I made my own teriyaki sauce after noticing that the bottled sauce generally has sugar or corn syrup as the #1 ingredient. This simple to make sauce has a little bit of brown sugar, but gets its flavor from the ginger, garlic and Mirin cooking sake (SAH- kay).
Combine in a small saucepan:
1 Tb corn starch
1 Tb tap water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Mirin
3 Tb brown sugar
1/4 tsp ginger powder
4 cloves garlic, smashed in a molcajete or mortar and pestle, and finely minced to make 1 Tb
2 inch piece of ginger, finely minced to make 1 TB
Whisk cornstarch and water together, then whisk in soy sauce, Mirin, ginger powder and brown sugar. Add fresh garlic and ginger. Heat to boiling, whisking constantly, then simmer for a few minutes until thick.
For chicken teriyaki: I’ve made this in the frying pan and barbecued, depending on the weather.
Pan cooked teriyaki:
Slice chicken breast and slice one onion. Heat pan with 1 Tb of canola oil. Add onions and chicken and teriyaki sauce. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 minutes until onions are soft and chicken is tender. Serve with rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
6 boneless, skinless breasts.
Cut off excess fat. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place in on a large plate. Pour canola oil over breasts and spread it over both sides with your hands. Place breasts on hot grill and cook for approximately 10 minutes on each side until done. Brush teriyaki sauce on one side of chicken and put that side down on the grill. Reduce flame to low. Cook for 5 minutes. Brush other side of chicken with teriyaki, flip chicken to that side, and cook on low for another 5 minutes. Plate the chicken and pour a bit more sauce over it.
Use 3 salmon steaks or 1 1/2 lb filet:
Marinade salmon in 1 cup Mirin for 15 minutes
Place on hot grill. Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon piece. Turn to other side and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Brush teriyaki sauce on one side of salmon, turn down flame, and cook for one minute, repeating for the other side.
Now that summer is officially here and we finally had a nice hot summer’s day, it’s time to make Vietamese style Summer Rolls. They are sometimes called Spring Rolls, although the Spring Rolls are often fried. Summer rolls are made with fresh, raw vegetables, with or without boiled shrimp. Gỏi Cuốn translates literally as salad rolls, which is pretty much what they are: a shrimp salad in a roll. I’ve always loved these for their burst of flavor from the fresh herbs inside heightened by the sweet spiciness of Hoisin (WHO-zjen) sauce and sweet chili sauce.
Many thanks to chefs Cindy Hay (pictured above), Wyn Ha and Jenny Inpraseuth; my Southeast Asian colleagues who cheerfully and patiently taught me to make these.
Asian ingredients are available at most Asian markets and Berkeley Bowl
You can make these Vegetarian/ Vegan with just salad ingredients or add fried tofu.
About 2 cups of medium shrimp. If you buy shrimp in their shells, they make a lovely broth.
3 cups water
1 slice of fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic (use two when making tofu rolls)
1 tsp salt
A slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container
Peanut-Hoisin dipping Sauce
Cindy told me that the sauce needs to have sweet, sour and salty flavors:
1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth. If making vegetarian, boil water with sliced garlic and ginger and 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons bottled Hoisin sauce (tương ăn phở)
2 Tb plus 1 tsp salted peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 tsp Siracha sauce or chili garlic paste (add more if you like it spicier)
juice from 1/2 lime
1 Tb chopped peanuts
1 package rice paper rounds (bánh tráng)
1 round cake pan or pie pan with warm water
You can vary the salad ingredients, but always include mint, cilantro and basil leaves and rice noodles.
Rice vermicelli noodles (rice sticks) size medium Bún Giang Tây.
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup Thai basil (you can substitute regular basil if you can’t find the more aromatic Thai basil)
4 – 6 green leaf leaves lettuce. Use the upper part of the leaves.
1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and cut in thirds
1 large peeled carrot
2 Persian cucumbers (no need to peel) or 1 peeled pickling cucumber
1/4 peeled small jicama
1/4 red bell pepper
about 6 smap peas, julieened
6 chives, chopped in thirds or 1 scallion, green parts only, sliced thinly and chopped 4 inches long.
You can make the shrimp and Hoisin dipping sauce ahead of time.
Defrost shrimp overnight, or in a colander under cold running water for 7 minutes. While shrimp is defrosting, fill a small pot with 2 cups water and add 1 tsp of salt, ginger and garlic, and bring to a boil. Bring shrimp to boil, then boil over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Drain shrimp in a sieve over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Cool shrimp until you are able to handle them. Peel the shrimp and cut in half crosswise (so that each half has the shrimp shape).
Pour the liquid back into the pot. Return the shells, garlic and ginger into the reserved liquid. Boil uncovered for about 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour over a sieve into a bowl and set aside to cool.
Use firm or extra firm tofu. Cut about a slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container. Wrap it in a clean dish towel.
Place it on a cutting board, then place another cutting board on top. Weigh the top board down with a heavy frying pan with several bags of rice inside.
After about 10 minutes, remove the tofu and unwrap it. Cut it into slabs, then halve them crosswise.
Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a small frying pan and fry tofu. Use tongs to flip them.
Let fried tofu drain on paper towels. Paint on one side with the peanut sauce:
Hoisin peanut dipping sauce:
Stir 1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth with Hoisin sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, and siracha in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir in lime juice. Pour into a ramiken or small serving bowl. Top with crushed peanuts.
If making vegetarian rolls, use water boiled for 15 minutes with 1/4 tsp salt, a slice of ginger and 2 cloves garlic instead of shrimp broth.
Prepare the noodles:
Boil 12 cups water in a a saucepan. Use about 31/2 oz rice vermicelli noodles, also called rice sticks Bún Giang Tây (about 1/4 of a 14 oz package). Be sure they are size medium, not the very thin vermicelli.
Cook the noodles, uncovered, for 5 minutes in boiling water, stirring occasionally.
Cool them by rinsing them in a sieve under cold water for 2 minutes. Stir and separate the noodles with a fork or chopstick so that they don’t clump up. Let them drain over a bowl.
I use a special Asian vegetable shaver with a zigzag blade called a Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler to shave thin slices of carrots, cucumber and jicama. Rotate the vegetable as you shave it. Discard (or snack on) the cucumber core that has the seeds.
Cut the vegetables very thin and small, Cut the bean sprouts in thirds so they don’t poke through the thin rice wrapper.
Summer rolls are not too hard to make, but the trick is in rolling the sticky rice paper. It comes in a hard, almost plastic-like wafer.
I couldn’t believe it was the same thing as the soft wrapper. Magically it transforms when dipped in warm water. It softens and becomes thinner and pliable. If you dip it flat, it wants to curl up.
The trick is to hold it by the edges and rotate it through the water, then give it a quick dip in the water to wet the middle. The whole process should take about 5 seconds. If it stays too long in the water it will become too thin and tear easily, and stick to itself. If it’s too stiff the wrapper will be too chewy. It will soften on the plate as you add the veggies so that it will be thin and flexible.
Place the rice paper on a damp plate. It will soften within seconds.Put a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon of noodles first to add a cushion for the vegetables.
Then add a few vegetables, and a few mint, basil and cilantro leaves. Avoid over-stuffing the roll. I got excited by all the wonderful ingredients and wanted to add it all in as much as possible. My rolls became bulky and torn. Moderation in all things I remind myself.
Roll wrapper halfway, and then fold left and right sides over the filling. Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, with a few basil, cilantro and mint leaves along the edge of the cylinder.
If using tofu, place three pieces, sauce side down with the herbs
Finish rolling up the summer roll. Cut it in half crosswise to look prettier.
Dip your summer roll in Hoisin Peanut Sauce or sweet chili sauce.
Here’s a recipe that will curry your favor in both warm weather barbecuing and clay pot oven cooking in the coming cool season. Serve with steamed basmati rice and Chana Dall (yellow Lentils), Punjabi-style Potatoes and Cauliflower, and Indian breads.
I made this chicken on skewers to barbecue today. I cut up boneless breasts in 1” cubes and marinated it for several hours. I’ve also made this with either a cut up chicken or breasts, scoring the meat in several places to allow the marinade to penetrate.
Makes enough marinade for 6 breasts
1 cup plain yogurt (I use nonfat Middle Eastern Karoun yogurt)
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 large lemons)
2 Tb (tablespoon) olive oil
2 Tb melted butter or ghee
1 onion, chopped
2 Tb freshly minced or grated garlic
½ Tb freshly grated ginger OR ½ tsp ginger powder
3 Tb curry powder (or more to taste)
1 Tb garam masala seasoning (optional)
2 Tb cumin (comino) powder
2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
several grinds of black pepper.
2 tsp hot oil (to taste)
6 breasts or chicken pieces
1/4 cup cream for baked chicken
3 cups fresh spinach for baked chicken
Mix all ingredients well. Add cream if baking the chicken. It will make a smooth sauce. Otherwise the yogurt separates when cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add either cubed chicken or pieces and marinate for 2 – 4 hours.
Remember if using the clay pot, to soak it first for 1/2 hour and put in a cold oven, then turn on the oven to 350′. (You can also make the chicken in a ceramic casserole.) Cook chicken in the marinade for about 1 hour. Stir washed spinach leaves in the marinade for the last 10 minutes. Serve chicken, spinach and sauce over basmati brown rice.
If using wooden skewers soak them first for at least ½ an hour. This is supposed to stop them from burning, but to tell you the truth, they burn anyway! Thread cubed chicken on skewers with some onion between them. Grill on medium high heat until done, about 15 -20 minutes for skewers, longer for pieces.
Serve cooked chicken garnished with fresh cilantro.
Years ago, some Filipino friends gave me the recipe for their succulent Chicken Adobo. I make it Bicol Island style: spicy with coconut milk, although I can’t handle too much spice, so I toned it down. If you want more heat, add a few of those dried small red chilies and serrano chilies. Once the marinade is made and the chicken is cut up, it is an easy heat and eat on a night you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. And it’s even better the next day.
You can also save time and trouble and make this with chicken wings and and bone-in thighs.
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
½ cup coconut milk
1/2 cup soy sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp hot chili oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Thai bird chilies and serrano chilies if extra heat is desired
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken pieces. Marinate for several hours in a plastic container. Pour chicken and marinade into a large pot.
Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium. Cook for ½ hour. Serve over rice, spooning cooking liquid and onions over chicken and rice. For a pan-Asian dinner, add cooked sliced chicken to Laotian Stir Fry towards the end of cooking the vegetables.
Run frozen shrimp under water for about 5 minutes until defrosted. Peel shrimp and reserve shells. Marinade shrimp in Thai-inspired Barbecue Marinade for Chicken or Shrimp) for at least 1 hour. Discard marinade, and then barbecue shrimp in a non-stick barbecue basket sprayed with oil.
shrimp on the barbie
You can also cook the shrimp in the marinade in a saucepan until the shrimp turn pink. Discard marinade and let shrimp cool.
Boil 2 cups of water and add shrimp shells along with
4 pieces of green onion
a slice of ginger
a smashed clove of garlic.
Let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain broth and discard solids.
Tear lettuce and rinse and spin in salad spinner and place in a large bowl. Peel the mango with a vegetable peeler and then slice. Reserve juices for dressing. (I squeezed the pit into the dressing.) Add chopped jicama.
salad dressing ingredients
Juice of one lime
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp hot oil (or more to taste)
1 Tb sesame oil. (These items are in most Asian markets, and often in grocery stores.)
1/4 cup shrimp broth
1 finely minced small clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped Thai basil leaf
1 Tb finely chopped scallion
1 tsp sugar.
Whisk together, adjusting seasonings to taste.
Add cooled shrimp and cilantro leaves to salad. Mix dressing in gently.
My cousin’s lovely wife, Jeab, introduced me to condiments from her native Thailand, such as sweet-salty oyster sauce and pungent fish sauce. These along with the coconut milk and lemongrass can be found in Asian grocery stores and some large supermarkets. I love fooling around and combining these ingredients with others in my kitchen and herb garden to invent marinades. Frozen garlic and ginger can be found at Trader Joe’s and Berkeley Bowl.
The spices, pepper, onion, lime and herbs add a tangy spiciness to the blandness of the coconut milk. My family likes their food spicy, but feel free to cut down on the chili according to your tastes. If you are on a salt-restricted diet, cut the amount of salt, fish sauce and oyster sauce.
Ingredients: (Enough marinade for about 6 pieces of chicken and 2 dozen shrimp.)
1/2 of a 14 oz. can coconut milk (1 cup) (I use low-fat)
3 garlic cloves, minced or 3 cubes frozen minced garlic
2 cubes frozen minced ginger or 2 tsp. fresh minced ginger, or 1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tb yellow curry powder
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro (you can include stems)
¼ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
1 onion, chopped
1 chopped jalapeño pepper
1 chopped red chili pepper
Whisk liquids, curry powder, garlic and ginger in a large bowl.
liquid ingredients for marinade
Chop onion and peppers. This is the time to release your emotions and have a good cry!
Remove outer leaves of lemongrass until you reach the tender inner ones. Trim bulb and upper end of stalk where leaves are dry. Use a molcajete (or regular mortar and pestle) or a rolling-pin on the cutting board to crush the slices until softened. The citrus scent will be released. (If you can’t find lemongrass, it’s OK, you can still make the recipe without it!) Slice into 1 inch slices.
Chop herbs, add to marinade.
Pound chicken breasts and remove excess fat. Make several slits in each breast to enable it to absorb the marinade.
scored chicken breasts
Cut each breast in half and add to marinade, coating each piece well. Marinate chicken breasts for several hours, the longer the better.
Grill on medium flame.
chicken and shrimp on the grill
If it’s raining, you can slice the breasts and cook them in the marinade, like curried chicken.
Sliced chicken also pairs well with cucumber and snap peas. Parboil the snap peas for about 3 minutes, until they turn bright green. Cool under running water, then immerse in ice water to stop cooking. Remove stems and slice in half. Mix chicken and peas with sliced cucumber and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Chicken served with snap peas and cucumber
You can also add the leftover marinade to stir fry vegetables, such as broccoli and choy sum or baby bok choy, and mushrooms. Be careful that you only add the tender lemongrass, not the outer inedible parts!