Archive for the ‘Asia-Pacific’ Category
Puffed lotus seed have been part of Indian snack scene for as long as I can recall.I recently found this product at neighborhood market, Sigona’s. They are made here, right in Palo Alto! These have a little clarified butter, a touch of salt and a hint of heat. The entire 1 oz content is 130 calories. They are more substantial than rice puffs, very unlike popcorn, mostly crunchy and a little chewy. Closest in texture is perhaps pork rind Chicharrón. They do not appear to have a strong taste of their own, essentially picking up the added flavors. You can get these puffed and unflavored lotus seeds in Indian grocery stores but they often smell rancid. If you can find good quality unflavored version, then just toss them in hot butter, salt and perhaps some pepper, chili powder or lime. Enjoy with chai or beer.
I was really inspired by the crazy funny blog by Odd Ends into making the equivalent of tandoori momo’s that are doused in butter and tossed in desi masala.
This is only the first version and I suspect I will have many variations. I started with frozen shrimp dumplings from Trader Joes’s but you can start with your favorite. I suspect beef dumplings will be the best. I cooked the dumplings as directed. Then I made a marinade with ketchup, melted butter, hot pepper powder, lime and salt. I brushed the dumplings with the marinade, and stuck them under a hot broiler. I got distracted for a few seconds and the dumplings got extra charred but they were tasty none-the-less, crispy on the outside and soft inside.
Serve with chopped coriander or mint leaves, a little lime juice and a pinch of chaat masala.
We live in part of San Francisco Bay Area that is famous for Korean food. So when the popular south Korea based franchise, Bon Chon Restaurant, opened a branch in our neighborhood strip mall, it was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got in. My neighborhood hole in the walls are just that. Decor is typically non-existent. Menu is minimally put together. Furniture, floor and walls have a beat up look. The wait staff is typically a first generation immigrant who speaks rudimentary English. But this is an immigrant community and while these restaurants are not for special occasions, they can serve up a dish or two that are expertly put together. In general, fried food in Asian cuisine is less greasy. Korean tastes are fiery. So, it is fair to say that I was expecting a less greasy and more spicy version of southern style fried chicken from a fast food joint, a Korean McDonald.
This steamed bun is from my local farmer’s market is Mountain View, a little of shop goodies, that serves frozen dumplings and fresh steamed buns. To eat a bun, pop in the microwave for 1 minute and enjoy. A dash of sriracha on the side is neither authentic nor incongruous.
Recently back from a delicious trip to Paris, I am enjoying the bounty of my local farmer’s market more than ever. Food locally is cheaper and far tastier. Heirloom varieties keep increasing every year. And then there is Scream.
Sometimes you don’t want a fussy meal. This is a simple combination of rice and tofu with tons of flavor. It is easy to put together and nutritionally enhanced by adding some edamame pods on the side. This is great both hot and at room temperature.
Make ahead infused oil:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1/4 cup szechwan peppercorn
Simmer the peppercorn gently for 20 minutes. Cool and strain. The oil can be stored for up to 6 month is refrigerator. Crush the peppers, add to equal amounts of your favorite salt and store in a tight jar. I use the peppercorn-salt mixture on edamame pods and salads. This infused oil is inspired by Barbara Tropp’s five flavor oil in China Moon Cookbook.