Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Daging Masak Kicap (Malaysian Soy Sauce Beef)

8 oz beef flap meat cut into pieces
2 shallots sliced thinly (or 1/4 onion, sliced)
2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons kicap/kecap manis sweet soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce or to taste

Rinse the beef with water and cut it across the grain into pieces. Pat dry and set aside.

Heat up a wok with the oil. When the oil is heated, add the shallots and stir fry until aromatic or when the shallots turn light brown. Add the beef into the wok and stir for a few times. Add the sweet soy sauce and soy sauce and stir to blend well with the beef. Cook for a few minutes or until the beef is cooked through. Dish out and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
You can add a few bird’s-eye chilies or some cut red chilies if you want it spicy. You can also add a lemongrass (white-part only, pounded) to make it extra aromatic.

Malaysian Coconut and Chili Bean Sprout Salad (Kerabu)

1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups bean sprouts
1/2 red chili seeded and finely chopped
1 small handful mint leaves roughly chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:
4 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons sugar
1- inch piece gingerroot peeled

To make the dressing, whisk the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together in a large bowl. Grate the gingerroot into the bowl, discarding the fibrous bits, and mix well.

Scatter the onion over the dressing and mix well, then set aside 5 to 10 minutes. This takes the rawness out of the onion.

Meanwhile, toast the coconut in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously, ?30 to 40 seconds until the coconut turns a lovely golden brown. Tip it onto a plate and ?set aside.

To assemble the salad, add the red pepper, bean sprouts, red chili and mint to the ?onion mixture and toss until all the ingredients are well coated. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter the roasted coconut over the top and serve immediately.

Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs (Pork or Chicken)

12 oz ground pork or ground chicken
1/2- inch piece peeled ginger finely minced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder optional
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes ground white pepper
Pinch of salt
Oil for pan-frying
1/2 small onion quartered

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the ground pork or chicken with ginger, garlic, five-spice powder (if using), sesame oil, pepper and salt. Stir to combine well. Wet both hands with some water and shape into 24 meatballs. Set aside.

Heat up a wok or skillet with some oil, pan-fry the meatballs until they turn light to golden brown. Drained them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Clean the wok or skillet. Heat it up with a little bit oil. Add the onion and do a few quick stirs. Add the sweet and sour sauce and cook it until it’s thickened, then add the meatballs. Stir to coat well with the sauce. Dish out and serve immediately.

Asian Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. boneless skineless chicken thighs
1/4 small onion diced
3-4 small garlic peeled
1 egg white
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
3 dashes black pepper
10 cilantro leaves roughly chopped
Mashed green peas optional
Finely diced carrots optional
3 dashes cayenne pepper
Oil for shallow frying

Blend the chicken, onion, garlic, egg white, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until well combined.

Transfer the ground chicken out in a bowl and stir in the chopped cilantro leaves.

For kids and toddlers friendly meatballs, fold in the the mashed peas and diced carrots. Add the cayenne pepper. Stir to combine well.

Ayam Pelalah (Balinese Shredded Chicken)

400 g chicken breast

Aromatic herbs:
2 salam leaves Indonesian bay leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves daun jeruk
2 stalks lemongrass , bruised and tie into a knot
Juice from 3 limes limau, optional

Spice paste:
10 red chilies deseeded and sliced
6 bird eye chilies sliced
10 shallots sliced
5 garlic chopped
3 cm fresh turmeric root sliced
½ teaspoon toasted shrimp paste terasi/belachan
1 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
Oil for frying
Salt and sugar to taste

Preheat the oven 180 degree Celsius. Rub the chicken breast with the olive oil or coconut oil and season with salt. Place the chicken on a baking tray and roast until done, about 40 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine chilies, shallots, garlic and turmeric, grind to a smooth paste. If you using a blender, make sure to add a little bit of water or cooking oil to blend the ingredients.

Heat 5 tablespoons of the cooking oil in a wok, add in the spice paste, lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves, stir-fry until fragrant. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Add in another tablespoon of cooking oil if you want. Remove from the heat and transfer into a bowl, set aside.

Back to the chicken in the oven. When it’s done roasting, remove from the oven and let cool. Discard the skin and deboned, shred the meat into medium-thick strips. Take a spoonful of the spice paste, combine with the chicken meat with the spice paste, toss well until the chicken until the chicken is perfectly coated with the spice paste. Add another spoon of the spice paste if not well coated. Serve the remaining spice paste as a side or as sambal.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, place half of the chicken and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, repeat the same for the remaining chicken. (I did this step because I found that the shredded chicken meat was a bit wet after being mixed with the spice paste so by doing the quick stir-fry, the texture is what I wanted, a slightly dried up shredded chicken that I love. If you use charcoal to grill the chicken, coal-grill, other than oven grill/roasting, I don’t think of this step is required.)

Transfer the chicken onto a a serving plate and squeeze the juice of the lime before serving.

Recipe Notes
The limau lime (jeruk limo/nasnaran Mandarin), or jeruk sambal is used for enhancing the flavor of sambal and sauces. It’s commonly used in Balinese cooking. The fruit is small with a smooth skin surface, it releases an aromatic and citrucy smell when it’s touched and squeezed.

Char Siu Chicken

1 lb 450 g bone-in chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic minced

Char Siu Sauce:
2 pieces Chinese fermented red bean curd optional
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine or rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
3 1/2 oz 100 g/8.5 tablespoons sugar

Debone the chicken thighs and keep the skin on. Click here to learn how.

In a bowl, mix all the Char Siu Sauce ingredients together. Stir to mix well. Add the garlic, chicken and the Char Siu Sauce together. Stir to coat well. (You may use half of the Char Siu Sauce to marinate the chicken and save the other half).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes or until the skin is nicely charred. Slice the chicken into pieces and top with sesame seeds. Save the dripping and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Spicy Korean Chicken

1 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs

Marinade:
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Korean chili paste gochujang
1 teaspoon Korean red chili powder gochugaru or regular chili powder
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1- inch piece ginger peeeled and minced
3 cloves garlic minced
Salt to taste

Slice the chicken thighs horizontally to make thinner pieces of meat. Slice each piece of chicken thigh (depends on its thickness) into 2 or 3 horizontal pieces. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients in the Marinade in a bowl, whisk it to make sure the Korean chili paste (gochujang) is completely dissolved. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or best for two hours.

Grill the chicken until slightly charred and completely cooked through. You may also pan-fried the chicken on a skillet or pan, or bake in the oven at 400F for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Mandarin Chicken

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
Oil for pan-frying
Chopped scallion for garnishing

Sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 slices peeled ginger

Heat up a skillet and pan-fry the chicken on both sides until cooked. You may grill the chicken or pan-fry using a cast-iron grill pan. Cool off and sliced into pieces, set aside.

Mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat up on medium heat until the sauce slightly thickens. Discard the ginger slices.

Drizzle the Sauce on top of the chicken and garnish with the scallion. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

1 1/2 s lb skin-on deboned chicken thighs
Lime wedges for garnishing
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

Marinade:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems and leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 heaping teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.

Whisk all the Marinade ingredients together in a big bowl, mix well. Add the chicken into the Marinade, stir to coat well. Marinate for 15 minutes but best for 2 hours.

Heat up a skillet and pan-fry the chicken with the skin-side down until slightly browned. Turn over and pan-fry the other side of the chicken until slightly browned.

Transfer the skillet into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken and the Marinade residual (after baking) to a serving platter (discard the oil), squirt some fresh lime juice and garnish with cilantro, serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
Make sure you use an oven-safe skillet or pan before baking the chicken in the oven. You may also grill the chicken. For the chicken, you can use boneless and skinless chicken breast/chicken thighs or bone-in chicken thighs.

Chili Lime Chicken

2 – 2.5 lbs skin on chicken thighs or breasts

Marinade:
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped finely
2 jalapeño chopped finely
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste

Rinse the chicken thighs, remove the bones, leave the skin on, and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

Get a big bowl, mixing all the ingredients of the Marinade together using a whisk. Make sure the Marinade is well combined together.

Add chicken to the Marinade, make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for 2 hours.

Fire up the grill, brush a little bit of oil on the surface. Add a little bit of the garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno from the Marinade on top of the chicken and grill them until they turn golden brown and charred on both sides. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
You can make this chili lime chicken with a cast-iron grill pan or regular skillet, or bake in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake it for about 20-25 minutes or until the skin becomes brown and charred. You can also use skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts.

Honey Lime Chicken

1 lb chicken thighs deboned, skin-on
2 cloves garlic minced
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Chopped parsley
Lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine the chicken thighs with garlic, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, cayenne pepper and salt. (You may double the marinade if you want it to be more “saucy”). Stir to combine well. Transfer the chicken and the honey mixture to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent burning.

Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, or until cooked. If the sauce pools at the bottom of the foil, spoon and brush the sauce over the chicken. Broil the chicken for 1 minute or until the chicken skin is charred. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve immediately with some lime wedges.

Recipe Notes
If you use boneless and skinless thighs or chicken breasts, please take note that your chicken will look white as there is no skin and the broil function won’t char the meat and make it dark. Double the quantity of the marinade (honey, lime, cayenne pepper and salt) for stronger flavor if you like. You may also make this recipe on a skillet or cast-iron pan on medium heat.

Please make sure that you keep turning the chicken if you cook on the skillet or pan as it might get dark very quickly because the honey.

Whichever part of chicken you use, you can make this dish all year long: bake in the oven, outdoor on the grill, or just cook on skillet or cast-iron pan.

Honey Sriracha Chicken

10- oz zucchinis
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon chopped scallion
White sesame for garnishing

Sauce:
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Cut 1-inch off both ends of the zucchinis and use the spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles. Transfer the zoodles to two serving bowls. Add all the ingredients for the Sauce in a bowl. Whisk to mix well.

Heat up a skillet with the olive oil. Saute the garlic until aromatic. Add the chicken and stir fry until the surface turns white, follow by the Sauce. Stirring continuously until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce thickens. Add the scallion, stir to mix well.

Top the zoodles with the chicken, toss to mix well. Garnish with the white sesame and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
Discard any liquid seeping out of the zoodles, if any.

Garlic Sriracha Chicken

2 lbs skinless and boneless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon white sesame
1 tablespoon chopped scallion

Marinade:
3 cloves garlic minced
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Rinse the chicken thighs with water. Pat try with paper towels.

Mix all the ingredients in the Marinade. Stir to combine well.

Combine the chicken thighs with the Marinade and marinate for 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and all the garlic Sriracha marinade to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent burning.

Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, or until cooked. Remove the foil, spoon the dripping over the chicken and broil the chicken for 1 minute to char the surface of the chicken. Remove from heat, sliced into pieces, garnish with the white sesame, scallions and serve immediately.

Notes: For the best results, use boneless and skinless chicken thighs but you can certainly use chicken breast or even chicken drumsticks.

Hoisin Sriracha Chicken

1 1/2 lbs 4 boneless chicken thighs (skin on or off)
3 cloves garlic minced
1- inch piece ginger peeled and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon oil
White sesame optional

In a big bowl, combine the chicken with the garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce, honey, soy sauce and salt. Stir to combine well and let marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat up a skillet and add the oil on medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chicken (reserve the marinade), skin side down first and pan-fry both sides. Pan fry until the skin turn nicely brown. Add the marinade into the skillet and turn the heat to low. Continue to cook the chicken while the sauce reduces to a thicker consistency. When the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat, garnish with white sesame and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Soy-Glazed Chicken

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasrs
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or Japanese cooking sake
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic minced
White sesame
Chopped scallion

Debone the chicken thighs following the instructions here. Mix the soy sauce, five spice powder, wine, sesame oil and sugar together. Whisk to dissolve sugar completely. Add the sauce mixture to the chicken. Stir to coat well.

Heat up a skillet on low to medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is heated, add the garlic and saute until they turn light brown. Add the chicken and all the sauce into the skillet and cook slowly, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce reduces.

Remove the chicken from the skillet, garnish with white sesame and scallion, serve hot with steamed rice.

You may use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, chicken breasts, or chicken drumsticks. I used low sodium soy sauce. If your sauce mixture is too salty, add some water to dilute or more sugar to taste.

Bun Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Noodles)

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb dry rice vermicelli noodle

THIT NUONG:
2 lbs pork shoulder/butt
1/3 cup chopped lemongrass
2 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

FISH SAUCE DIPPING SAUCE / NUOC MAM CHAM:
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup hot water
3 Tbp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 red chili seeded if you like and finely chopped

SERVE WITH:
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded, and julienned
lettuce leaves shredded
Do Chua
1/2 cup roasted peanuts chopped
Fresh Vietnamese perilla (tia to)
Mint leaves

Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef)

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb of beef sirloin cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp of cooking oil
Salad:
1 red onion peeled and thinly sliced
1 red chili -optional seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp of sugar
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch of watercress, baby spinach, or arugula

INSTRUCTIONS:
Place the beef in a mixing bowl. Add in the minced garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and salt and let it marinade for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

While waiting for the beef to marinade, prepare the salad. Toss the sliced onions and chili (if using) with vinegar.

In another bowl, mix the sugar, salt, and pepper and stir to mix everything. Just before serving, toss in the vegetables along with the soy sauce mixture and toss to mix everything.

Preheat the wok or skillet over very high heat. Add in oil. Tip in the beef in single layer and let it sear for a minute undisturbed to create that nice brown. Do this in batches if necessary. Shake the wok or skillet to flip the beef over if you can (or flip it over with spatula) and let is sear for another 30 seconds. Then shake the wok or skillet again if you can and let cook until they are about medium rare or to the doneness you like. (I like medium rare.)

Toss the salad with the sauce and onion you prepared earlier. Place on serving platter. Arrange the beef on top of the salad and serve immediately.

Ketoprak (Indonesian Noodle and Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce)

INGREDIENTS:
1 block of firm tofu
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
250 gr dry rice stick noodles / bee hoon

PEANUT DRESSING:
3 cloves garlic
6 red chilis more if you like it spicier
100 gr roasted peanuts see notes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2-inch block of tamarind paste
200 ml warm water
2-3 Thai chili more if you like it spicier

GARNISHES:
Indonesian sweet soy sauce
Fried shallots
Prawn crackers or whatever crackers you like
2 hard-boiled eggs quartered
1 large cucumber

Blanch the rice stick noodles briefly in hot water until it softens but not mushy. Drain and then refresh with cold water. Set aside. You can also blanch the raw garlic briefly if you don’t like the raw taste of it.

Peel the cucumber and then half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Cut into 1-inch slices.

MAKING THE PEANUT DRESSING:
Mix the tamarind paste with warm water. Once it softens, use the back of the spoon to mash the tamarind and then discard the solid. In a food processor, blend the peanuts, garlic, chilis, tamarind juice, and sugar. Process into a thick but pourable consistency. You can add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Season with salt to your taste.

PREPARING THE TOFU:
Place the block of tofu on an absorbent paper towel and then another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu. Place a heavy object like cast iron pot or pan on top of the tofu for about 15 minutes to press all the extra liquid out. Cut the tofu into 2-inch chunks. You can deep fry the tofu or pan fry it with a little bit of oil on the pan until all sides are golden brown. Set aside.

Assembling:
In a large serving plate, place the noodles, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and egg pieces. Pour sauce over and garnish with fried shallots, a drizzle of kecap manis. Serve with prawn crackers.

Note: You can sub the roasted peanuts with creamy/chunky peanut butter. It’s up to you. You may need to play with the amount of liquid so that it’s thick but still somewhat pourable.

Rojak Buah

2 to 3 cups of the following fruits: cucumber, jicama, pineapple, underripe mango and papaya, tart apples like Granny Smith, peeled and seeded where necessary and cut into bite-sized pieces

Optional add-ins: A handful of baby spinach or bean sprouts and pieces of fried firm tofu

SAUCE
2 to 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon coconut sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted ground peanuts

In a large bowl, add hoisin sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar, chili powder, sesame seeds, and half of the ground peanuts. Mix well to combine into a sauce. Then add the fruits and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the ground peanuts and serve.