Asian Recipes

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Orange-Flavored Fried Tofu with Water Chestnuts Recipe

I felt like making my vegetarian sweet and sour pork recipe today, but I didn't have any pineapples on hand. Sweet and sour sauce is very versatile; you can substitute many tart fruits in place of the pineapple, such as oranges, plums or green mangoes. I had a number of sweet oranges on hand, so I used them instead. 

The dish turned out to be a big hit. I think it's important to have at least a few recipes in your repertoire that are easy to modify depending on what you have in your pantry. This particular sauce goes great with chicken as well, so if, like me, you have to cater to both meat eaters and vegetarians, you can make one sauce for two dishes.


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Sweet Tamarind Drink (Nuoc Da Me) Recipe

Nước đá me, literally "tamarind ice cubes" in Vietnamese, is a fairly common drink in Vietnam. It's served in various ways, such as with salted key lime rind preserves, but today I made it with fresh pineapple purée. It's sweet and tart at the same time but most important, it's so refreshing!

Tamarind is quite popular in Asian and South Asian cooking. I usually eat the fresh pods as they are, and use tamarind concentrate or tamarind powder for cooking.


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Bun Mang Ga (Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Vermicelli Rice Noodle Soup)   Recipe

In Vietnamese cuisine, it is very common to eat soup for breakfast. Súp bún măng gà, literally bamboo and chicken rice noodle soup, is a wonderful way to start your day. The key to making excellent soup is to make excellent broth, and that is largely dependent on using young bamboo shoots and infusing it with the aroma of chicken.

This recipe is also perfect for a rainy day or when you're a little under the weather. You can make a big pot of the broth and freeze it for later use. Just reheat, add some cooked chicken and bamboo shoots, and you're ready to eat. Try this recipe the next time you need some chicken noodle soup for your soul.


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Vietnamese Chili Salt: An Exotic Flavor Enhancer for Fruit Recipe

Muối ớt is a popular seasoning in Vietnam. If you've been to Asia, you've probably noticed street vendors at every corner, selling fruits accompanied by chili salt packets.

Salt brings out the flavor of the fruit and enhances its sweetness. Vietnamese foods call for chile in almost everything and eating fruits with chile is no exception. It's currently green mango season, and green mangoes with chili salt is a refreshing starter for a hot summer meal. You can also serve it as a salad; check the tips section for the recipe. It's called gỏi xoài in Vietnamese.

We've been gorging ourselves on mounds of this delicious fruit. It's very good by itself, but I always add a pinch of chili salt to liven up the flavor. Try chili salt with fruits such as Granny Smith apples, plums or oranges. I guarantee you'll never go back!


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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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