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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Food Articles >> Asian Cooking

Asian Cooking - Alternative Meals for Your Dining Pleasure

By: Sarah Duggan

My son’s best friend is Chinese. This gives us ample time to sample various Asian meals. His Mom just recently sold their restaurant so is spending more time at home. This allows the kids to play together more often. My son is eating things that he would never accept from me. If his friends Mom or his friend offers it to him, it is the most amazing thing in the world.

My husband enjoys steamed rice (Japanese) and Bulkogi (said: bool-ko-gee) which is a Korean Barbecue Sauce. Just recently we ate at a Chinese restaurant in town and enjoyed our first bowl of Miso Soup. It is tofu paste soup with seaweed and scallions. We also tried our hand at making dumplings after seeing an Asian film about the first Chinese Marriage for Love. We did okay but the dumpling soup I had at the restaurant was the bomb as my son would put it.

If you take a look at the resource site I listed below, you will see a big difference in what the Asian world perceives to be a balanced diet. First off you will see that the bulk of the diet is Daily Physical Activity followed by rice, noodles, bread, millet, or other whole grain. Another thing you will notice is the amount of sweets and meat they eat is minimal compared to the American diet. Sweets are limited to a weekly treat while meat is only a monthly treat.

Going back to my son’s friend, I can tell you that the main part of his diet is noodles (Vietnamese Rice Noodles), rice, or some other type of carbohydrate. He rarely eats meat and the main poultry eaten is chicken with lots and lots of vegetables. He and my son love the broccoli dipped in heated cream cheese (kind of sweet).

Below you will find some recipes for some of the above mentioned meals but if you don’t feel up to cooking local grocery chains sometimes carry these foods in the Asian isle. (Bulkogi – Miso Soup – Rice Noodles – Ramen – Dumplings) Trader Joes actually has Bulkogi ready to cook. We tried this not too long ago and it was delicious, easy, and fed us for 2 days for just under $12.

MISO SOUP

1 Tbsp Hondashi (instant fish stock)

cup shiro (white) miso paste

8 o.z. tofu cubes

2 green onions, thinly sliced

5 cups water

Bring the water to a boil Add the Hondashi and miso paste and stir until miso is dissolved Add the tofu pieces and cook an additional minute before serving Garnish with green onion slices.

PERFECT STEAMED RICE (http://chilipaper.com/Frecipes/Fsides/Frice/perfect_steamed_rice.htm)

1 Tbsp Butter or Margarine

1 minced Scallion (green onion)

1 cup Rice

1 cups Water

Melt butter in saucepan
Add scallion and saute for 2 minutes
Add rice, and turn over in pan to coat with oil
Add water and bring to a boil
Once the water is boiling, turn heat to medium-low, cover pan and let steam for 18 minutes

BULKOGI

6 lbs short ribs cut into thin pieces, about 2 inches long

Marinade: (yields 1 cups)

2 Tbls toasted sesame seeds

4 large cloves garlic, pressed

1 C soy sauce

2 Tbls sherry (or substitute sweet rice wine)

3 Tbls sugar

2 Tbls sesame oil

2 Tbls water

2 ts fresh ginger, finely grated

C chopped green scallions (green and white parts, mixed)

DUMPLINGS(from movie)

Round dumpling wrappers (cold food produce section where tofu is)

Mushrooms (button, pre-cut)

Scallions

Garlic

Round 1:

We heated up the mushrooms and scallions and garlic

We then filled the wrappers as per instructions given

We steamed dumpling

Outcome:

Okay – good taste – good texture – stuck to the bottom of the steamer

Round 2:

Same as above but this time we fried the dumplings

Then boiled them

Outcome:

Not so good – taste was okay but it was like a big jumbled mess of noodle and stuffing mixed with the grease of having fried them first – by far the least favorite way for us

Round 3:

Same as above however we just boiled them without steaming or frying

Outcome:

Again taste was okay but it ended up being one soggy mess will not try this way again

Round 4:

We purchased frozen Potstickers (vegetable) and boiled them.

Outcome:

Yum! No mess, not soggy, great taste, and very enjoyable.

OUR RICE STUFF by The Duggan Clan

1 cup of rice

1 cup of water

1 Tbs butter/margarine

1 ts salt

1 –2 Scallions

cup Frozen corn

cup Frozen peas

Bring water and salt to a boil
Add rice and bring to another boil
Cover and lower heat to a low fire
In a skillet, use a bit of butter/margarine to saute scallions, corn, and peas
When rice is cooked add to the veggie mix and saute a bit until well blended

Optional, add a clove of garlic or some pepper or other seasoning

Outcome:

This is very delicious and we’ve been eating this budget friendly meal for years. 1 bag of rice, 1 bag of corn, 2 bunches scallions and 1 bag of peas usually will last us 2 weeks.

MARINATED TOFU (BULKOGI EXPERIMENT)

1 Firm Tofu sometimes this goes on sale for $1.00 each (10 for $10) You can Freeze Tofu or keep it refrigerated until date on package. After you open it however you do need to eat it within 7 days.

1 Bulkogi sauce

Cut up the Tofu into slices
Pour the Bulkogi sauce over the Tofu being sure to cover it all (we found that a bottle is the perfect taste for us but use the entire bottle if you don’t mind a little bit of a bite)

Marinate overnight
You can either eat as is or Bake the Tofu in the oven at 350degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes

Outcome:

Very delicious!!! By far one of our more positive experiments we have done. Low cost treat and high in protein when buying meat/chicken/turkey/etc. is out of budget. We just ate it plain with some Miso Soup as a side dish.

Hope this helps you in exploring various foods from other lands. If you have a friend who is Asian, ask him/her to help you cook up your own "special" meal.

About the Author

For more information on the Asian Diet visit http://oldwayspt.org. Sara Duggan is a mom of 2 boys and married to her soulmate of 11 years. She enjoys crocheting and writing in her spare time. For more recipes and articles visit her at http://www.mommie-care.com