Create Vegan Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is an Indian classic, and this vegan version is similar to tomato and cauliflower curry.

Butter Chicken is an Indian classic, and this vegan version is similar to tomato and cauliflower curry.

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Butter Chicken is a global favorite within the pantheon of Indian classics, but this vegan take includes no butter, no cream and no chicken. I know some of you are probably frowning at the screen right now upset that I’ve called a dish with no butter or chicken in it “butter chicken”, but this dish is so close to the original, it just seemed wrong to call it a tomato and cauliflower curry.

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Make Spicy Beer Cheese Dip

This Spicy Beer Cheese Dip is spiked with jalapeño and light beer, and is made with a roux.

This Spicy Beer Cheese Dip is spiked with jalapeño and light beer, and is made with a roux.

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The Super Bowl is my favorite excuse to eat all the snacks ever created. My recent favorite is this spicy beer cheese dip. Have you ever tried to simply melt cheese hoping it would be a dip? Doesn’t work. I tried it long ago thinking it would work like melted chocolate. Silly me. The trick to cheese dip is a roux, much like you make for macaroni and cheese.

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Make Five Spice Chicken

This Five Spice Chicken recipe features anise, cinnamon, cloves and pepper, and requires a multi-day marinade.

This Five Spice Chicken recipe features anise, cinnamon, cloves and pepper, and requires a multi-day marinade.

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Chinese five spice powder is a blend of spices (often containing more than 5 spices) with the warm musty aroma of anise, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. It’s a signature flavor of many Chinese dishes including Char Siu and Cantonese Roast Pork.

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Customize Your Quinoa Bowl Toppings

This Kale Quinoa Bowl recipe features plantains, avocado, pickled radishes, and a hard-boiled egg for a nutrient-dense meal.

This Kale Quinoa Bowl recipe features plantains, avocado, pickled radishes, and a hard-boiled egg for a nutrient-dense meal.

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This is my go-to dinner. This is definitely a far cry from a real recipe where there are exact measurements and ratios. Instead I say make it your own with what you might have in your kitchen. Think of this almost like an idea or blueprint to what you could make with what you have in your pantry.

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Make Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare.

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare.

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This stir-fry, seasoned with oyster sauce and garlic is one of my favorite preparations of dark leafy greens. Redolent of garlic and toasted sesame oil, this quick vegetable side comes together in less than five minutes, yet it’s loaded with flavor.

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare.

The trick is to season it with oyster sauce, which is a sauce sold in bottles, made from oyster extracts, salt and sugar giving it a balanced umami rich taste that will really make any simple green shine. The sugar in oyster sauce not only helps balance out the salt, it also helps temper the bitterness of the leaves, making them enjoyable even for those who don’t normally go for greens. A good oyster sauce should only contain oyster extracts, sugar, salt and possibly a thickener, so read the label and try and avoid ones that include artificial colors, MSG, and preservatives. I’ve had luck with a few Thai brands.

While I used Tatsoi for making this recipe, this preparation will work with just about any Chinese leafy green such as bok choy, on choy (a.k.a. water spinach), guy choy, and pea sprouts. If the leaves are big, just chop them up before stir-frying.

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare.

While this is an easy dish that anyone can pull off successfully there are a couple areas that need attention. The first is that it’s important to remove any excess water from the leaves after washing, otherwise your stir-fry will end up watery and soggy. The second is to not brown the garlic initially. You want it to be fragrant, but if you brown it before adding the greens it will burn while your greens are cooked through. Lastly, using a spatula to press down on the leaves right after you add them is a good way to wilt them quickly without scattering them all over your cooktop.

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare.

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce

Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce recipe

This Tatsoi with Oyster Sauce recipe is a Chinese stir-fry recipe that is quick to prepare. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of the Fresh Tastes blog)

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Ingredients

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) Tatsoi
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • .25 ounces (7 grams, 1 large clove) garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Separate the individual leaves and discard any tough parts of the core, slicing up the rest of the stem. Wash thoroughly and run through a salad spinner to dry.
  2. Add the sesame oil and sliced garlic to a frying pan and fry over medium-high heat until fragrant (but not browned).
  3. Add the tatsoi and stir-fry until the leaves are wilted. It will help reduce the volume of leaves if you use a spatula to press down on them until they wilt.
  4. Add the oyster sauce and stir fry until the stems have cooked through and there is no liquid left in the pan.
  5. Serve immediately, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Yield: 2 servings


Marc Matsumoto is the food blogger behind Fresh TastesMarc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.

Make Tostones with Mojo Sauce

Tostones are twice fried plantains common in Latin American cuisine. It is paired with mojo sauce, which is made with sour oranges.

Tostones are twice fried plantains common in Latin American cuisine. It is paired with mojo sauce, which is made with sour oranges.

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As a kid who grew up most of her life in South Florida, I grew up eating plantains in all different kinds of iterations: in desserts, very ripe next to rice (maduros), super crispy, straight out of a chip bag, and this way, as tostones. I actually didn’t learn how to make tostones until I went off to college and had a Dominican roommate. I’d watch her slice up the greenest of plantains, fry them up, then smash them and re-fry them. They were my favorite snack.

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Make Honey Lemongrass Chicken

Honey Lemongrass Chicken features chicken marinated in lemongrass then caramelized in a honey glaze for a Chinese entree.

Honey Lemongrass Chicken features chicken marinated in lemongrass then caramelized in a honey glaze for a Chinese entree.

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While lemongrass is a key component in Southeast Asian dishes such as Beef Rendang or Satay Skewers it almost always comes in a larger bunch than I can use in any of these dishes. That’s why I’ve come up with several ways of using up leftover lemongrass.

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Make Red Lentil Hummus for a Snack

Red Lentil Hummus substitute lentils for chickpeas for a smoother version of hummus.

Red Lentil Hummus substitute lentils for chickpeas for a smoother version of hummus.

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Did you play Powerball? I thought the excitement around a billion dollars was pretty fun. When I went into the gas station near my house, there was a line out the door. You could feel the excitement and hope in the air and I was really into it.

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