phynedyning

Take-out Asian cuisine from leftovers

In Lifestyle, Recipies, Tips and Hints on March 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

We eat a largely vegetarian diet. And just like our entirely carnivorous neighbors, we suffer from occasional gluts of leftover bits of this and that. Wasting food is anathematic to Phyne Dyners, so we make a weekly sweep of food stocks to make sure we use the stuff from open containers and search the freezer and fridge for single servings of ingredients that might otherwise go to waste.

This week’s scavenging yielded two too-small tilapia fillets, a few small carrots, a small crown of broccoli, a few cauliflower florets, the last bit of a head of garlic, the center of a head of bok choy, and a half a box of whole-wheat angel hair pasta.

In about fifteen minutes, supper was on the table.

I steamed the fish and vegetables while the pasta cooked. Then, I tossed together a Southeast Asian-inspired sauce to pour over it.

When everything was cooked, I layered the fish, pasta and vegetables in deep bowls and poured the sauce over the whole mess. It was absolutely delicious.

[TIP: When using bok choy, be sure to use the leaves too. They can also be used to wrap seasoned small fish (or shrimp) before steaming.]

The sauce is an adaptation of a peanut sauce I make in which to dip goi cahn, those delightful Vietnamese spring rolls filled with vegetables and rice noodles (and fish or shrimp if you like). Both versions combine the earthiness of peanuts, the pungency of garlic, the sweet tanginess of hoi sin, and the fire of chilies.

Be sure to make enough. After one bite, you’ll want to slather it on like whipped cream over pumpkin pie.

So, get poking around in your provisions. The sauce works wonderfully with almost anything you can stir fry, steam, or grill.

You’ll need:

2 large cloves garlic, smashed into paste

¾ C hoi sin

¾ C water

3 TBS cider vinegar

1 to 3 TBS Sriracha sauce (to taste)

3 TBS creamy peanut butter

1 TBS canola oil

Smash the garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat and fry the garlic in the oil for about one minute, or until its aroma ‘blooms’. Reduce the heat to low-medium and stir in everything except the Sriracha. If the sauce appears too runny, dissolve a teaspoon of cornstarch in a tablespoonful of cold water and stir it into the sauce. Raise the heat until the sauce is just simmering and stir in the Sriracha, tasting frequently if you add more.

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