Simple Soy-Sesame Asparagus

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It’s asparagus season and this recipe is my go-to when I don’t feel like cooking a complicated side dish. With only five ingredients, this asparagus comes together in less than ten minutes and tastes greater than the sum of its parts.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 drops chile oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus to pot and cook until tender-crisp and bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain, then plunge into a large bowl of ice water; set aside to cool for about 2 minutes. Drain again, then pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and chile oil in a medium bowl. Add asparagus and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.

Avocado, Mango, and Orange Salad

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This is the perfect tropical-esque salad to bridge that time of spring when the weather is intermittently cool and warm. Got some winter citrus leftover in the fridge? Toss them in with creamy avocados and mangoes and you’ve got a bright, tart and slightly sweet salad that comes together in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  1. Whisk together parsley, oil, lime and orange juices, jalapeno, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add mangoes, avocado, and orange and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  2. To serve, transfer salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle with coconut.

Grilled Tri-Tip with Jew Som Dipping Sauce

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This Southeast Asian-meets-Southwest American grilled steak is the perfect dish to ring in warmer weather. Adapted from Food & Wine, you can serve this with some rice and lettuce leaves alongside a pungent salty-spicy dipping sauce and it’s *chef’s kiss.* Marinating the steak is a bit of work but the results are worth it.

Ingredients:

For the dipping sauce:

  • 4 cilantro sprigs
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 2 Thai or serrano chiles
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

For the tri-tip:

  • 2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) lager or IPA-style beer, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) tri-tip steaks
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass (from 2 stalks)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling
  • Cooked jasmine rice or sticky rice, and lettuce leaves, for serving 
  1. Make the dipping sauce: Cut cilantro stems into 2-inch lengths. Combine cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, and chiles in a blender, and process on medium speed until finely chopped, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar to blender, and process until combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in cilantro leaves and green onion slices.
  2. Make the tri-tip: Stir together 1 1/2 cups beer and salt in a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag until dissolved. Add steaks to bag, seal, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning bag and massaging steaks occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, lemongrass, and garlic in a blender, and process until finely minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pepper, and remaining 3/4 cup beer, and process on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove steaks from refrigerator. Drain and discard beer mixture, and pour cilantro marinade over steaks in bag, massaging gently to coat steaks. Seal bag, and return steaks to refrigerator. Let marinate, turning bag and massaging steaks occasionally, at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
  4. Prepare a grill over medium-high heat. Remove steaks from plastic bag, and discard marinade. Grill steaks over direct heat, uncovered, flipping often, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer steaks to indirect heat. Cover and cook, flipping steaks occasionally, until steak is cooked to medium, about 35 minutes. Transfer steaks to a platter and let rest about 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain, and serve on rice or with lettuce leaves as wraps, alongside jeow som dipping sauce.

Thai-Style Chicken and Rice

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This recipe is by no means authentic, and I’ve turned it into a sort of easy red curry-meets-larb situation but the results are delicious and healthy. All you need is 20 minutes and a skillet and you’re set.

Ingredients:
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • Lettuce leaves and lime wedges, for serving
  1. Place red onion and ginger in a medium bowl of ice water and let soak while you prepare the chicken and rice.
  2. Using your hands, toss rice and half of curry paste in a medium bowl to roughly coat. Set aside.
  3. Stir lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and spread into a thin, even layer; season with salt. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 5 minutes. Add remaining curry paste and cook, stirring and breaking up into bite-size pieces, until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with dressing.
  5. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same skillet. Add reserved rice mixture and cook, undisturbed, until slightly golden underneath, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to bowl with dressing and chicken.
  6. Drain red onion and ginger; add to bowl with chicken and rice, along with chile, peanuts, cilantro, and mint. Mix to combine.
  7. Transfer rice mixture to a platter. Serve with lettuce for wrapping and lime wedges for squeezing over.

Chicken Laksa

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What’s more comforting than noodle soup? Nothing. A fragrant coconutty broth and sprinkling of bright toppings have made this my favorite laksa since the one I had in Singapore.

You can make the laksa paste, fry the crispy shallots, and cook the chicken ahead of time so that the final soup assembly is a breeze. Finally, good laksa at home.

Ingredients:

For the laksa paste:

  • 3 medium shallots, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 small dried red chiles (deseeded if you like your laksa less spicy)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 teaspoons minced anchovies
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 10 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 8-ounce cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup fried shallots
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  1. Make the laksa paste: combine shallots, lemongrass, oil, ginger, red chiles, garlic, and 1/2 cup stock in a blender; process until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Add peanuts, anchovies, turmeric, coriander, sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup stock to blender; process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Make the soup: heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add laksa paste, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Whisk in stock and coconut milk; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in fish sauce, and add more to taste, if desired.
  3. While stock mixture simmers, cook rice noodles according to package directions. Divide rice noodles evenly among 4 bowls. Arrange sliced chicken evenly on noodles. Ladle hot stock mixture evenly into bowls. Top evenly with bean sprouts, green onions, mint, cilantro, fried shallots, and lime wedges.