Monday, March 31, 2008

Scallion pancakes.

If there ever was such a thing as Asian tortillas, then scallion pancakes would be it. I love tortillas, especially as a burrito wrapper, however, tortillas eaten by itself tastes so bland and boring. To me, it's basically like a squished slice of bread.

Scallion pancakes are a whole different story. They, on the otherhand, are MEANT to be eaten alone. And who wouldn't want to eat it that way? Scallion pancakes are tender and flaky (weird, I know), pan fried till golden, rip-able, salty, mildly oniony, finger food. No knife or fork please!

But now I am getting ahead of myself. You are probably thinking, What is this crazy person talking about scallion pancakes? Do you put scallions in Bisquick mix? Don't fret. Scallion pancakes (as well as many other so called Asian "pancakes" apparently) are nothing like regular old breakfast pancakes. While the breakfast pancakes you are probably use to are fluffy and spongy, scallion pancakes are crusty and have many thin layers when you pull it apart.

I simply love scallion pancakes. My grandpa would make it all the time when I was a kid, and even now I still have fun ripping one apart and seeing the green flecks of scallion pieces spread throughout.

I really could talk about scallion pancakes FOREVER, but that would get boring. Why not try one for yourself and taste/smell/experience what I am talkin about.

Here's a link to Ming Tsai's recipe for scallion pancakes with a ginger dipping sauce:,,FOOD_9936_8,00.html

It's a perfect side dish (or main entree for me) that can be eaten anytime of the day!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vietnamese roll.

I use to get mixed up about the "rolls." Whenever I heard the word spring roll, vegetable roll, or egg roll the same image would always come into my mind - that oily fried log you get in Asian take out boxes (I never really liked any of those rolls). So then, when my friend told me that he would bring in Vietnamese rolls to class one day, I thought, Ugh. Not another oily fried log!

Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. What my friend brought in the next day was no oily fried lump/log/whatever, it was a roll of tranclucent rice paper wrapper with a seafood and veggie filling. And it was delicious!

Thin chewy ricy wrapper filled with crunchy fresh bean sprouts, bright mint, straight from the sea baby shrimps, and strips of carrots. When I took my first bite into it - I nearly jumped back! It was so simple, yet so unexpected and flavorful. I was blown away.

My friend so happened to be Vietnamese (so I knew the roll I tasted in class was straight from the best). However, if you don't know someone who is Vietnamese that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun! Instead of ordering Asian take out that comes with oily "logs," try ordering a Vietnamese roll. You'll be glad you did - healthwise and tastewise!

Here's a great recipe Rachel Ray found for Vietnamese rolls - its called a "Vietnamese Burrito!":,,FOOD_9936_23136,00.html

Eel sushi.

Have you ever tried eel? Hey, don't give me that look. You heard me right - have you ever tried eel? Well, if you haven't, then you've been missing out my friend.

Ok, so you are probably thinking, People eat eel? That electrifying long snake thing? Don't worry. Eel isn't as bad as it sounds. Beyond the electrifying and snake like appearance, eel meat is pretty much like a thin strip of fish. And when it is roasted - WHEN IT IS ROASTED! - words can not describe its taste (hey but I could try right?).

Sweet, savory, melt-in-your-mouth, rich eel meat.

It tastes way better than any fish fillet I've ever eaten. It is so rich and buttery that I almost feel guilty if I eat another bite of it. "Almost," I said, almost. In actuality, I could probably eat a whole plate of roasted eel by itself breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and still not be sick of it. To me, it's like candy.

Then, if eel couldn't get any better - it did. It was put in sushi. Eel sushi is like eating grownup candy. It is sweet, satisfying, and good for you! Eel has A, B1, D, and E vitamins. Eel also has good unsaturated fatty acids that lower blood pressure, promote healthy brain function, and promote good eyesight. Good for you and tastes like candy? You would be crazy not to give eel a try!

Personally, I could eat roasted eel right by itself, but that's kind of weird. So, here are some suggestions for recipes with eel. The Japanese were right on the money when they made eel sushi. So, definitly give that a try. Simple wrap a block of rice and a piece of roasted eel meat with a thin strip of seaweed. Or incorporate eel, avacado, and cucumber (in any mix) into a sushi roll.

Here's Rachel Ray's recipe for a fantastic Unagi roll (Japanese word for freshwater eel):,,FOOD_9936_23139,00.html

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Korean kimchi salad.

I never really liked kimchi to be honest. You know, that spicy pickeled cabbage with specks of red all over. The fact that it was always stored in a huge jar of murky vinegar (I think) didn't help entice my senses either. Kimchi, to me, always tasted like waxy spicy sour cabbage. I just didn't like it.

But Korean kimchi salad is a whole different topic.

Don't be fooled because it has the word "kimchi" in its name. Korean kimchi salad is a fresh refreshing mix of garden veggies with a "not so spicy" sweet dressing. It is nothing - I repeat NOTHING - like regular old kimchi.

The first day I tried it (the same night my mom came home with Korean style grilled chicken!), I almost finished the whole carton of it. Yes, it is that good. It's sweet, crisp, light, and refreshing - the perfect appetizer for any occasion. I highly recommend everyone to try this dish. You won't be disappointed.

Here's the recipe!

Korean Kimchi Salad

1 lb cabbage
1 Tbsp salt
8 oz radish
1 carrot
2 cucumbers
6 Tbsp vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Korean brand hot pepper paste (adjust amount to taste)
Minced garlic (adjust amount to taste)
Sesame seeds (adjust amount to taste)

Cut off cabbage root and take off each leaf carefully from cabbage. Boil the whole cabbage (until it is cooked but still with a snap) and then put leaves in an ice bath. Cut the radish and carrot into julienne strips. Cut the iced cabbage into thin strips. Mix vinegar, sugar, salt, hot pepper paste, and garlic in a bowl. Marinate all the veggies in the dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Korean style grilled chicken.

Mmmmmm. I love this stuff. One day my mom discovered this recipe when she was taking a Korean cooking class from a REAL Korean cook. She brought home a sample of it after her class and I immediately fell in love. I almost finished the whole plate before my dad could even get one bite!

Warm juicy grilled chicken with a spicy peppery garliky crust. It will make your mouth crave for more!

Here's the recipe!

Korean Style Grilled Chicken

1 lb chicken
1 scallion
1/4 oz shredded red pepper
1 tsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp ginger juice
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp hot pepper paste (this is a Korean brand - check your local Asian market)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp cooking wine

First de-bone the chicken and cut it into 2 or 3 inch pieces. Strike the chicken meat flat. Next marinate chicken meat in ginger juice, garlic juice, and cooking wine for 2 minutes. Mix all soy sauce, hot pepper paste, sugar, chopped garlic, sesame oil, sesames seeds, and black pepper to make a sauce. Combine chicken meat with the sauce and grill them in a grill pan. Finally garnish with cut scallion, shredded red pepper, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


Peking Duck.

Need I say more? Crispy thin skin around juicy warm duck meat. It's to die for. On weekends, Mom likes to buy a steamy box of Peking duck from our neighborhood Asian Food Market. It is so good.

I've tried two different kinds of Peking duck dishes in my life. Peking duck - alone - with a dip of soy sauce (so simple and delicious!) and Peking duck with pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce spread (which is usually found in many Chinese Buffets).

I know. You are probably thinking, Pancakes with duck? Don't worry. Asian pancakes are not the same as regular old American pancakes. Asian pancakes are light fluffy and not wheaty at all. They are like little clouds of bread, and they are good!

Then, when this cloud is filled with succulent Peking duck, fresh crunchy scallions, and sweet savory hoisin have a masterpiece! I first discovered this dish when I went to my area Asian buffet (Super Star East Buffet). The restaurant even had their own little station and chef for making Peking duck with pancakes. I even got to build my own little sandwhich!

Definitly, if you have time, go to an Asian buffet and try their Peking duck!

Here's a link to Ming Tsai's recipe for Peking duck and pancakes:,,FOOD_9936_4882,00.html

Have a delicious time! (I know you will!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chicken lettuce wraps.

They are D-E-LICIOUS! The first time I remember trying a chicken lettuce wrap was 2 years ago. It was in P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Despite the fact that the restaurant was run by NO ASIANS whatsoever, the food was pretty good. But the chinese chicken lettuce wraps - THE CHINESE CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS! They were just tops.

Warm salty, savory, sweet, peppery diced chicken mixed with red peppers, carrots, and scallions were wrapped in a crisp fresh leaf of lettuce. It was MAGICAL!

The fresh crunch of the lettuce, even though you may think, It's just lettuce, was a stark contrast to the glazed chicken filling. When I ate that chinese chicken lettuce wrap, I was glad I came to P.F. Chang's China Bistro instead of the neighborhood McDonald's.

I highly recommend all you people out there to try a CHINESE CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAP! If not try it, go make it!

Here's a link to Rachel Ray's recipe for chicken lettuce wraps (and it only takes 25 min!):,,FOOD_9936_27790,00.html



I love rice. What more is there to say? Just imagine a big bowl of hot fluffy rice ready to go - ready to accompany a bite of sweet and sour pork or garliky bok choy. Mmhmmm. Boy oh boy doesn't that sound good?

I love rice. fried rice. sticky rice. rice in soup. buttered rice. sushi rice. rice balls. rice rice rice rice RICE! Maybe if I say it too many times, I'll get sick of it.


Maybe it's because rice comes from my homeland. Maybe its because it's fun to eat it grain by grain. Maybe this or that. Either way, I still love rice.

I have to go now. And it is not because I am tired of saying rice - RICE! Mom's calling, and I have to go eat my dinner of, you know what I am going to say...rice!

GO RICE! Visit to test your vocabulary skills as well as to help donate rice to those who need it!