Sole Meunière

1/4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed
Eight 5-ounce sole fillets
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a small bowl, soak the capers in cold water for 45 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk the flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Dredge ?the fillets in flour and shake off any excess; transfer to a platter.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over moderately high heat. Add 4 sole fillets to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining clarified butter and sole fillets.

Add the capers to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and lemon juice and cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until the butter is melted before adding more. Add half of the parsley and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour the warm sauce over the sole and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve immediately.

Char Koay Kak (Fried Rice Cakes)

1 packet rice cake (32 oz/900g)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 oz chai poh / pickled radish, chopped (30g)
2 tsp chili paste
6 oz shrimps (peeled and deveined) (170g)
2 tsp sweet soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
4 oz Chinese chives (cut into 1-inch lengths) (115g)
8 oz bean sprouts (trimmed) (225g)

Cut rice cake into 3/4 inch cubes.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in non-stick fry pan. Pan fry cubed rice cakes until lightly brown in color, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat a large wok on the stove. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil when wok is heated. Sauté garlic, chai poh (pickled radish), and chili paste for 30 seconds.

Add shrimps and continue to stir fry for 1 minute.

Then add pan fried rice cubes, sweet soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Create a well in the center of the wok. Crack in the eggs. Stir and toss rice cubes over eggs to get them coated.

Add chives and bean sprouts. Stir for another 30 seconds to one minute.

Remove and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: Char Koay Kak is best stir fried in small batches. Ingredients may be halved to stir fry two servings at a time

Curry Laksa

1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml)
2 bone-in chicken breasts (skin removed)
3 pandan leaves (shredded and knotted)
12 oz bean sprouts (trimmed) (340g)
6 oz beehoon (dried rice vermicelli), soak in warm water for 30 minutes to soften (170g)
12 oz fresh yellow noodles or dried yellow noodles (225g)
8 oz shrimps (peeled and deveined) (225g)
1 can coconut milk (14 oz/400ml)
4 oz deep fried tofu (sliced) (113g)
Salt to taste

Spice Paste
5 shallots (peeled and halved)
3 cloves garlic (peeled, and halved)
3 dried chilies (seeded and soaked in hot water to soften)
1 stalk lemongrass (slice bottom third into rings)
1 1/2 inch ginger (peeled and thickly sliced)
1/2 cup curry powder (50g)

Garnish
1/2 cucumber (julienned)
3 to 4 sprigs mint leaves (stems removed)
1 lime (cut into wedges)
4 to 6 tsp fried chili paste

Blend all spice paste ingredients with ¼ cup (60ml) water until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl. Mix with curry powder to form a thick paste.

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir fry spice paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add chicken breasts and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes.

Pour in 6 cups (1.4 liters) water. Add pandan leaves. Cover and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, fill a separate pot half full of water. Bring to a boil. Scald bean sprouts for about 20 seconds. Remove with a metal strainer.

Add beehoon (dried rice vermicelli) and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with metal strainer.

Cook fresh yellow noodles in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and dried yellow noodles for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with metal strainer. Set aside.

Remove chicken breasts from curry soup with tongs. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and discard bones.

Lower shrimps into curry soup with a metal strainer. Allow shrimps to cook for 3 to 4 minutes until shrimps curl and turn pink. Remove and set aside.

Pour coconut milk into soup. Add deep fried tofu and season with salt. Bring it up to a boil and allow coconut milk to heat through. Turn off heat.

Place a portion of noodles, bean sprouts, some shredded chicken, and shrimps in a bowl. Pour curry soup over noodles and vegetables. Garnish with cucumber and mint leaves.

Serve Immediately with fried chili paste and lime wedges.

Stir-Fried Mee Tai Mak (Pin Noodles with Shrimp and Pork)

1 lb mee thai mak noodle/ Vietnamese Ban Bot Loc noodles
3 Tbsp cooking oil
8 oz large shrimp peeled and deveined
2 oz minced pork marinade with 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, pinch of sugar
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
3 to 4 small bunches of yu choy/A choy/Choy Sum trim large stalks into smaller pieces

SEASONINGS:
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper powder

GARNISHES
1 stalk green onion finely chopped
Fried shallots crisp optional

The noodles are hard when it is cold or refrigerated but will soften when heated. Briefly blanch the noodles in a boiling water for about 1 minute or you can just microwave them for 30 seconds or so. Set aside.

Heat up the wok/skillet with oil. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and cooked through. Dish out. Add garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the minced pork and stir fry and kinda break them apart and cook until they just turn color, about 2 minutes.

Push the meat to the side and break in two eggs and let them cook for about 1 minute before breaking them up lightly with a spatula.

Add the vegetables and stir fry until they are started to wilt but still has that fresh green colors.

Add the rice pin noodles and seasonings and continue to stir-fry for another minute or so until the noodles pick up the dark brown color from the seasonings. Add the shrimp back in and stir everything to mix.

Have a taste and add soy sauce if needed. Turn off heat. Garnish with some chopped green onion and fried shallots crisp and served immediately.

Ginger Scallion Fish

10 oz. Basa fish fillet cut into pieces
2- inch ginger skin peeled and cut into thin slices
2 stalks scallion cut into 2-inch lengths
1 1/2 tablespoons oil

Sauce:
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3-4 tablespoons water
Salt to taste
3 dashes white pepper powder

Marinade:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

Marinate the fish for about 10 minutes. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat up the wok with cooking oil. Add ginger slices into the wok when the oil is very hot. Stir-fry the ginger until aromatic and add in the fish fillet. Stir-fry the fish until they are half cooked. Add in the sauce and continue to stir-fry until the fish is cooked through. If the sauce dries out, add in a little water. Add in the chopped scallions and do a few quick stirs, dish out and serve hot.

Shrimp (or Scallop) and Asparagus Sambal

12 oz. asparagus
4 oz. scallops or medium-size shrimps
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons sambal paste if you like spicy, use 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon belacan breaks into small bits
2 tablespoons oil

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
20 dried chilies seeded and soaked to soften
10 fresh red chilies seeded and sliced
8 shallots peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons cooking oil

Rinse the asparagus with water. Chop off 1 inch to 1.5 inches off the stems (depending on the toughness of the stems) and slice the stems into half. Cut the rest of the asparagus into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.

Heat up the wok with oil. Add the sambal (recipe below) and belacan. Stir well until you start smelling the pungent aroma of belacan. Add in scallops/shrimps and do a quick stir and then follow by the asparagus. Add fish sauce, sugar, and continue to stir fry until asparagus is cooked through (don’t overcook it). Dish out and serve hot.

Sambal (Chili Paste) Recipe:
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the sambal ingredients or use a mini food processor to blend well. Heat up a wok with oil. As soon as the oil is heated, transfer the sambal paste into the wok and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes or until you smell the heat from the sambal or the oil separates from the sambal. Dish out and set aside. Refrigerated for future use.

Recipe Notes
Traditionally, sambal is prepared fresh–or bought ready made from the wet market in Malaysia. It’s then used immediately to cook the dish. In the US, I always make my sambal into a chili paste so I can keep it in the refrigerator and use it on the go. I also use more dried chilies to make the sambal paste lasts longer in the refrigerator. The fresh chilies give a nice red color as dried red chilies look duller in color. I will show you the traditional way of making sambal from scratch and the proper method of making it soon!

Ginger Soy Fish

12 oz. halibut fish fillet (or firm fish such as cod)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 2-inch piece ginger
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes ground white pepper

Cut to the fish into thick, but bite size pieces. Add corn starch to the fish fillet.

Coat the fish with the corn starch. Set aside.

Peel the ginger, slice and cut into thin strips.

Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and make sure that the sugar melts.

Heat up a non-stick skillet or well-seasoned wok with the cooking oil on medium to high heat. When the oil is fully heated, add the ginger and stir-fry until they turn light brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside in a bowl.

Using the ginger-infused oil, pan fry the fish until both surface turn light to golden brown. Make sure you turn the fish very gently with spatula or tong, or preferably with a pair of long cooking chopsticks. Fish fillets are very delicate; you don’t want to break them up while pan-frying.

Add the Sauce to the fish. As soon as the sauce bubbles. Turn off the heat and dish out. Top the fish with the ginger strips and scallion. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Dai Chili Fish Soup

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs firm-flesh fish steaks or fillets , such as tilapia, striped bass, or lake trout, or an ocean fish such as snapper or cod
4 cups water
3 dried red chiles
2 fresh green bird chiles or serrano chiles
1 Tbsp ginger , cut into small matchsticks
1 garlic clove , smashed
1 large or 2 small scallions , sliced lengthwise into ribbons, then crosswise into 2-inch lengths
1 cup coriander leaves and stems , coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato , ripe or green, as you wish, finely chopped (I used green tomatoes)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt , or to taste
Freshly ground black or white pepper
2 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil
4 dried red chiles
1 Tbsp thinly sliced garlic

Cut the fish into 1-to 2-inch pieces. Place in a small pot, add the water, whole chiles, ginger, garlic, scallions, and coriander, and bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. (meanwhile prepare the flavored oil)
Heat the oil in a small heavy skillet. When it is hot, lower the heat and toss in the chiles and garlic and wait several seconds, until they start to brown but not burned, then remove from the heat. Add the oil, garlic and chiles to the hot soup, or put out as a table condiment.

Add the tomato and 1 1/2 tsp salt to the hot broth and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary, then add pepper to taste.

The soup is traditionally served with all the flavorings still in it. The chiles and garlic cloves are not meant to be eaten, but are just put aside by each diner as she or he eats. If you wish, you can strain the soup before serving it.

Sichuan Ma La Fish

2 Tbsp of Szechuan chili sauce
1/2 Tbsp Szechuan peppercorns (crushed)
1.5 lbs fish fillet (use sole if available. I use swai fish)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 C chicken broth
1 block of soft tofu (cut into cubes)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp of canola oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp of corn starch (mix with 1/4 C of water)
1 stalk of spring onion (finely chopped)

Heat up your wok with oil. Add in garlic and peppercorn. Saute until fragrant

Add in szechuan chili sauce and continue to saute for about 30 seconds. Add in the chicken broth and bring it to boil

While boiling, add in the fish fillet pieces and let them cook until they turn white. Add in tofu cubes. Season with salt and pepper

Rice Noodles with Chili Bean Sauce

300 gr fresh/refrigerated flat rice noodles or dried flat rice noodles
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cups snap peas trim both ends

AROMATICS:
1- inch knob of ginger peeled and finely minced
1 medium onion peeled, quartered and separate

SEASONINGS:
2 Tbsp chili bean sauce (dou ban jiang) or more, adjust the amount of other seasoning
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar

PREPARE THE NOODLE AND SEASONINGS:
If using dried rice noodles, soak in water for at least 2 hours. If you are using refrigerated sheets of rice noodles, they come in one large sheet or pre-cut. Microwave them for about 1 minute and then cut (if you need to) and then separate and loosen the noodle.

Mix all the ingredients for seasonings in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat your wok or skillet until very hot. You should see some smoke started to rise. Add in 2 Tbsp of the cooking oil. Add the aromatics and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Push them to the side and then crack in two eggs. Let them cook until the bottom started to settle and then scramble the yolk and break the eggs into large chunks and continue to stir fry for few seconds.

Add sugar snap peas and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes until they are soft but still have some crunch.

Add the rice noodles along with the seasonings. Stir to mix everything. The amount of seasonings may vary according to your taste buds. You may need to add more soy sauce to your taste. Stir to mix everything. The noodles will start to soften. It may take longer if you use dry noodles. Have a final taste and add more seasonings as needed. Dish out and serve immediately.

Notes: You can use other greens like brocollini, broccoli, bok choy, yu choy, mung bean sprouts.

You can also add in slices of beef, chicken, pork, or even seafood. Just remember to cook the seafood or meat first and then dish out to preven overcooking.

Spicy, Tangy Noodles

1 lb of spaghetti/linguine/angel hair/rice noodles/egg noodles/ramen noodles/udon noodles

SAUCE:
1 Tbsp of sesame oil/garlic oil/truffle oil
2 Tbsp of store-bought red chili paste/black bean chili paste or more if you like it really spicy
4 Tbsp of Chinese black vinegar available at Asian grocery store
3 Tbsp of soy sauce/tamari or more to your taste

GARNISHES:
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1 stalk of fresh green onions finely chopped
Fried shallots crips available at Asian grocery store

IF YOU WANT TO TURN THIS INTO A COMPLETE MEAL (USE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING):
Soft-boiled/hard-boiled eggs
Pan-fried firm tofu cubes
Leftover rotisserie chicken
Grilled chicken/meat/seafood shrimp or crab meat lumps
Grilled/steamed veggies asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, etc

Cook the noodle as directed on the package. While the noodle is cooking, In a large mixing bowl, prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients. Stir to mix everything. Add in the cooked noodles (pan-fried tofu cubes, leftover rotisserie chicken or other protein of your choice if using) and tossed to make sure the sauce is coating the noodles. Have a taste to see if you like it. Add more soy sauce, or more chili paste if you prefer. It should be savory, spicy, and tangy. Garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Nasi Goreng

4 large eggs
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)
3 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups cooked white rice it has to be at least room temperature or cold is fine too
2 cups leftover cooked meat shredded or diced
3 Tbsp Indonesian sweet soy sauce/ kecap manis
1 Tbsp soy sauce or more to taste
3 -4 Thai chili (optional)
1/2 cup green peas thawed if frozen
Salt to taste

SERVE WITH:
Fresh cucumber slices
Fresh tomato slices
Prawn/ Shrimp crackers
Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng
2 stalks green onions finely chopped
Sambal kecap pedas (optional)

Make the fried eggs to your preference.
Preheat a wok or large pan. Melt the butter. Add shrimp paste (if using) and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Add shallots and stir fry for 3 minutes.

Add meat and chili (if using). Stir to mix everything.

Add the rice, kecap manis and soy sauce, continue to stir until all the rice grains pick up the brownish color from the kecap manis. Have a taste and season with a bit of salt to your taste if needed.

Garnish with the chopped green onion, sprinkle with crispy shallots / bawang goreng. Top with fried eggs. Put few slices of cucumber and tomatoes and some prawn crackers. Serve immediately.

Fish in Ginger Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb white fish fillet : sole, swai, cod, or tilapia
2 Tbsp cooking oil

AROMATICS:
2 inch knob fresh ginger peeled
3 cloves garlic peeled

SAUCE BASE:
250 ml chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

SEASONINGS:
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Place the aromatics in a food processor and finely chop them (or you can manually chop them by hands).

Cut the fish fillet into large chunks, about 2-inch pieces. Don’t cut too small or the fish will break apart easily when you cook them.

Preheat a large wok or skillet. Add cooking oil. Add ginger and garlic mixture. Stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and seasonings and bring to a boil.

Add the fish fillet pieces in and let them cook until the fillet changes into opaque white color and cooked through. It shouldn’t take too long, about 2 minutes or less.

Carefully dish out the fish fillet from the stock into a serving platter.

Have a taste for the stock, add more salt if needed. Bring it to a boil and then give the cornstarch mixture a stir and pour in. Continue to stir until the stock is thickened.

Gently add the fish fillet pieces back. Gently stir to let the fillet pieces coated in the sauce. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Lemongrass Shrimp (or other protein)

FOR THE PICKLED VEGETABLES:
1 cup finely julienned carrot
1 cup finely julienned daikon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce, like Red Boat
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
1 medium-hot red chile pepper, such as Fresno, finely chopped
1 red or green bird chile pepper, thinly sliced, or substitute half a thinly sliced serrano pepper

FOR THE SHRIMP AND NOODLES:
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, preferably wild, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass, pale tender center part only
1 pound rice noodles, preferably rice vermicelli
1 or 2 small lettuce heads, with the leaves separated, rinsed and patted dry
3 cups mixed herb sprigs, such as cilantro, mint, basil, watercress and tender celery leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, slivered
4 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
Handful of bean sprouts (optional)

Make the pickled vegetables: Put carrot and daikon in a small bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Add rice vinegar, toss well and set aside.

Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and chiles. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water and let mixture sit for 15 minutes. (Leftover sauce will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated.)

Marinate the shrimp: Put shrimp in a shallow dish. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic and lemongrass. Mix well to coat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add rice noodles. Soak noodles, stirring occasionally, until softened, usually about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander at room temperature.

Prepare a platter of lettuce leaves and herb sprigs for the table. Keep cool, covered with a damp towel.

Put oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add shrimp without crowding (work in batches if necessary). Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned.

To serve, divide noodles among 4 large soup bowls, then top each with hot shrimp, pickled vegetables and a tablespoon or so of dipping sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and peanuts (and beans sprouts if using). Pass herb platter and remaining dipping sauce at the table, and encourage guests to customize bowls as desired.

Grilled or wok-seared pork, beef, or chicken are fine too.

Kopitiam Noodles (Kon Loh Mee)

These are “dry” noodles. Despite the emphasis on the word “dry” to set it apart from the soup version, the sauce in Kon Loh Mee plays an instrumental part to bind all the good flavors and textures of the different ingredients together.

The sauce is a simple mixture of shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. For one serving, start with:

—1/2 tablespoon shallot oil
—1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
—1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
—1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine the sauce in a bowl, toss the noodles in, taste, and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

The next step is to pick your noodles. Thin rice noodles (mai fun), flat rice noodles (kuey teow), and yellow egg noodles are the common options at a typical Malaysian hawker stall. Depending on my mood, You can also combine two noodles together in one bowl.

The springy wonton noodles, which fall under the egg noodle category, are a popular choice and available either in thin or wide. Soba noodles, ramen noodles, and even spaghetti noodles are fine too. As a rule of thumb, 2-3 oz (55-85g) of noodles is a good portion for one serving.

Hawker-style Kon Loh Mee is often topped with Chinese barbecued pork, wonton dumplings, meatballs, shrimp or minced meat, just to give you some ideas. If you’re avoiding meat, tofu and tempeh make good toppings here.

There’s also always some kind of Asian leafy greens included, like choy sum, gai lan, or bok choy. The greens are usually just simply blanched. Here’s what you do: Bring a pot of water with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a small glug of vegetable oil to a rolling boil. Then add the greens. You know they are ready as soon as the water returns to a rolling boil. Remove the greens, drain, and add them to your noodles.

Finally, serve your Kon Loh Mee with a side of chilies. In a pinch, a simple chili soy sauce dip will suffice but if you have the time, pickled green chilies are the way to go.

You can use either jalapeno or serrano for a bit more kick. In a nutshell, the chilies are sliced, deseeded, and pickled in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and sugar until they turn a lighter shade of green, which takes about 1 to 2 hours, but it’s preferable if you can wait overnight as they get better with time. I have the step-by-step guide for you here.

Oh, and don’t forget to top your noodles with crispy fried shallots from the shallot oil!

Shrimp and Grits

Grits

1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, seeded, diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Shrimp

1/2 cup 1/3′ cubes tasso, andouille sausage, or bacon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1/4 cup (or more) beer
1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Grits

Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Shrimp

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add tasso; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes (if tasso is very lean, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet). Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. Sprinkle tarragon over.

From Bon Appetit.

New England Clam Chowder

8 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed
1 tbsp unsalted butter
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, minced
1 large onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives
Oyster crackers or Vermont Common Crackers

Bring clams and 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook until clams just open, 8-10 minutes (discard any that do not open). Using a large slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large rimmed baking sheet; set broth aside. Let clams cool slightly, then pull meat from shells; discard shells.

Chop clams into bite-size pieces. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add water if needed to measure 6 cups. DO AHEAD: Clams and broth can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add celery, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add reserved broth (or 6 cups bottled clam juice), potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf.

Bring chowder base to a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form a slurry. Stir slurry into chowder base; return to a boil to thicken. DO AHEAD: Base can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Keep clams chilled. Bring base to a simmer before continuing.

Remove base from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in reserved clams (or two 10-ounce cans baby clams) and cream. Season with salt, if needed (clams’ brininess varies), and pepper.

Divide chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives and oyster crackers.

From Bon Appetit

Kuy Teav (Cambodian Rice Noodle Soup)

3 lb pork neck
2 teaspoons dried shrimp
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 hard-boiled eggs , quartered
1 lb rice noodles
1 lb ground pork
3 teaspoons rice wine
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb raw shrimp , peeled and deveined
Salt
Kampot white pepper
Garnish
2 handfuls bean sprouts
1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (or more, to taste)
2 limes, quartered

In a saucepan over high heat, boil the pork necks for 10 minutes after reaching boiling point.

Drain and discard the cooking water.

Put the pig’s necks back in the pot and fill with enough water to cover the bones by at least 2 inches.

Add the dried shrimp and mix.

Simmer on low heat for 3 hours, until the meat comes off the bones.

Slowly skim all the foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add boiling water to maintain the same level, if necessary.

Remove the necks from the broth using a skimmer and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Remove the meat from the bones and set aside.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer the broth over low heat while the rest of the recipe is prepared.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, cook the noodles for 30 seconds, drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the minced pork and mix well. (Crush the ground meat as you cook with a mashed press).

Add rice wine, soy sauce and honey. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the pork neck meat and the sesame oil, mix and reserve.
Bring the broth to a boil over a high heat.

Place the shrimp in a metal colander and immerse it in the pot to cook the shrimp for 10 minutes in the simmering broth.

Remove the colander, drain and reserve the shrimp.

Divide the noodles into 4 large bowls.

Add the shrimp, pork, and a little of each topping to each bowl: soy sprouts, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, fish lsauce, Sriracha chili sauce, lemons)

Pour the broth into each bowl and place pieces of hard-boiled egg on top. Serve very hot with additional toppings on the side.

Char Kway Teow

8 ounces (250 grams) dried wide rice noodles or 1 pound fresh rice noodles
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 Chinese sausages (about 115 grams), sliced ? inch thick
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 ounces (115 grams) shrimp (31 to 40 size)
4 ounces (115 grams) fish cake or fish tofu, thinly sliced
4 ounces (115 grams) garlic chives, cut into 2 ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 ounces (172 grams) mung bean sprouts

Soak the dried noodles in warm water for 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a colander and let the excess water drain. If you have fresh rice noodles, cut them into 1½-inch wide strips, and set them aside.

Add 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ? teaspoon ground white pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Mix until combined, and set aside.
Heat your wok to medium heat, and spread 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil around the perimeter of your wok. Add the sliced Chinese sausages and stir-fry for 20 seconds.

Add the 2 cloves of sliced garlic, the shrimp, and the fish tofu. Continue stir-frying for another 20 seconds.

Now, turn the wok to high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok.

Stir-fry for another 15 seconds. Add the noodles. Gently fold them into the rest of the ingredients. Gather everything in the middle of the wok to let the sides of the wok superheat. Pour ithe sauce mixture evenly over the noodles, and spread another tablespoon of vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok.

Next, add the garlic chives. Gently mix the noodles (to minimize breakage) while spreading them around the perimeter of the wok to get that wok hay sear from the superheated sides of the wok. Because of the hot wok and the oil, the rice noodles shouldn’t stick.

While the noodles are searing, work quickly to create a space at the bottom of the wok and add the last tablespoon of oil with the slightly beaten egg. Stir the egg around for 15 seconds to cook it and break it up. You may want to pre-cook the egg the first time if you are more of a beginner cook!
Next add the mung bean sprouts and gently mix everything together for 1 minute.

If your Char Kway Teow looks dry, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the noodles while stir-frying. You can also add a bit more vegetable oil if you like. Serve your Char Kway teow with chlli garlic paste or homemade chili oil on the side.

Laotian Stir Fried Fish with Chili and Holy Basil

A healthy portion of white fish, thinly sliced in small pieces (anything that holds together well, without an overpowering fishy flavor)
Lots of garlic
Hot red chile, sliced thinly
Pinch of palm sugar
Pinch of bouillon or 1/4 cup soup stock
Drizzle of dark soy sauce
Heap of fresh holy basil

Heat the garlic and chile in a hot wok with oil. Stir. Toss in the fish and stir-fry quickly on high heat. Add a little water, sugar and soup or bouillon. Stir, then add basil and soy sauce, primarily for color. That’s it! It’s quick.

The dish should be hot, but not be overly sweet. It is similar to the Thai stir-fry with chile and basil, “but different cooking. In Thai, more oil, more sugar. In Lao, little oil, little sugar, more chile.”