Asian Omelet with Snow Pea Shoots (Egg Foo Yung)

Asian Omelet with Snow Pea Shoots (Egg Foo Yung)

 

This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you an Asian-style omelet packed with green goodness. 

I have such a crush on snow pea shoots (dau miu) that I want to talk about them again here. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a tofu scramble recipe that features these greens, and today I have an egg recipe that also effectively packs in the veggie goodness.

As mentioned in previous posts, I've been developing recipes for the Jade Asian Greens website. When I presented these two snow pea shoot recipes for them to choose, we loved them so much that we decided to share both of them. Hurray for plant power! 

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Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry + Jackfruit the Old-Fashioned Way

Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry + Jackfruit the Old-Fashioned Way

Many of us now identify with jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute but I knew it first as a giant fruit bigger than the size of my head with bright yellow flesh as sweet as honey. Growing up in Malaysia, it was one of my mother's favorite fruits and I can still remember the nectarous whiff that came with it. We called it by its Malay name nangka and sometimes ate it deep-fried in batter as a mid-day snack. 

With all the recent jazz surrounding jackfruit as the "pulled pork" of vegan cooking, I was curious to find out how this tropical fruit had originally been cooked in other countries and cultures. Jackfruit has long been enjoyed in South Asia and Southeast Asia both in its ripe and green forms. In Thailand and The Philippines, the sweet fruit is thinly sliced and added to desserts. Countries like India and Indonesia treat the bland unripe jackfruit like a vegetable and use it in curries and stews, like the Sri Lankan curry I made. 

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Baby Bok Choy in Fruity Sweet Sour Sauce

Baby Bok Choy in Fruity Sweet Sour Sauce


This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you an appetizing dish featuring baby Shanghai bok choy.

Considering how well-loved bok choy is, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to share one of my favorite ways of enjoying this vegetable on the Jade Asian Greens website. In this recipe, one of several I've developed for the farm in Southern California, baby bok choy is cooked with a fruity Chinese sweet-sour sauce to be served simply with rice. 

Bok choy literally means "white vegetable" in Cantonese and may sometimes be called Chinese white cabbage. It is the Chinese vegetable most people are familiar with and because of its versatility, it is ubiquitous in Asian food, especially in stir-fries and noodle dishes. Baby bok choy, which is what I've used in this recipe, is basically young, smaller bok choy that's prized for its tender texture. 

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Heirloom Tomato Confit + Tomato Tasting Party at One Acre Farm

Heirloom Tomato Confit + Tomato Tasting Party at One Acre Farm

We never let summer go by without sinking our teeth into peak-season heirloom tomatoes but recently found ourselves with way too many after returning from a tomato party at One Acre Farm. I've written about some of the fun things we get to do when we volunteer there but I can't believe I haven't told you about tomato season at the farm. They grow more than 20 varieties of tomatoes there!

I was so smitten with all the tomatoes during my first year there I didn't recover in time to report about them. But hey, we were more prepared this year and here we are with all the photos and notes from the tasting session to share with you. Plus, a giant bag of precious heirlooms and a recipe for extending their lifespan just a little longer. 

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My Essential Southeast Asian Cookbooks, Part III: New Indochina

My Essential Southeast Asian Cookbooks, Part III: New Indochina

2017 has been an exciting year for Southeast Asian cookbooks. I've compiled a list of newly released cookbooks that highlight the cuisines of mainland Southeast Asia, historically known as Indochina and includes Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.

I've had the privilege to visit all these countries and enjoy the amazing food, and I really value the opportunity presented in these cookbooks to recreate some of the recipes in my own kitchen, all the way here in California. Thailand and Vietnam dominate the list, a testament to the popularity of their food in the West, while the release of a cookbook by a successful Burmese restaurant chain signals a growing interest in the food of Myanmar. I would love to see more attention given to the food of Laos and Cambodia as I think their contribution to the identity of the Southeast Asian flavor profile should be acknowledged. 

I'm saving the Malaysian cookbooks for another list so come back here for the next installment in this series. To see the previous lists on this cookbook series, click here for the classics and here for travel-themed cookbooks.

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Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes and Snow Pea Shoots (Dau Miu)

Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes and Snow Pea Shoots (Dau Miu)


This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you a protein-rich vegan breakfast featuring nutrient-dense snow pea shoots.

Christmas came early when we received a giant box of vegetables from a farm in Southern California. Yes, that's how some of us green-loving people like Christmas! (Hint, hint.) In the box were packets of baby bok choy and dau miu and the reason we've been showered with all these wonderful leafy greens is that I've been commissioned to develop some recipes for the Jade Asian Greens website. 

Nothing gets me more excited than writing about vegetables! I'm glad to know that my recent posts about finding and cooking Asian vegetables were something that you really enjoyed, especially this one on Asian greens. Today, we're turning our attention to snow pea shoots, known in Chinese as dau miu. And the recipe I'm sharing is a delicious way to sneak in healthy greens into your breakfast or brunch. 

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Spiced Rooibos Tea Potato

Spiced Rooibos Tea Potato

Think Chinese tea eggs and you have an idea of how this recipe was born. I've always been fascinated with the idea of cooking with tea. In China, tea is used to smoke meat, Japanese matcha finds its way into a variety of desserts, and a fascinating fermented tea leaf salad is made in Myanmar.

This recipe applies the concept of using tea as a seasoning and follows the traditional Chinese method of simmering eggs in a brew of black tea with soy sauce and whole spices. I used potatoes in place of eggs and an herbal tea instead of black tea. 

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Asian Style Pesto Noodles with Roasted Green Onions

Asian Style Pesto Noodles with Roasted Green Onions

Is it obvious that I'm mad about cilantro and green onions? It's very common for these greens to appear as garnishes in Asian food, hence the liberal sprinkling you see on many of the dishes I've written about here and here. Every now and then, I do something radical with them, like green onion hummus

One of my favorite ways to eat these greens together is in a Chinese dipping sauce that often comes with poached chicken in Malaysia. And that is essentially the basis of the ingredients in this flavor-packed pesto. 

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Thai Basil Zucchini and Bell Pepper

Thai Basil Zucchini and Bell Pepper

I could very well say that vegetables make me a better cook. When I first moved to the US about three years ago, I spent countless weekends at the farmer's markets. It was from there that I discovered new vegetables and learned how to cook seasonally. Those trips motivated me to volunteer on a farm, find out how food was grown, and try to grow my own vegetables

Zucchini was one of the first few things we planted during my first summer here.

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Tofu Salad with Spiced Peanut Sauce + Midsummer Potluck for Peace

Tofu Salad with Spiced Peanut Sauce + Midsummer Potluck for Peace

Yay, summer's here! Can you tell that this tropical sun worshipper is jumping for joy? Salads are usually in heavy rotation for us during the warmer months of the year here in California and when I want a taste from my sunny home of Southeast Asia, this tofu salad with a flavorsome spiced peanut sauce is what I make. 

This salad is inspired by a tofu street snack in Malaysia that goes by the name tauhu bakar (grilled tofu) or tauhu sumbat (fried tofu stuffed with vegetables). It is fried tofu filled with bean sprouts, and shredded cucumber and carrots. The fried tofu pieces are cut into squares or triangles, and pockets are made by cutting their midsection, which is where the vegetables go. The fried tofu may also be grilled to a crisp just before serving. 

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Vegetarian Pad Thai with Fishless "Fish" Sauce

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Fishless "Fish" Sauce

I love it when a recipe challenges and teaches me a few new tricks. This vegetarian Pad Thai sparked an entire post about fishless fish sauce, in which I set out to investigate the commercial fish sauce substitutes available in my local Asian supermarket and put three vegan fish sauce recipes to the test at home. Click here to read the results and find the vegetarian fish sauce to make this all-time favorite Thai noodle dish.  

There are a few things we can learn from this recipe found in the brilliant vegetarian cookbook Good Veg by Alice Hart. Most important of them is that whether you call yourself vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or lessmeatarian, meatless cooking poses more delicious opportunities than you realise. This book is filled with ideas highlighting flavor profiles from all over the world, including to my delight many recipes inspired by Asia and Southeast Asia.

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How to Make Vegan "Fish" Sauce: 3 Recipes Tested

How to Make Vegan "Fish" Sauce: 3 Recipes Tested

The first time I wrote about fish sauce was for the Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen) recipe. It's difficult to talk about Southeast Asian food without talking about fish sauce. Made with anchovies fermented in salt, fish sauce is a staple condiment in Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Burmese, and Lao cuisines. 

I also mentioned vegan fish sauce in that post and promised that I will explore the subject further. So here we are! I tested three vegan fish sauce recipes, used them to make the same Thai glass noodle salad, and took tasting notes. In the process, I learned a few things about umami ingredients, lessons that are valuable for everyone, vegan or not.

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My Essential Southeast Asian Cookbooks, Part II: The Classics

My Essential Southeast Asian Cookbooks, Part II: The Classics

I only started using cookbooks after I moved to the US and had to learn how to cook Malaysian food while away from home. It was equal parts desperation and curiosity that led me to the kitchen and the creation of this blog to document my culinary adventures. I am a much better cook these days but I didn't achieve that all by myself. I had my parents on the phone for guidance, friends showing me recipes to save my life, and cookbooks providing the proper foundation for lifelong kitchen skills. Yes, an urgent craving for rojak is a matter of life and death!

So this is why I've started writing this cookbook series. Maybe you're homesick like me and need to soothe it with food from home. Maybe you've been to Malaysia or other parts of Southeast Asia, tried the food, and your life is forever changed. Maybe you're curious about Southeast Asian food and want to try cooking it. 

This list is made up of classic Southeast Asian cookbooks with recipes that are as reliable as time. My focus here is on Malaysian food, but you will soon realise that some of the recipes from the neighboring countries are closely related. 

To see the travel-themed books in the first part of this cookbook series, click here. To start cooking, click here for a list of recipes on my blog.

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Lotus Root Soup with Corn and Red Beans

Lotus Root Soup with Corn and Red Beans

"The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud." – Buddhist proverb

I'm starting this post with this popular saying to give you an idea of the symbolic significance of the sacred lotus plant in Buddhist and Hindu art and literature. Straightforwardly, it means rising above the murk and resembles the purification of the human spirit. 

More importantly, I'd like you to get a mental image of where lotus roots, today's featured vegetable on the Spring Discovery series, come from. Mud. Yes, mud. 

Lotus roots are rhizomes of the lotus flower that grow in muddy ponds across Asia, known for the striking pattern of holes that reveal themselves when cut crosswise. As a young child in Malaysia, I called lotus root the "telephone vegetable", and I grew up having them boiled in soup with peanuts. The lotus root soup recipe I'm sharing here is a vegetarian version that I now make. 

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Two Birthday Cakes: Thai Basil Avocado and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango

Two Birthday Cakes: Thai Basil Avocado and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango

Vermilion Roots is TWO! So I made two cakes. Not that I need any excuse to crowd your screen with the plump, juicy colors of seasonal fruits and fresh berries, but I can't think of anything more suitable for this blog's status as a Spring baby. Besides, these beauties are for sharing. They deserve attention and we, my dear friends, deserve to celebrate. 

You'd probably realised by now that I'm a fan of unconventional cakes. I'm known to show up at potlucks with a green cake in hand, and to commemorate this blog's first birthday, I made a savory Chinese turnip cake served with spring onions and Sriracha sauce! Continuing the tradition of unconventional cakes this year, I present to you Thai Basil Avocado Cake and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango Cake, both smothered with all the berries the land has to offer this season. 

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