Friday, April 23, 2010

Spaghetti Alio Olio with Shrimp

Literally translated as spaghetti garlic and oil, 'spaghetti alio olio' is possibly one of the most simple dishes and yet tastiest that can be made with just five ingredients: pasta, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese. I add a sixth ingredient: pepperoncino or red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick. You can serve it as it is or with a protein such as the shrimp that I have in the following recipe.

Serves 2

12 large shrimp (about 1/2 pound) peeled and cleaned
1/2 pound spaghetti or any pasta of your choice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Boil a large pot of water, add some salt and start cooking the spaghetti
  • Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on the shrimp
  • Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium heat, place shrimp in pan in a single layer, cook for about 3 minutes and then turn over and cook the other side for another 3 minutes or until cooked. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, add the red pepper flakes, then the pasta which should have cooked to al dente by now.
  • Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and stir well. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Add the cooked shrimp and add more salt to taste.
  • Serve with more parmesan cheese on the side if desired

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

This is dish that I cook quite often because Keith likes it. So much so that we seem to order it even when we go out and eat at Chinese restaurants. It may look like a lot of ingredients but if you've done any Chinese cooking you would have almost all of the sauce and marinade ingredients in your pantry. And if you don't, go and get them and try making this dish because it's sure to become a family favorite.

Serves 4

1 pound boneless & skinless chicken breast or thighs
4 tbsp roasted peanuts or cashew nuts
5 dried red chilies
2 tbsp cooking oil
5 slices fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks scallion, sliced into 2” lengths

For the chicken marinade:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
Dash of white and black pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of white and black pepper
¼ cup water
2 tsp corn starch

  • Cut the chicken meat into 1” cubes and marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok and fry the dried chilies until browned, set aside.
  • Stir-fry the marinated chicken until nicely browned. Dish out and set aside.
  • Fry the ginger and garlic for a few seconds until fragrant then add the fried chilies, peanuts and the sauce.
  • When the sauce comes to a boil, add the chicken and stir continuously until the chicken is well coated with the sauce. Lastly add in the scallions and stir evenly.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Me So Like Miso

I have a new favorite right now, Miso soup. I have been making it to serve with dinner (if we have Asian style rice and meat), with noodles for lunch or just as it is as a snack in the mid afternoon. We have been trying to eat healthier and also have smaller meals so I have been stocking up on lots of fruits, serving bigger portions of vegetables and serving soup for dinner which obviously is more filling and helps us eat smaller portions of the main meal.

It is so easy to make and literally takes only as long as the time for the water to boil. As you can see from the picture my miso soup is not like what you would get in a Japanese restaurant, mine is chock-a-block full of tofu and wakame (seaweed).

Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a main meal

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp granulated Dashi (I use Ajinomoto brand)
1/2 tsp miso paste
8 - 10 strands cut, dried wakame
1/4 block medium or firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 stalk spring onion, finely sliced

  • Boil water, add dashi and miso, stir until they dissolve.
  • Add wakame and tofu, boil for 10 seconds.
  • Serve in bowls and scatter spring onion if used.