Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad is a flavorful mix of sweet and savory with a range of textures.

Cucumbers, lettuce and cabbage give it a cool, crunchy bite that is in direct contrast to the tender pieces of savory chicken and the soft, juicy pop of oranges. Toasted sesame seeds and sliced almonds further the crunch factor. In a word it has everything you could wish for in a salad…. 

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Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

An exotic spin on old-fashioned chicken soup that brings the same nourishing, curative comfort we crave from it.

With the addition of coconut milk, edamame, rice noodles, carrot, ginger, lemongrass and cilantro – the homey, comforting flavors of chicken soup are kicked up a notch. Or two.

The coconut laden broth is the best part of the soup; rich, creamy and flavorful with a hint of citrus and a little zing thanks to the ginger…. 

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Asian Spinach Salad with Salmon and Edamame

This Asian Salad with spinach, edamame, salmon, scallions and toasted sesame seeds is one of the best I’ve made all summer. The star of the show is the soy and ginger dressing. I could drink it up! And in fact, did.  The little puddle that settled on the bottom of the bowl. I couldn’t resist.… 

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Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles

This is a cold noodle recipe with a spicy, Asian-inspired peanut butter sauce. It may sound wierd if you’ve never had anything like it before, but only takes a minute to get used to! If you’re anything like me you may find yourself not only loving them but being overcome with cravings that seemingly manifest out of thin air…. 

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Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Noodles

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Rice Noodles

A Thai inspired soup recipe with shrimp and noodles, one of my recent favorites and new go-to soup! It’s fast, healthy and completely delicious!
The creamy coconut broth is laden with flavor. It’s rich and sweet with little hints of spicy heat and citrus. All equally balanced so no one is overpowering. The broth is made by combining chicken broth with coconut milk and is flavored with ginger, green chile peppers, lemongrass, kaffir leaves, lime and cilantro. (If you don’t have access to lemongrass or kaffir lime substitute additional lime juice and lemon zest.)
I customized it and turned it into a main dish soup with the addition of rice noodles. And fresh corn straight from the cob. Because I adore the flavor of corn with coconut milk. It brings out the natural sweetness in the corn even further. The noodles give it a substantial feel and pair perfectly with the succulent shrimp and fresh, crisp corn.
Aside from all that this is a fairly quick soup to make. I suggest that you get all your ingredients chopped and prepped ahead of time because the recipe moves quickly, cooking time is 20-25 minutes.
I bet it will become a favorite in your house too!

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Rice Noodles

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Rice Noodles 
(adapted from Coastal Living)

4  cups Chicken Broth
1 – 15-ounce can Coconut Milk
1  tablespoon Fish sauce (optional)
1 – 2-inch piece fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1  to 2 Serrano or Jalapeño chiles, diced
2 Corn Cobs, Kernels removed (1 + 1/2 cup)
1  stalk Lemon Grass, cut into 1-inch pieces*
2  to 3 Kaffir Lime leaves*
12 ounces Rice Noodles or Fettucine Pasta
2  tablespoons Lime Juice
1/2  pound Shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces Cremini or Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced ( I omitted)
2  tablespoons Cilantro leaves, fresh, chopped
1/2 cup Green Onion, 1/2 – 1 inch pieces

1. Combine first 6 ingredients and, if desired, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile cook noodles according to package directions.

3. Stir lime juice into soup. Add shrimp, and simmer 10 more minutes. Discard lemon grass.

4. To serve add rice noodles to bowl and ladle soup over top. Add mushrooms, cilantro and green onion. Serve with lime wedges.

* Substitute 2 additional teaspoons of  Lime juice for Lemon Grass and 1 teaspoon Lime Zest for  Kaffir leaves.

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Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Rice Noodles

There’s only a few more days to get in on the current Burger Club challenge with my special guest host: Kim of Stirring the Pot!

I’m sending this to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays round-up!

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Vietnamese Herb Salad Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Herb Salad Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

This is a Vietnamese recipe for fresh and vibrant Spring Rolls filled with cellophane noodles, shrimp, cabbage, green onion, cilantro, basil and mint. The filling is flavored with nuoc nam sauce and rice vinegar and the rolls are dipped into a spicy peanut sauce made with peanut butter, chile peppers, garlic, ginger and more nuoc nam sauce.

Nuoc nam is a Vietnamese condiment and a staple in their diet. It is made from fish sauce, sugar, chile peppers, garlic, rice vinegar and lime juice. It has elements of sweet, salty, sour and spicy. It is a crucial flavor in both the spring rolls and the peanut dipping sauce.

These can be served as is or fried. I pan-fried these in a minimal amount of oil just long enough to get a little crispy skin to them. These really have a wide range of flavors and textures that will compete for your attention. There is the brightness of the herbs mingled with a little bit of sour, sweet, spicy and salty among soft noodles, crisp cabbage and succulent bites of shrimp that are dotted throughout the filling. The dipping sauce is really something special and so completely irresistible you will be tempted to eat it with a spoon. Not that I did that. I’m just saying.

I’m sending this to the very lovely Joanne of Eats Well With Others for her Regional Recipes: Vietnam round-up.

Vietnamese Herb Salad Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce


Vietnamese Herb Salad Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
(adapted from Vietnamese recipes)

2 ounces Cellophane Noodles
3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon Nuoc Cham Sauce (recipe to follow)
1/2 pound medium Shrimp, cleaned, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup shredded Cabbage
2 tablespoons Green Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Thai Basil, chopped
1 tablespoon Mint, chopped
8-10 Rice Paper Wrappers

Peanut Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons Peanut Oil or Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 small red Chile Pepper, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Nuoc Cham Sauce (recipe to follow)
2 tablespoons Peanuts, crushed

1. Soak the cellophane noodles in a bowlful of hot water to cover for 5 – 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse in cold water. Cut noodles with scissors to an inch or two in length and toss with vinegar, nuoc cham sauce, shrimp, cabbage, green onion and herbs.

2. Soak 1 rice wrapper at a time in warm water for 30 seconds and set it on a flat surface. Place a little of the mixed vegetables and noodle filling on it. Roll up tightly, folding in the sides to enclose the filling. Continue until all ingredients are used.

3. To make the peanut sauce combine all ingredients except peanuts and whisk. Mix in peanuts.

4. To serve, slice each roll on the diagonal, then arrange one half over the other. Serve the dipping sauce separately. To pan-fry heat a 1/8 to 1/4 inch of vegetable or peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry on both sides 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Slice in two diagonally and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Nuoc Cham Sauce
(adapted from Vietnamese recipes)

1/2 cup Palm or Brown Sugar
1 cup Hot Water
1/2 cup Vietnamese Fish Sauce (I used Thai fish sauce)
1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Lime Juice
2-5 Red Chilies, finely chopped
2-5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

1. Add the sugar to a medium sized bowl and pour the hot water over it, stirring until it is completely dissolved. Add all the other ingredients, stir well and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

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Vietnamese Herb Salad Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Check out the next Burger Club Challenge hosted by Kim of Stirring the Pot!

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Easy Shrimp Pad Thai

Easy Shrimp Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of my favorite go-to dishes when ordering Asian take-out. I taste tested this dish all over town and back again and there is only one place that makes it the way I like love it. It happens to be the place I first fell in love with Pad Thai. It didn’t matter that the ingredients were a total mystery to me… Aside from the obvious. Despite my love I have never been the least bit tempted to make it for myself until I saw Bobby Flay go head to head in a Pad Thai Challenge on his Showdown series. It was then that the Pad Thai mystery was solved and I learned exactly what went into making traditional Pad Thai. And enough useful tips that I felt confident enough to tackle it at home.

 My Pad Thai recipe is made with flat rice noodles, bean sprouts, garlic, red chile, egg, shrimp and a special sauce. That’s the secret. The secret to making a really good Pad Thai. It’s in the sauce. Rather than adding the sauce ingredients separately to the wok the sauce should be made first. Made and tweaked until it’s just the way you like it. I want the sour flavor of the tamarind to dominate the sauce. The very same flavor that caused me to fall in love. Not too sweet and not too salty.

My recipe as listed tastes and looks exactly like the take-out I buy. It didn’t take much work for me to figure out the recipe. Just a little adjusting of my initial sauce and using those ‘obvious’ ingredients I mentioned earlier. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Easy Shrimp Pad Thai
(adapted from Food Network and Chez Pim)

Pad Thai Sauce

1 cup frozen Tamarind Pulp, thawed, unsweetened (found in the Spanish frozen section of your market)
2 tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce*
1/3 cup Palm or Brown Sugar

In a small sauce pan combine and simmer all ingredients over low heat for five minutes. Remove a spoonful, cool and taste. Too salty or sweet? Add more tamarind. Not salty enough? Add more fish sauce – a little bit at a time. Too sour? Add more sugar – a little at a time. Heat through again.

*If you don’t like fish sauce omit and add salt – start with a 1/4 teaspoon and season to taste.

To make 2 servings of Pad Thai:

4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 dried red chiles, crumbled without seeds or stems (found in the Mexican spice section of your market)
4 ounces Rice Noodles, soaked in hot tap water for a half hour (can also use Fettuccine pasta)
1 and 1/2 cups Bean Sprouts
1/2 cup water, you don’t need to use it all
Pad Thai Sauce
2 eggs
1/2 pound Shrimp, medium or large, cleaned and tails removed
4 tablespoons Peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic Chives or Green Onions, snipped with a kitchen scissor
Lime wedges, for serving

1. Assemble all your ingredients because the recipe moves fast, including 2 large spoons or spatulas for stirring.

2. Heat the oil in the wok or a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and chiles stirring, add the rice noodles and bean sprouts, stirring to separate the noodles, add a little bit of water if they stick together. Add 3 or 4 ladles (soup ladle) of sauce. Continue stirring until noodles looks soft and bean sprouts are wilted.

3. Move the noodles up the sides of the wok and add more oil if needed to cook the eggs. Crack them into the center and in the eggs. Push the noodles over top of the eggs and allow to cook for a minute, then stir the eggs and noodles together. Push the noodles to the sides of the wok, if using a skillet remove to a plate or bowl and set aside.

4. Add more oil if needed to cook shrimp, add shrimp and stir with 3 or 4 more ladles of sauce. Continue stirring until shrimp just start to curl and turn white. Add noodles back in and stir until everything is well combined, adding more sauce if needed.

5. Serve immediately with peanuts, garlic chives and lime wedges.

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Easy Shrimp Pad Thai

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