All-Purpose Chinese White Sauce

For the Chinese white sauce:
3 cups stock (chicken stock, pork stock or vegetable stock, 540 ml)
3 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)
3/4 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon scallion (white part only, minced)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon MSG (totally optional!)

Pour chicken, pork or vegetable stock into a resealable glass jar. It’s best to use home-made stock but you can use store-bought as well. If you use store-bought prepared stock, try to use a pure stock without any other flavorings added (herbs, spices, etc.), as usually store-bought stocks are usually made for western cooking.

Next, add the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. It’s best if these aromatics are very finely minced. Add, salt, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce), and MSG if using.

Seal, and shake well to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake before using. Makes enough sauce for 4-6 dishes.

To make a stir-fry:
8 ounces meat of your choice (225g, pork, chicken, or beef; thinly sliced ¼ inch thick)
3 cups mixed vegetables (bell pepper, mushrooms, celery, carrots, snow peas, snap peas, broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, lotus root, etc.)
1/2 cup firm tofu (cubed, optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 – 3/4 cup prepared Chinese white sauce (depending upon how much sauce you like)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water; you may need a little more or less, depending upon how much sauce you use and how thick you like it)

Take your sliced meat, and velvet it using our method for velveting beef, velveting chicken, or velveting pork.

Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil, and blanch the vegetables and tofu for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain thoroughly and set aside. (Blanch in 2 batches if you have lots of vegetables, or if vegetables require different cooking times. Dense vegetables like carrots will take a little longer than snap peas, for example).

Heat your wok over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to evenly coat the wok. Spread the velveted meat in the wok in one layer. Sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the wok and set aside. Note, instead of searing the meat, you can also blanch it; just reduce oil to 1 tablespoon for stir-frying.

Next, without washing the wok, reheat your wok over high heat, and add the blanched vegetables and Shaoxing wine. Stir everything together, and add the meat.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your white stir-fry sauce, and stir-fry everything together to deglaze the wok. Keep cooking until the sauce comes to a full simmer.

Mix the cornstarch and water into a slurry. Move the pork and vegetables to the sides of the wok. There should be a little well of sauce/liquid at the center of the wok. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the liquid, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Give everything a final stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Plate and serve over steamed rice.

Basic Pad Thai

For sauce, combine roughly equal parts fish sauce, palm or brown sugar, and tamarind liquid. Add Some chicken broth And bring to boil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Set aside.

In a wok, saute minced red onion and garlic until golden brown.

Add any combination of cooked and diced chicken, cooked and diced firm tofu, and raw shrimp.

Add fresh noodles and fry for 30 seconds.

Push noodles aside and use the space to fry two lightly beaten eggs.

Pour in 3-5 tablespoons of sauce. Fry for another 30 seconds. Thin with more chicken broth if desired.

Add about a cup of bean sprout and some chives or scallions and fry for 30 more seconds.

Serve topped with fresh cilantro, basil leaves, crushed peanuts, crushed dried chilies, and lime wedges.

Bhindi Masala

1 1lb okra/bhindi
3 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly or ? cup sliced onions
1 large tomato, chopped or ½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 green chilies, slit
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste or ½ inch ginger along with 3 to 4 medium garlic crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
1/4 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
1/4 tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder/jeera powder
1/2 tsp dry mango powder/amchur
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta
salt as required

Rinse the bhindi/okra in water. then wipe dry them with a kitchen towel or just allow to dry them naturally in a plate. (making sure they are completely dry eliminates the gelatinous texture of okra)

Slice off the crown and tip of each bhindi. then slice them vertically.
also slice 1 medium onion. chop 1 large tomato and slit 2 green chilies. crush the ginger and garlic in a mortar-pestle.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed shallow frying pan. add the sliced onions.
saute them till they start turning light brown.

Add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste and the green chilies. Saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

Add the chopped tomatoes. stir well.

Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin and dry mango powder. Mix the spices with the rest of the onion-tomato masala. Saute this mixture till the tomatoes become pulpy and you see oil releasing from the sides.

Add the chopped bhindi/okra, season with salt, and stir very well. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook on a low flame or simmer. Check after 4 to 5 minutes a couple of times. Continue to cook the bhindi fry on a low flame till the bhindi is done. You will have to check after every 4 to 5 minutes so that the bhindi does not get too browned or burnt. Stir every time when you check it. If the okra is becoming too browned or getting burnt, then sprinkle 1 to 1.5 tbsp water all over. stir, cover and continue to cook.

Once the bhindi is done, add garam masala powder and kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, and cilantro, and stir well.

Sri Lankan Coconut Sambol

1 coconut grated
5 dried chilies
6 small shallots
2 limes juice of
1 teaspoon Maldive fish (Optional)
salt

Using a mortar and pestle make a paste with the dried chilies and a pinch of salt.

In a bowl, mix together the shallots, coconut, and chili paste.

Add the Maldive fish if using.

Add the fresh lime juice.

Add salt to taste.

Mix everything together and taste, adjust as your palate dictates. The end result should be sweet, sour, savory, hot, and a heavenly bite.

Serve alongside curry.

Sri Lankan Shrimp Curry

Prawns /Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder

Prawn/ shrimp Curry
3 tbsp coconut oil
4 garlic cloves minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
1 medium sweet onion chopped finely
1 Tbsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
12 curry leaves
3 pandan leaves
1/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup water
2 fresh red chili peppers more or less to your heat tolerance
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp Cilantro chopped, finely

Sprinkle the salt and curry powder over the shrimp and mix well and set aside to marinate while you cook the curry.

Heat a frying pan over medium high heat, and add the coconut oil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, a generous pinch of salt and reduce the heat to medium and cook the shrimp heads until they soften – a few minutes.

Add the curry powder, fennel powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, curry leaves and stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until the spices are fragrant and have formed a paste with the onion, garlic and ginger.

Add the coconut milk, 2/3 cup water, fresh red chili pepper, lime juice and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until the mixture is thick.

Add the peeled prawns/shrimp into the curry base and gently mix to combine and completely coat the prawn/shrimp with the sauce. Add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick, or you would like more sauce.

While stirring, bring the mix to a boil. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or just until the prawns/shrimp is cooked through and is pink. Season with salt to taste.

Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and let the prawns/shrimp sit in the sauce for a few minutes.

Sprinkle cilantro to garnish if using, and serve with steamed Basamati rice.

Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Powder

4 Tbsp coriander seeds
3 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 Tbsp basmati rice
1 Tbsp black mustard seeds
3 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp green cardamom seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds

Place the rice in a non-stick pan.

Heat over medium heat until the rice starts to turn light brown.

Add the rest of the spices and roast for few more minutes until the spices start to become aromatic. Keep moving the pan to prevent the spices from burning.

Remove from the heat and let the spices cool down.

Once cool, use a spice grinder (or a mortar and pestle) to grind the spice mix into a powder.

Store in an air tight container.

Sri Lankan Spiced Chickpeas (Kadala Thal Dala )

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
4 dried red chilies chopped into large chunks
1 large onion finely diced
2 15 oz. chickpeas cans (drained)
Salt to taste
Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan.

Fry the mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and chilies for around 30 seconds until you hear the seeds pop.

Add the onions and cook until soft and golden.

Stir through the chickpeas and add salt to taste. Sauté for a few minutes until heated through.

Serve warm as a snack or as a side to your meal.

Cantonese Ginger Scallion Oil

Ingredients
2 scallions (must have white parts, 50g)
10 thin slices fresh ginger (20g)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (120 ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
light soy sauce (to taste; OPTIONAL)
Instructions
Wash the scallions and pat them thoroughly dry. Thinly slice them into rounds, and then use your knife to mince them further.
Next, slice 10 rounds of ginger very thinly. Julienne them into matchsticks and mince them finely. (These steps could be done with a food processor.)
Combine the scallion, ginger, oil, and salt in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, and it’s ready to serve!

Notes:

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN USE IT:

As a condiment to chicken or any meat of your choice – poached, pan-fried, or even grilled

As a dip for tofu, for our vegans out there

In cold noodles

As a flavoring or topping for leafy green vegetable stir-fries

Over plain rice with a fried egg, or fried rice!

If we are enjoying poached chicken (bai qie ji), we split it into two small bowls, and add light soy sauce to one of them to taste.

Roasted Fish (or Scallops, Chicken, or Tofu) with Miso Rice and Ginger Scallion Sauce

1/4 cup white or sweet miso
1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
4 (6-ounce) skin-on fish fillets (or other protein; see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 cups finely shredded cabbage, such as green, Napa or savoy (about 8 ounces)
Roasted sesame oil, for serving

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, whisk miso with 2 1/4 cups water until dissolved. Stir in rice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork (it will be a little sticky).

On a rimmed baking sheet, rub salmon all over with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and arrange skin-side up. Roast until fish is just opaque and cooked to medium, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, scallions, vinegar and ginger, and season with salt and pepper.

Divide miso rice and cabbage among bowls. Top with salmon, ginger-scallion vinaigrette and sesame oil.
Notes:
The rice complements other seafood, too, like cod, shrimp and scallops. It’s also a great accompaniment to grilled steak and roasted chicken. And if it’s a satisfying plant-based meal you’re after, miso rice is a natural match for delicious tofu-vegetable bowls. Use the versatile ginger-scallion vinaigrette as the sauce.

Shredded cabbage brings freshness and crunch to the finished dish, but use whatever crispy vegetable you have on hand: shredded brussels sprouts, carrots, snap peas, radishes and iceberg lettuce are all great options.

Some readers suggest waiting until almost the end of the cooking time for the rice to add a watered down miso mixture. Miso is full of great enzymes that are good for digestion that can be destroyed when boiled.

Thai-Style Sweet and Salty Shrimp (or Chicken, or Tofu)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Pat the shrimp very dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.

In a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Add the peanuts, scallions, lime juice and red-pepper flakes and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes: Add a quick cooking vegetable, like peas, thinly sliced asparagus or bean sprouts, with the shrimp, or substitute tofu or cubed boneless chicken thighs for the shrimp.

Serve over shredded cabbage, rice, a roasted sweet potato or rice noodles.

Spicy Mango Pork with Noodles

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger, divided
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced serrano chile
3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch-thick spears
1 cup hot water 8 ounces uncooked thin rice noodles or vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
Thinly sliced scallions and pickled cucumber slices, for garnish

Toss together pork, cumin, salt, lime zest and juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ginger in a medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over high. Working in 2 batches, add pork; cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe skillet clean; reduce heat to medium. Add mustard seeds and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; cook, undisturbed, until small bubbles appear on surface of seeds, about 30 seconds. Add onion and chile; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mango and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger; cook, stirring gently, until mango is just tender, 6 minutes. Transfer to plate with pork.

Return 1 cup mango mixture to skillet; add 1 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high; cook, smashing fruit using back of a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Return remaining mango mixture and pork to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until pork is fully coated with mango mixture.

Serve pork mixture over noodles; garnish with scallions and pickled cucumber.

Lemongrass Tofu

1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 14-ounce containers extra-firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 cored-and-quartered plum tomatoes
1 chopped shallot
stems from 1 bunch cilantro (reserve the leaves)
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to the lower 5 inches (dry outer layers discarded and thinly sliced) and
1/4 cup neutral oil
14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 diced tomatoes
steamed jasmine rice for serving

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add two 14-ounce containers extra-firm tofu (cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry) and toss. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 2 cored-and-quartered plum tomatoes, 1 chopped shallot, the stems from 1 bunch cilantro (reserve the leaves) and 1 tablespoon each fish sauce and chili-garlic sauce. Blend until finely chopped, about 30 seconds.

Add 3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to the lower 5 inches (dry outer layers discarded and thinly sliced) and blend, scraping the blender jar frequently, until a smooth, thick paste forms, about 90 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1/4 cup neutral oil until shimmering. Add the tofu in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottoms and the pieces release easily from the pan, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the pieces and cook until browned on all sides, another 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a large paper towel–lined plate.

Return the skillet to medium-high. Add the tomato–lemon grass paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in one 14-ounce can coconut milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then cover, reduce to low and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tofu and stir to coat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tofu has absorbed some of the sauce, about 10 minutes. Stir in and sprinkle with reserved cilantro leaves before serving.

Toasted Coconut Rice with Fried Eggs and Bok Choy

4 large eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups jasmine or other medium-grain rice (12 ounces), rinsed and drained
Kosher salt
8 ounces bok choy
6 ounces green beans
Toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce and Sriracha, for serving

Take your eggs out of the fridge so they won’t be ice-cold when you fry them.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the rice, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains start to look translucent and smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and steam for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the bok choy and green beans. If the bok choy are large, halve them lengthwise, then cut into 3-inch pieces crosswise. Scatter the green beans over the rice (the water will be mostly absorbed) and sprinkle with salt.

Spread the bok choy on top of the beans and season with salt. Drizzle or dollop 1 tablespoon oil over the greens. Cover and steam until the greens and rice are tender, about 10 minutes.

When the rice is almost done, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry until the whites are set and the yolks runny, 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the rice and vegetables among 4 dishes. Slide an egg onto each. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and season to taste with soy sauce and Sriracha.

Japanese Cheesecake

8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese (225 g)
2 oz unsalted butter (50 g)
100 ml full milk
2 oz. cake flour (60 g)
1 oz. corn starch (20 g)
6 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 oz fine granulated sugar (140 g)

Preheat oven to at 325 F (160 C). Prepare and measure all the ingredients and set out on your working area. I used a 9-inch springform pan. Grease the entire pan and line the bottom part with parchment paper. Please refer to notes if you use other pan.

On a stove top, melt cream cheese, butter and full milk on low heat. Use a whisk to mix well until the cream cheese melts completely without lumps. Remove from heat.

Sift the cake flour and corn starch.

Add egg yolks, lemon juice and salt to the cream cheese mixture. Whisk to combine well. Add the cake flour and corn starch, whisk until a smooth batter forms and there is no lump.

Make the meringue by whisking egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar until light, foamy and soft peaks form. You can beat with a stand mixer or electronic hand mixer. I used speed 4 and beat for 1-2 minutes or until soft peaks form. DO NOT over beat.

Add the cream cheese mixture gently into the meringue, FOLD GENTLY until well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the springform pan. Tap the cake pan gently before baking.

Bake the cake using hot water bath. Place the cake pan in a larger pan and add 1 inch of hot water in the larger pan. Bake at the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes.

Leave the Japanese cheesecake to cool down in the oven with the oven door open, about 30 minutes. This will prevent sudden change of temperature that may cause the cake to shrink. However, it’s normal that the cake will shrink about 1/2 – 1 inch after cooling.

Refrigerate the cake (with or without the cake tin) for at least 4 hours or overnight. Top the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

NOTES
1. If you use a springform pan or loose base cake tin, make sure it’s closed tight. It’s best to wrap the base of your pan with 2 layers of aluminium foil (outside of the pan) to prevent the water bath from seeping inside the bottom part of the cake.

If you use a 8″ round pan, it is very important to line the sides of the 8″ pan with parchment paper, make sure the parchment paper extends higher than the cake tin by about 1.5″.

If you use a 9″ pan, you can line the bottom part and not the sides. You may line the entire pan with parchment paper, if you like.

You can also use an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan.

If the cake shrinks too much, the main reason is over mixing the egg white mixture with the cream cheese mixture. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, FOLD VERY GENTLY using a flipping motion. Do not stir or blend vigorously.

Make sure you have a smooth cream cheese mixture that is not lumpy.
Use room temperature eggs to ensure that the meringue has the maximum volume.
Make sure your egg whites are beaten until soft peaks form. Dot not over beat, we don’t want stiff peaks.

DO NOT OVER MIX the meringue with the cream cheese batter. Fold very gently, do not stir or blend as the bubbles in the meringue will disappear.

To avoid the sudden drop in oven temperature and room temperature, leave the cake in the oven with the oven door open. This will make sure that the cake doesn’t lose volume and sink.

To avoid cracking at the top, please make sure you use a water bath for baking. The steam from the water will circulate in the oven, hence minimizing cracking at the top.

To avoid over browning, bake the cake at the bottom part of your oven.

Balinese Pork Satay (Sate Babi) With Sweet Soy Glaze and Peanut Sauce

For the Spice Paste:
One (1-inch) knob fresh turmeric, peeled (about 10g), or 1 teaspoon (4g) ground turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, outer layers and root removed, thinly sliced (about 80g)
8 medium cloves garlic, sliced (about 60g)
2 small shallots, sliced (about 75g)
3 whole dried pasilla or guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped (about 40g)
2 tablespoons (about 30g) palm sugar or brown sugar
2 teaspoons (about 6g) whole coriander seed
1 tablespoon (about 9g) whole white peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 pounds (1kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

For the Glaze:
1 cup kecap manis (8 ounces; 240ml)
1/4 cup sugar (about 2 ounces; 50g), plus more if needed
One (2-inch) knob ginger, roughly chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped

For the Dipping Sauce:
10 ounces roasted peanuts (285g; about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
1 ounce (30g) tamarind pulp, soaked and strained (see note), or 2 teaspoons (10ml) tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon (15ml) kecap manis or fish sauce
Water, as necessary
Sugar, to taste

For the Spice Paste: Combine turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilies, sugar, coriander, white peppercorns, and 2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt using a mortar and pestle, working in batches if necessary. Pound into a fine paste. (For an easier method, pound with the mortar and pestle until a rough paste is formed, then transfer to a food processor to reduce to a fine paste. I do not recommend using the food processor alone if you want maximum flavor.) Divide mixture into thirds.

Combine pork and one-third of spice paste in a large bowl and toss with your hands until all of pork is thoroughly coated in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to overnight. Thread pork onto skewers. To do this efficiently, cut an onion or potato in half and place it on your cutting board. Place a piece of pork on top of it and push through it with the skewer. Repeat until each skewer has about 6 inches of pork threaded onto it. Pork should be pushed together quite tightly. Discard onion half (or grill it) after use. Keep pork skewers refrigerated until ready to cook.

For the Glaze: Meanwhile, combine kecap manis, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook until glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in one-third of spice paste and adjust seasoning with more sugar as necessary. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Leftover glaze can be stored indefinitely in a covered container in the refrigerator.

For the Dipping Sauce: Pound peanuts with the mortar and pestle until reduced to a rough powder. Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining third of spice paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peanuts, tamarind juice, remaining oil, kecap manis or fish sauce, and 1/2 cup (120ml) water. Stir to combine. Once liquid comes to a simmer and turns creamy, adjust consistency with more water as necessary to produce a creamy sauce that just barely flows. Season to taste with a little sugar if desired. Leftover sauce can be stored for several weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator.

To Cook: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Working in batches as necessary, place pork directly over hot side of grill. Immediately start fanning coals or flames with a large piece of cardboard or with the hose of a Shop-Vac to prevent flare-ups. Cook, fanning constantly and turning pork occasionally, until pork is cooked through and browned on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer pork to cooler side of grill and brush on all sides with glaze. Return to hot side of grill and cook, turning, just until glaze starts to bubble and get sticky, about 45 seconds. Transfer skewers to a serving platter and repeat until all pork is cooked.

Brush pork with another layer of glaze just before serving and serve with peanut sauce on the side or spooned on top.

Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)

For the Pork:
2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns, or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper (4g)
Pinch kosher salt
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, tender core thinly sliced (about 2 ounces; 60g sliced lemongrass)
1 small shallot, roughly chopped (about 1 ounce; 30g total)
4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (3/4 ounce; about 20g)
1/3 cup palm sugar (about 3 ounces; 85g)
1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds (680g) thin-cut pork chops, preferably blade end, with plenty of fat and marbling

For the Sauce:
1 recipe basic Nuoc Cham
1/4 cup (30g) very thinly julienned or grated carrot (optional)
1/4 cup (30g) very thinly julienned or grated daikon radish (optional)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (preferably Thai or Vietnamese; optional)

To Serve:
Steamed white rice
Sliced cucumber

For the Pork: If using whole white peppercorns, crush with salt in a mortar and pestle until roughly crushed. Add salt, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, palm sugar, and pre-ground white pepper (if using) to mortar and crush to a rough paste. You can continue crushing by hand at this point or transfer to a food processor to finish the job.

Transfer marinade to a bowl and whisk in fish sauce and vegetable oil. Add pork chops, turning them to coat all surfaces. Transfer pork to a gallon-size zipper-lock bag, press out the air, and seal bag. Marinate at room temperature, turning pork once or twice, for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. Alternatively, transfer to refrigerator and marinate, turning once or twice, for up to 12 hours before proceeding.

For the Sauce: Prepare Nuoc Cham according to the recipe, then add carrot and daikon to the same bowl, if using. Add chili flakes to taste, if using. Extra sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

4.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Grill pork chops directly over high heat, turning frequently and shifting to cooler side of grill if there are excessive flare-ups, until pork is charred and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with steamed white rice, sliced cucumber, and sauce.

Nuoc Cham

Ingredients
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 small bird’s eye chili, minced optional

In a small bowl, whisk together water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and chili (if using) and stir to combine. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Adobo Marinated Grilled Pork Chops

1/2 cup (120ml) cane vinegar, preferably Datu Puti brand
1/3 cup (80ml) soy sauce
1/2 cup (120ml) water
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Two (12-ounce; 334g) bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Warm cooked sticky rice, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, soy sauce, water, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Let marinade cool to room temperature.

Place pork chops in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag and pour marinade on top. Seal, pressing out air from bag, and refrigerate at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

Grill pork chops over direct heat, turning occasionally, until well browned outside and 135°F (57°C) in the center for medium, about 10 minutes. If pork chops threaten to burn before they’re done in the center, move them to cooler side of grill to finish cooking. Let rest 5 minutes before serving with sticky rice.

Basic Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch (about 1/4 ounce; 7g)
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
2/3 cup (160ml) pineapple juice
1/3 cup (80ml) rice vinegar
1/3 cup (74g) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (45ml) ketchup
1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine pineapple juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cucumber Salad with Soy, Ginger, and Garlic

2 large thin-skinned cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small garlic clove, minced, or granulated garlic or garlic flakes to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons sunflower oil or grapeseed oil
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Sprinkle the cucumbers with a generous amount of salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry on a kitchen towel. Transfer to a salad bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and pepper. Whisk in the sesame oil and the sunflower or grapeseed oil. Toss with the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. Chill until ready to serve.

Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Chili

6 Persian cucumbers (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into thin spears, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 small garlic clove, grated
Chile oil, store-bought or homemade, for serving (optional)

Toss cucumbers with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Set aside to drain.
Chop peanuts, cilantro and red-pepper flakes together until very fine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add up to 1 tablespoon water, if needed to thin mixture. Transfer salted cucumbers to the bowl with dressing and toss to coat.