Stir fried Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms with garlic

I feel so “good ” when eating this dish , because , lets face it , its good for you , filling and has such an appealing look to it . The best part though , is the ease of preparation, leaving the vegetables very bright and crunchy.

Serves 4

Christina Arokiasamy

1 lb bok choy

3 tbs canola or peanut oil

4 garlic cloves , minced

8 medium shiitake Mushrooms caps , sliced

2 1/2 tbs oyster sauce ( I use Vegetarian oyster sauce)

1/4 cup chicken( or vegetable )broth

Seperate the bok choy leaves from the stems and wash the leaves throughly under running water. Drain well and set aside.

Heat a wok over medium heat for 40 seconds and then add the oil around the perimeter of the wok so that it coats the sides and bottom. When the surface shimmers slightly , after about 30 seconds , add the garlic . Cook , stirring constantly , until the garlic is golden , about 1 minute. Raise the heat  to high and add the bok choy and mushrooms . Cook , stirring and placing the garlic on top of the vegetables to prevent it from burning , for 2 minutes. Add the oyster sauce and broth and continue to cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Broiled Cod in Chile -Tamarind sauce

This is a great alternative to fish that is typically deep fried in many asian recipes. The light cod pairs remarkably well with the delightful combination of the sweet and spicy tamarind sauce , a family favorite.

Serves 4

Christina Arokiasamy

1 lb skinless cod fillet

1 tbs canola or peanut oil

2 Garlic cloves , minced

2 Fresh red chiles , minced

2 small shallots , chopped

3 tbs Fish sauce

3 tbs Tamarind Liquid

3 tbs palm sugar or brown sugar

Preheat the broiler. Place the fish on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Carefully place the baking sheet on the top rack under the broiler and broil for 10 minutes , or until light golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile combine the garlic , chiles , shallots , fish sauce , tamarind liquid and palm sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat , then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Carefully remove the fish from the broiler and transfer to a serving platter. Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Fresh Rice noodles with Seafood and basil

This dish known as pad kee mao , in Thailand has the perfect balace of Thai flaqvors . sweet , sour , salty and spicy. You do need fresh rice noodles , also known as kway teow , for this dish . Floow these easy steps and you are in for a real treat.

1 lb fresh rice noodles (kway Teow)

3 tbs peanut oil

4 garlic cloves , minced

2 large shallots , sliced

1 fresh red chili , sliced

8 oz large shrimp , peeled and deveined

8 oz squid , cut into rings

3 tbs fish sauce or to taste

3 tbs sweet soy sauce

1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1 tsp roasted chili paste

1 cup firmly packed fresh Asian basil leaves.

Gently seperate the rice noodles into individual strands , as they are quite sticky , set aside.

Heat a wok over medium heat for 40 seconds and then add oil around the perimeter of the wok so that it coats the sides and  bottom. when the surface shimmers slightly , about 30 seconds , and the garlic , shallots , and chile and cook , stirring constantly , until the garlic appeas golden brown and fragrant….., 3 to 4 minutes. The chili should have transferred some of its natural red color to the oil by now. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring , about 2 minutes. Add the squid and cook about 1 minute.

Add the noodles , fish sauce , sweet soy sauce , white pepper and roasted chili paste. Raise the heat to medium high and cook , spreading the noodles evenly, around the wok and placing the seafood over the noodles to avoid over cooking, until all the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles , 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with fish sauce for desired saltiness.

Toss in the basil leaves and cook for 30 seconds until the basil is wilted. Serve immediately.

The best Asian style Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue is so great any time of year. During the coldest winter months I use thinner cuts of meat , Fish or Tofu and pan fry them , basting with the sauce as I go along. This sauce was originally called ” Merchant’s Barbecue Sauce ” from Christina Arokiasamy. It freezes very well and can be prepared and stored refridgerated for up to 1 week.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup oyster sauce

2 tbs sweet sauce

1/3 cup ketchup

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp garam masala (available in Indian Markets)

1 tsp ground mustard

Combine and whisk all ingredients together . Store in an airtight container in the refridgerator up to 1 week or 1 month in the freezer.

Salmon with Ginger Butter

Christina Arokiasamy has combined the flavors of butter , ginger and shallots with brilliance in this simple , easy to prepare dish , yet extraordinary dish. Salmon can easily be substituted for any fish of choice.

Serves 4

1 lb skinless Salmon fillet

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs butter

one 3 inch piece fresh ginger , peeled and cut into long thin matchsticks

1 small shallot , thinly sliced

2 scallions , both white and green parts chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp soy sauce , or to taste

Pat the fish dry with paper towels , cut fish into 4 pieces , set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and shallot and cook until light brown in color , about 5 minutes.

Add the scallions , chicken broth ,oyster sauce ,and soy sauce. Bring just to a boil. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed for saltiness. Add fish pieces and cook for 5 minutes on each side, until most of the liquid is absorbed into the fish and the fish is warm in the center.

Transfer the fish to a serving plate , top with cooked ginger , shallots and scallions and serve immediately.

Perfect Peanut Sauce

I am ALWAYS in pursuit of a great peanut sauce and , believe me , if you have the time , this is worth the effort . I generally double the recipe and store it in cup measures in the freezer. It freezes very well and , even though , the reccomended freezing time is 1 month , well covered , it stores up to 3 well.

Christina Arokiasamy

Makes 4 cups

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 cups unsalted raw peanuts ( about 1 pound)

7 garlic cloves , peeled

6 Fresh Red Bird’s -Eye Chiles or 4 Fresh Red Jalapeno chiles , chopped

one 3 -inch piece Fresh Turmeric chopped or 1/2 tsp ground Turmeric

one 3 inch piece fresh galangal ,sliced

2 cups canned coconut milk

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cumin

4 Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves , stemmed and torn

3 tbs palm sugar syrup or Brown sugar

1/4 cup sweet soy sauce

Juice of 1 Lime

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 350*F

Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes , or until golden brown . Immediately transfer the peanuts to a plate to cool.

Put the peanuts in a food processor and blend for about 20 seconds , or until finely ground . Add the garlic , chiles , galangal , and turmeric to the food processor and grind until smooth, adding a little water if needed to facilitate blending.

Put the paste into a heavy pot and add the coconut milk, 2 cups water , coriander , cumin and lime leaves . Bring to a boil , then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the coconut milk from burning and sticking.

Add palm sugar syrup , sweet soy sauce , lime juice and salt to the pot . When you add the sweet soy sauce , the sauce will turn the color of roasted peanuts. Bring just to the boil , lower heat , and simmer 5 minutes , stirring periodically , until a little oil has seperated and appears on the surface. Serve hot or cool.

Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 4 days refridgerated or 1 month in the freezer.