Food

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad

 Asian Kale and Salmon Salad is chock-full of vibrant, nutrient-rich veggies and tossed with a zingy Asian-citrus dressing.

Raise your hand if you’re coming down with a wicked case of cabin fever!

These days I feel like I look like Jack Nicholson from the Shining – wild haired and wide eyed from being shut in against the howling wind and freezing temperatures, while peering out from behind the curtains – minus the whole horrific plot, obviously. A forecasted 6-8 inches of snow coming our way on Thursday isn’t helping matters much, either!

Ben and I have a fun trip planned to Charleston, SC in a little over a month, which I am considering creating a countdown chain for because I am so excited. I have repeatedly and excessively stated over the past couple of years (sorry!) that Ben and I really fell in love with the culture of New Orleans when we visited in 2010, and are excited to experience another southern staple – the city of Charleston. Taking restaurant/activity recommendations…NOW!
 Anyways, I feel like I can’t even wait until then to get out of here! We’re trying to plan a long weekend getaway somewhere warm and within a 10-12 hour drive for some time in the next couple of weeks. Any ideas? I’d love to go to Austin (keepin’ it weird!) and Ben’s rooting for Memphis – I think because it’s such a hardcore music town and he’s dying for a bango. I’d go for the BBQ, I suppose.

Until we figure it out, I’m continuing to weave bright, light dishes into our weekly meal plan to remind me that warmer days and places are definitely ahead. Onward, right? Asian Kale & Salmon Salad is definitely helping the cause.
 If the saying’s true that you are what you eat, then we’ll all be health goddesses after devouring this salad which combines antioxidant rich kale and red cabbage with vibrant veggies like carrot, cucumber, and green onions, tossed in a Asian-citrus dressing.

Salmon fillets, which are high in fatty acids that can help boost your mood, are marinated in the salad dressing then quickly seared and placed on top.

Sweet orange slices seal the deal and add a sweet burst of flavor to this yummy salad that is definitely classified as feel-good food!
Now get your massage on! Ben can’t convince me to massage his feet, but for some reason I really like massaging kale. I guess those two things aren’t really the same though. Anyways! Use your fingertips and hands to really get in there and massage the kale. It will start smelling kind of grassy (don’t worry it doesn’t taste like it) and whither down significantly. After 2-3 minutes the kale should be tender enough to eat. Just give a piece a try – if it’s not there, just keep massaging.
Ingredients :
  • 2-4oz salmon fillets
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (about 6 cups,) torn from stem then into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 orange, segmented (or 2 small oranges)
  • 1 Tablespoon almonds, chopped
For the salmon marinade/salad dressing:
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper
Directions :
  1. Blend marinade/salad dressing ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper then place into a ziplock bag or shallow dish and add 2 Tablespoons dressing. Marinate on the counter while you prepare salad.
  2. In a large bowl add kale then massage with hands and fingertips until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage, green onion, cucumber, carrot, orange segments, and remaining dressing then toss to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray well with nonstick spray. Add salmon skin side down then cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, peel skin off then discard, and then cook for 1-2 more minutes. Divide salad between bowls then top with salmon and sprinkle chopped almonds on top.

Asian Soup with Salmon and Kale

 I have had a glimpse of how it is to be in the TV series Masterchef. I mean the moment when participants open a Mystery Box, they can see ingredients and quickly have to decide what they are going to cook. Some of them play it safe and make something they have done before. Others take a risk and play it by ear or – rather in this context – by their taste.

In my case, my Mystery Box was my fridge and the kitchen cabinets before I went shopping. That's usually the time when there were still many – but often random – ingredients not necessarily meant for a particular meal. Additionally, everybody was getting hungry, so I didn’t have all the time in the world to think what to cook and then cook it. My first idea was the safe one: stir fry. But then I thought that even though I love stir fries, I should go for something different. So I cooked this healthy Soup with Salmon and Kale instead.

I included in it ingredients that are typical in Asia: ginger, chilli, soya and fish sauce. White wine might not be the obvious choice, rice wine would probably be better, but I didn’t have it then. Overall the combination of flavours in the stock worked so well. And the addition of salmon, noodles and kale made it a complete meal a whole family could enjoy on a busy weekday evening when nobody had hours to cook, and nobody wanted to wait for hours to eat!

INGREDIENTS :
  • 400 g salmon fillet (skinless and boneless ), cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil.
  • 1.5 l vegetable stock
  • 5 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • chilli flakes
  • 3 tsp grated ginger.
  • 150 g kale (without stems), thorn into small pieces
  • 150 g bean sprouts
  • 100 g Chinese/wok noodles.
  • An image showing Asian Soup with Salmon and Kale with bean sprouts in a white bowl with kale next to it on a wooden surface.

INSTRUCTIONS :
  1. Put the salmon cubes into a bowl, add the sesame oil, stir well and let it marinate until you need it.
  2. Heat up the vegetable stock, add the white wine, soya and fish sauces, chilli flakes and ginger.
  3. When the spiced stock is boiling, add the Chinese noodles (you may break them into smaller pieces, so it will be easier to eat the soup), bring to boil, add the salmon and kale and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve the soup with bean sprouts.

Karahi Chicken Drumsticks

The recent snow storm here in New Jersey has brought about a renewed energy to cook comfort foods!I’m in my kitchen even more now than ever, since the cravings don’t seem to stop anytime soon !:) I tend to go rustic with my food preparations during this weather.The recipe I have for you is exactly that.An easy rustic dish that can be cooked and served in a karahi or kadhai.

I’ve been making Karahi Chicken since discovering it in a recipe booklet when I was in college.I’d come home during the holidays and went through this cooking phase when I was trying out different recipes every-day much to the delight of my parents :).The term Karahi means a ‘wok’ and is used in the Indian subcontinent to make various dishes. Karahi dishes originated in Afghan and Persia and have been a favorite in North Indian households and today there are varieties of both non-vegetarian and vegetarian versions of this dish.

Karahi Chicken uses freshly pounded coriander and cumin seeds that give out a distinctive aroma and flavor to the dish.I’ve used Chicken Drumsticks but you can also use boneless chicken pieces.The earthy spices in the chicken when simmered along with the onions and tomatoes creates a thick sauce that soaks the delicious flavors and is best served with Parathas or Chapatis/Roti.Pure comfort food for this weather.Enjoy!
Ingredients :
Chicken Drumsticks-1 lb
One large onion peeled and sliced
2 tsp crushed ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tomatoes pureed
Tomato paste-1 tsp
Turmeric-1/2 tsp
red chili powder or paprika-1/2 tsp
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Oil-4 tbsp
Karahi Masala
3 tsp coriander seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
6 black peppercorns
2 red chilies

Instructions :
Dry roast the karahi masala spices in a pan for about a minute or two until fragrant.Grind to a coarse powder in a food processor.Keep aside.
Heat a karahi or wok, add oil.Once heated add the sliced onions. Saute until slightly golden.
Add the ginger and garlic and saute for abt a minute.
Add tomato paste,turmeric,red chili powder and half of the karahi spice and mix well on medium low heat.
Add the pureed tomatoes and let the paste cook well and oil separates from the sides.
Add the chicken followed by the rest of the spice powder.Add water and salt.
Mix well,bring to a boil, cover and cook on medium until the chicken is fully cooked.
Serve hot with paratha or roti.

GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN WINGS

These sticky sweet and spicy General Tso’s chicken wings are inspired by the classic Chinese-American General Tso’s Chicken. Seriously addictive! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Years ago I read a book called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles which explores Chinese-American cuisine. I was fascinated by the stories about how Chinese-American cuisine that you get at a restaurant isn’t really Chinese food. I knew that, since growing up my mom never made anything that resembled the food I would see or eat out. There was no Egg Foo Young, no Mongolian Beef and certainly no General Tso’s Chicken. But that didn’t mean I didn’t love all those foods, especially General Tso’s signature dish. So when I decided to do another Chicken Wings Week here on Eat the Love, I knew I wanted to make an ode to my childhood favorite, no matter how inauthentic is was. All I can say is that these General Tso’s Chicken Wings are insanely addictive and perfect for anyone who loves Chinese-American food.
There’s actually a whole chapter about General Tso’s chicken in The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, and the author Jennifer 8 Lee has actually done a TED talk about it. She actually goes to General Tso’s hometown and pokes around there, trying to track down the origin of the recipe. Spoiler alert, no one there has ever heard of the chicken! But that doesn’t mean the spicy sweet savory chicken isn’t pretty wonderfully tasty. Even as a kid, I used to beg my parents to go to the Chinese restaurant so I could order the stuff. They sneered at the stuff but they would occasionally break down and take the family anyway. It was magical to me.

These highly addictive wings are inspired by the classic Chinese-American General Tso’s Chicken dish. The wings are first marinated then coated and fried, then tossed in a spicy sweet and savory sauce. Don’t be scared by the ingredients because it does come together pretty fast. Toss the wings in the sauce at the last minute before serving to keep them crisp, or thin the sauce with a 1/2 cup extra chicken stock and serve the sauce on the side for dipping!
Ingredients :

Marinade
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, broken into flats and drumettes (save the tips for stock or discard)
Coating
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 12 dried chili pepper (Arbol or Thai)
vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion for garnish
Directions :
1. Add the egg whites, soy sauce, wine or sherry and vodka in a medium bowl and beat until combined. Pour about 1/3 cup of the liquid out into a separate small bowl and set aside. To the large amount, add the baking soda and cornstarch. Stir to mix in.

2. Place the chicken wings in large bowl and pour the larger amount of cornstarch marinade over it. Toss the wings with a large spatula or wooden spoon until coated then cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

3. Make the coating by placing the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stirring them vigorously with a balloon whisk. Drizzle the 1/3 cup reserve marinade liquid over the dry ingredients and toss together with a fork until some of the coatings start to clump up a bit into small bits.

4. Make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, wine or sherry, chicken stock, sugar, sesame oil and cornstarch together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir to dissolve the sugar and starch. Set aside.

5. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the garlic, ginger, scallion, chile flakes and whole dried chilies. Cook over medium high heat until the garlic and ginger have softened and smell fragrant. Whisk the liquid to stir up any starch that settled to the bottom and pour into the pan with the garlic and ginger. Cook until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens in the pan, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

6. Pour the oil for frying into a large Dutch oven or work until it’s about 1-inch deep. Bring the oil to 350ºF. Once the heat is reached, take one piece of chicken wing out of the marinade and dip it in the coating, making sure to coat the wing on all sides. Repeat with a few more of the wing pieces until you have enough to fry without crowding the pan you are using. Gently lower the coated chicken into the oil (don’t drop it in, it’ll splatter the oil!) and adjust the heat so it stays at about 350ºF. Flip the wing every now and then and move the pieces around with tongs to make sure they evenly cook for about 4 or 5 minutes or until they look golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

7. Once the chicken is done frying, heat the sauce up again (it might have cooled a bit and gelled) and add the fried chicken wings to the pan. Toss and coat the chicken wings completely then move to a serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallions and serve immediately.

LANZHOU BEEF NOODLE SOUP

It’s obvious that China has no shortage of noodle dishes and Chinese noodle soup recipes. More than you’ve probably ever heard or dreamt of. The variety is as expansive as China’s geography, and EVERYTHING is delicious. But among the many noodle dishes (and noodle soups in particular), one stands out, Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup.

This fact has been confirmed by a quick search on China’s Google, baidu.com. Translating to Lanzhou Hand-Pulled Noodle Soup, this bowl of hot, spicy delight is deceptively simple and has spawned noodle chains across Beijing. In fact, we have a Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup place right downstairs, about 100 yards from our Beijing apartment. My niece Kim came to visit us in Beijing this summer, and after many fancy restaurants and lavish meals, she declared this bowl of noodle soup to be the best thing she had in China. And it only costs $3! We made sure to feed her an extra bowl before leaving for the airport.

If you’ve been on The Woks of Life for a while, you’ve probably learned a thing or two about me from my recipes. I’m not a fussy person, and I love keeping things simple. This recipe is adapted from many conversations with the cooks and staff at our local noodle shop, and after much thought and experimentation, I’ve simplified things for the home cook. We’re not going to make noodles from scratch, so don’t worry. You can’t compromise flavor on the authentic Lanzhou beef noodle soup broth however, which is what brings the dish together.
Rinse the soup bones and pat dry. Roast them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the beef shank and the chicken (or chicken carcass) to the pot. Bring everything to a boil again. Once boiling, remove the shank and the chicken, discard the water, and clean the pot. This process gets rid of any impurities, and will give your broth a cleaner flavor.

Put the beef shank and chicken back into the pot along with the roasted bones, 10 more cups of water, and 4 cups chicken stock. Make the spice mix by combining all ingredients and tying them tightly in cheese cloth with a bit of kitchen string. Add this to the pot as well and season with salt. Bring everything to a boil.

Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let everything simmer for about 2 hours. After 2 hours have elapsed, remove the beef shank and set aside. Add the sliced radish and continue simmering for another hour. After that, use tongs to pick out and discard the spice pouch, chicken, and soup bones. Taste the broth for salt and adjust the seasoning if needed. The soup base is ready.

While all that is happening, you can take the time to make your chili oil. In a small pot, add the oil, star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns.
Ingredients :
You'll need:
  • 4 lbs beef or pork soup bones
  • 2¼ lbs (1 kg) beef shank
  • ½ of a whole roasting chicken (or a leftover roasted chicken carcass)
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 cups (about 1 liter) chicken stock
  • Spice mix (see recipe below)
  • Salt, to taste (I added about a tablespoon)
  • ½ of a small Chinese radish, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb fresh or dried white noodles (they can really be any thickness, as long as they are wheat-based noodles rather than rice noodles, and have a nice chew when cooked)
  • Hot chili oil, to taste (see recipe below)
  • chopped scallion
  • chopped cilantro
  • For the spice mix:
  • 7 star anise
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 6 large slices of sand ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1½ teaspoons white peppercorns
  • 5 licorice root slices (optional but very much recommended)
  • 3 pieces dried orange peel
  • 1 black cardamom
  • For the hot chili oil:
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ of a small cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (just the regular kind you'd sprinkle on your pizza)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
Instructions :
  1. Rinse the soup bones and pat dry. Roast them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the beef shank and the chicken (or chicken carcass) to the pot. Bring everything to a boil again. Once boiling, remove the shank and the chicken, discard the water, and clean the pot. This process gets rid of any impurities, and will give your broth a cleaner flavor.
  2. Put the beef shank and chicken back into the pot along with the roasted bones, 10 more cups of water, and 4 cups chicken stock. Make the spice mix by combining all ingredients and tying them tightly in cheese cloth with a bit of kitchen string. Add this to the pot as well and season with salt. Bring everything to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let everything simmer for about 2 hours. After 2 hours have elapsed, remove the beef shank and set aside. Add the sliced radish and continue simmering for another hour. After that, use tongs to pick out and discard the spice pouch, chicken, and soup bones. Taste the broth for salt and adjust the seasoning if needed. The soup base is ready.
  4. While all that is happening, you can take the time to make your chili oil. In a small pot, add the oil, star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns. Place the pot over very low heat and let everything toast together slowly for 15 minutes. Take care not to burn the spices. Use a slotted spoon to remove the spices, and turn off the heat. Let the oil cool for about 5 minutes, and then add the chili flakes. Slowly toast these in the hot oil until very fragrant (it should almost smell like popcorn), and very red. Stir in the salt and sugar.
  5. Once the broth and chili oil are done, cook the noodles in a separate pot according to the package instructions. Divide the noodles among 6 bowls. Slice the cooled beef shank into thin slices, and fan them out over the noodles. To finish, add a big ladle of broth and radishes, a spoonful of hot chili oil, and a handful each (don't be shy) of chopped scallion and cilantro.