Sesame Recipes

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Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe Recipe

Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe

02.26.11 by Jackie

I just learned how to make a variant of mirchi ka salan by Sheerin Auntie, who came to visit us during winter break week. This version is made with only white sesame seeds and originated from the region of Lucknow (Lakhnau) where Abbi, my husband Lulu's late grandfather was born. The previous version was taught by Baji (Lulu's late grandmother); they lived in Hyderabad where mirchi ka salan is made with peanut, fresh coconut and sesame.

The sesame seed variant is quite a bit milder. The sesame seeds are blended into a thick paste (tahini), then added to cumin-flavored oil (baghar). Whole chile peppers are cooked in the sesame mixture until softened. A drizzle of lemon juice finishes the dish. It's as simple as that. Prior to cooking the mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), I had to be brave and estimate the level of spiciness of the peppers. If the heat is too fiery, you could cut a longitudinal slit and remove the seeds and more of the sesame sauce will enter in the cavity of the chiles for a milder taste.


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Glass Noodles with Vegetable Stir Fry (Jap Chae) Recipe

This glass noodle dish (also known as cellophane noodles, dam myun in Korean and harusame in Japanese) is made from sweet potato starch. The dish is very similar to chow mein, but aesthetically the noodles look translucent once they're boiled and their texture is chewier.

I prepared the noodles with king mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, pan-fried tofu, baby spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and cauliflower. The dish is relatively easy and quick to make if you have all the veggies prepped in advance.


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Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce Recipe

Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce

02.18.10 by Jackie

Choy sum (also known as Chinese flowering cabbage) is a very quick and easy vegetable to cook. I pan-steamed the greens for only a few minutes to maintain a bright green color and paired them with an oyster sauce mixture. Of course, I also had to modify the recipe a bit for the strictly vegetarian diet of my husband Lulu, but the method is exactly the same.

You can serve them as is or with a sauce of your own. It's a healthy and flavorful way to open a meal. I've had it often that way at dim sum restaurants. In fact, it's usually one of the few vegetable dishes offered. With this recipe, you can have it at home, without the dim sum prices!


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Deep Fried Black Pepper and Sesame Soy Gluten with Choy Sum Recipe

Soy gluten is made from the combination of wheat gluten and soy bean gluten. Contrary to tofu, it has a chewy texture. When deep fried, its volume expands, creating a crispy exterior.  The gluten shrinks when dipped in the black bean sauce creating a meaty texture. I used the same method as my sunken tofu so that the soy gluten absorbs all the flavor of the sauce.

What I love about this recipe is that it is probably the only dish that Lulu and I get to enjoy eating together and feeding each other. The soy gluten has a similar texture to meat, but with a very different taste. So if you're a carnivore like me, you'll enjoy this dish as much as I do.

To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of vegetarian food. I have been cooking a lot of veggie dishes since I got married, but I don't really enjoy them without adding some meat. I keep complaining to Lulu how much I would love to be able to share a meal together. I've tried to convert my husband into a meat eater for almost 5 years, but I've been wildly unsuccessful. So in a way, one could say that this is my recipe for a happy marriage.


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Toasted Sesame Tofu Caramelized with Agave Nectar, Wasabi and Soy Sauce Recipe

There are many sweet and sour flavor combinations in Asian cuisine, but I've gotten bored with the traditional hoisin plum sauce.  For this preparation I added agave as the sweet element in the dish. I've been experimenting with agave nectar that I got on my last trip to Florida.

Agave has a complex flavor that is sort of a cross between honey and caramel, but milder.  Tofu absorbs any flavor it comes in contact with and is perfect for the agave sauce. The dish is finished with some toasted sesame seeds for added crunch.


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