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‘side dish’ Category

  1. Cha Gio / Nem Ran / Vietnamese Fried Rolls

    August 1, 2012 by brett

    Cha Gio
    Of all the various Asian fried rolls I’ve ever eaten, cha gio is the best in terms of taste and texture, hands down. There is just something serendipitous about the interplay between the flavors of the filling ingredients: the taro, the freshly ground pepper, the fish sauce, and of course, the pork and shrimp. Texture-wise, the wood-ear mushrooms, bean thread, and rice paper wrappers enhance the roll greatly, making each bite stimulating and fun.

    The chewy-crisp exterior of these rolls pairs well with the fresh green, raw lettuce leaf and herbs commonly used to wrap these rolls. Typically, folks will dip the raw veggie/herb enveloped roll into a small bowl of nuoc cham, a Vietnamese fish sauce-based dipping sauce, just before taking a bite. The contrasts between hot fried and cool/crisp raw, between hearty and refreshingly light, cannot help but delight the senses and inspire second (eh, why stop at second?) helpings. (more…)


  2. Hippo Flatbread

    June 21, 2012 by brett

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    Flatbread plays an extremely important role in the cuisine’s of most cultures around the world. It is the building block, the basis, of many a meal worldwide. Flatbread fills the belly, nourishes the body, and feels good in mouth and hand in all its soft/chewy/crispy/crunchy glory. It can be eaten alone (it’s so convenient on the go — a great stroller snack), or it can accompany stews, curries, meats, veggies — whatever you like. Flatbread is like rice, the perfect white shirt, and the name Michael*: It goes with everything.
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  3. Jun Jiu Kao (Pearl Balls)

    May 10, 2012 by brett

    Pearl Balls

    Some days are meant for sitting on the sofa and eating bon bons. While I admit bon bons are incredibly tasty (I had them just once and even made it a point to sit on the sofa while eating them), more often than not, I’ll make jun jiu kao when I’m in need of a comfort food fix.

    Jun jiu kao, or pearl balls, are savory steamed pork meatballs coated with a layer of glutinous rice (rest assured, it’s gluten-free) that is chewy and satisfying. These tasty mouthfuls are also a nice dumpling-type alternative when I want a dumpling but don’t feel like rolling out wrappers. Jun jiu kao are easy to make, easy to make ahead, and easy to reheat. They are great eaten hot, warm, or at room temperature. They’re not too shabby straight out of the fridge, too! Pearl balls make a great snack but can also be served as part of a larger meal. They make for popular party finger food as well. (more…)


  4. Hippo Bread

    April 29, 2012 by brett

    Gluten Free Hippo Bread

    Every gluten-free cook has his or her signature bread recipe. This is mine.

    A derivation of Neat Bread, Hippo Bread is superior in terms of texture, taste, and appearance thanks to its key ingredient, plain, homemade soy milk. Homemade soy milk acts as a binder, tenderizes the loaf’s crumb, adds a creaminess to the flavor, and imparts an attractive, slightly golden hue.

    Gluten Free Hippo Bread

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  5. Har Gow (Crystal Shrimp Dumplings)

    March 28, 2012 by brett

    Har Gow / Ha Gow / Crystal Shrimp Dumplings
    If you’ve been to a dim sum restaurant, you’ve probably had har gow (a.k.a. ha gow, crystal shrimp dumplings). When done right, har gow can be a revelation: shrimp, paired with bamboo and/or water chestnut/jicama, enveloped in a thin, chewy, yet luscious, translucent wrapper that teases and leaves a person craving more.
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  6. Hobo Joe Hash Browns

    March 23, 2012 by brett

    Hobo Joe Hash Browns

    I vividly remember the first time I had hash browns. My Aunt Rose had taken my mom, my brothers, and her daughter, my cousin Sabrina, to Hobo Joe’s, a chain eatery that no longer exists in Los Angeles. Aunt Rose ordered hash browns, and my, they were dee-lightful! The texture was light, ever so slightly crispy on the outside yet soft and tender and the inside, the color was a lovely golden brown, and the taste was lighthearted yet earnest in note. I LOVED them! Hobo Joe’s no longer exists, but my memory — and these potatoes — still do. (more…)


  7. Hom Sui Gok

    March 23, 2012 by brett

    Hom Sui Gok

    A popular dim sum dish, hom sui gok’s savory interior is enveloped in a wrapper that is at once chewy and luscious on the inside, yet every so slightly crisped on the outside.

    Hom sui gok’s paradoxical texture owes itself to glutinous rice flour. When fried, glutinous rice flour does not react the way most things do in hot oil; it does not get crispy and hard, but in fact softens and stays moist. The minor but important addition of corn starch provides the contrasting, every so slightly crisp exterior (more…)


  8. Chamorro Red Rice

    March 19, 2012 by brett

    FYI: I’m in the middle of updating this recipe. I’ve had too many disasters, so consider this recipe problematic prone for now. Will post again as soon as I can get it right and duplicate good results reliably. Thanks!

     

    This dish relies on annatto seeds, not tomato, for its distinctive orange-redness and smoky, earthy flavor. It’s a classic accompaniment to Chamorro-style barbecue at fiestas. Everyone adds their own touch to this dish: bacon, hot peppers, peas, etc. (more…)


  9. Chicken Kelaguen

    March 19, 2012 by brett

    Kelaguen can be made with other protein sources, but chicken seems to be the favorite at the various fiestas, barbecues, and parties I’ve attended. Traditionally, the chicken is barbecued first, but to save time, I boil the chicken and then brown it in a dry skillet to achieve a similar effect. I picked up this tip from Annie, a great chef by all accounts and a member of our gracious “host” family in Saipan. (more…)


  10. Neat Bread

    January 27, 2012 by brett

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    This rustic loaf offers a thin, chewy, golden crust full of a rye/wheat-like taste, which is neat considering it’s gluten-free. The interior is moist, soft, and dotted with flaxseed — a nice contrast with the thin, chewy, rustic crust. And it smells wonderful in a heady, bread-y kind of way. 🙂 (more…)