Gochujang Pork Shoulder Steaks

8 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 2” piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup dry sake
1/2 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), sliced 3/4 thick

Purée garlic, ginger, sake, gochujang, mirin, and ¼ cup oil in a blender. Set ¼ cup marinade aside; chill. Transfer remaining marinade to a large dish. Add pork; turn to coat. Chill, turning occasionally, at least 2 hours.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Remove pork from marinade and grill, basting with reserved marinade, turning occasionally, and moving pork to a cooler area if flare-up occurs, until cooked to desired doneness, 8–10 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.

DO AHEAD: Pork can be marinated 1 day ahead. Keep chilled

Khua Mee (Lao Dry-Fried Rice Noodles)

For the Omelet:

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Noodles:
1 1/2 pounds dried medium-wide rice noodles
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Golden Mountain brand seasoning sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups scallions, in 1-inch pieces

For Garnish

Sliced omelet
2 tablespoons fried shallots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stems included
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Prik phong (ground toasted chile) or Sriracha

Make the omelet: Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add the fish sauce. Beat with a fork, as if making scrambled eggs. Add the oil to an 8-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When it’s warm, pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan to ensure the egg covers the bottom. Continue to cook over gentle heat for about 3 minutes—you’ll notice the top of the omelet firming up. (If it starts to color, it means the pan is too hot; remove the pan from the heat.)

Once the top is firm, flip and cook over low heat for another minute. Slide the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate to cool. Slice into ¼-inch slivers and reserve for garnishing.

Make the noodles: Start by soaking the noodles in cold water according to the package directions—when done, they should be opaque white and firm yet flexible. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

Meanwhile, add the oil and sugar to a saucepan with a wide diameter and mix well; set over medium-high heat. As the oil gets hot, the sugar will caramelize. Cook until the caramel turns a deep amber. Once it has reached the desired color, turn off the heat, carefully add the shallots and garlic, and give it a stir with a spoon to sweat the aromatics—at this point, your kitchen should smell very good.

Sweat the aromatics for 1 minute, deglaze with the water and stir well. Add the seasonings (oyster sauce, seasoning sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, black pepper and MSG, if using) and mix well.

Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and cook, stirring constantly with a pair of tongs. Move the noodles as if tossing a salad—they’ll wilt and slowly soak up the sauce. When the noodles have absorbed all the sauce and the pan is dry, with no residual sauce remaining, turn off the heat and fold in the bean sprouts and scallions, again like tossing a salad.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Scatter the top with the omelet slices, fried shallots and chopped cilantro, with a side of extra mung bean sprouts. Serve with prik phong or Sriracha.

Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken with Holy Basil (Cha Kreung Satch Moan)

For the Kreung:
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, sliced into thin rounds (65g once sliced)
One 3-inch knob galangal, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (35g once sliced)
Two 4-inch knobs fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
12 makrut lime leaves, preferably fresh, sliced very thinly crosswise
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
5 medium cloves garlic, peeled (25g)
1/2 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (12g; see note) or Thai basil leaves (25g)
For the Stir-Fry:
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, divided
2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breast halves), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, divided
One 3-inch piece fermented mudfish (prahok) (35g), cut in half, divided (optional)
2 teaspoons (10ml) Asian fish sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cube (6g) chicken bouillon, such as Knorr, crumbled to a powdery consistency, divided
1 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (40g), divided
4 jalapeños (150g), stemmed, halved, and seeded, then cut on a bias into 3/4-inch strips, divided
Kosher salt

For Serving:
Steamed white rice

For the Kreung: Using a large granite mortar and pestle, combine lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and makrut lime leaves and grind to a smooth but slightly fibrous paste. These are the toughest, most fibrous ingredients in the paste, so it will take 5 to 10 minutes for the paste to form. Once the paste has formed, add shallot and garlic and pound again to smash them into the paste, another 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add basil to the mortar and pound until it is fully incorporated into the paste.

For the Stir-Fry: In a wok, heat 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add roughly half of the kreung to the wok, stirring and scraping constantly with a wooden spatula to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. At first, the paste will snap and pop as it begins to release moisture. Continue stirring until all visible moisture has cooked off and the paste has thickened and darkened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high, then add half of the chicken to the wok, along with 1 piece of mudfish (if using) and cook, stirring, until chicken is coated in the kreung and has turned white on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in half of fish sauce, sugar, and bouillon and scrape browned bits from the bottom of the wok (some may still adhere). Stir in half the basil. Once basil has wilted, reduce heat to low and add half of jalapeño slices, cooking until warmed through but still crisp. Season with salt to taste.

Scrape contents of wok into a serving bowl and discard fermented fish. Rinse and dry wok, then repeat with remaining oil, kreung, chicken, and other ingredients.

Serve stir-fry right away, passing steamed white rice at the table.

Chicken with Garlic, Chilies, and Peanuts

2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
4 5- to 6-ounce chicken breast cutlets, pounded to an even 1/4-inch thickness
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces

In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and the chicken, turning to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels, then season with pepper.

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.

Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Allow the pan to cool for a couple minutes, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and scallion whites. Cook over medium, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Off heat, add the sherry, the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, half the peanuts and any accumulated juices from the chicken.

Return to medium and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add the butter and stir until fully incorporated. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with scallion greens and the remaining peanuts.

Dodo (Fried Plantains)

4 medium ripe, deep-yellow plantains (about 2 pounds)
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
Canola or other neutral oil, for frying (about 3 cups)
1 lime, zest removed in strips and julienned, plus 1 tablespoon juice
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt

Cut off the tips of each plantain. Use a sharp knife to create a slit in the skin along the length of each plantain, carefully making sure not to cut into the flesh. Remove and discard the skin by peeling it apart. Slice each plantain in half lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Thinly slice one onion half, then transfer the slices to a medium bowl. Quarter the remaining onion half lengthwise, and pull the layers apart.

In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, pour 1/2 inch oil and heat over medium. When hot, add the larger onion pieces and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the cooked onion.

Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry the plantains, stirring halfway through, until browned and caramelized at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

While the plantains are frying, toss the sliced onion with the lime juice, red-pepper flakes and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Let marinate, at least 10 minutes.

Toss the fried plantains in the bowl with the pickled onion mixture while still warm. Add the lime zest and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Beef Suya

1 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/4 cup peanut oil, plus more for grilling
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade ground suya spice blend (see Note), plus more for serving
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt
2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch strips, seeds discarded
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
1 lime (optional)
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped

Lay several strips of meat on a piece of plastic wrap, leaving about 1/2 inch between each slice, and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound the meat strips with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy frying pan until 1/8-inch thick. Repeat this process until all the meat has been flattened. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup peanut oil and 2 tablespoons suya spice blend with ginger and garlic. Add beef, toss to coat and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

Heat a gas grill or grill pan over medium-high, and brush with peanut oil.

Skewer the beef pieces on 12 individual presoaked wooden or metal skewers, wiping off any excess marinade. Brush the meat generously with more peanut oil and set the skewers on a baking sheet.

Working in batches if necessary, grill the beef skewers until meat is cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a platter and sprinkle with more suya spice blend. Repeat until all the beef has been grilled.

Place the tomato and onion slices in a bowl and squeeze lime juice all over. Season with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain any excess liquid.

Top skewers with red onion and tomatoes, sprinkle with toasted peanuts, and serve with additional suya spice, for dipping.

Tip
To make suya spice blend, combine 1/4 cup dry roasted peanut powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cayenne, 2 teaspoons hot paprika, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Jollof Rice

FOR THE OBE ATA:
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red habanero chile, stemmed
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

FOR THE JOLLOF RICE:
1/2 cup canola or other neutral oil
2 medium red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
3 cups parboiled long-grain rice (such as Carolina Gold or Uncle Ben’s Original), basmati or jasmine rice (about 1¼ pounds)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

Prepare the obe ata: Working in batches if needed, combine all the obe ata ingredients except the canola oil in a blender and purée on high until smooth. The liquid from the can of tomatoes should suffice, but you can add up to 1/4 cup of water if necessary to get the purée going. (You should have about 3 cups of purée.)

Heat the 2 tablespoons canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the purée and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced by about a third of its original volume, 18 to 20 minutes. (It should make about 2 cups. Obe ata can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Prepare the rice: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the 1/2 cup canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium until shimmering, about 1 minute.

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove half the onions to a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, turmeric and smoked paprika, if using, and toast, stirring occasionally, until turmeric is fragrant and tomato paste has deepened to a dark red color, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the obe ata sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The habanero oils love to disperse in the air, so you may want to turn on your stovetop fan or open a window while simmering the obe ata.

Stir in the rice, thyme and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the stock and cover with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until rice is just tender, 35 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and let sit, covered (no peeking) for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the reserved sautéed onions. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve warm.