Category Archives: Asian Flavors

Baked Fish with Thai Basil and Peppers

Today I put my money where my mouth is and bought a thirty-pound watermelon.  Yes, you read that right.  Thirty.  Pounds.  Thirty pounds!

Does this ever happen to you?  One minute I was innocently stopping by the store to pick up a piece of fish, and the next minute I was staggering to my car carrying a small child and a melon that weighed more than herTruth be told, I hadn’t even thought of buying a watermelon today.  The only reason I bought it was that it was sitting beside a much smaller but more expensive “petite” watermelon, making this organic behemoth an irresistible deal at $8.50.  Those marketing geniuses at my co-op know me so well.

And now I have thirty pounds of watermelon to dispatch.  Ideas?

Of course I started off by stuffing everyone with sweet slices and encouraging the children to organize a backyard seed-spitting contest.  And then I made a double batch of that outstanding Chilled Watermelon Soup with Thai Flavors–have you tried it yet?  And that, of course, meant Thai flavors for the fish I’d gone to the co-op to get in the first place.  (You thought I’d forgotten the point of this post, didn’t you?)
Every time I make this, J says it’s his favorite dish.  (I think he says that about other things too, though–isn’t that sweet?)  My favorite dish would probably be something involving chocolate, or maybe these baked eggs, but I agree that this dish is quite good.  And if fish isn’t your thing, you could certainly toss the pepper mixture with cubes of fried tofu and serve it over rice instead. Continue reading

Bok Choy Slaw with Radishes

Emmy Cooks is Foodista’s Food Blog of the Day today!  What a nice compliment.  If you’ve made your way here from there, welcome.  We’re glad to have you.  Grab a fork and come dig in!

I’ve had a bok choy and radish slaw rattling around in my brain ever since I saw this recipe on another beautiful Northwest blog (did you check out yesterday’s?), The Plum Palate.  I had in mind a radish slaw that gave me the first hope that I could ever love radishes, and I envisioned the pungent flavors of raw bok choy and spicy radishes tamed with a bit of sweetness and the acid bite of vinegar.  Do you do that too, imagine how things should taste and then tweak until you get them there?  I was happy with how this turned out, and even happier after the flavors had the chance to blend for an hour or so. Continue reading

Spicy Cilantro Slaw with Cabbage and Carrots

Tonight we went to a friend’s birthday party.  A keg of good beer, a smoky grill, a swing in the pear tree, little girls running everywhere.  After dark, there were birthday candles and fireworks.  This is the salad to bring to a party like that. Continue reading

Chilled Watermelon Soup with Thai Flavors

One of the nice things about writing a food blog, it turns out, is that you meet other people who like food. And in this networked world, you soon meet their friends, and friends-of-friends, and so it goes until you find yourself, as I often do, surrounded by people who love food, eating good food, talking about food.  Sometimes those people even cook for you. Continue reading

Steamed Fish and Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger

Yes, of course you can make this spunky 15-minute healthy meal with tofu instead of fish. Or halibut fillets instead of salmon steaks, which is what I usually do. Or any white fish, really. But lest you think that lean-protein-of-choice steamed with bok choy sounds too dull and virtuous, let me assure you that this dish is all about the zippy sauce. In fact, be sure to make some rice to sop it all up. (Brown rice is in keeping with the virtuous theme and usually my preference, but it makes this a 45-minute meal instead. You do what you like.)

Continue reading

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices

I think of cauliflower as a highly inoffensive vegetable.  (Update: J takes offense at this description.  He wants me to describe it as “a PERFECT vegetable.”  Anyway.)  It’s mildly flavored when cooked, and it’s not green.  You can hide it in mac and cheese if you’re so inclined (or so I hear).  Continue reading

Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk

Watch this space for more Thai food now that summer is coming.  Tropical fruit gets all the love, but vegetables like eggplants, peppers, and squash are unique products of hot temperatures as well, and with summer comes the opportunity to cook like we live someplace warmer.  Like Thailand.

My sweet tooth has always liked the idea of eating dessert first, and we’re starting our summer Thai series with it here.  I have to admit that we cook less Thai food now that Little Uncle makes it so well and so close by, but the flip side of that coin is that it was one of their desserts that reminded me to dig out this recipe for black sticky rice pudding.  (The dessert in question was kabocha squash simmered in sweet coconut milk; watch for it on the menu!)  It’s a great dessert to make for a party because it’s so simple yet visually impressive, and also because you can make it in advance and serve it cold or gently reheated.

Little Uncle’s simmered kabocha was excellent stirred into this rice pudding, but if you don’t have any handy you can just serve it plain, as I usually do, or with mango slices stirred in or on the side.  Of course you can also make this dessert with white sticky rice in place of the black, although, as you’d expect, the resulting color is a bit more pedestrian.  Try to remember to save a swirl of the thick coconut cream from the top of the can to garnish the dish. Continue reading Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk (click for recipe)

Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas

What is your super power in the kitchen?

I usually joke that mine is the ability to cook when it’s messy (it’s always messy), but in truth I think it’s that I like to eat.  So as I cook, I ask myself, does this taste good? What would make it better? Do I want a finely chopped vegetable here, or big chunks?  This description makes my cooking sound more planned-out than it usually is, but I just mean that these are the things that go through my head on the fly.  I believe that constantly thinking about the end product and tasting occasionally as I go increase my chances of producing something delicious.  (There are plenty of failures too, of course–I’ve been thinking lately that I should start taking pictures of those as well for an Emmy Cooks bloopers reel.)

But this ability to envision the eventual dish fails me when it comes to cuisines that I am less comfortable cooking.  Indian food falls into this category, which is why I appreciate starting with a good recipe that will rely less on my intuition and more on my ability to follow directions.  So mostly I stick to recipes from Vij’s At Home.  But dazzled by the success of that saag paneer I keep making (thank you, Kolpona Cuisine!), I decided to branch out to this aloo gobi recipe from the gorgeous vegan blog v:gourmet.  I followed the recipe exactly, except for the splash of cream I added at the end.  What can I say?  My super power told me to.

This dish plus the saag paneer and rice make a respectable Indian-themed feast for company.  And whether or not you’re making multiple dishes, consider making this one a day ahead.  The flavor was even better the following day. Continue reading Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Peas (click for recipe)

Indian-Spiced Kale and Paneer, or, Not Quite Saag Paneer

I got The Best Present Ever for Mothers Day this year.  And that is saying a lot, because I was just showered with gifts this year.  The girls’ handmade gifts and cards were almost as sweet as the big proud smiles on their faces when they gave them to me, of course, but J took the cake with one of his gifts.

He organized my spice collection.

Hopefully you feel the full effect of that sentence as I do: you should be bathed in light and joy as the heavens part and you hear the angels sing Alleluia.  Are you with me?

This is a big deal.  Once upon a time, I had a few rows of spice jars tidily tucked into a spice rack.  Later, the jars began to multiply and J put up shelves to hold more of them.  But in recent years the spices had completely outgrown that expanded solution and they began to pile up in tiny bags, then handfuls of tiny bags stuffed into bigger bags, then finally gallon jars full of big and little bags that all were starting to smell like curry powder or cardamom.  It was not a particularly efficient system.

So it was with adoration that I approached my spice rack (it’s really more of a spice wall now) today when I decided to make this dish.  Everything was in its place, alphabetically arranged–except for my assortment of chiles, which take up a shelf of their own.  Bay, cardamom, cinnamon.  Check, check, check.  Cloves, coriander, cumin, right on down the line.  It’s so easy when things are where they are supposed to be!

But, ok, let me get to the part you’re here for.  This is the best Indian food that has ever come out of my kitchen.  Ever.  The recipe is adapted from Kolpona Cuisine, along with a plea to use the whole spices called for despite the mild inconvenience of having to fish them out later.  I don’t know if that is the whole secret here, but the dish was amazing and J marveled aloud, a few times, that it was the best Saag Paneer he’d ever eaten.  (This version was kale paneer, to be precise, inspired by CoolCookStyle, but you can click right here for the original recipe using frozen spinach.)

Indian-Spiced Kale and Paneer (click for recipe)

Roll-Your-Own Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi

Welcome the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I’m happy to be joining so many other cooks today in serving up a bountiful vegan feast.  Warm thanks to An Unrefined Vegan for planning our party.  At the bottom of this post you will find links to take you forward and backward through the offerings, or you can start at the beginning and see all your choices right here.

If this is your first time visiting emmycooks, welcome!  Pull up a chair, or do as I do and haul your computer into the kitchen and perch it up out of harm’s way as you cook along.  You can browse the recipes via the sidebar links, or visit some of my recent favorites right here.  If you like what you see, you can subscribe via RSS or follow emmycooks on FaceBook or Twitter.

If you’ve been here before, you won’t be surprised to find that this recipe is full of shortcuts to make it easy to cook a dish that might seem daunting at first.  For starters, this is unabashedly a cheater’s sushi rice: you just cook a pot of short-grain brown rice and stir in rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  It isn’t the rice that sushi masters spend years perfecting, but it tastes great and suits our needs nicely.  Second, don’t worry for a moment about how to roll your sushi.  You’re not going to impress anyone here–you’re just going to pile nori, rice, and assorted toppings on the table and let your dining companions impress you instead.  J & I used to throw parties where we’d roll and slice a gajillion sushi rolls–so much work!  And then we were guests in a home in Japan where everyone selected their own fillings and rolled their own sushi at the table.  We’ve never looked back, and neither will you. Continue reading Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi (click for recipe)