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!

Soy Sauce Noodles

3 serrano chilies, seeds removed and sliced into rounds
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
2 shallots, finely sliced

4-6 baby bok choy
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of salt
A small glug of shallot oil

1 tablespoon shallot oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
7 ounces dried wonton noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
Fried shallots, for garnish
Preparation

To make pickled green chillies: Blanch the chilies in hot water for about 10 seconds and drain. In a small bowl, combine the white vinegar, salt, and sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the chilies and set aside to pickle for at least 1 hour.

To make shallot oil: In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry until the slices start to turn brown, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let the shallots continue to fry until they turn a darker brown. Remove shallots from the oil and drain, saving the oil. Allow the oil and fried shallots to cool down.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the sugar, salt, and shallot oil. Add baby bok choy and bring the water back to a rolling boil. Remove the baby bok choy immediately and drain. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add the cooked noodles and toss to mix well. Taste the noodles and add more soy sauce if you like the dish saltier.

Divide the noodles into two serving plates and garnish with the reserved fried shallots. Arrange 2 to 3 baby bok choy on the side of each plate. Serve immediately with pickled green chilies on the side.

Notes: While wonton noodles (both thin and wide) are typically used, you can also try it with rice noodles, soba noodles, and even spaghetti noodles.

Economy Noodles

12oz noodles of your choice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced

2 cups bean sprouts
10 stalks spring onions, cut into 2-inch length

DIPPING SAUCE: A few chilis + enough soy sauce

To make the dipping sauce, cut some chilis and let them sit in enough soy sauce to cover. Feel free to remove the seeds beforehand. Here’s a video that quickly demonstrates how you can do that effectively, but if you really want less heat, you may have to slice them open length-wise and scrape off the pith and ribs together with the seeds. And if more heat is what you want, press the cut chilis onto the soy sauce with a fork. Let the chilis and soy sauce marinade while you cook.

Prepare your choice of noodles according to package instructions, making sure that they are not overdone because nobody wants soggy noodles in a stir-fry. You can do that while you prepare the other ingredients, or you can focus on one thing at a time and have everything you need on hand before you start.

The next thing to do is to mix the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and hoisin sauce in a bowl. And once you’ve minced the garlic and shallot, and cut the vegetables, you’re ready to go.

Heat a wok or a deep frying pan in medium-high heat. You’ll know it’s warm enough when you see a little smoke rise up. Add oil, followed by garlic and shallots, and sauté until they are soft and the aromas are released but be careful not to burn them.

Add the noodles and sauce mixture and use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to quickly toss all the ingredients until the noodles are evenly coated. You can add a splash of water at anytime if things get too dry but not so much that you are boiling the ingredients.

Then make a well in the center and add bean sprouts. Give them a good toss to cook lightly on their own before mixing everything together. Add spring onions, give the noodles a final toss and turn off the heat. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.

Alison’s Edamame and Rice

1 bag shelled frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Cooked rice for serving

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Toss edamame with sauce.

Serve over rice.

Lomo Saltado

12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks 3 inches long by 3/8 inch wide (about 2 cups)
12 ounces lean filet mignon
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges (about 1 cup)
1 medium ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons aji amarillo chili, seeded and cut into scant ¼-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. Line two large plates with several sheets of paper towels. Cut the beef with the grain in half. Cut each half with the grain in half so that you have a total of 4 quarters. Cut each quarter section across the grain into ¼-inch-thick bite-sized slices. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce and vinegar.

In a 2-quart saucepan heat the 3 cups oil over medium-high heat until the oil registers 300°F on a deep-frying thermometer, making sure the tip of the thermometer does not touch the pan. Carefully add the potatoes and fry 3 minutes or until they are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on one of the paper towel–lined plates. Then discard the oil-soaked paper towels (because the potatoes sometimes will stick to the towels).

Reheat the same oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 360°F. Carefully add the same potatoes to the oil and fry until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on the second prepared plate. Then discard the oil-soaked paper towels. Let the hot oil cool before discarding.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, carefully add the beef, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear.

Sprinkle on the garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 30 seconds, until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through.

Add the red onions and tomatoes and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the tomatoes begins to soften. Swirl the soy sauce mixture into thewok, sprinkle on the sugar and chilies, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until well combined.

Add the cilantro and fried potatoes and stir-fry several seconds until the ingredients are combined and the beef is just cooked.

Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish or 4 as part of a multicourse meal.

Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette

1 1/4 cups minced scallions, both green and white parts (from a 4-ounce bundle)
2 tablespoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
Neutral oil (such as grapeseed, safflower, or sunflower)
1/4 cup sherry or rice wine vinegar
Fine sea salt
About 1 heaped cup julienned or coarsely grated carrots (from about 8 ounces fresh)
8 ounces small (Persian-style, about 2) cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked, cooled rice (my favorite here is short-grain brown or white)
4 eggs
Soy sauce or tamari (to serve)
Toasted sesame oil (to serve)
Sriracha, gochujang or another hot sauce of your choice (to serve)

Make the vinaigrette: Mix scallions, ginger, 1/4 cup oil and sherry or rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt). Set aside.

Crisp your rice: Heat a large frying pan over medium high. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil; you’ll want to coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil all over. Nonstick pans are more forgiving here, so you can use the lower amount. Heat the oil until it’s hot, another minute, then scatter half the rice over the surface; it’s okay if small clusters remain. Season lightly with salt and do not touch it. In 3 to 5 minutes, the underside will become golden brown and crisp. Use a spatula to flip it in sections then fry on the other side until it is also crisp. Divide between two bowls and repeat with remaining rice, dividing it between two remaining bowls.

Crisp your egg: If there isn’t enough oil left in the pan (you want a thin layer), add another splash and heat this on high heat. Add eggs one at a time and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, lacy, and crisp underneath, and the whites are opaque, bubbly and dramatic and the edges are brown. You can spoon some oil from the pan over the egg whites to help them cook faster. Place one egg on each bowl of rice.

Assemble bowls: Arrange some cucumbers and carrots to each bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons vinaigrette onto each bowls. Drizzle each egg with a half-teaspoon of tamari and toasted sesame oil, letting it roll onto the other ingredients, plus hot sauce to taste. Eat immediately. Repeat frequently.

Do ahead: The dressing will keep for 5 to 6 days in the fridge; the chopped vegetables will keep for 3 to 4.

Notes: If you have extra time, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons each rice vinegar and water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt to coat the strands. They begin to marinate/gently pickle while you do everything else. But the dressing is sufficient to flavor them if you’re in more of a rush.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Figs (or Pineapple or Mango)

For the Dressing:
3 to 4 slices bacon (diced)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar with pomegranate)
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dash of salt

For the Salad:
3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves (washed)
12 to 18 fresh figs (washed)
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
3 to 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons pecans (or walnuts, toasted*)

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain.

In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, red wine vinegar, water, cornstarch, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the bacon and heat through. Remove the dressing from the heat and let cool slightly.

Arrange the spinach leaves on four salad plates.

Slice figs in half and arrange them on the spinach. Sprinkle thinly sliced red onion over the spinach and then sprinkle the salads with the cheese and toasted pecans or walnuts.

Spoon some of the warm dressing over the salads. Make sure there are some bacon pieces on each salad.

*To toast the pecans or walnuts, spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir and turn frequently. Remove them and transfer them to a bowl when they are lightly browned and aromatic.

Tips and Variations

Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette: Combine 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder. Shake or whisk until thoroughly blended.

Replace the blue cheese with goat cheese.

Substitute fresh pineapple or mango chunks for the figs.

Use fresh sliced strawberries instead of sliced figs.

Spinach Salad with Eggs and Warm Bacon Dressing

10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup minced red onion
5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs,* 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 to 4 slices bacon
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes.

Refrigerate the salad, tightly covered.

Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside.

In a small jar or measuring cup combine the bacon drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving.

When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly.

Arrange the salad on salad plates and top each with a few slices of egg and crumbled bacon.

*In a saucepan, cover 2 large eggs with water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover the saucepan and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 12 to 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel them.

Tips

Make Ahead: Prepare the spinach, onion, and radishes in a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate. Prepare the eggs and bacon and refrigerate them in separate containers. Prepare the dressing and refrigerate. Just before serving time, toss the chopped egg with the spinach salad mixture. Heat the dressing; drizzle over the salad and toss. Garnish with the sliced eggs and bacon.

Variations

Add about 1/4 cup of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, toasted slivered almonds, or toasted pecans to the salad for additional crunch.

Add about 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the salad.

Add sliced fresh mushrooms to the salad.

Omit the radishes, if desired.?

Melon and Spinach Salad

1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

SALAD:
4 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
2 cups cubed English cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk the first nine ingredients. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat; serve immediately.

Cambodian Beef and Ginger Fry (Saiko Cha K’nye)

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin tips or flank steak, cut into 3-inch pieces with the grain, then sliced ½ inch thick against the grain
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
6 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into very thin coins (generous 1 cup)
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons white sugar

Note: The ginger is not just a flavoring here—it’s treated almost as a vegetable. A full cup of thinly sliced fresh ginger gives the dish substance; its spiciness and pungency is tamed by cooking. A mandoline makes quick work of slicing the ginger, but a chef’s knife works, too.

In a medium bowl, toss the steak with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add half the meat in a single layer and cook until well browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes total, turning the slices only once. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the remaining meat.

In the same skillet over medium, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the scallions, fish sauce and sugar, then return the meat and accumulated juices to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened and the ginger is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pressure Cooker Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

3 pounds beef shank, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons oil
A 2-inch piece of ginger, smashed
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 scallions, cut into 2-inch segments
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 tomato, cut into wedges
4 dried chilies, ripped in half
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons spicy bean paste (douban jiang)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing wine
Chinese aromatic herbs packet (lu bao) — do yourself a favor and hunt down the pre-packaged version; if you can’t access it though, see below for ingredients to create your own spice sachet).
Fresh white noodles
A small handful of bok choy for each serving
Cilantro, finely chopped
Scallions, finely chopped
Pickled mustard greens to taste

To create your own spice sachet, tie up the following ingredients in cheesecloth:
4 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Boil enough water in a pot to boil all of your beef. Once the water is boiling, add the beef. Let it come back up to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Strain in a colander and rinse thoroughly with fresh water to remove any impurities.

Next, in your instant pot, turn on the saute setting. Add the oil, crushed ginger, garlic, scallions, and onions in that order. Stir to lightly caramelize. Let the onion turn translucent. Add the tomato and dried chilies.

Next, add the meat to the pot. Then add the tomato paste, spicy bean paste, sugar, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine, and mix thoroughly.

Pour 8 cups of water into the instant pot. Add the spice packet. The instant pot should be filled to the 10-cup line; it shouldn’t be more than ? of the way full per safety instructions. Our instant pot is the largest size (8 quarts); if yours is smaller, you can halve the recipe accordingly.
Close the lid of the instant pot, and make sure you have your vent set so it is not venting. Cook for 100 minutes on the aromatic meat stew setting. If you don’t have an instant pot, you can use a regular pot on the stove, but instead, cook the soup on a low simmer for 3-4 hours.
When the instant pot timer is up, carefully release the pressure valve (wear an oven mitt, so you don’t scald yourself!). Boil some noodles per package instructions, and in the last minute or two of the noodles cooking, throw your bok choy in and blanch until just tender.

Serve each bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup with a serving of noodles, a few stalks of bok choy, and generous sprinklings of finely minced cilantro, scallions, and Chinese pickled mustard greens. Pro tip, buy the pre-seasoned spicy mustard greens and you can use them straight out of the package. If you are using the non-spicy version (from a can, for example), chop and saute with a little oil, a few chopped dried red chilies, and a pinch of sugar.

Lao Gan Ma Noodles

2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 tablespoons minced scallions
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite “godmother” sauce (lao gan ma), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped za-cai (pickled radish)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
200 grams dried rice noodles (this makes a big single serving or two small servings)
A large handful of your leafy greens of choice
A small handful chopped cilantro

First prepare the sauce base in a large bowl by mixing together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, scallion, ginger, garlic, “godmother” sauce, sesame oil, za-cai, and sesame seeds.

Heat the oil in a wok using medium heat, and wok fry the peanuts for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through. Take out the peanuts and drizzle the hot oil left in the wok into the sauce base.

Boil the rice noodles per package instructions. Once the rice noodles are a minute away from done, add in the leafy greens to blanch. Cook for the remaining minute, and then drain the noodles and the greens. Pour the sauce base over the noodles, stir to combine, and top with chopped cilantro.

Sha Cha Chicken Stir Fry

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced (can also substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs)
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Sha Cha Sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
5 scallions, cut on an angle into 2-inch lengths

In a medium bowl, add the sliced chicken breast, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix well.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and sear the chicken until it just turns opaque (it can still be slightly pink). Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add another couple tablespoons of oil to the wok. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, sha cha sauce, and sugar, and fry this mixture for 2 minutes.

Then add the chicken back to the wok along with the scallions and the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Increase the heat to high, and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the scallions are wilted. Serve immediately with steamed rice!

Sha Cha Beef Stir Fry

1 pound beef, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Sacha Sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
5 scallions, cut on an angle into 2-inch lengths

To the beef, add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix well. Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and sear the beef until it just turns opaque (it can still be slightly pink). Remove the beef from the wok and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add another couple tablespoons of oil to the wok. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, sacha sauce, and sugar, and fry this mixture for 2 minutes.

Add the scallions and beef back to the wok, along with the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Increase the heat to high, and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the scallions are wilted.

Chicken Stir Fry with Nam Prik Pao

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
5 scallions, sliced at an angle into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Thai Chili Sauce (Namprik Pao)
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Add the chicken to a bowl, along with the 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, and the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken for 1-2 minutes, until well-seared.

Add the garlic, chilies (if using), bell pepper, scallions, chili sauce, and fish sauce. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Red Curry Noodles with Chicken

8 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Vegetable oil
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 pound fresh cooked egg noodles
1/2 of a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
5 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
Lime wedges
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)

Combine the raw chicken with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a wok over medium high heat, and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, along with the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken until opaque, remove from the pan, and set aside.

Add the red curry paste. Fry for one minute, and add the coconut milk. Add the noodles and stir-fry, loosening up the noodles as you go.

Add the red bell pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken, bean sprouts and scallions and cook for another 2 minutes, until the scallions are wilted.

Serve with lime wedges, and garnish with chopped peanuts if using.

Bang Bang Chicken

1 large chicken breast (or 2 smaller ones), about ½ lb
3 slices ginger
1 scallion, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/2 seedless cucumber, julienned
1/2 cup chicken stock (i.e., the cooking water from the chicken)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 teaspoons Chinese dark vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili oil (or to taste)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon salt

First, poach the chicken. In a small pot, add 2 cups water, 3 slices ginger and 1 scallion. Bring it to a boil, then add in the chicken breast. Once the water boils again, put the lid on and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Cook for 10-12 minutes. The chicken breast is done if the juice comes out clear when you poke the middle with a chopstick. Transfer the chicken breast to an ice bath to stop the cooking process and keep the chicken moist. Don’t discard the cooking water, as we’ll be using it later in the recipe.

Second, assemble the plate. Julienne the cucumber and spread it in an even layer on a shallow plate. Now, hammer the chicken with a rolling pin to flatten the meat and break it up into shreds. Layer the chicken on top of the cucumber.

Third, prepare the sauce. Mix together the following: 1/2 cup chicken stock (i.e., the cooking water from the chicken), 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 4 teaspoons Chinese dark vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon chili oil (or to taste), 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions.

Finally, pour the sauce over the chicken and cucumber, and serve. Toss the chicken and cucumber to coat with the sauce just before you’re ready to dig in!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Chicken

For the chicken & marinade:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the nuoc cham sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 red chili, de-seeded and sliced (or substitute 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Sriracha)
1/2 cup cold water

To assemble the bowls:
200g dried rice vermicelli noodles
Vegetable oil
2 cups bean sprouts
1 large carrot, julienned
1 seedless cucumber, julienned
6 leaves romaine lettuce, finely julienned
Mint
Cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken thighs with your marinade ingredients, and set aside for 30 mins to an hour while you prepare the other salad ingredients.

Combine all the nuoc cham ingredients and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved into the sauce. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients if desired.

Boil the rice vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside in a colander.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium high heat. You could also heat a grill pan or grill for this. Sear the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Set aside on a plate.

To assemble the salad, combine the rice noodles with bean sprouts, julienned carrots and cucumber, romaine lettuce, mint, and cilantro. Slice the chicken thighs and add to the salad. Serve with your nuoc cham sauce.

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.