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

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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.

Szechuan Chili Oil


Szechuan Chili Oil | Culinary Compost Recipes

Make your own Szechuan chili oil using garden-grown dried Thai bird chilis.

One of the things I love best about takeout Chinese food is the small condiment cup of fiery chili oil served with egg rolls. The spice-infused oil goes well with just about anything.

It is easy and economical to make your own in small quantities. Just be sure not to get your oil too hot and burn the chilis.

 

Ingredients:

10-12 dry red chili pods, each being about 2″ long
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 tbs. pure sesame oil (optional)
1 small chunk of crushed ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

 

Directions:

Cut the stems off the chilis and ensure they are clean and free of dust, or other debris. Crush them in a mortar or use a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds.

Place the crushed chili in a glass jar with a tight fitting cover, large enough to hold 1/2 cup. Add the salt.

Heat 1/2 cup peanut oil in a wok until it just starts to smoke. The temperature at this point will be about 300-320 degrees F. Remove from heat and let cool for three minutes, or until the temperature is between 225-240 degrees F. Pour over the chilies (add the optional spices if you like) and seal the jar. Let cool at room temperature for at least one hour, then place in your fridge.

Will store for one month refrigerated.
Great on spring rolls, egg rolls, dumplings or noodles.

Makes 3/4 cup. Portion what you need and allow to warm up to room temperature before serving.

Chinese Lemon Chicken


Here’s a great Chinese recipe that surpasses any takeout meal. Using a wok effectively with controlled high heat takes a bit of practice – but the results are fantastic. Take care not to stir the chicken too much when frying, or the batter will flake off.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” cubes)

For the Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt

For the Batter:
2 large eggs
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch white pepper

1 quart vegetable oil (for deep frying)

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbs. cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
3 slices of lemon (rind and seeds removed)

2 tbs. peanut oil

Directions:

Place the cut chicken breast pieces into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To make the batter – beat 2 large eggs with ¼ cup of cornstarch, a pinch of white pepper and baking powder.  Thoroughly coat the chicken with the batter.

Heat a deep fryer or wok to 350 degrees with one quart of vegetable oil. Deep-fry the chicken in batches until fully cooked and golden brown. Caution: Adding cold food to hot oil will cause the oil to splatter! Let the chicken warm up before adding to the deep fryer or wok. Drain the chicken on paper towels in a covered baking dish to keep it hot.

Prepare the lemon sauce – combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Mix until well combined and add 3 slices of lemon to the sauce mixture.

Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in your wok until it ripples and add the chicken back into the wok. Stir-fry until just crisp and heated through. Stir in the lemon sauce mixture. Mix well until the sauce becomes clear and reduced, about one to two minutes.  Remove immediately.

Serve with steamed white rice and broccoli.

Note: for a thicker, crispier coating, dip the chicken pieces in corn starch or flour after removing from the marinade. Then dip in beaten egg. Coat the pieces in corn starch or flour again. Then coat in the batter and fry as instructed.

Serves 4.