Stir-Fry Sichuan Black Pepper Chicken

Stir-Fry Sichuan Black Pepper Chicken | Culinary Compost Recipes

With the onset of COVID-19, I haven’t been as creative in the kitchen, invariably because of the need to go to the supermarket for daily meal prep. I’m simply not going to risk my family’s health by running out for a few odd items I forgot on my shopping list. As a more “efficient” strategy, I’ll make a large list and stock up on items that can be flipped into multiple dishes throughout the week. (And my wry observation regarding that strategy is that you are still exposing yourself to more time in the supermarket during that outing.) Alright, enough with that crap. In these uncertain times, cooking and reading are two of my outlets, both intellectually and creatively, and I’ve found if I can create one or two really great meals in any given week, it’s a great way to keep my sanity, while cooking in the Culinary Compost bunker.

The recipe shown here is one of my hands-down favorites at any Chinese restaurant. The spices are simple — fresh ground black pepper and Sichuan peppercorns. That’s it. You can also make this with beef and change out the vegetables per your preference. The first time i made this, the taste was a bit flat. Rice vinegar will correct that issue. Finally, through trial and experimentation, I’ve learned to limit my umami/salty ingredients to THREE tablespoons total in any combination. All Asian sauce ingredients shown here are very salty and they can quickly ruin your meal if not used in moderation. Enjoy—


For the Chicken Marinade~
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1/2 x 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tbs. Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tbs. Tamari soy sauce

For the Aromatics~
1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 large shallot, peeled and finely sliced

For the Sauce~
2 tbs. oyster sauce
1 tbs. black soy sauce
1 tbs. fresh-ground coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground Sichuan pepper (optional)
1 tbs. rice wine vinegar

1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. corn starch with 1 tbs. cold water mixed in separate dish

For the Vegetables~
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1.5-inch trapezoids
1/2 red onion, coarsely sliced into 1.5-inch chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch planks at a bias
2 large scallion, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks at a bias (include both white and green parts)

Serve with your choice of jasmine white rice or asian noodles


Cut, prep and measure all of your ingredients and keep them at hand so you are ready. Wok cooking is very fast and only takes a few minutes.

1 hour prior to cooking, cut up the chicken pieces and place in a mixing bowl with the corn starch, Shaoxing wine and Tamari soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.

For the sauce ingredients, measure the first 5 ingredients and set aside in a small mixing bowl. Measure and set aside the chicken stock. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and cold water.

Cut and prep the vegetables, leaving the scallion in a separate bowl. (You will add it last so it doesn’t wilt.)

Choose either rice or noodles and cook according to package directions. While this is cooking, preheat the wok until it starts to smoke. It is ready when a drop of cold water sizzles on contact. Swirl in 4 tbs. canola or peanut oil. Allow to shimmer. When hot, using a tongs or chopsticks, quickly shake off and place the chicken pieces evenly in the wok. Let sear 2 minutes, then flip using a wok shovel. Continue to sear for another 2 minutes. Cook until slightly crispy and golden. Remove and transfer to a clean plate.

Next, add 1 tbs. oil to the wok and add the aromatics, including the ginger, garlic and shallot. Quickly stir fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the vegetables except for the scallion. Stir-fry for an additional 3-4 minutes until slightly charred.

Add the reserved sauce ingredients containing the oyster sauce, black soy sauce, ground black and Sichuan pepper and rice vinegar. Allow it to come to a boil and quickly continue to stir fry, about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock and the corn starch mixture. Stir and allow it to come to a rolling boil – reduce about one minute.

Quickly add the reserved chicken back to the wok, stir and add the chopped scallion. Remove from heat and serve immediately to retain the crispness of the vegetables.

Serves 2-4

NOTES: I use a 14-pound cast-iron wok from Lodge. I’ve had great success with this wok due to its even heating and ability to resist extremely high temperatures. With that said, from my experience it’s best used on an outdoor charcoal grill with a large mound of charcoal directly under the wok, set on the grilling grate. If cooking indoors, unless you have a high-output BTU ventilated gas range, you will not be able to achieve the same charred effect, known in Chinese as Wok-Hei, or Breath of the Wok. Intense, high heat is needed for authentic stir fry recipes. Anything else will stew the vegetables and meat instead of flash frying them, leaving you with an undesirable texture. The one exception to this rule concerns Thai curry dishes. I’ve had great success preparing them indoors using this wok, because a reasonably high boiling point is all that is needed.

Lastly, please use the best Asian ingredients you can find. If you skimp on quality, you will taste the difference.


Instant Pot Vietnamese Vegetarian Pho

Vietnamese Pho with Charbroiled Pork | Culinary Compost RecipesI created this recipe at the request of my daughter, who loves pho, but is a strict vegetarian. I’m not going to fault her for that, but it is challenging customizing a recipe to compensate for absolutely zero meat umami and finding limited guidance on the internet. Beef pho broth is so flavorful because of the goodness rendered out of slowly-simmered cow bones — and there’s none of that here.

So how then does one successfully create a vegetable “umami bomb” worthy of your daughter’s praise? Enter dried shiitake mushrooms. They impart a delicate, earthy flavor that is easily achieved by cooking them in an Instant Pot. And you’ll save a ton of time as well on the actual cooking process.

Serve with Asian rice vermicelli noodles, queen thai basil, chopped scallion and cilantro, sliced green serrano or jalapeno chili pepper, bean sprouts and a lime wedge.

This recipe can also easily accommodate a meat dish as a side for non-vegetarian guests. I suggest classic Vietnamese Charbroiled Pork shown in the photo above. Enjoy!


1 3-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 large shallot, peeled and sliced
1 stalk lemongrass (tender inner white and green part only), crushed with a mallet
2 tbs. canola oil
1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 vegetable boullion cubes (Bou brand)
1 chunk palm sugar (about 1 tbs.)
2 tbs. Tamari sauce
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 whole star anise pods
4 whole cloves
1 tbs. whole coriander seed
1 small cinnamon stick – about 2″
8 cups filtered water
1 tsp. salt, to taste


Prep and measure the vegetables and spices. Organize everything so you have it ready and at hand.

Preheat your Instant Pot using the saute function on HIGH. When it comes up to temperature, add the canola oil. Swirl the pot insert to evenly coat the bottom with the oil. Carefully add the quartered yellow onion, ginger and sliced shallot, taking care not to splatter the oil. Allow to sear for about 6-8 minutes until they char without moving them. After the vegetables are seared, use a silicone spatula and turn them lightly. Shut off the saute function.

Next, add the crushed lemongrass, dry spices, Tamari sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms. Deglaze the pot with 8 cups of water. Place the lid on the pot and lock it, ensuring that the top toggle vent is SEALED.

Program the Instant Pot using the pressure cook mode on HIGH for 15 minutes. Please note that in my test, it took a full eight minutes just to come up to pressure. The more liquid volume you have, the longer this step will take.

After counting down 15 minutes the unit will beep. Let it count up 10 minutes* and then carefully flip open the top toggle vent. Allow all of the remaining pressure to release, ensuring that the metal valve pin drops (about 4 additional minutes.) Carefully open the cooker lid.

Using two heat-resistant silicone mitts, carefully strain the contents of the pot into a large fine-screen colander placed over a large work bowl or pot. You’ll want to ensure that the volume of the container is at least 3 quarts so you don’t make a mess. Discard the strained solids except for the shiitake mushrooms. Set the mushrooms aside on a cutting board.

Carefully pour the strained liquid stock back into the instant pot inner liner. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pot. Salt to taste, if needed.

Cover the pot with the locking lid (leave it vented) and use the Keep Warm function until ready to serve. The mushrooms may be a bit chewy, but i actually like them this way. Leave them in for flavor.

*While waiting for the pot to depressurize, cook the rice vermicelli according to package directions – boiling about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand in the water until ready to serve. This will ensure they don’t clump together. When ready, simply strain noodle portions into serving bowls and top with the pho broth.

Garnish as indicated above.

Serves 4-6.

= = =

A note on Instant Pot cooking:
Most of my recipes featured here on Culinary Compost will never be considered Instant Pot compatible. That doesn’t mean they can’t be converted, but why would you want to? I guess I am a cast-iron foodie and old habits die hard.

With that said, I’ve been slowly won over by the benefits of IP cooking, mainly for recipes that offer proven methods on saving time, or simplifying prep by using one pot to saute, braise, simmer and pressure cook.

The argument against this (specifically noting this recipe) is that it still takes a lot of time to cut, measure and prep everything. Keep that in mind when using an Instant Pot. You’ll also need to account for the time in your pot coming up to pressure and using a “natural” pressure release when the cooking cycle is complete. I’ve indicated those times as estimates here for your reference.

Vietnamese Charbroiled Pork

Vietnamese Charbroiled Pork | Culinary Compost RecipesThis sublime South Asian recipe can be made as an appetizer, standalone dinner with Jasmine sticky rice, or served in combination with Vietnamese Pho soup. Let the sliced pork rest for at least 3-4 hours in the fridge with the marinade ingredients so the flavors have time to set up.

Use an outdoor grilling basket to ensure an even charbroil sear over real wood charcoal. Serve with fresh lime wedges and hot chili garlic oil, Sriracha or Sambal paste and fish sauce. An amazing recipe — Enjoy!


1/2 pound pork loin, trimmed of excess fat, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin slices at a bias (1/4″ thick)
2 tbs. palm or light-brown sugar
1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tbs. minced shallot
1 stalk minced lemongrass (tender inner white and green parts only)
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 tbs. Red Boat fish sauce
1 tbs. Pearl River black soy sauce
1 tbs. canola or peanut oil

Serve With~
Romaine lettuce or baby spinach
Lime wedges
Sriracha, Sambal paste or hot chili garlic oil
Fish sauce


Prepare the sliced pork and place in a wide mixing bowl. Prepare the other ingredients for the marinade and whisk together in a small prep bowl.

Using a flexible spatula, add the marinade to the pork and mix gently, ensuring all pieces are evenly coated. Transfer to a Ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

One hour before grilling, remove the meat from the fridge and allow to warm up to room temperature in the bag. Prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with enough coal for a medium fire. Keep the coals centered in a mound so the heat is directed 2 inches under the grilling basket.

Lightly wipe down a grilling basket with peanut oil and place in the center of the grilling grate directly over the white-hot coals. Add the meat and spread evenly in a single layer. Grill for 2-3 minutes. Turn once and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes. A long-handled Chinese wok shovel works great for this step. Do NOT overcook the pork.

Using a clean utensil, remove the pork immediately and serve on small decorative plates over spinach or romaine lettuce with lime wedges and your choice of chili sauce. Drizzle lightly with a good quality fish sauce if desired.

PRODUCT NOTES: Red Boat fish sauce is the best I’ve found. It is expensive (a 17 oz. bottle runs about $12) but worth it. I have also had great luck with Pearl River brand black soy sauce. To ensure the best presentation, do not skimp on the quality of these ingredients. Palm sugar is traditionally used, but if your market doesn’t carry it, you can opt for light-brown sugar.

Serves 2-4.

Vietnamese Pho with Charbroiled Pork | Culinary Compost Recipes

Thai Beef with Basil (Pad Gra Prow)

Thai beef with Siam queen basil and scallion cooked in a cast-iron wok over hot coals on a charcoal grill. Intense heat is needed to achieve a great sear on the beef, while keeping the vegetables crisp.

This is a legendary Thai dish which quickly became one of my favorites after having it served at two local Asian restaurants in Green Bay, Wisconsin; May’s Egg Rolls and Plia’s Kitchen. At May’s they use a super-secret killer spice which I never could figure out… it’s Vietnamese, brutally hot and the owner will not share the recipe with me. 🙂

I grow fresh Thai queen basil and peppers every summer in my garden and am always bummed at the end of harvest season when they aren’t available.  The steak is marinated with Laoganma black bean chili paste, which is a staple in my kitchen. It adds such a great, subtle flavor to my stir fry recipes.

Control the heat with the ground Thai chili powder – you can also add hot Thai green chilies if preferred. A note on the garlic – you’ll see that I add it directly to the beef marinade instead of frying it separately in the wok. I’ve learned it doesn’t scorch this way, and it adds a complex depth of flavor to the beef. Enjoy!


4 tbs. canola or peanut oil, divided
12 oz. flank steak, thin-sliced at a bias against the grain
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 small white or red onion, thinly sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cups fresh Thai queen or holy basil leaves, stems removed
3 scallion, roots trimmed and sliced at a bias in 1″ pieces (use both white and green parts)
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

For the Beef Marinade~
6 cloves peeled garlic, minced
1 tbs. Mongolian chili oil
2 tbs. Laoganma black bean chili paste

Combine For the Sauce~
1 tbs. Thai fish sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground hot red Thai chili powder, to taste

1/4 cup reserved beef stock (use up to 1/4 cup based on preference)

Jasmine rice, prepared according to package directions  (1.5 cups rice and 3 cups water with 2 tbs. salted butter.)
Bring water and butter to boil and simmer rice over very low heat, tightly covered for 15 minutes. Fluff and serve.

Cooking Tools: heavy cast-iron or steel wok, heat-resistant silicone oven mitts, Asian wok shovel and spider strainer, serving bowl for transferring the beef.



Prepare the steak marinade:  Slice the flank steak thinly at a bias against the grain. Place in a ziplock storage bag with the minced garlic, Laoganma black bean chili paste and the Mongolian chili oil. Squeeze the bag to evenly distribute the spices. Chill in your fridge for at least one hour.

Prep all of your other ingredients so you have them ready and close at hand. Thai cooking is very fast, with just a few minutes of actual time in the wok over a hot outdoor grill.

When ready, prepare an outdoor grill with enough charcoal in a mound for a medium hot fire. Light and let it come up to temperature for 15-20 minutes. While the grill is heating up, remove the steak from the fridge and place in a mixing bowl. Dust with the cornstarch and turn with a spatula so the pieces are evenly coated. Set aside and allow to warm up to room temperature.

Place the wok directly over the center of the hot coals on a grilling grate. Allow it to come up to temperature and smoke, about three minutes. The wok will be ready when a drop of cold water sizzles on contact. Add 2 tbs. canola oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef, spread and distribute evenly in the wok. Allow to sear for 2 minutes before turning. Continue to sear for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a serving bowl and set aside.

Next, add the remaining 2 tbs. of canola oil, the bell pepper and onion. Stir-fry until just crisp-tender. Add the beef back to the wok and then add the sauce ingredients except for the beef stock. Stir constantly until reduced by half. Quickly add the basil leaves and scallion. Stir until just wilted, about a minute, and add a bit of the beef stock until the desired consistency is achieved for the sauce. Quickly stir to incorporate.

Carefully remove the wok from the grill, using silicone mitts, and set on a heavy, heat-resistant trivet. Serve immediately with jasmine rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

A note on the flank steak: I’ve used this special cut of steak for all of my stir-fry recipes with great results. If you cut it at a bias against the grain of the meat, it will never dry out and always be fall-apart tender. I buy a full cut that is vacuum-packed and divide it in half the long way. I’ll then vacuum-seal the remaining half and freeze it for later use. If you prep the steak when partially frozen, it cuts much more evenly. Just ensure you let it warm to room temperature before wok-searing.

Serves 2-4

Thai Beef with Basil (Pad Gra Prow) | Culinary Compost Recipes Thai Beef with Basil (Pad Gra Prow) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Quick-and-Easy Vietnamese Pho Soup with Grilled Flank Steak

Quick-and-Easy Vietnamese Pho Soup with Grilled Flank Steak
This is a recipe adapted from Vietnamese chef Andrea Nguyen. I have always loved authentic pho, but have never attempted to make it because of the time and hassle in creating a proper soup stock from boiled beef bones. For this recipe, I improvised and added a bit of bacon fat to try to recreate that savory, slow-cooked flavor. It’s not perfect, but very close and a huge time-saver served as a weeknight meal.

A note on the fish sauce – some people love it, but you have to be pretty ballsy to throw a quarter-cup of the stuff in your soup pot, as called for in Andrea’s recipe. Knowing how intense the flavor is, I backed off to only three tablespoons and found it still borderline overpowering. I have edited my recipe to include only two tablespoons. Try it — you can always add more; it’s an authentic and necessary component of this dish.

My special Asian-marinated sliced flank steak takes center stage. An amazing recipe — Enjoy!


32 oz. store-bought beef stock
3 cups hot water
2 tbs. fish sauce
1 tsp. rendered bacon fat
1″ chunk ginger root, peeled, charred and cut into discs
1 large, whole shallot, peeled and sectioned, charred, then cut into 1/2″ slices
1 tbs. whole dry coriander seed
1 small cinnamon stick
6 whole dry cloves
2 tsp. powdered beef base
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
3 large green scallion, trimmed and cut at a bias into 1″ planks
2 fresh green chilis; Thai or semi-hot, seeded and sliced
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 handfuls fresh Thai queen basil
Lime wedges for garnish
1 brick Three Sisters Vietnamese vermicelli noodles (enough for two or three large, single portions. There are 6 bricks in a two-pound package.)

For the Grilled Steak~
1/2 lb. Black Angus flank steak, tenderized with a needle press
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed through a press
2 heaping tbs. Laoganma Black Bean Chili Sauce
2 tbs. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, to taste


About 12 hours prior to cooking, marinate the flank steak. Hit it generously with a needle tenderizer on both sides. Place in a zip-lock bag with 2 heaping tbs. Laoganma black bean chili sauce, 2 tbs. lime juice and 4 large cloves garlic, crushed in a press. Season with a bit of Kosher salt, seal tightly and ensure all surfaces of the meat are covered. Refrigerate, rotating ocassionally.

Charring the shallot and ginger: Place in a heavy cast-iron pot or fry pan (not enameled) and evenly char with a propane torch. Remove and set the shallot and ginger aside to cool. Then slice.

Preparing the soup stock: Set a heavy, cast-iron or enameled iron pot over medium-low heat and add the coriander seed. Stir until it just starts to toast, then add the bacon fat, sliced shallot and ginger. Continue stirring until slightly browned. Add the cinnamon stick, whole cloves and beef stock. Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Add the hot water, fish sauce, beef base and brown sugar. Cook at a rolling simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and carefully strain out the solids in a colander. Discard the solids and return the stock back to the pot.

Preparing the flank steak: Time an outdoor charcoal fire so the steak will be done with the stock. Level the coals and place the steak over direct heat and sear about three minutes per side, until charred but medium rare. Remove and let rest for five minutes. Cut into 1/4″ strips at a bias, across the grain so it remains tender. Reserve covered.

Prepare the rice vermicelli according to package directions, boiling for about 7-8 minutes. Drain off the water and divide the noodles between bowls. The noodles should also be timed so they are done when the stock is done.

Pour a generous amount of stock over each bowl of noodles and top with the seared flank steak, green onion, Thai basil, green chili and cilantro. Squeeze in a bit of lime juice and serve immediately with hot chili garlic sauce, Sriracha and soy sauce on the side.

Serves 2-3. Chopsticks and Asian soup spoons are a must with this recipe.

NOTE: If the steak is a bit undercooked and bloody when slicing, do not worry. Adding the hot stock over the top will cook it through in less than a minute.

Fresh garden Thai queen basil and chilis.

Asian Candied Almonds

Asian Candied Almonds | Culinary Compost Recipes


After experimenting with a glaze that was actually meant for chicken wings, I decided to also make candied almonds with it. This recipe is Asian inspired; the deep, complex flavor comes from just a bit of Sriracha and soy sauce with sesame oil. Let the glazed almonds set up in the fridge before adding the remaining brown sugar so it will adhere better.

Enjoy! I guarantee you’ll be eating more than one handful.



2 cups Blue Diamond® whole natural almonds
1/4 stick salted butter, melted
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbs. sriracha sauce
1 tbs. honey
1 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke seasoning
1 tsp. sesame oil
4 tbs. brown sugar for the glaze coating



Preheat your oven to 300° F. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, melt the butter for 20 seconds in your microwave. Add the remaining ingredients except for the almonds. Beat with a spatula for two minutes until thoroughly combined. Add the almonds and mix well.

Line a large cookie sheet with baker’s parchment paper and fold the edges up to form a lip on all four sides. Spread out the almond glaze mixture on the paper.

Bake uncovered for 12-14 minutes. There is no need to turn them. Remove and let cool slightly on your stovetop.

Spoon the mixture into a colander and let the excess glaze run off. Transfer to a covered bowl and place in your fridge for 1/2 hour to set up.

After a half hour, sprinkle 4 tbs. brown sugar over the top and fold in with a spatula until all of the nuts are evenly coated.

Serves 6

NOTE: If you bake the almonds any longer than the time indicated, you risk scorching the butter. Watch them carefully when baking.


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.


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



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.


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



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.


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


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.


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


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.