Showing posts with label Asian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asian. Show all posts


Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers

Have you planned your Superbowl menu yet?
I thought it would be fun to create another recipe in honor of the Seahawks going to the big game. Again.
Last year, I posted an original recipe for Seahawk Sliders, a grilled salmon slider, complete with Sriracha mayo and my history with the Seahawks :) .  It was the hit of our party! We loved the Sriracha sauce so much, I decided to incorporate it into this dish as well.
This year, I'm sharing a recipe for a super simple chicken skewer. They are best when marinated for 24 hours, and then grilled on the bbq or on the stove. It takes less than 5 minutes to cook, then drizzle with some extra sauce, garnish and serve.
So simple and so very tasty. I'm predicting this will be our favorite appetizer at this year's Superbowl party.
You know what I'm going to say now.
Say it.  For all of my Seattle family and friend fans.
Seeeeeeaaaaa Haaaaaaaaawwwwwks! 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers
A Bountiful Kitchen
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about 2-2 1/2 lbs chicken, boneless, skinless*

marinade ingredients:
1 cup Cola, not sugar free
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Aji- Mirin (Sweet Rice Vinegar)
1 cup prepared Teriyaki Sauce, I used Yoshida's or Very Teriyaki
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (more if you like it hotter)
3-4 tablespoons honey

wood skewers about 12-24
for garnish:
Sesame seeds, toasted
chopped green onions, about 2-3

6-24 hours before serving:
Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl with whisk. Remove 1 cup of sauce from bowl, set aside in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Slice the chicken into one inch wide strips. If the breast meat is thick, you may slice the breast in half, then slice again the opposite way in long thin strips. The strips should be about 1" wide by 4-6 inches long, and about 1/2 inch thick.
Place the remaining sauce (that has not been saved for serving) in a Ziplock bag or a shallow pan with the chicken. Seal and refrigerate at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours. Move the chicken around a couple of times during marinating to insure all pieces are covered with sauce.
When ready to cook, discard sauce that was used to marinate chicken.
Thread the chicken onto the wood skewers and place on a baking sheet or a 9x13 pan.
Place the remaining reserved sauce in a small saucepan and heat for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until reduced and thickened a bit. Turn off heat.
Chop the green onion for garnish.
Heat a griddle or barbecue and grease lightly.
Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side at about 400 degrees, or until cooked through. Do not overcook, or the meat will dry out very quickly.
Place the cooked meat onto a tray. Drizzle with reduced sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with chopped green onions.
Serve immediately, or keep warm by covering with foil. Or refrigerate and serve cold. Do not garnish until ready to serve.

-* I used boneless chicken breasts, boneless thigh pieces are also delicious.
-Before heating the sauce to drizzle on top of the chicken, I add about 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar for color and flavor. I like the way it adds a little more intense flavor to the sauce.
-If you would like to make this dish ahead, it's easy to do so!
Marinate the chicken. Follow directions for cooking. When the chicken is cooked, carefully place the skewers in a 9x13 pan and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, let sit on counter for about 30 minutes. If serving warm, heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat uncovered on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about 3-5 minutes. Remove, and drizzle with sauce, garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve.


Orange Glazed Chicken

On the last post I talked about  my experience eating Creme Brulee French Toast at Cheesecake Factory. What I didn't mention was, while I ordered the french toast, Jake ordered Orange Chicken.
For breakfast.
I know.
I tried to talk him into a breakfast/brunch item, but he wanted Orange Chicken. Jake and his friend Tanner LOVE,  Panda Express. Oh my.  I'm just going to leave it at that.
What's better than Orange Chicken at Panda? How about Orange Chicken at home! Way better.
I looked up recipes for Panda Orange Chicken (which btw is their #1 ordered menu item). I played with a few ideas and came up with my own (able to pronounce every ingredient) version.
Grant, Stephen and I thought this was delicious.
Jake still likes Panda's better.
Heavy sigh.

Orange Glazed Chicken
A Bountiful Kitchen
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2 lbs chicken breast, cut in to bite size pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/3  cup cold water

2 cups oil, canola or vegetable for frying

Orange Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
zest of one orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Glaze for cooked chicken:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 bunch green onions, divided 2/3 for glaze, 1/3 for garnish
1/4 cup water

Mix the egg, salt, cornstarch, flour and cold water together in a bowl with a whisk. The batter should be smooth and about the consistency of pancake batter.
Place the chicken pieces in the batter all at once. Mix thoroughly.
Set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees for warming chicken.
Heat the oil in a wok or other deep pan on medium high heat, or about 350-375 degrees. When the oil is hot, cook chicken in batches (about 4 batches total) place chicken in pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until cooked through and light golden. Drain onto a pan lined with paper towels.
Place in oven to keep warm.
In another pan, make the orange sauce. Heat soy sauce, sugar, cider vinegar and orange zest together in saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until boiling. Reduce heat. Whisk o.j. and cornstarch together in a cup. Pour into hot vinegar mixture. Cook until thickened. Thin a bit with oj if needed. Turn off heat, leave pan on burner.
Using a frying pan, heat the sesame oil, ginger, minced garlic and red pepper flakes over medium high heat. Cook for about one minute or until fragrant. Add rice vinegar, green onions, and water. Add cooked chicken pieces all at once. Cook just until chicken is coated. Remove from heat.
Serve chicken with orange glaze over sticky rice. Garnish with remaining green onions.
Serves 4-6


Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100

Salad for 100, anyone?
Last summer, I made this salad three times, in two months, for groups of 100 or more.
Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite pasta salad recipes. Here's why:  It sits well at a gathering (no mayo in the dressing). Perfect for weddings, funerals, missionary farewells and homecomings, Girl's Camp, family reunions, church parties and school events.  It's easy to make in large quantities.  Even though it looks summery it can be made year-round. AND last, but not least, everyone loves it.
The original 12-15 serving recipe is posted here . I've had oodles of requests over the years for a large quantity recipe, so I decided it would be best to re-post the recipe with directions to feed 100.
Make sure to read my tips short story (below the recipe) for all of the info you'll ever need (or want) to make pasta salad for the masses.
Happy salad making, my friends.

Got Chicken?

First three layers. 

Starting to look like something I'm interested in eating...

This was taken at Girl's Camp. I think we served 300 with these salads.
It was like the loaves and fishes. Kind of. 

Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from Favorites cookbook
print recipe

5 lbs Bowtie pasta

Salad dressing:
2 2/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 cups Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, shaken
2 2/3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Salad ingredients (veggies and fruit) :
4 Costco tubs of Spinach ( 1 lb each)
8- 8 oz cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped into matchstick pieces
6 bunches green onions, chopped
48 oz - (1 large bag) Craisins 
12 cans mandarin oranges, drained well
2 cups sesame seeds, toasted
48 oz honey roasted peanuts or cashews

15 lbs chicken breasts, marinated (ingredients below), cooked, cooled and sliced

Teriyaki marinade for chicken:
6 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon or about 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 Tablespoon pepper

Mix teriyaki marinade for chicken. 
Marinate chicken overnight, or at least 6 hours. Place the chicken in Ziplock bags and mix the marinade in a bowl, then pour into the bags over the chicken. The chicken may be taken directly from the freezer and set in the refrigerator in marinade for up to two days before cooking. 
After the chicken is marinated, place the drained chicken on baking sheets and broil the chicken for about 7-10 minutes (about 2-3 inches from element), or bake at 350 for about 45  minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Cool completely, trim off any fat and cut into slices. Set in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad. The chicken may be cooked up to three days before serving salad.
Discard any leftover marinade, DO NOT use the marinade in the salad dressing. 

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water and toss with a tablespoon olive or canola oil  or a little of the Veri Teriyaki sauce and place in refrigerator in covered containers (I use gallon Ziplock bags) until ready to assemble salad. May be cooked up to three days before serving.

Blend the salad dressing ingredients together using large bowl or blender. Mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

May be done early in the day, or the day before serving.
Using two large containers, layer the ingredients to the salad in the following order (see photos)
Pasta, chicken, spinach, chopped water chestnuts, chopped green onions and Craisins. Make sure the water chestnuts are drained well.
Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, add the following to the top of salad:
Drained mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, honey roasted peanuts.
Mix the prepared salad dressing well, pour about 2 cups onto each container of salad, tossing gently so the mandarin oranges do not break apart. Add more salad dressing, sparingly, as needed.
Serve individually onto plates, or in a salad bowl.
Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and nuts if desired.

-This salad may be prepared in advance. When I'm making salads in large quantities, I usually start the day (or two) ahead with any of the steps that can be done early. Read this recipe carefully for instruction on make ahead.
-If you are serving this with a main dish, say at a barbecue, you may leave out the chicken. Or half the chicken (and marinade).
-This salad is a hearty serving of a main dish salad. It will yield 100 generous lunch size portions of salad. If served with a roll and dessert, it should satisfy most appetites. If you are serving the salad on a buffet, with other salads or sides, this should serve up to 150 as a side dish. 
-For the chicken, I buy Costco 10 lb bags of frozen- boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Usually the Tyson or Foster Farms brands. They are generally trimmed of most fat so the prep work is minimal regarding trimming the chicken. I use the chicken right out of the freezer, no thawing needed.
If you are trying to cut costs, use less chicken. This recipe may be adjusted to serve 100 with 10 lbs of chicken (instead of 15). Cut the teriyaki marinade for the chicken in half as well.
-Teriyaki Sauce for dressing on the salad- I like  Soy-Vay "Veri Veri Teriyaki"  for this recipe. It is highly concentrated, so you will use less than when using another brand. It can usually be purchased at most grocery stores and Walmart or Costco. I've also seen it online at Amazon.  Make sure to shake the bottle before using.
- Purchase Honey Roasted Planters Peanuts at Walmart in large size containers compared to the containers sold at the grocery, they are quite a bit less expensive. I love this recipe made with honey roasted cashews, but they cost quite a bit more than peanuts, so I usually stick with peanuts when making a large quantity.
-Less is more with regard to salad dressing. Use less dressing than you think you need initially. Let it sit for a few minutes and see how much has soaked into the pasta, and how much has settled to the bottom of the serving bowl. Add more dressing if needed. I rarely use all of the dressing.
-Purchase sesame seeds in bulk at the grocery in the health food aisle or in the Asian section of the grocery. The cost is significantly less than if purchased in the spice section.
-Toss the peanuts and the sesame seeds last onto the salad to preserve the crunch of the nuts.


Thai Chicken Pizza

Love this recipe for Thai Chicken Pizza. It's based off of the CPK restaurant recipe.  I love the flavors in this pizza. The original recipe calls for Thai Sate sauce only, but I like to mix it up a bit and add some other flavors.  If you love specialty pizza but have been afraid to try it at home, now is your chance to take a leap of faith! This recipe is really simple, and fun to make. It's just a matter of buying sauce, some fresh ingredients and chopping. The crust recipe comes from John Spottiswood of Cook, Eat, Share (a recipe website that connects bloggers, chefs and cooks together and catalogs all of their recipes in one location). The dough is perfect for traditional pizza or specialty pizza.  John's pizza dough really deserves a post of its own!
You're going to love this dish.

Thai Chicken Pizza
adapted from California Pizza Kitchen
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Dough for pizza, recipe below- best prepared one day or at least 8 hours in advance

Pizza topping:
1 cups chicken, cooked, chopped
1 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Thai Sate Sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce, optional
1/4 cup Chili Garlic sauce, optional
1 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
2 green onions, chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup bean sprouts, fresh, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup fresh chopped carrots

If you have a pizza stone, place in the oven on bottom rack.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Roll out one ball of dough into a 12-14 inch circle.  Place onto a 14 inch pizza pan that has been coated lightly with cornmeal or cooking spray. You should have two balls of dough remaining for future use.
Toss the chicken with one tablespoon of Thai Sate Sauce, if desired. Or you may skip this step. Set aside.
Mix the sauces together (Sate, Hoisin and Chili Garlic) and spread sauce on top of the rolled out dough.
Spread one cup of cheese evenly on top of sauce.
Sprinkle chicken, green onions, chopped peanuts, 1/4 cup of the cilantro,  sprout and carrots on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
Bake the pizza for about 8 minutes or until the pizza starts to set up. At this point, I use a pizza peel to slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until the pizza is golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of the fresh cilantro. Cut and serve immediately.
Serves 2-4

New York Style Pizza Dough
John Spottiswood, Cook, Eat, Share

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt or 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 1/2 cups unbleached bread or high-gluten flour, plus flour for dusting

In a small bowl, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water with a fork. Set aside to let the yeast dissolve for about 5 minutes.
In another small bowl combine the cold water, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Stir to dissolve.
To make the dough by hand, place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and stir in the yeast and the cold water mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until soft and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. It will still be tacky but should no longer stick to your hands.
To make the dough with a mixer (highly recommended), fit a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Place the flour in a large mixer bowl and add the yeast and cold water mixture. Mix on low speed for about 4 minutes. Push dough off the hook and let it rest for 2 minutes. Then mix again on low speed for about 6 more minutes. Push down the hook if dough rises too high and threatens to get in the motor. Turn the dough out onto a well floured board and and knead for a minute or two until it forms a smooth ball.
To prepare the dough for rising, cut the dough into thirds. With floured hands pick up one portion of dough and pull the opposite edges together, wrapping them underneath towards the center to form a tight ball. Pinch the edge to seal. Repeat with the other two sections. Place each portion in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Squeeze our any excess air and seal the bags. Refrigerate for at least 10 hours or up to 2 days (longer is better). Remove from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before using so the dough can come to room temperature.
This dough freezes well.
Yield 3- 14-16 inch thin crust or three medium thickness 12 inch crusts.

- Pizza- I combined the three sauces mentioned, because I don't like the heavy peanut flavor of the Sate Sauce alone. I prefer a more tangy and sweet combo with a hint of the peanut flavor sauce. Experiment to see what you like best.
You may also make the pizza as directed leaving all of the veggies off until after baking, and then placing all on top of the sauce, chicken and cheese that has been baked. This produces more of a fresh looking and tasting pizza.
-Dough- I love this dough. I kept it in the fridge for about a week the first time I made it. Really wonderful texture. It freezes well. When ready to use, take out of freezer and place on counter for about 4 hours or until thawed and no longer cold. It rolls out easily and is very easy to work.

-For specialty pizzas (such as Thai Chicken, and BBQ Chicken), I prefer to roll the crust thin, so the toppings can be center stage.


Asian Grilled Flank Steak Salad

Goodness, this was yummy.

Here is the manly part of the salad (below). BEEF.

Tomorrow is my little brother's birthday. He is my one and only sibling. Harold. Uncle Harry to my kids. The favorite uncle, on my side. He has a fun, YELLOW (if you are into the COLOR CODE) personality. I asked Jacob, my youngest to describe him: "Funny, strong, loud, cool, garbage gut, always happy". My little bro is always game for the park, basketball court, carnival rides, swimming pool, sledding, shopping mall- you name it- he's up for it. The two of us rode for countless hours in the back of my parents camper on road trips all over the Western U.S. We fought a little, but mostly got along, because we only had each other.

Kind. Friendly. Thoughtful. Generous. Considerate. He married a great person, Kaari, who brings out the best in him. They have two beautiful and sweet daughters. Harold is a great dad! I admire him for always putting his family first. When I go home to visit, and watch him with his own little family, I think - when did he grow up?? When did I grow up? It seems like it wasn't that long ago we were riding around in that gold camper. When we were kids, we mimicked our parents eating habits. I was just like Dad, give me anything sweet, and I could make a meal out of it. Pie and cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner - that's me. Harold was just like Mom. A piece of fruit was a great dessert. Salads? I would tolerate a salad with dinner, but mom felt like a meal wasn't complete without salad. Harold's tastes have changed a little, he likes sweets more now than in his younger days, but he still loves to eat salads with meals. He also LOVES meat. When I made this salad a while ago, I instantly thought of him. I wished we lived closer, so I could run over a big platter of this salad to him. It's a delicious summer salad. Big hit at our house. Enough meat to satisfy a manly appetite, and enough green and pasta to please the lady like eaters in your fam. We absolutely LOVED this. And I know you (and your brother) will too.
Happy Birthday little brother, I love you.

I used these noodles I brought back from my trip to Japan last October...
had to guess what this said (see package below).

Asian Grilled Flank Steak Salad

For Flank Steak and Marinade:
1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, white parts only, sliced (may sub chopped onion)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

For Dressing: (to be mixed with remaining 1/2 of marinade)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey

For Salad:
1 oz Asian rice noodles, or other Asian noodles
1 head leaf lettuce- Boston, red or green leaf
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup small sweet onion, chopped or sliced into
thin rings (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, or two medium sized tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (I used honey roasted)

1. Score the flank steak on both sides, across the grain. This helps the meat to absorb the marinade. Place the steak into a 9x9 or 9x13 glass dish.
2. Place all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix together well. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Pour about half of the marinade over the steak in the glass pan. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Save the other half of the marinade for the dressing.
3. Add to the remaining (for dressing) marinade the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons honey. Whisk and set aside.
4. Bring about 2-3 quarts of water to a boil and cook the Japanese noodles, according to package directions. You may use soba noodles, or rice noodles. Rice noodles only need to be soaked in cold water, then drained after about 1 hour. If the rice noodles are not tender after an hour, you may need to boil in water 1-3 minutes. Drain noodles in colander, rinse with cold water, toss with a little oil. Set aside.
5. Pre-heat barbecue.
6. Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, except peanuts. Toss together.
7. Brush oil or lightly spray PAM on heated grill. Place the flank steak on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste 4-6 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for at least 3 minutes. Cut the steak into paper thin slices across the grain by holding the knife blade at a 45 degree angle to the top of the meat.
8. If serving in a large bowl to a crowd, toss the salad ingredients and mound the noodles in the center of the salad, drizzle dressing over all of the greens and noodles. Top with sliced steak, and garnish with chopped peanuts and mint. Toss all together just before serving. If serving on individual plates, lay salad ingredients on plates, top with small amount of noodles and few slices of steak. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately.

-Rice noodles are available in Asian specialty stores, or many grocery stores. They usually only need soaking, but some varieties require soaking and a brief boil.
-This salad may be made with any type of meat: chicken, pork tenderloin, or even tofu.

adapted from: How to Grill cookbook by Steven Raichlen


Panko and Ginger Crusted Chicken with Stir Fried Vegetables and Sweet & Sour Mustard Sauce

Sometimes, I pick up a recipe and know I'm going to love it. I found this one a few months ago, in Gourmet magazine. It was really simple and fresh. I had a few issues with finding fresh looking bok choy, so I subbed some snow peas instead. The coating on the chicken is so yummy. Panko. I love panko crumbs. I'm not a huge fried chicken fan, but I loved this chicken. Maybe I just loved the coating. I kept eating it, and wondered if they sell Panko cereal at the grocery? You know, instead of Raisin Bran, just pour a bowl of fried up Panko crumbs. Healthy, I know. Back to the recipe- You could use any variety of vegetables in your garden (you have one, right?) or at your local farmers market. If you can't find Chinese mustard, just whisk up a little dry mustard with some cold water. Same thing. Don't skip the sauce - The sauce totally makes this dish.

Panko and Ginger Crusted Chicken with Stir Fried Vegetables and 
Sweet & Sour Mustard Sauce
Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter
print recipe

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Chinese mustard
2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cups coarsley chopped bok choy
1/2 cup juliened leeks (white part only)
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
1 cup bean sprouts

Prepare sauce: Combine the honey, mustard and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until warm. Set aside.
For chicken: Cut each breast lengthwise into 4 strips and season with salt and pepper. Combine the panko bread crumbs and grated ginger in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken strip in the egg and coat with panko mixture. Heat the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the chicken strips. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.
For vegetables: Heat the canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Add the ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the bok choy, leeks and water chestnuts and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts and cook for 2 minutes or until the vegetable are just tender.
Spoon some of the vegetables in the center of each plate. Arrange the chicken over the vegetables and drizzle the sauce over the chicken and around the plate.
Serves 4


Simple Sushi

Last week, I was able to travel to Okinawa, Japan to visit family. I met my mom and we had a great time experiencing Japanese/Okinawan culture. Most of my relatives speak as much English as I speak Japanese. Just a scoshie. I watched carefully as my cousin Kaori and her sisters in law prepared a huge meal. Sushi, Soba, Shrimp rolls, salad made with Goya (a weird, bumpy green veggie found in Okinawa) and many other types of speciality dishes. We ate and laughed, and I realized then more than ever before, how food unites us. Sharing meals and cooking together can bridge language barriers we may have- kind of like smiles. Hope you enjoy these pics, and the following recipe for Simple Sushi. I love the way they served it on a big platter with all types of fillings. Every year on Christmas Eve, we make sushi rolls with my mom. We order Chinese takeout, make sushi and tempura, and have an Asian dinner. We usually make individual (Maki) rolls. But this method is much easier and allows everyone to build their own roll. Just spread the seasoned rice over the seaweed wrapper, top with your favorite raw fish, shrimp, vegetables and fold over. Oishi!

One of my cousin's kids, with a giant sushi roll.

Beautiful hand made shrimp roll.

Some veggie dish...

A salmon and almond appetizer.

The feast prepared by my family!

This was yummy.

My fav, noodles.

The national vegetable, Goya.

Eaten in salads, stir fry, deep fried. Remove seeds first.

Simple Sushi

printable recipe

7-8 cups white sticky rice, cooked, hot

1/2 to 3/4 cups rice vinegar "for sushi"

Nori seaweed dark green, in sheets

assorted vegetables - avocado, cucumber, scallions,mushrooms dried or fresh

assorted raw fish sliced thin or shrimp

Soy sauce, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi

Combine the hot rice and rice vinegar, a little vinegar at a time. Gently fold together. When mixed and rice is desired flavor, set aside on large platter or bowl. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Serve with assorted filling ingredients. Stack Nori seaweed next to the rice, along side the veggies and fish. Let each guest spread the seaweed wrapper with a thin layer of rice, then top with fillings. Fold over to make a giant roll!


1) Prepare all ingredients while the rice is cooking.

2) Brown rice does not form a firm roll. The flavor of the brown rice doesn't compliment the fillings.

3) Sushi tastes best right when you make it. If you have to refrigerate, let it warm up to room temperature before eating for best flavor.

4) Extras-must haves - Wasabi, soy sauce in small bowls for dipping, pickled sliced ginger, ohashi (chop sticks).

A couple of other dishes I ate while in Okinawa...

actually, I passed these little guys to my mom.

Really delicious, but chewy seaweed tempura.

Another favorite - gyoza.


Fried Rice Omelets

I have been eating Fried Rice Omelets since I was a little girl...always thought my mom or dad made up this recipe. I was surprised to read this:From Wikipedia- "Omurice, sometimes spelled "omu-rice" (オムライス, Omu-raisu), is a contemporary Japanese dish consisting of an omelet made with fried rice. It is a popular dish both commonly cooked at home and can be found at many Izakaya restaurants in Japan. It is also a popular dish in many restaurants in South Korea and Taiwan."
Even though fried rice is a Chinese dish, we loved it growing up. My kids still beg my mom, a.k.a . "Grandma Japanese" (yes they all call her that) to make them Fried Rice Omelets whenever she visits. It sounds weird, but is really so good.
When cooking the ingredients- vegetables, meat, etc., do so- one ingredient at a time. Mom tried to teach me this in the beginning, but I resisted, and wanted to throw everything in a pan together, mix it all up and expected it to taste like her fried rice. It never did. Something was always "off". She would shake her head and say "You HAVE to cook each ingredient one at a time, not mix all up."
FINE. So, I finally listened, and now, after 26 years, can say my gohan is ALMOST as good as hers.
You know what is really funny? We love this, but she would be embarrassed to see that I posted this recipe. Kind of like an American posting a recipe for, say, Grilled Cheese sands made with Kraft Singles!

Fried Rice Omelet
A Bountiful Kitchen

7 cups cooked sticky Japanese (pearl) rice, cooled completely (see tips below)
1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or white)
1/2 lb chopped ham (about 1 1/2 cups or two thick deli slices)
2 cups cabbage, sliced thin
4 tablespoons butter, separated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
soy sauce
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped white and green parts

Using a large non stick pan, cook each of the vegetables, separately*, in a small amount of oil and butter. I use about 1 teaspoon for each vegetable/meat. Salt and pepper each vegetable.
Transfer to a bowl or plate. It's OK to let the vegetables and meat inter-mingle at this point :)
After cooking all of the vegetables and meat, add about 2 tablespoons of butter to the Teflon pan. Over medium heat, add the cooked and cooled rice a little at a time, breaking apart clumps with two wooden spoons until the rice is evenly distributed in the pan, and the butter is mixed in well.
Add all of the vegetables and meat to the rice. Toss lightly in pan. Season again with fresh ground pepper.
Add the soy sauce, a little at a time. We don't like to drown the rice in soy sauce, so I only use about 2-3 tablespoons to 7 cups of rice. Taste, add salt and more pepper, if desired. After heated through, add fresh chopped green onions. Turn the heat off. If you continue to leave the heat on, your beautiful fried rice will end up as gummy rice.

-Make sure the rice is cooked and cooled completely before starting to make fried rice. It is best to make the rice the day before. If you use hot rice when making fried rice, your dish will turn out to be a sticky, gluey mess.
-Make sure to use Japanese, or pearl rice, which is short and plump, not a long grain rice.
-When "mixing" the rice and other ingredients together, do not stir this like it's a cake batter- toss the ingredients, like you would a salad.

Now for the omelet part:
Mix eggs just as you would with a regular omelet. Sprinkle cheese over one side of the egg mixture, just before adding the fried rice. Fold over the top of the omelet. Slide on to a plate and enjoy.