Crab and Tobiko Summer Rolls

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It’s only February, but I’ve had summer on my mind, and all the fresh dishes that go with it. The aptly-named summer rolls are one of my favorite things to eat in the warmer weather and with spring only a few weeks away, I’m making these early this year.

These seafood summer rolls pack a bunch with a chili-garlic spiked aioli and the crunchy, vinagared vegetables balance out the mayonnaise perfectly. If you take the time to prep your mise en place ahead of time here, putting these rolls together is a snap.

Crab and tobiko spring rolls

Ingredients:
1 (3-inch-long) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Persian cucumber, halved and julienned
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 ounce tobiko roe
3 teaspoons soy sauce
10 round rice-paper wrappers
1 pound crabmeat, picked over and coarsely flaked
1 green onion, thinly sliced diagonally

1. Combine one tablespoon of lime juice and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, toss carrot, daikon, and cucumber with vinegar, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and salt to taste.

2. In another bowl, mix chili-garlic sauce with mayonnaise and half of the tobiko and set aside.

3. Stir together the remaining lime juice and soy sauce in a small bowl.

4. Soak 1 rice paper wrappers in a baking dish of warm water until pliable, about 5 seconds. Put 1 soaked wrapper on a dry cutting board. Put one tablespoon of crabmeat across lower third of wrapper (nearest you), leaving a 2-inch border at bottom. Spread with 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise-tobiko mixture and top with a few pieces of the carrot mixture and sliced scallion. Fold bottom of wrapper over filling and roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining filling ingredients and rice paper wrappers.

5. Cut each roll into 2 pieces. Arrange on a platter, standing them up, and top each with a dollop of tobiko. Drizzle lime-soy sauce around rolls.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

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The first time I cooked with tapioca pearls a few years ago, I ended up with a giant mess. I was trying to recreate boba tea, and I overcooked the small, translucent spheres and the whole thing dissolved into a gelatinous blob that adhered itself to the pot. After that experience, I stayed away from tapioca pearls – until now.

When I came across this recipe for a cool, tropical tapioca pudding first published in Sunset Magazine, and by the Bay Area’s very own Tim Luym, no less, I knew I had to give tapioca a second chance. Luym is the former executive chef of Poleng Lounge, a fun, street-food centered Filipino restaurant that’s no longer around, but I’d met Luym at an Anthony Bourdain book release a few years ago and his super friendly vibe and his amazing use of Southeast Asian flavors made an impression on me.

But I digress. Back to the tapioca. Thankfully, this dish turned out to be really easy to make. Just keep an eye on the tapioca pearls as they boil and take care not to overcook them. Use small, white pearls, not the larger, dark ones that you typically see in boba tea. I topped this pudding with toasted coconut, mango, and grass jelly, but lychees, kiwi, or pineapple will work just as well.

Mother's Day sushi brunch

Ingredients:

1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
1 mango, chopped
1/3 can grass jelly, drained and chopped

Preparation

1. In a saucepan, cook tapioca in 2 quarts boiling water until only slightly chewy to the bite, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer.

2. Meanwhile, in another saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk, milk, sugar, and vanilla, until steaming, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Stir drained tapioca into vanilla mixture. Cook, stirring often, until tapioca pearls are clear and just tender, 3 to 6 minutes.

4. Let pudding cool, then chill, stirring occasionally, at least 1 1/4 hours. Stir in more milk if pudding seems too thick.

5. Spoon pudding into glasses or small bowls. Top with toasted coconut and fresh fruit.

Tofu Pad Thai

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I’ve struggled with homemade pad Thai. After trying to recreate it at home several times over the years, I sort of gave up and assumed I’d never be able to cook restaurant-style pad Thai at home.

That is, until I tried this recipe, adapted from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. I didn’t have high hopes – after all, where was the shrimp? But despite the lack of meat, this rendition is full of flavor, texture, and best of all, it actually tastes like classic pad Thai.

Tamarind is essential to this dish so I don’t recommend substituting with similar flavors. And don’t be put off by the large volume of shallots – the first time I made this dish I only wished I’d fried up more crispy slices.

Tofu Pad Thai

Ingredients:

12 ounces dried flat rice noodles (1/4 inch wide)
3 tablespoons tamarind (from a pliable block)
1 cup boiling-hot water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 bunch green onions
4 shallots
1 16-ounce package firm tofu
1 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. Soak noodles in a large bowl of warm water until softened, 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, make sauce by soaking tamarind pulp in boiling-hot water in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Force mixture through a sieve into a bowl, discarding seeds and fibers. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, and chili garlic sauce, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

3. Cut green onions into 2-inch pieces. Cut shallots crosswise into very thin slices. Rinse tofu, then cut into 1-inch cubes and pat dry.

4. Heat oil in wok over medium heat until hot, then fry half of shallots over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve shallot oil and spread fried shallots on paper towels. (Shallots will crisp as they cool.) Wipe wok clean.

5. Reheat shallot oil in wok over high heat until hot. Fry tofu in 1 layer, gently turning occasionally, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer tofu to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Pour off frying oil and reserve.

6. Lightly beat eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat 2 tablespoons shallot oil in wok over high heat until it shimmers. Add eggs and swirl to coat side of wok, then cook, stirring gently with a spatula, until cooked through. Break into chunks with spatula and transfer to a plate.

7. Heat wok over high heat, pour in 4 tablespoons shallot oil, then swirl to coat side of wok. Stir-fry scallions, garlic, and remaining uncooked shallots until softened, about 1 minute.

8. Add noodles and stir-fry over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add tofu, bean sprouts, and 1 1/2 cups sauce and simmer, turning noodles over to absorb sauce evenly, until noodles are tender, about 3 minutes.

9. Stir in additional sauce if desired, then stir in eggs and transfer to a large shallow serving dish. Sprinkle pad Thai with peanuts and fried shallots and serve.

Nasi Goreng

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i cooked this nasi goreng a few weeks ago, one of my favorite dishes that i’ve ever made. popular in indonesia and malaysia, this fried rice is easy to make, and best of all, delicious. don’t be put off by the long ingredient list – the results are well worth it.

Nasi goreng and simmered snow peas with mushrooms

recipe:

2 1/2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups chicken broth
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1/2 package krupuk (indonesian shrimp crackers)
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 lb shrimp, peeled
2 fresh thai red chiles, seeded and minced
1 t salt
4 T ketjap manis (indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 T fish sauce (nuoc nam)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
sliced cucumber and wedges of hard-boiled egg for garnish

1. rinse rice and drain well. bring rice, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, and enough water to cover rice by 3/4 inch to a boil in a heavy saucepan. cover pan, then reduce heat to very low and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. remove pan from heat and let rice stand, covered, 5 minutes. transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. chill rice, covered, for a few hours.

2. heat vegetable oil for deep-frying in a large pot until very hot. drop a few krupuk into oil and fry until they float to the surface and curl up, about 15 seconds, turn krupuk over and fry until lightly golden, about 10 seconds, then transfer to paper towels to drain. fry remaining krupuk in same manner.

3. heat 3 tablespoons oil in wok over high heat until hot. add shallots and stir-fry 1 minute. add garlic and stir-fry 30 seconds. add chicken and stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. add shrimp, chiles, and salt and stir-fry until shrimp are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. add remaining 1/4 cup broth with ketjap manis and rice and stir-fry until rice is heated through, about 2 minutes. remove wok from heat and stir in fish sauce and green onions until combined well.

4. serve nasi goreng on a platter with krupuk, cucumber slices, and hard-boiled eggs.