Monday, December 12, 2011

Experiments in Asian food

A few days ago, I went "tourist" at the local Asian market .  I had a guide- a co-worker that is Asian, and from Vancouver, which from what I understand is a mecca for awesome Asian food in North America.  I love going to the market and finding new foods and ingredients that I have never seen or even heard of before.

So, while I was wandering about, I saw something that caught my eye.
"Rice Cake Sticks?  What are these?"
If you can't read the package, it's authentic!
"Those are great.  One of my favorite Korean foods.  Cooked in soup or fried.  Good stuff."

Well, that's all the endorsement I needed.  I picked up a package and a few other ingredients that I hope will be featured in a future post.

So, I did some research, and found some cool recipes .  I decided to go with the fried version, and I'll do the boiled/ soup version sometime later.  Before I started cooking, I tried one raw.  Don't do this.  It is hard, bland and plastic-y.  Made me worry that this was going to taste like... well, cooked bland plastic.

So, I got some oil hot in the pan, washed the starch off the sticks and threw them in the pan.
mmmmm... packing peanuts
While these were working, I did a fridge dump of a bunch of ingredients.
...and started whipping up sauces.
Spicy red sauce.  I took no measurements, just eyeball it.
I shall call this sauce... 'brown.'
By now the rice cakes were developing some color.
Which is a good thing.  It was starting to look like a Michael Bolton concert.
I tried one straight from the pan, and was VERY suprised.  Besides it being really freaking hot, they were suprisingly good!  Crispy on the outside, and fluffy and creamy on the inside.  It was time to plate and few of these up.

If you get a chance to play with these, do it.  They are worth it.  Much like Asian Gnocchi- they take the flavor of what you put on them.  Very filling as well.

Now it was time to enjoy a beverage...
Back to the experiments.

A while ago, my same co-worker told me how "Special Fried Rice" was made using a chinese dried sausage that would be diced and boiled with the rice as it was being prepared.  So I took that idea and twisted it a bit.

'Sweet' rice and dried venison sausage.
Diced the sausage, and then added to the rice as I prepared it according to the package instructions.

Now... what to do?

Did someone say 'Sticky Rice Fried Venison Balls?'  No?
They were really tasty, but a cast iron bitch to make.  The rice stuck to everything even after frying.  I doubt I will do these again... maybe with a different rice.  Maybe just as an actual fried rice.

Conclusion?  Step out of the comfort zone.  Play with some new ingredients.  Have fun.


  1. That looks pretty amazing!

    Before I moved here I lived in a big city much further east (temporary assignment). My neighbor was a neurosurgeon from Hong Kong who was here doing some medical research at a big hospital. His wife spoke no English when they arrived (he was fluent) and they had two little boys. I used to take them different "American dishes" to try (the kids loved the desserts) and his wife would bring me samples of some of the tastiest stuff on the planet. Her English got better. One night when we had ALL worked late, she came over with a plate of something, there was tofu, and some sticky sauce and noodles. It was awesome. The next day I asked her to show me how to make it. She nodded. The next day she came over from the Oriental store with some packaged noodles that was attached to jarred sauce and a pack of tofu, all tied together. She looked at it and me and grinned and said "Hong Kong Hamburger Helper"

  2. I have got to try it...thanks. As most know I love to cook about as much as I love to shoot...