For those who follow the Lunar Calendar, the Year of the Horse began January 31. The Chinese celebrate this as the Spring Festival, the Vietnamese celebrate this as Tet and the Koreans celebrate Seollal. Celebrations can go on for a couple of weeks, so if you plan on ringing in this Year of the Horse with tasty bites and libations, you should have some recipes at your fingertips.
Despite having the name Lau, I am not Asian. I do think of my surname as a lucky name, bringing me the good fortune of having tasted quite a variety of delicious Asian food, giving me a healthy love for it, and as well, the ability to put together recipes even a Chinese grandmother would love – if I had one. So if someone were to mistake me for being Asian (and yes, this has happened before), I would not be insulted and as a matter of fact, I would enjoy it.
I have an awful lot of recipes I could choose to share with you. So many in fact, I could spend the rest of the current lunar year typing away new recipes. So I am going to have to pick and choose from among my favorites. Some may be mainstream, some may be for the more adventurous. Some may be commonplace and others more unique, but they will all be good, I promise you. You can find my collection of wonderful Asian-inspired dishes here.
Braised pork ribs in chee hao sauce
You can't get this take-out. You might wish you had a Chinese grandma to make this for you on a chilly day, or you can become the Chinese grandma yourself and make it for those you love. It is essentially a home-style Chinese stew, and it’s definitely a food of love.
3 pounds bone-in pork country style ribs
1 large knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thickly
5-6 cloves garlic, split
2-4 fresh red Thai chilies
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 tablespoons chee hau sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces fresh carrots, roll cut
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (garnish)
Steamed long grain rice
1. Season meat with salt and pepper, then sear meat on all sides in a large skillet before placing into a dutch oven.
2. Meanwhile, flavor broth by smashing lemongrass and simmering in the broth, which you should season with five-spice powder, chee hao sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar.
3. Pour broth over meat in the dutch oven, and cover with aromatic vegetables (ginger slices, split garlic cloves).
4. Cover dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, then braise in oven at 325 degrees F., for 45 minutes.
5. Add onion and carrots to pan. Cover dutch oven and braise at 325 degrees F., for an additional 45 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and layer bok choy on top of all of it, replace the cover and bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until bok choy is tender.
7. Serve meat and vegetables over steamed rice with a little of the pan liquid (skim off unwanted fat), garnished with sliced scallions and drizzled with toasted sesame oil, if desired.
Green beans, tomatoes and mushrooms with hoisin
8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed
4 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Steam green beans and mushrooms 3-5 minutes or until done to your liking and mix in a bowl with tomatoes.
2. Whisk together remaining ingredients and toss with vegetables; serve.