Monday, April 16, 2007

Asian Fare

I believe that traditional Asian meals can be a very healthy way to eat. Because of this (and my own Asian heritage), I like to incorporate Asian dishes into my daily menus.

I grew up in a German/Irish household (that relied heavily on meat & potato dishes), so I've never been exposed to genuine Asian cooking. All of my Asian cooking has been learned from cookbooks and the occasional TV cooking show.

As a result, my Asian dishes are fairly limited, but they are fairly healthy. Here are some examples:

Fried rice: I use a non-stick pan so I need very little oil. I use a mix of leftover brown and white rice. I skip the egg, and I use frozen peas & carrots for simplicity. Sometimes I dice in some onion if I have the time. I'll also add cubed tofu. Generally I try to use light soy sauce, but occasionally I add a splash of the regular kind. The extra saltiness adds to the flavor, I think.

Miso soup: I use a homemade mushroom broth, white miso and sometimes add a few bits of seaweed. I slice up mushrooms if I have them in the fridge, and will also occasionally add a spoon of brown rice. On rare occasions I'll toss in other veggies, too, like grated carrot or some spring onions.

Sushi rolls: My kind aren't actually sushi, because I don't season the rice. I use white sticky rice and roasted nori. My filling is almost always avocado, although sometimes I use cucumber or grated carrot, too. I sometimes sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the rice. I guess they're more rice balls than sushi rolls.

Stir-fry: I suppose this is an Asian dish, though I tend to think it's very Americanized now. Again, I use a non-stick pan so I can avoid too much oil. I basically toss in whatever veggies are convenient--usually frozen broccoli and cauliflower, chopped carrots and chopped onion. I typically add cubed tofu, too. I season with a dash of soy sauce. Often I serve this over brown rice, but I've eaten it plain, too.

I make a few other things on rare occasions, like fresh spring rolls, Pad Thai or soba noodles. For the most part, however, this is the extent of my Asian cooking. I'd love to eat more Asian foods, however.

Anyone have suggestions for quick and healthy Asian dishes?

5 comments:

Fatinah said...

Unfortunately, you've already listed the only ones I know. Sorry.

Hey, how did your dinner go with your mom over??

~~Midnight Raider~~ said...

Dinner with Mom went great. She loved her food. I don't think she "got" the idea that vegan/meat meals don't have to be so far removed from each other, but at least she enjoyed her dinner.

Hamster said...

Don't know if you've seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
www.thaifoodtonight.com
It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

Maria said...

I like to do a chickpea curry (I think you call them garbanzo beans). Use good tinned chickpea's (you don't need to cook them). Fry a chopped brown onion in a big pan. A non-stick pan is better with maybe a teaspoon or two of oil..or a little bit of water to saute the onion (if you don't want oil).. but the oil intensifies the flavors..and it's only minimal. Drain and wash two tins of chickpea's. Pour them into the hot pan and stir occasionally, heating them through well. When the pan is quite hot again, put in a tablespoon of an Asian curry paste you like (in your case, a vegan choice that would have no shrimp or anything like that in it). A Tandoori or Tikka paste is good. Fry-off the paste (among the garbanzo's) while stirring. The heat will release the flavors and aroma of all the spices. Stir over the heat occasionally until the pan is looking almost 'dry' and you can really notice the paste aroma. Pour 2 tins of good chopped, tinned Italian tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. If you have a vegie-based stock cube (I have 'chicken style' stock cubes that are all vegie. But taste like chicken)! If you have stock powder.. a half a teaspoon of that is good if you don't have a cube. Failing to have any of that in the house..even a tablespoon of soy sauce can substitute.. (but only as a last resort)! Allow it to come to 'bubbling point' and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste. Does it need more salt or another cube? If the paste you have bought isn't spicy enough, add a fresh red or green chopped chilli or some chilli powder (to taste). Then add a handful of chopped spinach and stir-in well. This can be fresh or defrosted from frozen. Stir-through well... heat through well.. and your chickpea (or garbanzo bean) curry is done. I have served this with brown rice (cooked well until soft) -but any rice is ok. Thanks also for visiting my blog! Take Care :-)

the veggie paparazzo said...

I need to put stir-fry on a menu for us soon. So quick, easy, and tasty.