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Posts tagged ‘Asian’

Sesame Summer Salad

So….I did actually make this salad in the summer, but I have been a little slow about posting about it. Having a baby will do that to you– you just don’t have as much time to post on your blog anymore.

I found this recipe for a sesame summer salad in a Taste of Home magazine. I love sesame seeds and sesame oil so I had to try out this salad.  The salad came together pretty easily. However, I found that the recipe had too much dressing…so in my write up below I changed the instructions to only add 1/2 the dressing to the salad and then serve the rest alongside so that your dining companions can dress the salad to their taste.

Sesame Summer Salad

(from Taste of Home magazine)

makes 9 servings

  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 cups cut fresh asparagus (1 inch pieces)
  • 2 cups fresh snow peas
  • 1 package (3 oz.) ramen noodles
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 can (14 oz) bean sprouts, drained
  • 1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Using a vegetable peeler or metal cheese grater, cut carrots into very thin lengthwise strips. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil.   Add the carrots, asparagus, and snow peas; cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place vegetables in ice water. Drain and pat dry. Set aside 3/4 cup carrots for garnish.
  2. Discard seasoning packet from noodles or save for another use. Break noodles into small pieces. Place in a large serving bowl; add blanched vegetables, red pepper, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin sauce, vinegar, canola oil, sesame oil, honey, salt, pepper flakes, and pepper.  Pour 1/2 of dressing over salad; toss to coat. Add more dressing if desired and toss to coat (and/or serve some on the side).
  4. Garnish with reserved carrots and remaining sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
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Sweet Lemons

Sweet Lemons
828 Washington Street
Weymouth, MA 02189
(781) 340-5551
website: http://sweetlemonsthai.com/
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 When I first moved to the South Shore a few years ago, I found it to be somewhat of a culinary wasteland. The restaurant options pretty much came down to pizza joints and take-out Chinese. We move from the Back Bay in Boston to Braintree. I experienced a bit of culture shock. At our new place we didn’t have the option to walk out our front door and stroll a few blocks to get French, Malaysian, Indian, Korean or other fare.

Luckily for us, shortly after we move to the area, a new Thai restaurant called Sweet Lemons opened up in a Weymouth strip mall. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the food and the friendly service. That was several years ago and Sweet Lemons is still on my list of South Shore favorites.

I recently visited Sweet Lemons with a couple of people who had never been before. For starters we ordered the Chicken Thai  Rolls ($5.95) and chicken wonton soup ($3.95). I’d never tried their wonton soup before as I usually opt for the spicier soups. The wonton soup had a light garlic flavor with greens and wontons floating in the broth.  The spring rolls are akin to what you find at other Thai restaurants…(I have a hard time comparing one spring roll to another…they’re just a guilty pleasure)

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 For our main course, two of us ordered the Pad Woonsen ($11.95) and one ordered the Pad Thai ($8.95).  The pad woonsen was comprised of cellophane noodles stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, pineapple and veggies. It had a nice blend of sweet and savoury.

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Sweet Lemons also usually has a menu with specials that aren’t listed on their website menu. Some of our other favorites from the menu that I didn’t order on this visit are: Pad Thai Zzzz (a spicy pad thai), seafood madness (spicy stir-fried shrimp, scallops, squid and fish), and chicken puffs (a mildly spicy chicken appetizer).

Sweet Lemons has a second location on route 18 in South Weymouth.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 mangoes

Sweet Lemons on Urbanspoon

Eats: Mulan Taiwanese Cuisine

MuLan Taiwanese Cuisine
228 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-497-4277
website: http://mulan.4t.com/
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 My foodie friend Rebekah was moving back to Buffalo from Boston and we decided to meet one weekday for lunch somewhere between my office and her apartment. We decided on MuLan. MuLan is located a couple of blocks up Broadway from The Garment District.  It is located in the same building as Beauty’s pizza and the 2 places share a small parking lot with enough parking for about 5 cars. I was walking so I didn’t need to worry about parking… Good thing since the lot was already full.

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 After a small wait, we were seated and given menus and some pickled veggies and peanuts. It took some prodding of the waitress to get some water and tea. But, we finally got some. The menu contains some authentic Taiwanese dishes along with some dishes you may be familiar with from Chinese restaurants. We decided to order a couple of dishes from the lunch specials to share. We ordered the kung pao shrimp and the lamb in hot chili pepper sauce. Both dishes were $7.95 and came with soup and rice.

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The kung pao shrimp contained chopped celery, water chestnuts, peanuts, dried red chili peppers and large shrimp in a mildly spicy sauce. It was very similar to kung pao dishes I have eaten at other Asian restaurants.

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The lamb was our favorite dish of the two. Thinly sliced lamb was stir-fried with julienned chili peppers and green bell peppers.  This was one spicy dish! I would definitely order the lamb again.

On another lunch visit, I had the shredded beef with dry bean curd.  It was flagged on the menu as being spicy, but I didn’t find it that spicy at all. It was flavorful and filling.

The service was similar on both visits… friendly, but a bit frenzied. On both visits, we needed to request water and tea. On some weekdays at lunch, there can be a wait to be seated.

Their menu says they deliver so I will definitely have to order in some lunch with co-workers sometime soon.

Mulan Taiwanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Wild Ginger

 Wild Ginger
124 Washington St.
Norwell, MA 02061

781-347-4702

website: http://www.wildgingerthai.net/

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There is relatively new selection on the South Shore for Thai food– Wild Ginger on Route 53 in Norwell. This cozy restaurant is located in a small shopping plaza on the southbound side of 53. It is in the same space that used to house Cherrywood BBQ. 

We were there during lunch on a Saturday and were immediately seated. There were a few other parties in the bright and clean dining room. The servers were friendly and were quick to refill our water glasses (always a good thing in my book, since I am ALWAYS thirsty!).

We started off with the Som Tum salad ($8). This salad was made up of shredded papaya and carrots tossed with shrimp, string beans, tomato wedges and peanuts. It was topped with a spicy lime dressing and had some iceberg lettuce on the side. The salad was refreshing and spicy.  

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We couldn’t resist trying the veggie Thai Rolls ($5), which were spring rolls filled with assorted veggies and served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The spring rolls were crispy without being greasy.

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We got two entrees. The first was the Pik Pow Fried Rice ($9), a spicy seafood and veggie fried rice with pik pow sauce…all topped off with a sunnyside-up egg. The egg was a little overcooked. Based on my previous experience with Pik Pow rice at other Thai restaurants, the egg yolk should still be runny so that when you pop it, the yolk mixes in with the rice. Despite the egg yolk being a bit too well down (more over-hard, than sunnyside up), the rice was very moist and flavorful and loaded with shrimp, scallops, and squid. wildginger6

The second entree that we got was the Chicken Hot Tangerine ($8). This dish featured sauteed chicken breast with veggies, tangerines, and cashews in a Thai chili sauce. The presentation was very colorful and the cone of rice made me think of an episode of Kitchen Nightmares where Gordon Ramsay berated a chef for using a funnel to shape a Greek Salad. The Chicken Hot Tangerine was spicy and sweet and quite tasty but not my favorite entree ever at a Thai restaurant.

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Overall, I was very impressed with Wild Ginger for their service and food. I will definitely be back for lunch again.

I give them 4 out of 5 mangoes.

Torn Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Best Recipes from the Award-Winning International Cookbooks (Savoring ...)

I was looking for something to go with a seared scallop recipe that I found on Epicurious. I browsed through a few of my cookbooks and found the ideal salad in Savoring Soups & Salads. That find was the Torn Chicken and Cabbage Salad (Goi Ga from Vietnam). The book describes it as a Vietnamese coleslaw.

The salad was beautiful and we both really enjoyed the flavors of the veggies mixed with the lime juice, mint and fish sauce. It was a nice twist on cole slaw.. you get the crunch of the veggies with a bit of a spicy bite add in courtesy of the peppers.

 

Torn Chicken and Cabbage Salad (adapted from Savoring Soups & Salads)

1 red Serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 large carrot peeled and finely shredded
1/2 cup finely slivered fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts (optional)

  1. To make the dressing, in a bowl, combine the chile, garlic, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir together until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until opaque throughout, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, let cool. With your fingers, tear the meat along the grain into long, thin shreds and place in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the cabbage, carrot, mint, cilantro, and dressing and toss to gently mix well.
  4. Arrange salad on platter and optionally sprinkle with peanuts and serve. 

Scallops with Asian Lime-Chile Sauce

I have over 400 recipes bookmarked in my recipe box on Epicurious.com. In an effort to de-clutter my life, I flipped through all my old Gourmet and Bon Apetit magazines and any recipes that I was interested in, I went and flagged on Epicurious and threw the magazine into the recylcing bin.

One of those recipes was Scallops with Asian Lime-Chile Sauce. The recipe calls for medium sea scallops seared on bamboo skewers. All that my local market had was small sea scallops so I opted to sautee them without skewers. My take on the recipe was still really tasty. My husband told me that he wished that I had bought more scallops. I am going to keep my eyes open for larger scallops so that I can try to stay more true to the original recipe.

 These scallops were included in a couple of menus on Epicurious. I look at these menus for inspiration for side dishes. I made the Pickled Cucumber and Radish from the Light in the East menu.  We really enjoyed these pickles and they were super easy.

I also made ginger garlic scallion basmati rice as a side dish. This rice came out really good. I chopped up a few garlic cloves and an equivalent amount of fresh ginger. I then heated up oil in a skillet and fried up some cumin seeds for a few seconds and then threw in the garlic and ginger and cooked them up until slightly golden brown. Next I stirred in 2 cups of rice and some salt and pepper. I added chicken broth, sweet peas and cooked until the rice was done. I tossed in chopped green onions before serving. 

I also served a torn chicken and cabbage salad which I will post about later. But, for now, here’s the scalop recipe.

Scallops with Asian Lime-Chile Sauce (adapted from Epicurious.com recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small fresh hot chile (2 1/2 inches long, preferably red), chopped, including seeds
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 lb. sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Prep

Puree garlic, chile, and sugar to a fine paste. Add vinegar, fish sauce, water, and lime juice and mix until combined.

Pat scallops dry. Then brush both sides with oil (2 teaspoons total). Season scallops with salt and pepper.

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with remaining teaspoon oil and heat over high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear scallops, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 6 minutes total.

Serve scallops with sauce spooned over.

Cooks’ note:

• Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Eats: Little Q HotPot

 Little Q Hotpot
1585 Hancock St.
Quincy, MA 02169
617-773-5888

website: http://www.littlequsa.com/Web/Home.htm

We love us some Little Q Hotpot!  Little Q is a popular chain restaurant in China and the Quincy location is its first (and currently only) American outpost. They are located in an otherwise dead Quincy Fair shopping center in Quincy Center. The shopping center is slowly dying due to the fact that the city of Quincy plans to tear it down to build a road. Hopefully, Little Q will be able to find a new home in Quincy. I would hate to lose it.

We’ve been to Little Q a few times now. On this visit, it was the busiest we’d ever seen it. The area outside their entrance was crowded with folks waiting for tables. We were able to be seated immediately since we were willing to sit at an isolated counter area tucked off to the side of the restaurant.  We didn’t mind, we just wanted to eat!   Plus, the counter is against a window that overlooks the rest of the Asian food court area, which includes a couple of other dining options, including Taste of Taiwan. I was tempted to try Taste of Taiwan soon, based on some of the dishes that I saw people get from there.

But, back to Little Q…

The table tops and dishes at Little Q are all made out of the same plastic, easy to wipe down material. The dishes/cups and napkins are all printed with the smiling face of a cartoon goat–who I suppose is the mascot of Little Q.  The decor is definitelycasual and cafeteria-esque.

The staff at Little Q are all very friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid that you’ll be lost if you have never had hot pot before.  They readily help you chose from their selection of broths and then chose other items that you want to cook in the broth. These include various veggies, meats, seafood, and noodles.

After ordering the server brings us some complimentary pickled radishes and peanuts. These are both very tasty and addictive snacks. I really want to try making the pickled Daikon radish at home.

Shortly there after she brings us our pots of broth, inserts them into the holes in the counter and turns on the cooktops. We ordered the seafood broth. It comes out with green onions, ginger and various spices floating in it. The broth is very fragrant and flavorful and the flavor gets enhanced with each new piece of meat or veggie that you put in. I love the way the fried tofu and bok choy pick up the flavors of the broth.

 

This visit we ordered several items to go in our soup: Baby Bok Choy, fried tofu, white mushrooms, chicken breast, white fish and shrimp. The chicken breast comes out thinly sliced and arranged in rolls.  All of their items are always super fresh.

 

Then we just put our ingredients in the broth and let them cook. Part of the trick of eating at a Mongolian hot pot place is the timing for how long the items need to cook in the broth. The different items take varying amounts of time. The thinly sliced chicken cooks up in just seconds. Little Q often has this information printed on the place mats at each table setting. Although for some reason, this past weekend, the placemats had Greek tourist spots printed on it. Hmm!

Their seafood fried rice is also very good. It contains scallops, white fish, shrimps, and squid. Little Q’s scallion pancakes are also phenomenal, but we didn’t order them this past time since we didn’t want to get too much food.

We got mango (can’t resist it) ice cream for dessert, which is a great refreshing way to end the meal.

I give Little Q Hotpot 4.5 out of 5 mangoes.

Little Q Hotpot Restaurant on Urbanspoon