Archive for the 'Asia' Category


Pressed Turnip with Konbu

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

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Browsing the shelves of Kinokuniya Bookstore two weeks ago, after succumbing to a still-warm crepe wrapped folded around strawberries and whipped cream, I found a book that now sits on my kitchen counter with scores of sticky notes shingled out from its pages: Easy Japanese Pickling by Seiko Ogawa (Graph-Sha, 2003). This book is an excellent introduction to the Japanese everyday art of “pickled things.”

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Bean Sprouts with Scallions

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

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Maybe it’s because I grew up with this one, but truly, these lightly pickled bean sprouts would rank at the top of all three workhorse lists: easy, fast, versatile. They are the fresh-tasting foil to a classic Vietnamese dish, thit kho, that involves long, tender cooking of fatty pork, burnt sugar, and hard boiled eggs. Delicate in flavor, with just a hint of tartness, the pickle’s refreshing crispness works well with grilled meats, rich stews and the sweet, roasted pork of Chinese delis.

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Rau Tien Vua: Dragon Fruit Leaves

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

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I first tasted rau tien vua at Jai Yun, one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. The small plate of faded green cubes, not quite nopales, not quite artichokes, confounded two full circles of seasoned food professionals. Thanks to the magic of my cell phone and the memories of my mother, I learned that the toothsome bites were simply the dried leaves of dragon fruit trees.

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