Monday, March 31, 2008

What I'm Making for Dinner - 3.31.08

More Asian Food!
Beef and Broccoli with Soba Noodles, Shrimp Egg-drop Soup

"Chinese again? Who eats Chinese food three nights in a row?"
"Um, how about one billion Chinese people?"
-Some old sitcom. The quote was better than the show.

As you might have guessed, I like Asian food. A lot. There are many ways to make Asian food quick, healthy and delicious, so it ends up on my table a few nights a week. This beef and broccoli isn't fried and bathed in sauce like the variety you get in restaurants, but eliminating the frying and the sticky sauce saves a lot of time and effort. The result is (I imagine) healthier and (in my opinion) no less delicious. I'm serving it with soba noodles, which are quicker and more interesting than rice, and an easy and flavorful soup.

Ingredient of the Day: Kecap Manis

I was in an Asian market once and overheard a woman confusedly asking the girl at the counter if she knew where to find "ketchup mayonaise". A Filipino friend had said it was the secret ingredient in her barbecue sauce, but this wasn't helpful with the cashier's limited English. I directed the woman to a tall bottle of thick, dark sauce. Kecap manis is a sweet, heavy soy sauce, about the consistency of molasses, with a slight toasty flavor. It is indeed very good in barbecue sauce, as well as in stir-fry, soups and sauces. Just a drizzle packs a lot of flavor.

Beef and Broccoli

2 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. garlic, chopped
2 tsp. ginger, chopped
1 lb. beef, cut in 2" strips
1 red bell pepper, in strips
1 head of broccoli, in small pieces
Rice wine
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Kecap manis
Dash Chinese 5-spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee garlic until golden and add ginger. Add beef and brown slightly, then add vegetables and cook for one minute. Add wine, soy sauce, vinegar, kecap manis and spices. Cook until veggies are tender. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with buckwheat soba noodles.

Shrimp and Egg-drop Soup

1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ginger, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 can baby corn, drained and chopped
1 cup of shrimp
1 egg
2 tbsp. Rice vinegar
Splash of lime juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
Dash of powdered lemon grass (can be found at Asian market)
Sprinkle of fresh cilantro

Sautee ginger in oil briefly, then add baby corn and stock. Bring to a boil, then add seasonings and shrimp. As shrimp are cooking, crack the egg into the soup and swirl it around as it cooks- this will create those thin 'ribbons' of egg. Bring to a boil and adjust your seasonings as desired. I like a more sour soup. If you prefer it sweet, add more sugar and ease up on the vinegar. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

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