Mongolian Beef Filling

The following recipe was used for my Steam Buns cooking class. You can read about my class and get other links to recipes HERE.

Mongolian Beef Filling

2 bunches green onion, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 lb lean beef, sliced thin
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce

Season sliced beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Sprinkle cornstarch over beef and toss to coat. Set aside.
In hot pan saute garlic and onion in cooking oil until softened.
Add meat and brown.
Add oyster sauce and soy sauce; stir to coat.
Add green onions and toss.
Allow to cool before using as filling.

The Nutty Tilapia…

If there is a recipe that I’ve been so delayed in making, it’s this one. Something always came up – dinner out, errands, laziness… But finally, tonight’s dinner will be the long awaited Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia. The last time I had prepared this was for my birthday luau about 3 months ago. We loved it back then that we wanted to make it again. This time, I served it with sesame bok choy and king oyster mushrooms. It’s light, flavorful and great for hot summer nights.

Here’s my recipe for Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia:
4 frozen tilapia fillets
1-2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
1/2 panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk eggs with water for egg wash.
In a shallow baking pan, combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, salt & pepper.
Dip each tilapia fillet in the eggwash and dredge in the nut/breadcrumb mixture until fully coated.
Plate coated fish on a plate and chill for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Place coated fish on a light greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Here’s my recipe for Baby Bok Choy & King Oyster Mushroom Saute:

3-4 baby bok choy bunches
1 1/2 cups king oyster mushrooms (or any kind of mushroom)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

Heat large skillet or wok over high heat.
Meanwhile, prep your veggies by cutting bottoms of the bok choy and rinsing any debris between the stalks. Cut off the green tops and set aside.
For the mushrooms, slice them and if you prefer, remove stems.
When skilley or wok is hot, add oil to coat the bottom.
Add garlic, ginger and bok choy bottoms (not the green leafy tops!).
Stir until stalks are softened; then add mushrooms.
Stir until mushrooms start to brown and soften.
Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and salt & pepper to taste.
Stir and then add bok choy greens.
Remove from heat, add sesame oil and toss until greens wilt.

*I’m also submitting this dish to the Original Recipes blogging event hosted by Lore of Culinarty. This is one of my fave blogging events each month because it showcases the creativity of so many bloggers. Check out the round up mid month!

Chinese Flair & Farewell

For the past week, we’ve had some special houseguests visiting from San Diego. Today was their last day with us and to send them off with full bellies, I made a special lunch of their favorites.

Crab Rangoon

Here’s my recipe for crab rangoon:

1 brick cream cheese
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 bunch green onions sliced
1 1/2 cups imitation crab meat, chopped
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 pkg wonton wrapper squares
1 egg, for egg wash

Combine all the ingredients except wrappers and egg.
Cover and let it chill overnight to allow flavors to meld.
When ready to prepare, add a small dollop of crabmeat mixture in the middle of the wonton.
Rub 2 edges of the wonton with egg wash.
Seal wonton by folding up to form a triangle.
Squeeze any air pockets out.
Heat oil and fry up until golden brown.

Mongolian Beef

Here’s my recipe for Mongolian Beef:

2 bunches green onion, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 lb lean beef, sliced thin
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce

Season sliced beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Sprinkle cornstarch over beef and toss to coat. Set aside.
In hot pan saute garlic and onion in cooking oil until softened.
Add meat and brown.
Add oyster sauce and soy sauce; stir to coat.
Just before serving, add green onions and toss.

I served this over steamed jasmine rice.

Soggy, Wet & Drunk

After getting caught in a downpour this afternoon in the Argyle neighborhood of Chicago. Over some sweet and creamy mango ice cream bars, we sat in our car contemplating our dinner options. Rather than hitting up the numerous Thai and Vietnamese restaurants surrounding us, we headed home after being inspired to cook up some Thai food. With some veggies yearning to be used in my kitchen, I went to work and made Pad Kee Mao, also known as “Drunken Noodles.”
Drunken noodles (or Pad Kee Mao, ผัดขี้เมา) is a Thai noodle dish similar to Pad See Ew, but with more flavor. It is made with broad rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, and usually meat, sometimes bean sprouts, and various seasonings. Chili and thai basil adds to its well known spiciness.

We thought we had enough heat to deal with, so I made Pad Kee Mao without chili tonight. No one knows where the name of this dish comes from. Some believe it is called drunken noodles because it’s an excellent hangover cure. Others believe that it is so hot that the eater has to be drunk to be able to stand it, while some are sure that it’s because one becomes drunk trying to drown out the heat with alcohol. Still others believe that the name comes from the wide assortment of ingredients the dish contains: The chef is drunk enough to throw in a bunch of vegetables and spices without thinking it over. The most probable explanation is that this is one of the only foods available on the streets of Thailand late at night and in the very early morning, the times when drunken partyers are looking for something to eat. It is very possible that the extremely “wobbly” noodles themselves give the dish its name.

Here is my recipe for Pad Kee Mao, but you’re welcome to use various other vegetables you have on hand:

1 pkg flat rice noodles in “shards” or sticks
water to cook noodles
thai basil leaves – whole or chiffonade
assorted veggies such as:
sliced fresh mushrooms
sliced green & yellow bell pepper
2 plum tomatoes, wedged
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 eggs scrambled
1 large chicken breast (or your choice of meat)
cooking oil

Sauce (combine the following in a bowl):
1/2 cup oyster sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

In a pot, boil water and cook noodles until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Drain noodles and set aside.
Prep veggies for stir frying.
In a large wok or skillet, heat oil to cover pan.
Add garlic and onions until it sweats.
Add peppers and mushrooms; cook until softened.
Add tomatoes and cook until softened.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and fry up scrambled eggs.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and stir fry chicken.
Season with salt & pepper if you’d like.
Combine all ingredients in pan and add sauce.
Toss until thoroughly coated with sauce.
Garnish with whole or chiffonade basil.
Serve hot.

Where’s the Beef?

Still going on my asian cooking streak, my husband had a hankering for steak. So what better way to use steak in asian cooking than making beef stir fry?

Most home kitchens in America are poorly equipped to stir fry properly. The average kitchen is not designed to handle the large amount of oil vapor produced as a byproduct of proper stir frying. Those stir frying at home cannot achieve the same flavor as in restaurants because the wok is neither hot enough nor big enough to allow fast tossing. By contrast, most Chinese home kitchens are designed with stir frying in mind. The kitchen itself is either in a separate building or in a room with access to the outside. In our vacation home overseas, we have what we call a “dirty kitchen” that is outdoors and can accomodate stir frying and allow for proper ventilation.

Western-marketed woks with non-stick coating are not considered appropriate for proper stir-frying because the Teflon coating usually disintegrates after exposure to high heat. By contrast, low heat non-stick stir-frying is an oxymoron according to Cantonese cooking standards. Teflon woks also require the use of Teflon-safe utensils made of plastic or wood, which some traditional Chinese stir fryers only use metal utensils. Western woks are also usually flat-bottomed to accommodate for western stove tops that are flat, where a round-bottomed wok would roll around.

Many Western cooks on TV demonstrate stir frying on low heat with a small wok and a stirring motion comparable to tossing a salad. This is a western adaptation of stir frying, and is different from the traditional Chinese method.

Well, despite the proper methods of stir frying, I prepared Beef Pepper Steak in my flat bottomed pan and it still turned out wonderfully!

Here is my recipe for Beef Pepper Steak:

1/2 large vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
cooking oil
lean sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 green bell pepper, chunked
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
water + cornstarch slurry
black pepper & kosher salt to taste

In a hot pan, cook garlic and onion in oil.
When softened, add beef & brown.
Add green pepper and stir.
Add water, soy sauce and oyster sauce to deglaze pan; bring to boil.
Add slurry and bring to boil.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

I served this over jasmine rice.

Asian Beginnings

Finally! We are in our new home and loving it! The downside? The room I’m so anxiously waiting to do some damage in is the last one to be completed. The kitchen is the only room that has yet a piece missing – my kitchen table/work island. Hopefully it will arrive in the next week or so.

Despite my lack of counter/workspace, I have already starting my cooking routine. My husband and I have been living off of American fast food or asian buffet restaurants…. and quite frankly, we are sick of it! It seems like we have been drawn to asian food recently since we haven’t had any good home cookin for the past two weeks and we’re very close to asian markets in our new neighborhood.

With that, I made some beef & broccoli stir fry over Hong Kong pan fried noodles as our first dinner in our new home. Hong Kong pan fried noodles is a Hong Kong-style dish consisting of flour noodles that have been pan-fried until crispy, and served together with vegetables, chicken, beef and/or seafood.

Here’s my recipe for Beef & Broccoli over Hong Kong Pan Fried Noodles:

1/2 pkg Hong Kong flour noodles

1/4 cup canola oil

1 lb lean beef cut thin for stir fry
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head of broccoli, cut in small flowerettes
1 can straw mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare beef by coating it in cornstarch, salt & pepper; Set aside.

In a medium hot pan, heat your oil.
Add flour noodles to pan in one even layer.
Cook noodles until crisp on one side.
Remove from pan and drain over paper towels.

Add beef to the hot pan and brown.

Add garlic and onions; stir until softened.

Add broccoli, oyster sauce, water and soy sauce.
Heat through until broccoli is cooked.

Plate crispy noodles and top with stir fry.

Somen Since its So Cold!

Tonight we are having beef & broccoli with Japanese somen noodles. I also added some bamboo shoots for added color and texture. It hit the spot perfectly on such a cold night in Chicago.

Somen are thin, round, white noodles made from wheat flour and is similar to vermicelli. Strands of somen are generally found dried and often packaged in band tied bundles. It’s often served cold but is also added to soups. But for tonight, I decided it would compliment my beef & broccoli stir fry wonderfully… and it did!

Beef & Broccoli Somen Recipe:
1 lb beef chuck, sliced thin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
oil for browning beef
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup beef broth
1 lb fresh broccoli florets or frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup bamboo shoots
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce
garlic powder & black pepper to taste
small handful of somen noodles
water for boiling noodles
sesame oil (optional)
1. Toss sliced beef in the cornstarch and set aside.
2. In wide shallow pan, heat cooking oil and brown beef.
3. Add minced garlic and sliced onion.
4. When beef is completely browned, deglaze the pan with beef broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir to get all the brown bits from the bottom.
5. Season liquid to taste with garlic powder and black pepper.
6. Add broccoli and bamboo shoots; let simmer for about 10 minutes until cooked through.
7. Cook somen noodles in boiling water for 5-7 minutes; remove and drain.
8. Toss noodles in stir fry and add a few drops of sesame oil for added flavor/aroma.