Category Archives: asia

Chicken and Cucumber Salad

chicken and cucumber salad

Chicken and Cucumber Salad

The soya bean has been known in China since antiquity and was introduced to Japan in the 6th century. A basic condiment in China, Southeast Asia and Japan, soy sauce is made from a fermented mixture of soya bean, wheat, water and salt.

For the chicken:
4 skinless chicken breasts, on or off the bone as preferred
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 English cucumber, julienned
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

For the marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

Julienne the cucumber and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sugar. Set aside.

Poach the chicken. Place the chicken and ginger in a pot. Pour in enough cool water to cover the chicken by an inch or so. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer for about 10 minutes. The chicken is done when opaque through the middle. Remove from the poaching liquid, place it on a cutting board and, shred when cool enough to handle.

Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and toss with the marinade. Add the cucumber and sesame seeds and toss well.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

Serves 6

Matcha Green Tea Cake with Chocolate Chips

matcha cake

Matcha Green Tea Cake with Chocolate Chips

First used in China, green tea was brought to Japan in the 12th century by Myoan Eisai, a Buddhist priest. By the 13th century, samurai warriors had adopted Zen Buddhism and began preparing and drinking this powdered green tea, called matcha, laying the foundations of the Japanese tea ceremony. Baking was a cooking technique introduced by Portuguese missionaries in the 15th century.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons powdered green tea (matcha)
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup plain whole yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out of the pans. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Serves 12

Chicken and Ginger Dumplings

dumplings

Chicken and Ginger Dumplings

Using flour to make dumplings followed noodles during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 CE) and by the 18th century dumplings were the rage in teahouses.

For the dumplings:
8 ounces ground chicken, shrimp or pork
2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
vegetable oil for pan-frying

1 package gyoza dumpling or thin won ton wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

For the dipping sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water. Set aside.

Prepare the dipping sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.

Combine the ground meat, green onions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil in a bowl. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper.Dip your finger into the cornstarch mixture and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press the moistened edges to seal.

Place a large, nonstick skillet fitted with a lid over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, place the dumplings in a single layer in the pan; they should be close together but not touching. Depending on the size of the skillet, you may need to cook the dumplings in a few batches. Cook, uncovered, until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, carefully pour 1/4 cup water over the dumplings and immediately cover the pan with a lid and let the dumplings steam until the water has nearly evaporated and the dumplings have begun to fry in oil again, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve golden side up with the dipping sauce.

Makes 2 dozen

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

salt and pepper shrimp

Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Though Sichuan peppercorns bear resemblance to black peppercorns – and have a similar kick – they are not of the pepper family, but the dried berry of a tree of the rue family native to the Szechuan province of China.

Prepared at a recent class at the San Antonio Museum of Art, his dish gets its kick from both peppers combined with the Mexican jalapeño or serrano chiles.

2 pounds shrimp
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon black pepper
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

Peel the shrimp and pat dry.

Whisk cornstarch, black pepper, pepper and ¾ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shrimp until golden, crisp, and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to paper towels and let drain, then toss in a medium bowl with the Sichuan peppercorn and the remaining salt. Add the sliced chile and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine.

Serves 6