 13” (23cm x 33cm) baking pan is an option, but a shallower pan works better.  Scatter onions and red peppers around the chicken.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients (soy sauce through siracha).  Pour sauce over the chicken and vegetables, tossing vegetables to coat.  Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven to 325º F (160º C) and roast for about another hour, basting chicken with sauce every 10-15 minutes.  You can tell that the chicken is fully cooked when either (1) a thermometer inserted into the middle of a breast registers 165º F (75º C) or (2)the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove pan from the oven.  Using a spatula, carefully transfer chicken to a serving platter (you can carve it into individual pieces or present it whole).  Using a slotted spoon, place vegetables around chicken. Skim as much fat as you can off the top of the sauce or use a fat separator (as I do in the pics above).  Pour sauce from roasting pan into a 12″ skillet over medium heat and cook until reduced slightly, about 5-7 minutes.

Serve chicken with rice, grain (bulgur is our favorite) or a small pasta (couscous is nice).  Spoon sauce over chicken, vegetables and rice.

Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper


Filed under Main dishes, Uncategorized