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.

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.

I love making them and today I paired them with a mojo sauce. Mojo is typically made with sour oranges, which are pretty difficult to find, especially in the states, but the solution is simple: combine regular orange juice (like a naval) with lime juice—boom, sourness! The results are sublime. The sauce is garlic-y and very citrus-y. It’s perfect when paired with super crispy, delicious tostones. If you have leftovers, be sure to put it on everything from rice to chicken.

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

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 traditionally made with sour oranges. (Recipe Credit: Adrianna Adarme of the Fresh Tastes blog)

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Ingredients

  • For the Mojo sauce: 
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the Tostones:
  • 3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rounds 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • Salt

Directions

  1. To make the mojo: In a mortar and pestle or food processor, add the garlic cloves and salt. Grind up the garlic cloves until it resembles a paste. To a small saucepan, set over medium heat, add the garlic clove mixture, pepper, oregano, orange juice and lime juice. Cover the pan and allow to come to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil in a separate pan. When the oil is hot, carefully lift the lid and pour the oil in. Please be careful because the oil will bubble up when added to the citrus mixture. I utilize the lid to shield myself. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the popping sounds subsides. Turn off the heat and leave covered until ready to serve.
  2. To make the tostones: place a few tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet (I usually like it come up the sides about 1/2-inch), set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the plantains and cook on each side for about 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned and then transfer to a bed of paper towels. Repeat with the remaining rounds of plantains. Using the bottom of a cup or mug, smash the plantains until they’re somewhat flat (a little volume is ok!). Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the cooked plantains. Add more oil to the pan, if needed and when the oil is hot, add the smashed plantains back to the oil and cook once more, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until crispy. Right when they come out of the hot oil, sprinkle them liberally with salt. Repeat with the remaining plantains. Serve with mojo sauce for dipping.

Yield: 4-6 servings


Adrianna Adarme - PBS Food Fresh Tastes BloggerAdrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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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Make Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

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This is my own take on the Korean side kongnamul muchim, using garlic scapes in place of the garlic and scallions. It comes together in about 5 minutes and makes for a satisfying side with a crisp crunchy texture and heady aroma of toasted sesame seeds. By using garlic scapes, it not only adds a dash of color to the salad, it also adds a mellow sweetness and garlic flavor.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

You can usually find garlic scapes year round in Asian supermarkets, as well as at local farmers markets during spring, but if you can’t find it, garlic chives will also work for this dish. As for the bean sprouts, this salad will work with mung bean sprouts (the type with a small soft bean at the top), but I prefer using soy bean sprouts (the type with a large firm yellow bean at the top of the sprout) because they have a better texture. The stalk of soy bean sprouts are a bit more fibrous, giving the salad a marvelous crunchy texture, and the bean itself has a texture and taste similar to edamame.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

This dish is great for parties because the ingredients are cheap and you can make this a day in advance. While there’s nothing complicated about this salad, it is very important to squeeze as much water out of the cooked bean sprouts as possible, otherwise your salad will end up watery.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds.

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad recipe

Bean Sprouts Garlic Scape Salad is a quick Asian side dish with a crunchy texture and toasted sesame seeds. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of the Fresh Tastes blog)

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Ingredients

  • 7.5 ounces (213 grams) soy bean sprouts
  • 2.6 ounces (75 grams, about 8 scapes) garlic scapes, cut into 1.5-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the garlic scapes and give them a 30 second head start before adding the bean sprouts.
  3. Add the bean sprouts and let the pot come back to a boil (another minute or so). Drain and rinse the vegetables with cold water.
  4. Squeeze the bean sprouts and garlic scapes between your hands to get as much water out of them as you can.
  5. Put the squeezed bean sprouts and scapes in a bowl and toss with the sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt.

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 Miso Mushroom Stir-Fry

Miso Mushroom Stir-fry features a medley of miso, bok choy and brown rice.

Miso Mushroom Stir-fry features a medley of miso, bok choy and brown rice.

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El Nino has officially hit Los Angeles and I am loving it. Well, I’m not loving the destruction that could possibly come but we really need the rain. The rain has inspired all sorts of cozy food ideas but those will come later. First, something healthy.

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