Who moved my wok?

Two best friends, one kitchen, endless possibilities.

Archive for the category “Asian Fusion”

The best veggie burger you’ve had yet.

I am picky about my veggie burgers.  Growing up as an omnivore, burgers were a family favorite of ours, and we outdid ourselves on burger nights.  They were big, beefy, cheesey and quite often dripping with toppings.  If you wanted a real burger, you came to my house.  That being said, I’m picky about my veggie burgers.  I’m warming up to mushrooms, but I still don’t love them and my least favorite are the big meaty ones used in place of a burger patty.  I do like boca burgers, but they don’t have a ton of flavor and they don’t compare to the traditional hamburger we usually think of.  And most other burgers are too mushy.  They just don’t hold up to my standards.  That is, until now.

This spinach-tofu burger was still a little on the mushy side, but the taste MORE than made up for that.  I can’t even describe it.  I didn’t have high hopes when I heard it was composed of spinach and tofu.  I love spinach as much as the next greens-loving girl, but in a burger instead of on top?  Color me skeptical.  However, Elizabeth and I were excited to try something new because I had been craving a burger for a while but I didn’t like any of the options available in Beijing.  So together, we set out to have a yummy burger night, complete with homemade rosemary-dill fries, a big green salad and all the accoutrements that come with this tasty American classic.

Satisfied is an understatement.  Pleased, pleasantly surprised; all understatements.  These were incredible.  Browning them gave them a nice grilled taste and they packed enough flavor that we didn’t need anything on it aside from the heap of veggies we stuffed between our of sesame buns.  I really can’t say enough about these.  Please, stop reading and go try them.  Now.  I’m about to go for seconds.  Nom nom nom.

Also, we have to give credit where is due, and this recipe is not our own.  It is a Marcus Samuelsson recipe that we found via Joanne at Eats well with others.  Check out both of those sites for the recipe and more photos.  We mostly went by the recipe, but we left out the panko and the sesame oil; we just used plain ole breadcrumbs that were available to us.  We also are currently without the luxury of a food processor, so ours were crafted by hand and fork, which could be why they were a bit on the mushy side.  In any case, go eat these.  You’re welcome in advance.  🙂


Moroccan chickpea & butternut squash porridge.

The beginning stages...

We have a new foodie crush here at Who moved my wok.  Lately, we can’t get enough of one of our new favorite food blogs, Eats well with others.  We don’t know her, but Joanne seems to be somewhat of a superwoman, crafting impeccable dishes that we love.  This is the first but I’m sure not the last recipe we’ve borrowed from here, so we’ll give credit where credit is due.  And this was tasty.

Here is the recipe that we borrowed from.  We did adhere mostly to it, with just a few exceptions.  In America, we generally would have used quinoa or couscous or something lovely and healthy and exotic-sounding like that.  But, we live in China, where even brown rice is shockingly scarce… so, white rice it was!  It actually did really well with the white rice.  We also went without the honey, harissa, raisins, brown sugar and olives because those weren’t as easily accessible.  We did add in a pinch of paprika and a sprinkle of curry powder though, as well as some chopped peanuts.  We treaded lightly with the spices at first, but after sampling, we wanted something with more of a kick so we added more with a slightly heavier hand.

This was so yummy!  It was warm and creamy and totally comforting for this nasty, nasty weather we’ve been having while also having a kick that pleased our bored palettes.  And the cilantro was a really nice, fresh touch to such a warm, hearty dish.  The best part was how affordable it was to make.  Typically, I would think chickpeas and some of the other ingredients would make this dish a bit pricey, but the entire thing was prepared for less than 20 RMB (approximately $3 USD).  For just 20 RMB we made somewhere between 8-10 servings of a nutritious, filling dish that we can both eat for several days.  Definitely a bargain.  We gave this one two thumbs up, so let us know if you enjoy it, too!

Lemon-ginger deliciousness.

So much yummy greenery!

Ok, not our best name to date, I’ll admit, but this dish was delicious.  While it may look a little plain, trust me, these noodles are anything but boring or bland.  And what’s best is that while they have a distinctly Asian flavor, they aren’t our traditional Asian dish.  We used a minimal amount of soy sauce and really played up the other ingredients to give this dish a new and exciting kick that we needed to get away from our usual Chinese noodle dishes.

We cooked up this dish mainly to use up some bean sprouts we had bought the day before.  We love using bean sprouts but we often buy them and don’t use them before they go bad!  They seem to have a shelf life of only a day or so, so we knew we had to act fast.  To begin, we boiled some thick, flat noodles and set them aside as we prepared the rest of the food.  Then, we sauteed broccoli florets, chopped celery and baby bok choy together with a drop of oil and a splash of soy sauce.  While this cooked, Elizabeth mixed up the sauce for the noodles.

Just added the bean sprouts.

Depending on the amount of food you’re preparing, you may need to double or triple (or quadruple) this recipe, but here are the general ratios: 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.  After your veggies are nearly done, throw the noodles in with them and pour the sauce over top.

Continue to cook these for a few more minutes.  Now for the special ingredients: sprinkle on an ample amount of ground ginger and squeeze one whole fresh lemon over the whole wok.  These two things changed the entire flavor of this dish and made it taste so fresh and yummy!  Once that’s all mixed together, throw in the bean sprouts for a minute or two, then feel free to serve!  We had ours with our favorite garlic green bean stir-fry.  Hope you enjoy!

It tastes way more exciting than it looks, I promise.


Spicy-as-you-want-’em black bean fried noodles.

Recently we have received a few inquiries (ahem, complaints) from friends and readers (cough cough, tonight’s dinner guest) as to why our blog title implies Asian food when we’ve been predominately preparing dishes that are not Chinese.  So, to please our readers and quiet the critics, Elizabeth concocted tonight’s special recipe.  No it’s not part of the Iron Chef competition, but it still has a secret ingredient: black bean sauce!  And while recipes for black bean sauce abound on the the Interwebs, we happened to get ours already prepared from the grocery store, so don’t feel bad if you cut out a few steps and do the same.

Start by boiling some noodles; ours were not quite as wide as fettucini, though pretty much any noodles will work.  Once those are cooked, drain and put aside, but make sure they don’t stick together because they’ll be used again in a minute.  While those are boiling though, begin chopping up some veggies.  Tonight, our noodles are a bit of a green monster because we only used green vegetables.  First, we minced some garlic and threw that in the pan, because goodness knows we can’t make a meal without it.  Then, we thinly sliced zucchini, celery and green pepper and added them into the wok with a splash of oil to saute.

Nom nom nom.

As those cook, add in a dusting of ground ginger, a sprinkle of paprika and a few shakes of soy sauce to taste, along with the pasta noodles after the veggies are more done.  Then, we added in the secret ingredient.  We began with just one or two spoonfuls of the black bean sauce, but by the time it was all said and done, I’d say at least four spoonfuls or more went in.

WARNING: black bean sauce has the potential to be very spicy; I know from accidental experience.  So make sure you do plenty of taste testing as you go along to get your preferred level of spice.  We also added in some pre-cooked “beef” tofu to ours, which gave us some extra protein and texture in the dish.  Continue adding other spices and soy sauce, along with some salt, pepper and garlic powder until you just can’t wait to eat it anymore.

Langston showing off his juggling techniques...right before the apple fell.

Then, serve up next to your favorite side dish or alone.  We paired ours this night with the garlic stir-fried green beans, which were delicious.  And I think we satisfied our dinner guest and his request for Chinese food on the blog.  He even decided to show off the skills he learned in circus camp as a kid.  Yes, our friends are that cool.

Asian citrus cole slaw.

I love making such colorful dishes!

Now, this isn’t your grandma’s traditional cole slaw.  Those generally have too much vinegar or mayonnaise in them for my taste, which make them too soggy.  This cole slaw is more of a salad with its larger pieces, crispy texture and light and citrus-y taste.  And while it goes nicely with Asian dishes or eaten alone as a snack, I think it would also be delicious sitting next to a yummy boca burger or veggie dog, too.  Plus, it’s super easy to make, can be whipped up in no time and doesn’t require a food processor!

All mixed up and ready to enjoy!

To begin, chop up green and purple cabbage (maybe half of each head) into slightly longer than bite-size chunks and strips.  Set this aside in a mixing bowl.  Next, finely chop cilantro and peanuts and add them to the top of your cabbage mixture.  Then, in another bowl, mix up the dressing.  The dressing consists of  the juice of one whole lime, about 1-2 teaspoons of yellow mustard, one teaspoon of cumin (one of our new favorite spices), a splash of honey and a sprinkling of black pepper.  Stir this up and pour it over your cabbage.   Then, you can stir or cover and shake all of this together until well mixed.

This can now be eaten right away or stored and chilled until ready to devour!  Hope you enjoy!

Asian “beef” and potatoes.

Hot and ready to eat, mmm. (Forgive the glare)

While we love our Asian food over here, we still miss our old American standards, and nothing says classic home-cookin’ like beef and potatoes.  Don’t worry, folks, we didn’t use actual beef here; I’m still vegan.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that while China lacks vegetarian meat substitutes like we have in America (i.e., soy nuggets, boca burgers, etc.), they have so many varieties of tofu!  And I’m not talking about your average, white block of tofu here, either.  Some of it looks more like chicken with a lighter taste and texture, some looks like ground beef (great for chili and “bolognese” sauce) and some of it looks and tastes like a sort of beef brisket.  This, my friends, is what gave us the inspiration for our Asian beef and potatoes.  Well, that and the cloves of fresh garlic and the bright, crunchy green beans begging to be devoured.

If you’re using this recipe in America, feel free to use whatever meat substitute you have available there.  In addition to this, you’ll need whole potatoes, green beans and other fresh veggies (we also used zucchini), a couple of whole garlic cloves, black pepper and soy sauce.  Start by chunking your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and throw them into the wok with water almost reaching the top of them.  Let the potatoes come to a boil and cook until they’re just a little soft.  Because they take longer to cook, they need a head start, but they will be sauteed more with the other veggies, so you don’t want them overdone.

Fresh garlic!

After your potatoes are ready, drain the water and add in a little oil, along with your chopped green beans and other vegetables.  Also add in your finely chopped garlic.  As Elizabeth showed me, you can remove the garlic shell by smashing it with the flat side of your knife before chopping it up.  You could also use a garlic press if you have one handy.  We used 2-3 cloves in our recipe, but we really love the flavor of garlic.  You can use however much you like.



All of our ingredients simmering.

After you have all of this, splash in some soy sauce to taste.  Not to give away our secret, but this, along with the black pepper, is what helps to give this dish the Asian twist.  When your vegetables are mostly cooked, add in the tofu.  If your tofu or meat-substitute is not pre-cooked, you should add it in earlier with the veggies, but ours is pre-cooked, so it only needs to warm and mix with the other flavors.

Our favorite dinner companion.

Let this simmer until all warm (maybe 2-4 minutes) and then remove from heat.  Serve with rice or alone, and with your favorite beverage (we’re very into red wine here 🙂 ) and enjoy the unique blend of American tradition with Asian flavor!

Pad Thai Fusion.

Our beach. I want to go back.

After eating delicious Thai food on a beach for a week in Koh Samui, we became obsessed with Thai noodles, but none of the Thai restaurants in Beijing could even come close to what we had experienced in their motherland.  Savoring the tastes and flavors we devoured and committing them to memory, we (ahem, Elizabeth) wracked her brain and scoured the Internet to come up with a recipe that would be an ode to our favorites from the island while putting her own twist on it.  Thus, Pad Thai Fusion was born.  This particular version of it is a bit of a combination of two other noodles we have made before, and I think it’s the best one yet.  Prepare yourselves for some deliciousness.  ALLERGY WARNING: THIS CONTAINS PEANUTS AND PEANUT BUTTER.  I’m talking to you, Amy Dobrzynski.  Please make adjustments if you have allergies or other aversions to nuts; this recipe can be just as delicious with less of the nuts and more of the other stuff.

First, boil noodles.  Any noodles.  We buy noodles from our Chinese grocery store, so we can’t actually read what kind they are, but they are flat and about the width of fettucini.  Put these noodles aside, and maybe run some water over them so they don’t stick.  Then, bring out the wok to saute the veggies.  Use whatever vegetables you have fresh and available.  In ours, we used broccoli, carrots, snap peas, red peppers, green peppers and of course, bean sprouts, because what is Pad Thai (Fusion) without bean sprouts.

Throw those veggies, minus the bean sprouts, in the wok with a smidgen of oil, half a teaspoon of garlic powder and two tablespoons of soy sauce to begin cooking.  Then,whip up the peanut sauce, which consists of 2-3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter with hot water to dissolve it.  After 5-7 minutes of cooking the veggies, add in the noodles, the peanut sauce and more soy sauce if you want.  Let these all cook together for another 3-5 minutes, and during the last minute, throw in the bean sprouts.

I love this dish because it’s packed with tons of colorful, good-for-you veggies and bursting with flavor.  It balances the nutty, full flavor of the peanut butter sauce with the savory soy sauce and the tang of the citrus, coming together for a delectable treat you will love.  It isn’t your traditional pad thai, but it sure is tasty!  Serve up in a nice little bowl, garnished with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and any kind of citrus wedge.  Prepare to eat until you’re in a food coma.  YUM.

Sooo yummy!

Curry Fusion.

Our lovely dinner guests: Jen (left) and Blaise.

We love ethnic foods and we love mixing them together, so today’s recipe is curry fusion.  While many think of this dish as Thai or Indian, the curry paste we’re using for a base in this one is Japanese, mostly because it was the only one at the time with no animal products in it.

Admittedly, I was a little intimidated to make curry on my own.  While I was exposed to the gamut of ethnic foods growing up, we rarely cooked these at home.  However, Elizabeth tends to be fearless in the kitchen and had already mastered making curry.  And, since it’s one of our favorite dishes to make when it gets cold, I think I’ve gotten the hang of it, too.

The basics for our curry.

Here is a photo of the main ingredients we used.  We started with half a package of Japanese curry paste; we used half for a few reasons: 1) it’s spicy so we like to dilute it a little. 2) We like more creative license in creatng our dishes. And 3) it allows us to make the most of our more expensive, foreign ingredients since we are trying to stick to a budget.  We also used, garlic (our favorite ingredient of all time), curry powder, turmeric powder, a little salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.  Also VERY important is the coconut milk.  To me, it’s not curry unless it’s coconut.  However, I know some people don’t love coconut, so feel free to use whatever non-dairy substitute you like, though I would recommend going with plain ones unless you want your curry to taste like vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.
One of my favorite things about curry is that it’s kind of an “everything but the kitchen sink” sort of dish.  While potatoes, carrots and cauliflower are generally the staples, you can throw in whatever vegetables you have lying around that need to be used.  In addition to the veggies already listed, we added celery and green pepper for color, and because they were there and we try not to waste food.  

First, we throw the veggies into our wok with a teaspoon or so of oil to begin cooking.  As they start to warm, we add the curry paste and the coconut milk and continue adding the other spices until we achieve the right taste and color.  I usually like the milk to come almost to the top of the veggies, but you can add more or less depending on how much sauce you like.  Continue adding in spices until you get the taste you’re going for.  You can make it spicier, sweeter or more savory, depending on  your personal tastes.

The finished product!

While we generally prefer our veggies fresh and al dente, curries should be a bit softer.  Let the curry simmer on the stove (sometimes for 30 minutes or more, depending on cooking heat — I use medium to medium-high) until the veggies, particularly the potatoes and cauliflower, get a little mushy.  Once you deem it ready to eat, spoon it onto a plate of rice, place it next to a glass of white wine, and enjoy!

Delicious home-baked cookies, courtesy of Blaise & Jen's toaster oven!

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