Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baked Adzuki and Vegetable Wontons

As I've said before, I love appetizers that you can dip in some kind of sauce. I like wontons with sweet chile garlic sauce, which can be found in the Asian section of most large grocery stores. Just be sure to check the label because some brands may contain fish or oyster sauce. Also check the ingredient list on the wonton wrappers you purchase because some brands contain egg. I used Wing Hing brand pot sticker wraps and Mae Ploy brand sweet chile sauce.

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 a medium red onion, minced
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. baby bella or button mushrooms, diced
1/2 c. cooked adzuki (also called aduki) or small red beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. vegetarian hoisin sauce (or vegetarin stirfry sauce with 1/8 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder)
1 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
1 12 oz. package of pot sticker wrappers
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
Black or toasted brown sesame seeds
Sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line at least 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly oil them and set aside. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute all of the vegetables until soft, abotu 5-7 minutes.

2) Once the vegetables are soft add the adzuki beans, hoisin sauce and shoyu or tamari. Toss to incorporate.

3) One by one, wet the circumference of a pot sticker wrapper with your finger dipped in water. Place about 2 tsp. of the filling mixture on the bottom half of the wrapper. fold the top half of the wrapper down over the filling, using your fingers to force the filling to stay inside. Seal the wrapper by pressing down on the edges with a fork.

4) Place all of the wontons onto the prepared baking dishes as you complete them and then brush the non-dairy milk over the top of each wonton (I just use my fingers dipped in the milk to do this) and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

5) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until just golden brown. Place on a serving platter and serve with sweet chile garlic sauce for dipping.

This makes abotut 8-10 appetizer servings.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spicy Asian Slaw

I can't deny my love for spicy, tangy food. Added to that fact, cabbage has been my favorite vegetable this winter. I'm not saying it's my favorite vegetable of all time, just that I am using it a lot this winter and am really enjoying it. It's inexpensive, super healthy and very versatile. This slaw takes about 1 minute to make if you use the pre-cut slaw mixture, and it makes a nice lunch on its own or could be used as a side with any Asian inspired meal. The spice in this slaw comes from Sriracha sauce, an Asian (I think it's originally Vietnamese) hot sauce that can be found in almost any grocery store.

1 lb. thinly sliced cabbage, either one of those pre-shredded slaw bags from the store or slice your own
A pinch of sea salt, about 1/4 tsp. or so
2 heaping Tbsp. Veganaise
As much Sriracha hot sauce as you want, I use a lot because I like it spicy
Several dashes of rice wine or brown rice vinegar (about 2 tsp.)
A small drizzle of toasted sesame oil, maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.

1. In a large bowl toss the cabbage with the pinch of sea salt and set it aside.

2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the other ingredients.

3. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and toss to combine.

This makes about 2-4 servings.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pad See Ew

This is far and away my kids favorite dish. It is so rare for all 3 of them to like the same thing prepared in the same way - for example, they all like apples but one of them likes her apples whole, one of them likes them peeled and chopped, and the other one likes them chopped but not peeled. And so it goes with almost everything. This is one of the few things I can just make a big pot of an all of them will devour it without a single complaint or request for alteration.

So of course I have to be the annoying one with this recipe. My kids all eat it with broccoli, but I prefer gai lan (Chinese broccoli), so I make it with broccoli for them and with gai lan for my husband and I. You can use whichever one you want.

The signature of Pad See Ew is the sweet sauce. This is achieved by using kecap manis, which is a syrupy soy sauce. I've tried to make my own by caramelizing sugar in soy sauce but it's way easier and less messy to purchase it. They have it at my regular grocery store in the ethnic foods section or you could find it at any large Asian grocery or online. Often pad see ew will have fish sauce, I just add a little vinegar for that tang. 

14-16 oz. wide rice noodles, cooked/soaked according to package directions but just shy of done
1/4 c. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. vegetarian stirfry sauce (any kind)
1 Tbsp. vinegar (rice or distilled white both work well for this)
2 Tbsp. canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
5-6 cloves of garlic (less if you're sensitive, but you really do need a lot)
1 onion, halved and thinly slices (I leave this out when I make it for my kids)
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch of gai lan or broccoli (broccoli cut into florets, for the gai lan, use both the leaves and the stems but separate them then chop them)

1) With any stirfry it's always best to try to prep everything before you start cooking because things cook quickly when you stirfry. To make the sauce, whisk together the kecap manis, shoyu or tamari or soy sauce, vegetarian stirfry sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Slice your onion, cube your tofu, mince your garlic and prepare your broccoli or gai lan.

Here is what gai lan looks like.
2) Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions, but keep them al dente because you will also stirfry them. If you can, try to time it so that the noodles finish cooking right before you're ready to add them to the wok.

3) Heat the oil in a large wok or pot over pretty high heat and add the garlic, saute until fragrant but not browning.  Add the onion, tofu, and the chopped gai lan stems if using. Continue to cook until the onions have softened a bit.

4) When the noodles are ready drain them and add them to the stirfry along with the sauce. Toss to mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes.

5) Add the greens and continue to cook until they are just barely wilted.

This makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baked Samosas

Samosas are an Indian pastry with a savory filling, usually some mixture of vegetables or ground meat. They are usually deep fried but they can easily be baked. I make a quick dipping sauce to go along with this, but you could serve them with a chutney if you'd prefer. I hate to brag again, but these are fantastic - even my kids loved them.

For the Samosas
1-2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp. ground corriander
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. frozen or fresh diced potatoes, thawed under hot water in a strainer and drained well
1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed under hot water in a strainer and drained well
1 tsp. vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

For the Dipping Sauce
3/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. mango chutney (optional)
1/2 tsp. curry powder

1) To make the sauce whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2) Preheat the oven according to the package directions for the puff pastry you are using. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly oil it, and set aside.

3) Preheat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds until they are lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

4) Add the onion, jalapenos, spices, and salt. Saute until the onions are soft, about 5 more minutes.

5) Add the drained potatoes and peas and saute until warmed and mixed through with the onions, peppers and spices. Then add the vegetable broth and tomato paste and stir until incorporated with the vegetables.

6) Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the fresh cilantro.

7) Flatten the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice the pastry into 4 long strips lengthwise and then 6 long strips widthwise so that you end up with 18 squares.

8) Fill each square with about 2 tsp. of the filling and then fold the edges in and crimp the edges closed to form a ball. Gently squeeze the ball in your hand to round it out and then flatten it a little bit between your palms. Repeat until your dough is used up placing the finished samosas on the prepared baking tray.

9) Bake the samosas for 15-17 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with the dipping sauce.

This makes about 4-6 appetizer servings and would be very easy to double for more.