Flap meat’s coarse grain makes it a champ at holding on to the flavors of a marinade, and this teriyaki(ish) one is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Serve suggestion was with blackened sugar snap peas and rice with quick-pickled jalapeños.
The snap peas were in poor condition at the grocery store so we opted for green beans. And instead of charring them, we steamed and dressed the beans with a ginger-garlic butter as a compliment to the meat marinade.
Instead of grilling due to inclement weather, the flap steak was cooked on “Grilliam” our copper enameled grill pan, which does just as nice a job of searing the meat and getting those char marks.
Fine cooking indicated to whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl. However, we made the combination in a large ziploc bag and added the steaks directly to the bag and into the refrigerator for 6 hours.
2 lbs. beef flap meat, cut into pieces of even thickness, if necessary
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
In a large ziploc bag, combine the tamari (or soy sauce), peanut oil, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Add the meat and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Grill, turning every 2 minutes, until cooked to your liking, 6 to 8 minutes for medium (140°F). As noted above, if you don’t have access to a grill, use a grill pan and cook indoors, turning every 2 minutes until the meat registers 140°.
Transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Thinly slice across the grain and pour any accumulated juices over the meat. Serve sprinkled with the scallions and sesame seeds.
Contrary to popular belief, “teriyaki” refers not to a sauce, but a technique. In this recipe, chicken thighs are briefly marinated and tossed with a little cornstarch before they’re cooked in a skillet. The meat is seared or broiled, then given a lustrous shine with a glaze of soy, mirin and sugar.
We happened to have one-pound packages of chicken thighs in the freezer so we thawed one of them. It is less that the 1 1⁄2 pounds called for, but since it was just the two of us, we figured it was plenty. We probably could have gotten away with cooking the chicken in one batch instead of two. All of the other ingredient amounts were kept as is.
Don’t forget to drain the chicken before coating it with cornstarch. Excess liquid will cause splattering during cooking. “Donburi” refers to individual one-bowl meals of rice with various toppings. To complement the chicken and add texture and freshness to the donburi, we also threw together a simple cabbage slaw.
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup mirin
2 tsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced on bias
2 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
4 cups cooked Japanese-style short-grain rice, hot
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the sake and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Add the chicken and toss. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon sake, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, the mirin and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the ginger; set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage and scallions with the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, the rice vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.
Drain the chicken in a fine mesh strainer. Wipe out the bowl, then return the chicken to it. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add half the chicken in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottom and the edges turn opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip and cook without stirring until well browned on the second side, about another 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken.
Wipe out the skillet, then return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the soy sauce-ginger mixture and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high, stirring, until the liquid is syrupy and the chicken is glazed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top with the cabbage mixture and chicken.
The Hubs was recently gifted the cookbook “The Wok” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Stir-fries are one of our favorite go-to dinners when we crave something quick and healthy, so this was a welcome addition to our culinary library. The Pepper Steak recipe was the first dish we tried and if the rest of them follow suit, they all promise to be winners!
Make sure to to follow the instructions for marinating and massaging the beef—it makes a tremendous difference in the tenderness of the steak. And if you have leftovers, they were just as tasty as the first time!
1 lb. flank steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, or flap meat, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
1/4 cup soy sauce (divided)
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine or dry sherry (divided)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large green bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips from pole to pole
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, whites only, finely minced, green parts for garnish if desired
4 Tbsp. vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
Kosher salt to taste
Steamed rice, prepared as per package directions
For the Beef: Place the beef in a medium bowl, cover with cold water and vigorously agaitate it. Drain through a fine mesh strainer set in the sink and press on the beef with your hands to remove excess water.
return the beef to the bowl, add the baking soda, and vigorously massage the baking soda into the meat, lifting the meat, throwing it down and squeezing it for 30-60 seconds.
dd the soy sauce , wine, sugar, and cornstarch and roughly work the marinade into the meat for at least 30 seconds. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
For the Sauce: Meanwhile, combine remaining soy sauce with corn starch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Set aside. Combine peppers and onions in a bowl and set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and scallions in a bowl and set aside.
For the Stir-fry: When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute.
Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef, adding beef to same bowl. Wipe out wok. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and half of peppers and onions. Transfer to bowl with beef.
Repeat with remaining oil and remaining peppers/onions. Return wok to high heat until smoking. Return peppers/onions/beef to wok and add garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until lightly thickened, about 45 seconds longer. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve over steamed rice.
Not a huge fan of take-out—although it does serve its purpose on occasion—here’s a stir-fry that will taste far better than any from the local Asian restaurant down the street. Yes, it is a bit prep-intensive, and uses several bowls, but well worth your time and effort. You could even do a lot of the prep earlier in the day, and throw it all together when ready to eat.
We paired the Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles with a Rice Noodle Salad, that not only complimented the main dish, but shared many of the wonderful flavors. Even though the original recipe indicated to use a 12-inch skillet, next time we’ll use our wok. Keep in mind, you will probably need to sear the beef in two batches, so as not to steam the meat, but brown the slices.
The supermarket was not carrying either serrano or Thai chili peppers so we opted for Fresnos. As the recipe instructs, we did not discard the seeds, but if you can’t tolerate heat, you may want to scale back some, or omit altogether.
Our slices of flank steak measured about 1/4″-thick. If you prefer thinner slices, freeze the steak whole for about 15-20 minutes, then slice to your preferred width.
This Asian salad can stand on it’s own, perhaps with a smattering of chopped peanuts, or as a compliment to a heftier stir-fry such as the SpicyBeef with Peanuts and Chiles that we paired it with. To amp up the flavor, we increased the amount of grated ginger to 1 tablespoon, added 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and lots of chopped fresh basil.
You can use Southeast Asian rice sticks or Chinese cellophane noodles (made from bean starch) for this Thai salad. It makes a satisfying lunch, or serve it as a starter or side dish (it will serve up to 6 as a side).
1 Tbsp. finely minced ginger (more or less to taste)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes, or a pinch of cayenne
2 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
For the Salad
3 oz. dried rice noodles (rice sticks) or cellophane noodles
½ small Napa cabbage or 1 romaine heart
3 scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 cup coarsely chopped basil
1 medium carrot, grated or cut in fine julienne
Lettuce leaves for the bowl or platter (if not plating with the Rice Noodle Salad)
Mix together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place the rice or cellophane noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for 20 minutes, and drain.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook about 1 minute, or until tender (ours took about 3 minutes). Drain well and coarsely chop using scissors or knife. Toss with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
Cut the halved Napa cabbage in half again, cut out the core, then slice crosswise into thin strips. If using romaine, cut in half, then slice crosswise into thin strips. Toss with the noodles, along with the scallions, cilantro, and carrot.
Pile the salad on a serving platter. Spoon on the remaining dressing, if any. Sprinkle with more basil and/or cilantro and serve.
The Thai name for this dish is Pad Krapao meaning “fried holy basil”. It is a fragrant, flavor-packed Thai stir-fry. Despite the dishes name, the basil isn’t actually fried, but wilted into the mix at the very end of cooking.
Our holy basil—which has a peppery, menthol-like bite—was done for the season, so we opted to use our fresh Thai basil, still going strong in the raised herb bed. Sweet Italian basil is a third choice; but if using either of the last two, you’ll need to use 50% more.
To top it all off, a fried egg with a runny yolk is used, adding creaminess while the crisp edges provide crunch. Not typically a fan of runny yolks, I decided to go with it for this recipe. Glad I did because it did add not only to the flavor but also the contrasting textures.
As with most stir-fries, don’t start cooking until all of the ingredients are prepped and near the stove. And don’t cook those eggs in advance because they should still be warm when added to the dish. If you prefer a more fiery kick, don’t discard the chili seeds.
Thai Stir-Fried Pork with Basil, Chilies and Garlic
4 or 5 Fresno chilies. stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
4 large eggs
1 lb. ground pork
2 cups (1oz.) lightly packed holy basil OR 3 cups lightly packed Thai or Italian basil, torn
Steamed jasmine rice to serve
In a food processor, combine the garlic and chilies. Pulse until finely chopped, with some slightly larger pieces remaining, 8 to 10 pulses.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, sou sauce, fish sauce, sugar and a 1⁄2 cup water. Set both the garlic-chili mixture and the sauce mixture near the stove.
In a 12- or 14-inch wok over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until barely smoking. Reduce to medium, the crack 2 eggs into the center of the wok, each in a different spot. Use a silicone spatula to gently push edges of the egg whites toward the yolk to keep the eggs separate.
Cook, occasionally spooning some of the hot oil over the eggs until the whites are crisp and brown on the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining to 2 eggs. Wipe out wok.
Return the wok to medium-high and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oiluntil barely smoking. Add the garic-chili mixture and cook, stirring until fragrant and lightly browned.
Add the pork and cook, stirring, until the meat is broken up into mostly small bits, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink and the liquid thickens slightly but remains saucy, about 3 minutes.
Off heat add the basil and stir until just wilted. Divide the rice and the stir-fry among serving plates and top each with an egg.
This tasty Asian sauce is quite adaptable to any stir-fry. Go ahead and double it if desired so that you have enough for an additional stir-fry in the future. The choice of vegetables is also a personal preference, but try to keep the total amounts about the same.
Prep all ingredients before you start the stir-fry. We substituted hatch chile peppers for the green bell because it was a new item that we had never tried before. They look very similar to long hots, which are quite spicy. The package indicated they had a medium heat level—we thought they were milder than that. They also take a bit longer than the red bell pepper to soften in the wok.
6-8 scallions, trimmed with whites cut into 1″ lengths, greens sliced thin for garnish
4 garlic scape stems cut into 1/2″lengths; or 3 garlic cloves sliced thin
1 each red and green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
I lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ chunks
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup white rice, cooked according to package directions
Heat a large wok on high. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. When smoking, add scallions and garlic stirring constantly for 2 minutes, then place into a large bowl.
Add 1 more tablespoon to wok and toss in bell pepper pieces, stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Put in bowl with scallions.
Put final tablespoon peanut oil into wok and then add chicken. Let chicken sit in hot wok for one full minute before you start to flip; then stir until the pink disappears. Add chicken to bowl with vegetables.
Pour reserved black bean sauce into wok, when hot dump all of the bowl ingredients into wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Serve steamed rice on each dinner plate topped with stir-fry. Garnish with chopped basil and scallion greens.
Curry powder is stirred into this braise only during the last minute of cooking, delivering a bright hit of spice on top of the paprika and turmeric mellowed into the slow-simmered chicken.
This dish needs time on the stove but not much attention, and gets even better after resting in the fridge, making it an ideal weeknight meal that can last days. There’s plenty of coconut milk broth to spoon over rice or noodles; or even platha, a buttery, flaky Burmese flatbread, for dipping.
Based on reader reviews claiming the curry was too soupy, we omitted adding any water. Other changes included altering the amounts of the spices including adding Thai red curry paste and fresh ginger to the mixture. These changes are noted in the list below.
In order to make the most of the ingredients, it is important to let the curry sit for 20 minutes at the end. This allows the chicken to soak in more flavors as the curry cools.
Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces; transfer to a bowl. Add the paprika, turmeric and salt, and use your hands to mix well. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Stir in the onions, lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring often to prevent scorching, until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook, stirring often, until most of the water from the onions has been cooked out and a glossy layer of oil has risen to the surface, about 5 minutes more.
Add the marinated chicken and stir to release the spices into the onion. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a near boil. Let the coconut milk simmer briskly for about 4 minutes to thicken a bit. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the fish sauce. The broth will thin out as the chicken starts to release its juices.
Lower to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Droplets of paprika-red oil will rise to the surface. Stir in the curry powder, cayenne and Thai red curry paste and simmer briefly and remove from the heat.
Let the curry sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. This allows the chicken to soak in more flavors as the curry cools. Bring to a simmer again right before serving and taste, adding more salt or fish sauce if desired.
Serve over rice or noodles, with bowls of cilantro and lime wedges.
Spice it twice—the mantra for this flavorful beef skewer. After skewering but before going on the grill, the meat is dusted generously with the spices. Those spices toast, their flavors deepening during cooking. Once the meat comes off the heat, it’s seasoned a second time with the same spice blend, creating multiple layers of nuanced flavors from the same few ingredients.
What did we do different? In place of flat iron steak, we substituted flap meat because it was already in our freezer and it’s easier to source than the aforementioned flat iron cut. In keeping with the Asian theme, we also grilled bok choy right along with the meat skewers. They benefited from a chili oil sauce that complimented the meat rub.
Don’t trim the fat from the beef before cooking. The fat adds flavor and helps keep the meat succulent. If you’re using a gas grill, make sure to give it at least 10 to 15 minutes to heat before cooking the skewers. This ensures the meat gets a nice surface char without overcooking the interior.
1½ lbs. beef flat iron steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-inch-thick strips
1 Tbsp. dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for grill grate
2½ Tbsp. cumin seeds
2½ tsp. fennel seeds
1½ tsp. sichuan peppercorns
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
chili oil, to serve (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the beef, sherry, soy sauce and oil. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the spice mix and the grill.
In a small skillet over medium-low, toast the cumin, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and add the pepper flakes. Process until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1¾ teaspoons salt. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mix and set aside to use as garnish.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct, high-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals and let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate.
While the grill heats, thread the beef onto ten 8- to 10-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and pushing the pieces together. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture evenly over both sides of the meat, patting gently to adhere.
Grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill until the second sides are lightly charred, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkling both sides of the skewers with the reserved spice mix, then drizzle with chili oil (if using).
According to Bon Appétit where we sourced this recipe, Hiyayakko is a Japanese warm-weather starter or side dish made of a small square of chilled silken tofu, a sprinkling of toppings, and saucy drizzles (think a heap of bonito flakes and puddle of soy sauce, or fresh tomatoes with ponzu).
In this version, the simple template goes family-style, with sliced silken tofu carefully shingled on a platter, topped with a savory ground pork and eggplant stir-fry. The combination of cold, custardy tofu and hot, saucy pork was a bit odd in our opinion. We think next time we’d use firm tofu and flash-fry slabs of it in a hot skillet, then shingle it on a platter.
Fresh basil from the garden showered on top was the perfect garnish. If Thai basil is accessible, use that. Unable to source Chinese or Japanese eggplant, we substituted an Italian variety which is typically larger, and therefore had to slice it down differently.
The hubs thought it would be good over steamed rice. While I agree, it is no longer a low-carb or as high a protein meal. Your call…
2 medium Chinese or Japanese eggplant (about 8 oz. total), cut into 3″-long pieces, quartered lengthwise
1 lb. ground pork
2 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 2″ piece ginger, scrubbed, finely grated
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
3 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
Basil leaves (for serving)
Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towels to absorb moisture; place on a plate. Chill until ready to use.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook eggplant, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet. Cook pork, breaking up meat, 1 minute. Add chiles, garlic, ginger, and sugar and cook, stirring and continuing to break up meat into small pieces, until pork is no longer pink and mixture is fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Return eggplant to skillet; add fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is mostly absorbed and eggplant is browned and tender, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar and cook, stirring, until mixture is slightly saucy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Carefully unwrap tofu; slice crosswise ½”-thick. Shingle tofu on a platter. Spoon eggplant mixture over; top with basil.
This riff on the ever-evolving Chinese American standard features gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and filet mignon: The luxurious cut is ideal for quick, high-heat cooking; is readily available in small portions; and just needed a brief chill in the freezer to firm up for easy slicing before being coated in a simple mixture of soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch.
While the meat chills, slice the gai lan stalks thin on the bias and cut the tender leaves into wide ribbons. Start the stir-fry by cooking the stalks in oil in a hot wok. As they sizzle, the oil smolders, infusing the dish with a smoky aroma. Then set the stalks aside and stir-fry the leaves with garlic and toasted sesame oil, speeding their cooking with a small but flavorful addition of chicken broth before arranging them on a serving platter.
Finally, stir-fry the marinated beef; returned the stalks to the wok; and stir in a blend of chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, toasted sesame oil, and cornstarch. The sauce thickens in less than a minute. Arrange the beef mixture over the leaves, ensuring that each bite is perfectly sauced. If desired, serve with steamed rice.
If gai lan is unavailable, you can use broccolini, substituting the florets for the gai lan leaves. Do not use standard broccoli. In the end, we found it served 3 sufficiently, or 4 “small plates”.
Cut beef into 4 equal wedges. Transfer to plate and freeze until very firm, 20 to 25 minutes. While beef freezes, prepare gai lan. Remove leaves, small stems, and florets from stalks; slice leaves crosswise into 1½-inch strips (any florets and stems can go into pile with leaves); and cut stalks on bias into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Set aside.
When beef is firm, stand 1 piece on its side and slice against grain ¼ inch thick. Repeat with remaining pieces. Transfer to bowl. Add 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch and toss until beef is evenly coated. Set aside.
In second bowl, whisk together ½ cup broth, oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, remaining 4 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch; set aside.
In third bowl, combine 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, ginger, and ¼ teaspoon garlic.
Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in wok over high heat until just smoking. Add stalks and cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until spotty brown and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, and remaining ½ teaspoon garlic to wok and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add leaves and cook, stirring frequently, until vibrant green, about 1 minute. Add remaining ¼ cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes. Spread evenly on serving dish.
Add ginger-garlic mixture to wok and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Return stalks to wok and add oyster sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, 30 to 60 seconds. Place mixture on top of leaves. Serve.
These noodles are an addictive combination of salty, spicy and sweet. For best results, use thick Asian wheat noodles, such as udon or lo mein, that cook up with chewy resilience. We try to include vegetarian dishes into our repertoire of meals, and this recipe is anything but ho-hum. Plus the ease of prep and limited ingredients let you serve dinner in under a half hour.
Chili crisp, a Chinese condiment sold in jars, is chili oil amped up with with red pepper flakes and additional spices. If you can find it, it’s a more flavorful alternative to standard chili oil. We used a chili-garlic paste, including the full two tablespoons. In fact, The Hubs added even more to his portion before tasting it–which probably wasn’t that wise 😉
If you want to amp up the veggies, one reviewer suggested including mushrooms, which we both agreed would be a good addition. Our Udon noodles weighed in at only eight ounces as opposed to the ten ounces the recipe called for. Luckily we didn’t have another mouth to feed because we polished off the entire skillet’s worth!
Identity crisis? This quick meat and vegetable curry starts as a stir-fry then finishes as a braise—but a quick braise. Usually pork shoulder takes hours to braise in the oven, but since the meat is cut into thin strips, the time dwindles considerably. Boneless pork shoulder has a rich, full flavor; plus slicing it thin before cooking counters its chewiness.
Green beans cook alongside, absorbing the spiced broth and providing a fresh, vegetal contrast. Curry powder is used as a flavor base, and whole spices amp up the intensity. Just remember to remove the cardamom pods before serving (if you can see them). The Hubs got quite a jolt when he accidentally bit into one!
In some cases you have choices on which spice to use. We incorporated as much of them as possible, i.e. both onion and garlic. And in the case of the noodles, you can always substitute steamed rice instead.
1 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed, cut into 2-inch strips and sliced ¼ to ⅛ inch thick
2 tsp. curry powder
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped OR 8 medium garlic cloves, chopped OR both
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 cardamom pods, crushed OR 1 cinnamon stick OR 8 curry leaves OR a combination
8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
1 1⁄2 cups water
Rice OR cellophane noodles, cooked according to package directions
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the pork, curry powder, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the pork is well browned, about 4 minutes.
Add the onion, ginger and cardamom; cook, stirring, until the onion is browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the beans and 1½ cups water; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the sauce clings to the meat, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your rice or cellophane noodles according to package directions.
Remove and discard the cardamom from the sir-fry, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Optional garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro OR toasted sesame seeds OR chopped chilies OR a combination
Yes indeed, the flavors in this colorful stir-fry from Milk Street are a fantastic combination of savory, sweet, tangy, garlicky, spicy and nutty. The chili-garlic sauce can be moderated depending on your tolerance for spicy, and those peanuts add just the right amount of crunch.
Briefly marinating the sliced tenderloin means that the meat browns beautifully in the skillet and also adds flavor and moisture to an otherwise lean and mild cut. Balsamic vinegar may seem like an odd ingredient in a stir-fry, but it mimics the subtle sweetness, moderate acidity and maltiness of Chinese black vinegar and probably already is in your pantry. Serve with steamed white rice.
Instead of a nonstick skillet, we used a well-seasoned wok. The Hubs swears you get a hotter heat with the added benefit of pushing ingredients up the sides.
Warning: Don’t use a conventional (that is not nonstick) skillet. The pork will char and stick to the skillet instead of nicely browning.
In a medium bowl, stir together the pork, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the sherry, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the minced garlic and the cornstarch. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sherry, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce and vinegar.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat another 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the pork in an even layer and cook, stirring once or twice, until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the scallion whites and sliced garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Add the pork and accumulated juices, sauce mixture and scallion greens; cook, stirring, until the sauce is lightly thickened, 30 to 60 seconds.
Off heat, stir in half the peanuts. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.
These braised pork shanks could become an ultimate comfort food for us, with the hybridizing of favorite Asian flavors and techniques. It was hard to fathom how they could have gotten any better than when served, but after a rest overnight in the fridge, just WOW!
Paired with fresh green beans from our garden (that were flash frozen until ready to use), and the decadent Garlic-Miso Butter Mashed Potatoes, we were on Cloud Nine! It is a LOT of ingredients, and will take a large chunk of time, so a slow Sunday afternoon during the chilly months is ideal.
While I tended to spud duty, The Hubs started working his magic on the meat. But first, as he analyzed the recipe, he realized there was WAY too much liquid (mirin, soy, sake, vegetable oil, and chicken stock) and brown sugar for the amount of meat, so all got cut in half. When everything was said and done, we still had a cup of reduced sauce leftover, which we decided would be great for a future stir-fry.
Dredge shanks in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven and sear pork shanks on all sides, working in batches if necessary.
Discard oil from pan and add onion, celery, carrots and ginger. Caramelize on medium high heat, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté briefly, about 2 minutes.
Deglaze pan with sake, then add soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a simmer, then stir in brown sugar. Add red pepper flakes, star anise and chicken stock. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
Return shanks to the pot. Cover and cook in a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning once halfway through cooking. When shanks are completely tender, remove to platter and tent with foil. Strain liquid into a saucepan pressing on solids to get all of the juices; discard the solids. Return pot to a burner and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and reduce until desired thickness. Can thicken broth with a cornstarch slurry if desired. Serve shanks and pass sauce separately.