Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fried Rice

I love this dish. Why? Because there are no set rules. With the addition of a particular herb, spice or ingredient, you can adapt fried rice to whatever cuisine or global flavour you're craving. Your only limitation is your imagination. So open the fridge and let your creativity soar! Another reason why fried rice is so incredible is because it's similar to stew or curry in that you can use up a lot of leftovers or dying vegetables that may have passed their peak but can still be used in a meal such as this.

5 cups of leftover rice
1 cup of finely chopped ham
1 finely chopped large onion
1 tbsp. pureed garlic (approx)
1 tbsp. grated ginger (approx)
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 cup of sliced celery
1/2 cup of sliced carrot
1/2 cup of sliced yellow pepper
1/2 cup of sliced brocoli tops
salt and pepper
splash of soy sauce
splash of chicken broth

Fry onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil with a dab of sesame (for flavour).
Add ham and saute. Add veggies and saute.
Add rice at the end and fry while mixing quickly.
Season with salt and pepper and a splash of soy sauce.
Can add splash of chicken broth, but not too much or rice will be soggy.
Can garnish with chopped green onion, cilantro, parsley, or mitsuba.
Enjoy immediately with a bowl of soup or a green salad or some barbecued chicken or steak....

** Also good with added bacon, shrimp, sliced steak, or charsiu pork. Be creative and colorful!
** By the way, my rice is 1/3 white rice, 1/3 brown rice, and 1/3 japanese barley - cooked together in rice cooker. (I don't cook white rice anymore as my Japanese husband has high blood sugar ... anyway mixed rice is much healthier.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chicken on the Global Grill

Barbecued Chicken Polynesian Style
Although it’s back to school, people are still enjoying their barbecues during the last weekends of Indian summer. Try some global flavors for a change: Polynesian style grilled chicken has a spicy sweet asian tang because its marinade consists of honey, soy sauce, hoisin, star anise, and ginger. Indian ‘Tandoori Chicken’ has a velvety marinade made from yogurt and a combination of cumin, curry, and chile powders with added garlic and ginger. The dish’s subtle flavour and tender texture is enhanced by it being grilled in a traditional Tandoor clay oven. Caribbean ‘Jerk Chicken’ uses a centuries old method of marinating chicken in spicy sweet seasonings and grilling it over wood for a smoky barbecue taste. The marinade contains chile pepper, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and scallions which are made into a paste with oil, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and dark rum. This fiery sauce is also great with meat and seafood. Tuscan style barbecued chicken uses classic Italian ingredients such as tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, oregano, basil, balsamico, and red wine. Honey or molasses is used as a sweetener. In Japanese cuisine, teriyaki or yakitori styles are favourite ways of serving chicken. The ubiquitous teriyaki sauce is the chosen marinade for these popular dishes which are enjoyed throughout this island nation.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Meat on a Stick

The ritual of barbecuing meat on a stick is one of the oldest recorded cooking techniques. As a result, there are hundreds of cultural and regional adaptations of this ancient delicacy.

One of the most popular types of kebab is Indonesian satay. Indigenous to almost everywhere in Southeast Asia, satay consists of three small cubes of meat threaded onto skewers made from bamboo or from the spines of coconut palm fronds. Chicken, lamb, beef or pork is marinated in a blend of spices consisting of coriander, cumin, turmeric, aniseed, chilli, lemongrass, ginger and garlic. After a few hours of marinating, the satay is grilled over low heat and basted using a stalk of lemongrass which adds a delicious lemony fragrance to the meat. These succulent and exotic morsels are then served with rice packets and peanut sauce.

Yakitori is a delicious snack eaten in Japan as well as an essential cultural experience. Millions of bamboo sticks of chicken are sold everyday in every region of Japan. A popular appetizer eaten with beer, yakitori is marinated in teriyaki sauce, grilled over hot direct heat and basted during the process. Variations abound ranging from salty (shio) to sweetish (amai); however the basting sauce is typically made from soy sauce, sake, mirin (sweet rice wine),and sugar.

The Indian version of kebab is known as tikka. This is usually meat, lamb, chicken or fish that has been marinated in a preparation of yogurt and spices for a few hours and grilled in a traditional clay oven called a Tandoor. According to the BBC, the most popular dish in multicultural Britain is Chicken Tikka Masala. This meal consists of a creamy tomato sauce enhanced by garlic, ginger, lemon and coriander which is served over marinated chicken tikka

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Asian Salads

Instead of munching on your usual ceasar salad tonight, why don't you create an Asian salad?

Green Papaya Salad is a popular Thai dish that refreshes the palate when served with spicy foods. Thinly sliced green papaya is mixed with carrot, ham, shrimp, tomato, and lettuce in a dressing made with nuoc cham. Coriander and peanuts are added as a garnish.

In Japan, Harusame salad is a favorite as it combines rice noodles, shrimp, wakame seaweed, julienned cucumber, ham, chicken, and carrot in a sesame oil and lemon dressing, and is then garnished with deep fried tofu skins or toasted garlic.

Burmese cuisine has a salad similar to coleslaw that combines sliced cabbage, onion, chili, and shredded cooked chicken or tuna, in a simple dressing made from olive oil and lemon juice.

Gado Gado is served in both Malayasian and Indonesian cuisine and is typically a colorful platter of steamed vegetables, garnished with sliced hard boiled egg and potato and served with a spicy peanut dressing. Tofu and cooked chicken can also be added for variation.

Another light summer dish is Vietnamese Table Salad with Pork. The intrepid diner wraps butter lettuce around grilled meat, noodles, and fresh Asian herbs like Shiso or Thai basil, and then dips the wrap into a tasty pungent sauce. Messy but delicious!