Category Archives: A taste of Asia

Asian-Style Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms

If you noticed something different about Monday’s cookie post…something bigger, something brighter…something better, I’m so psyched to introduce you to the newest member of the family — Canon EOS Rebel T2i.  AKA a super fly camera, for those electronically illiterate (like me).  Although, at this point, my shooting skills are minimal, I’ve been zooming, flashing, and snapping away these last few days getting myself familiar with the world of apertures and shutter speeds (shout-out to Anne Constance Photography).  So, while I continue on with my endeavour to bring you mouth-watering visuals of each recipe, sit back, relax, and come along with me on the gastronomical journey ahead!  

First stop — sautéed shiitake mushrooms and asparagus with silvered almonds and toasted sesame seeds.  

  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, ends trimmed off
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • spoonful of toasted sesame seeds

Blanch asparagus quickly, drain and then cool in ice bath.  Cut asparagus into thirds (I also like to cut the asparagus in half length-wise to make them extra thin, but this is optional). Set aside.

Clean mushrooms, discard stems and slice in half or thirds.  Saute mushrooms and garlic in sesame oil for about 1-2 minutes.  Add soy, vinegar, sesame seeds and sugar and cook for a few minutes or until sauce just begins to slightly thicken. Add asparagus to pan just to heat through.  Toss with almonds and serve.





Filed under A taste of Asia, All Posts, Healthy Options, Side Dishes, Uncategorized

Banbanji Chilled Sesame Chicken

Allow me to sweep you across the Pacific today as we visit a land of rice brewed beverages, incredibly fresh tuna, and one of the most intriguing cultures in existence.  I was a lucky 17-year-old when I was invited to Japan by a good friend and his wife, who was an Osaka native. My knowledge of Japanese cuisine, at the time – or should I say what I thought I knew – was on par with my ability to use chopsticks — embarrassing and a little…off.  But as each day of my adventure unfolded, my hunger grew stronger and my appreciation fonder.

A whole new definition of soul food was brought to life, for me. The type of soul that originates from a deep-rooted society of tradition and history where food is an undeniable way of life and meaning to their existence.  With each meal the most fresh and pure ingredients are prepared in the simplest of ways to create captivating presentations and unforgettable flavors. 

This dish was made for me by my host mother after I expressed my love for the fresh seasonal flavors and the sweet taste of sesame.  It ‘s been nearly ten years, and I can still taste that first bite of pleasure hitting my tongue.  The recipe below was taken from the only Japanese cookbook I could find in English! Arigato gozaimasu Japan!

Banbanji Chilled Sesame Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 pack bean sprouts
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3/4 cup roasted white sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp mirin (or 3 Tbsp sake + Tbsp sugar)
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved
  1. Place chicken in pan of lightly salted water boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the water. Remove chicken reserving the stock. When cool, tear chicken into long strips by hand.
  2. In separate pan, blanch bean sprouts, rinse immediately in cold water and drain.
  3. Slice cucumbers diagonally into matchsticks.
  4. Make the sauce by grinding sesame seeds with a grinder or food processor. Add soy, mirin and vinegar and mix in some reserved stock, a little at a time until mixture becomes smooth.
  5. Arrange sprouts, chicken and cucumbers on plate and dress with sesame sauce. Serve with cherry tomatoes.

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Filed under A taste of Asia, All Posts, Healthy Options, Recipes - Chicken, Scrumpdidily Salads