Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers


Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a classic Asian appetizer recipe, traditionally served in Japanese restaurants as an accompaniment to sushi. The peppers are impossible to find in local supermarkets here, but I’m told you can get them fresh at Trader Joe’s — my brother had the foresight to plant them in his garden this year and was nice enough to share. While the chilies are reputedly very mild, the rumor is that one-in-ten are mind-numbingly spicy — so proceed with caution if you’re planning on serving them to hapless guests.  The recipe also traditionally calls for the Japanese Yuzu fruit, instead of a lemon or lime. If you can find one, use it.


Ingredients:

10 fresh garden Japanese Shishito peppers
2 heaping tbs. Panko bread crumbs, toasted in a skillet over medium-low heat
1 fresh lime – cut into eighths
Kosher salt
1 tbs. Sesame oil

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. hot chili sambal paste
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Dash of fresh lime juice

 

Directions:

Rinse the peppers under cold water in colander. Pierce each with a toothpick and leave the stems on. Set aside. Preheat a cast-iron pan or wok over medium heat on a stovetop or outdoor charcoal grill.

Toast the Panko bread crumbs in a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat; about six to eight minutes, shaking often. Remove and transfer to a small serving bowl.

Prepare the dipping sauce ingredients and whisk together. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

When the skillet or wok is preheated, add the Shishito peppers and toss with about 1 tbs. sesame oil to coat. Spread them out and let them char slightly before turning. Turn and watch them so they don’t scorch. Total cooking time is roughly 10-12 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill or burner. Remove from the heat and add a dash of lime juice and Kosher salt. Stir and then sprinkle with the toasted Panko bread crumbs.

Serve with the soy dipping sauce.

Serves 4-6

Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers | Culinary Compost Recipes

Thai Dragon Noodles


thai dragon noodles prepared in a cast-iron wok

This is an amazing and economical dish that can be very spicy – control the heat by limiting the amount of hot chili used — but why would you want to?  The fish sauce is very traditional, but may be omitted if desired. Get everything measured and cut so you are ready to go, as the preparation only takes a few minutes.
Yum!

Ingredients:

1 8-oz. package Chinese wide Lo Mein noodles
6 cups of water
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbs. salted butter
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 dash of Asian fish sauce
1 tbs. packed brown sugar
1 tbs. Vietnamese “Rooster” chili garlic sauce or Sriracha, to taste
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Thai hot green chili, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 scallion, trimmed and cut into 1″ chunks, sliced at a bias
1/2 cup trimmed and washed whole cilantro leaves
Lime wedges for garnish

 

Directions:

In a heavy stock pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil for the noodles. Prepare 4 ounces of the Lo Mein noodles according to package directions, and cook until al dente; just over four minutes.
(One eight-ounce package is enough for two people – the recipe shown here is for a single large serving.) Drain and set aside, covered.

While the noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce ingredients by mixing the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and chili garlic sauce or Sriracha. Set aside.
A note on the fish sauce: A little bit goes a long way! The flavor is very intense, so use it sparingly.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy wok or skillet and add the garlic; stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and stir constantly until cooked through. Shut off the heat and add the sauce, sliced green chili, noodles, scallion and cilantro. Toss until coated.

Serve with lime wedge as a garnish.

 

Serves 1-2

thai dragon noodles recipe ingredients

Mike’s Firecracker Beef Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Scallion


Firecracker Beef with Broccoli and Scallion

 

This Asian recipe can be quite hot – adjust the chilies according to your preference. Your wok must reach a temperature hot enough to quickly sear the steak and flash-fry the vegetables. I’ve found that cooking indoors on a stove just doesn’t accomplish this task. A charcoal grill and a cast-iron wok are perfect.
I use prime cuts of New York strip steak to ensure optimum flavor and tenderness.

Enjoy – this recipe is killer.

Ingredients:

1 10-oz. New York strip steak
10 small dry Thai chilies
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. brown sugar

1 head broccoli, trimmed
10 fresh market green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
4 scallions, trimmed and quartered, then split lengthwise
1 green or red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2″ strips
1 large carrot, peeled and quartered, then cut into thin planks

2 cups beef broth
2 tbs. corn starch

2 cups 5-minute rice, cooked according to package directions
Peanut oil

Directions:

Using a very sharp knife, trim the steak of excess fat. Cut into 1/4″ strips against the grain. Cut in half if the length of each strip is too long. Whisk the brown sugar and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl. Place steak in a 1-qt. ziplock bag with the soy sauce mixture, garlic and hot Thai chilies. Seal and let stand for 3 hours in your refrigerator. Rotate occasionally.

Wash, prep and cut all of your veggies so you have them ready. Allow all ingredients to stand at room temperature before cooking.

Prepare an outdoor charcoal gril with enough coal for a medium-hot fire. When the coals are white hot, place the wok on the grill grate. Do not spread out the coals – you will need the heat concentrated directly under the wok so the steak sears properly. Allow the wok to heat until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact.

Add 2 tbs. peanut oil to the wok and swirl to coat. When the oil starts to ripple, add the green beans, carrot and pepper and stir for about 5 minutes until just crisp-tender. Remove from heat and place in a covered serving bowl.

Remove the steak and chilies from the ziplock bag and add to the wok. Discard the soy sauce. Spread out and let sear for three minutes. Turn with a non-stick spatula and let sit another three minutes. Remove from heat and place in the covered serving dish.

Add the beef broth and corn starch mixture to the wok. Stir constantly until thickened -about two minutes. Add the scallion. Stir. Add back the steak and other vegetables and stir until just heated through. Remove from the wok and serve immediately over rice.

Serves 2-4

 

Firecracker Steak Stir-Fry - prepping the ingredients

Prepping the ingredients.

Firecracker Steak with Stir-Fry Veggies

Flash-frying the veggies.

Firecracker Beef with Stir-Fried Hot Asian Chilies

Adding the steak and chili peppers.

Thai Sweet Dipping Sauce – (Nam Jeem Guy Yang)


A versatile, basic sauce for Thai spring rolls, egg rolls or crab rangoon.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large garlic cloves, mashed through a press
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot Thai red pepper flakes
Slivered scallion for garnish

Directions:

In a small saucepan bring the vinegar to a boil. Stir in the sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir garlic paste and red pepper flakes into vinegar. Cool.

Serve sauce at room temperature in individual condiment bowls for dipping with scallion.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Bangkok Thai Chicken


Here’s one for dedicated Thai foodies; this recipe is quite hot and a traditional favorite. I really dig making this on the outdoor charcoal grill with my 14-pound cast-iron Lodge wok. The results are fantastic, it doesn’t heat up the house and cleanup is a snap.

Ingredients:

4 spit skinned chicken breasts
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. ground turmeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. garam masala
3 tbs. peanut oil
5 dried Thai chiles
4 stalks lemon grass, cleaned and minced
2 stalks green onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs. chili sauce or a dash of hot Sambal chili paste
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. salt
1 cup diced carrots, blanched
1 cup cooked peas
15 fresh mint leaves

Steamed white rice

Directions:

Toss the chicken with the salt, turmeric, garam masala and cinnamon.

Cut off and discard the chili stems, shake out the seeds.

Place the dried chilies into a cup of boiling water and refresh for 10 minutes.

Drain and puree with the fresh chilies, the scallion, garlic and lemon grass in a food processor. Reserve.

Heat the peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Brown the chicken breast pieces and set aside.

Add the chili mixture to the wok, and cook for 4 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.

Add the chicken back to the wok and cook, tossing, until cooked thoroughly.

Stir in the chili paste and vinegar, the salt, coconut milk and the lime juice.

Cook for several minutes after the mixture boils, to heat through, then add the vegetables and mint.

Toss and serve with steamed white rice.

Serves 4

Beef with Broccoli Stir-Fry


This is a fantastic, healthy and quick meal to prepare. Make sure that your wok is preheated until it’s blistering hot – ensuring that the flavors are seared quickly. In a pinch you can use snow peas or even asparagus.

Most indoor ranges cannot put out enough heat for a proper stir-fry. I use my cast-iron Lodge wok on my 22″ outdoor Weber charcoal grill. It works great and eliminates the need for an expensive, high-BTU output propane burner.

Ingredients:

1 pound beef sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1/8″ strips, against the grain
1/4 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. hot chili sambal paste
3 cloves mashed garlic

2 large heads broccoli, washed and trimmed
2 fresh large scallion, trimmed and cut into thirds, then julienned
1 red bell pepper, cored and thin sliced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into thirds and julienned
1 cup beef broth
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbs. corn starch
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1-inch long pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp. sesame oil

2 cups cooked white rice
2 tbs. peanut oil

Directions:

Prepare the beef marinade by trimming the beef and placing it in a ziplock storage bag. Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp. hot chili sambal paste and three cloves mashed garlic. Stir well to incorporate and add to the bag. Seal, shake it well and let sit in your fridge for at least two hours.

Prepare the vegetables and place in a bowl so you have them ready to go.
Mix the two tbs. corn starch and 1/4 cup cold water in a small dish and set aside.
Mix two tbs. soy sauce and the beef broth and set aside.
Mince the ginger and three cloves garlic and combine in a small serving dish

Everything should be brought up to room temperature before being placed in the wok. Ensure that your vegetables are patted dry. Wet vegetables will create soggy food.

Prepare an outdoor grill with enough charcoal for a very hot fire, using direct heat. The mound of charcoal should touch the bottom of the top rack when placed on the grill. Lightly wipe down the surface of the cast-iron wok with peanut oil and place on the grill when the coals are nearly white-hot. The wok will be hot enough when a drop of water vaporizes instantly.

Have a covered serving dish, two silicone spatulas, a meat tongs, oven mitts and a Chinese-style spider-strainer ready. This meal will be done in under four minutes. Have all other ingredients at the ready. Combine the corn starch mixture and the beef broth and stir one last time to incorporate.

OK, are you ready? Add the two tbs. peanut oil to the wok and swirl quickly to coat the surface. Immediately add the ginger/garlic and quickly stir-fry for about thirty seconds until just aromatic. Immediately add the beef using a tongs (marinade should be drained off.) Quickly stir-fry until no longer pink, but not thoroughly cooked. Remove the meat with a spider-strainer and set aside in the covered serving dish.

Add the vegetables and stir fry for about two minutes until just crisp-tender. This part is critical. If you cook them too long, they will be overdone and soggy when the beef is recombined in the next step.

Add the beef back to the wok, combine and add the sauce mixture. Heat until it thickens, about thirty seconds to one minute. Add the sesame oil and combine.

Remove the wok from the grill and transfer the stir-fry to a covered serving dish. Serve with steamed rice.

Asian Barbequed Pork


An easy and versatile dish that can also be prepared skewered, or chopped the second day for pork fried rice. Cook the pork slow and low to ensure that it doesn’t dry out.

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
2 green onions
2 pounds pork tenderloins
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dry sherry or rice wine
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice seasoning mix
1 tbs. honey (for marinade)
3 tbs. honey (for basting sauce)

Directions:

Peel and finely chop the garlic, ginger. Wash, trim and coarsely chop the green onions.

Cut the pork tenderloins to make approximately four 6-inch lengths.

Mix the garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, Chinese Five-Spice, 1 tablespoon of the honey. Place in a plastic resealable bag with the pork.

Seal the bag and marinate refrigerated, 2 hours or preferably overnight. Turn the bag over or mix the pieces up several times while marinating.

Prepare a basting sauce by mixing 3 tablespoons honey with 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinade.

When ready to cook, heat your outdoor charcoal grill with enough coal for a medium fire. When white-hot, move the coals to either side of the grilling grate and place an aluminum foil drip tray in the center. Place the pork in the center of the top rack for indirect grilling. Baste with the honey mixture.

Cover the grill (vented) and bake for about 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. The pork is done when it reaches 150 degrees F. at the thickest part, and the interior is just slightly pink. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Slice thinly and serve with rice and a stir-fry vegetable side dish.

Note: This recipe will work equally well in a wok. If you choose this route, prepare the pork first, and then your side dish of choice – that way the stir fry will be hot and crisp-tender when you serve it.