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BJGOURMET's MIDDLE EASTERN, SALADS, THAI & VIETNAMESE RECIPES !








MIDDLE EASTERN

BAKLAVA WITH COCONUT FILLING
BEEF SHISH KEBAB
GRILLED EGGPLANT STEAKS WITH FETA
HUMMUS
MIDDLEASTERN TABBOULEH

SALADS


5-CUP FRUIT SALAD
BANGKOK SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING
CHINOIS CLASSIC CHICKEN SALAD
MANDARIN ORANGE-CREAM GELATIN SALAD
RASPBERRY-APPLESAUCE GELATIN SALAD

THAI


BANGKOK SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING
SINGAPORE NOODLES
SINGAPORE STIR-FRIED NOODLES
THAI GRILLED BURGERS

VIETNAMESE


VIETNAMESE LEMONGRASS MARINADE
VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS





BAKLAVA WITH COCONUT FILLING
FILLING:
3-1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
PASTRY:
1 pkg filo dough, defrosted and room temp.
1 c clarified butter, melted
SYRUP:
1-1/2 c sugar
1 c water
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl a set aside. Unroll the filo dough and separate a stack of 13 layers by brushing each with the melted butter and stacking in a 17"x12" jellyroll pan. Spread with the coconut filling. Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo and melted butter. Cut a diamond pattern in the pastry using a very sharp knife, cutting down to the pan. Bake until lightly brown, about 25-30 minutes.
To prepare the syrup, boil in a a medium saucepan over high heat for 2 minutes. Brush liberally over the entire pastry while both are hot. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.





BEEF SHISH KEBAB
Middleastern style...
3 lbs beef rump roast, cut in 1" cubes
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 c olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
assorted cubed vegetables (yellow onion, green and red bell pepper)
In a large bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper; add meat and combine. Marinate meat in ziploc bag (or covered plastic container); refrigerate for 30 minutes to 12 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before proceeding and while you soak bamboo skewers in warm water. Preheat charoal grill or broiler. Skewer the meat (discard any remaining marinade) alternately with the onions and peppers and grill until desired doneness.
Serve with fresh pita bread, steamed rice and a lettuce salad tossed with vinaigrette dressing.





GRILLED EGGPLANT STEAKS WITH FETA
Preheat outdoor grill.
Marinade mixture:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Kikkoman soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and pepper. Then add olive oil slowly until blended; set aside.
2 medium red bell peppers, roasted and cut into 1/2" dice
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half, roasted and cut into 1/2" dice
1 large eggplant, about 16 oz
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 c pitted black olives, sliced
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh pita bread
4 tsp balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2" thick slices to resemble steaks. Brush both sides with marinade. Grill for 2 minutes on each side until tender, but not too soft.
Place peppers, onions, feta cheese, olives and oregano into small bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Add leftover marinade and stir.
Warm the pita bread on the grill and cut into wedges.
Place eggplant on plate, top each slice with about 2 tablespoons or more of the pepper/feta salsa, and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Serve with the pita wedges.





HUMMUS
This chickpea spread has more flavor than the traditional version. Instead of the hard-to-find tahini (sesame seed paste), peanut butter is substituted for an interesting change of pace. Serve it with raw vegetables or toasted pita wedges.
15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 c hot water
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, sliced, for garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tbsp olive oil
Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them well under cold top water. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Begin to process, gradually adding the hot water to obtain a light, spreadable consistency. Add the lemon juice, garlic, peanut butter, sesame oil, cumin, and cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Process until well blended and smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter; garnish with the green onion, cilantro and olive oil. and surround with pita chips. Makes 2 cups.





MIDDLEASTERN TABBOULEH
Tabbouleh, or tabouli, is a very healthful, refreshing salad based on bulgur (cracked wheat) and has been one of my favorites since 1977.
2/3 c fine-grain bulgur wheat
8 green onions, white part only, very thinly sliced
1 c finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c crushed dried spearmint
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/4 tsp aleppo powder (optional)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
Place bulgur wheat in a very fine sieve and rinse well under cold tap water. Allow to drain, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the salt, pepper and tomatoes. Add the bulgur wheat, mix well and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a non-reactive covered container and chill overnight to allow the bulgur to soften.
Before serving, stir in the diced tomatoes and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve individual portions on a crisp lettuce leaf, and fresh pita bread on the side. This is an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and kebabs.





5-CUP FRUIT SALAD
Here's another easy recipe we've enjoyed since 1973:
1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup unflavored plain yoghurt
Mix everything well in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate one hour before serving.
For additional color, you could also add:
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, well-drained, cut in half
 1 cup Thompson seedless grapes, cut in half





BANGKOK SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING
Miso (fermented soybean paste) is the key ingredient here.
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp white or yellow miso
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 c vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
20 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Purée vinegar, miso, garlic, sugar and ginger in blender. With machine running, gradually pour in the 1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil; blend until mixture is creamy. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 cups vegetable oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Working in batches, add wonton squares to pan and fry until crisp and brown, about 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer wontons to paper towels; drain. Place lettuce and fried wontons in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat and serve immediately. Serves 4





CHINOIS CLASSIC CHICKEN SALAD
Here's a scaled-down version of the recipe by Chef Wolfgang Puck. It will still make enough to serve 6 as a main course.
I dedicate this recipe to Hummingbirdmom and JLO248.
First, here's how to make your own ginger vinegar (thank you, Chef Michelle). You need a 25 oz bottle of rice vinegar. To that add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of grated fresh ginger (unpeeled). Refrigerate 2 days; strain and rebottle the vinegar.
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
1 bunch green onions (white portion only)
    1 heaping tbsp bottled Asian pickled ginger (its julienned and pink)
2 tbsp Chinese hot mustard powder
1/4 c chopped fresh shallots
2 tbsp clover honey
1/3 c Kikkoman soy sauce
1-1/4 c ginger vinegar
2 tsp Asian toasted sesame oil
1/4 c Asian chili oil
1-1/4 c vegetable oil
Place the first 7 ingredients in an electric blender. Cover and puree for 1-1/2 minutes. While the blender is still running, slowly drizzle in the 3 oils. Continue pureeing until the vinaigrette is thick and completely emulsified. (The entire quantity may not fit in a home blender, so you may need to separate it into 2 batches). Makes more than a quart. Place in sealed plastic container and refrigerate.
FOR THE SALAD:
1 whole chicken, roasted; discard all skin, bones and cartilage; cool and shred or slice along the grain into thin julienne
1/2 a large head of napa cabbage, cut into 1/4" julienne
1 head of radicchio, 1/4" julienned
1 lb fresh spinach, stems removed, rinsed and 1/4" julienned
1 head romaine lettuce; discard the soft green tips; 1/2" julienne
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, cut into eighths, 1/2" julienne
Place all the prepared greens into an enormous bowl so you can toss.
FOR THE GARNISH:
1 package fresh wonton wrappers
3 c vegetable oil
Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the wonton wrappers into 1/4" julienne. Fry them one small batch at a time until crisp and golden. Remove with slotted strainer to a tray lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.
TO ASSEMBLE:
Use a large bowl to assemble each serving separately. Place two huge handsful of the greens into the bowl. Add about 1-1/2 c of the julienned chicken. Add about 1/2 c of the vinaigrette (you don't want to overdress); toss well. Plate the salad; garnish with a generous amount of the crisp wonton strips.
Any remaining undressed salad greens may be stored refrigerated in ziploc bags.





MANDARIN ORANGE-CREAM GELATIN SALAD
2 small packages Jello orange-flavored gelatin
2 small packages Jello vanilla-flavored tapioca pudding mix (not instant)
3 c cold water
2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained
16 oz can crushed pineapple (juice pack), drained
9 oz Cool Whip
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange gelatin, tapioca pudding and water. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly; remove from heat and cool to room temperature while stirring occasionally.
Then add the remaining ingredients, pour into serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.





RASPBERRY-APPLESAUCE GELATIN SALAD
This is one of our favorites anytime of the year.
2 small boxes raspberry Jello
2 c boiling water
1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed
2 c sweetened applesauce
1 small bag miniature marshmallows
8 oz sour cream
2 c Cool Whip
Dissolve the Jello in the boiling water. Add the thawed raspberries, applesauce and stir well. Pour into 9x13 pan and chill until set.
Mix marshmallows and sour cream; cover and chill overnight. The next morning, whip until fluffy and fold in the Cool Whip. Spread over the Jello mixture.
Cut into squares and serve on a crisp lettuce leaf.






BANKOK SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING
Miso (fermented soybean paste) is the key ingredient here.
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp white or yellow miso
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 c vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
20 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Purée vinegar, miso, garlic, sugar and ginger in blender. With machine running, gradually pour in the 1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil; blend until mixture is creamy. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 cups vegetable oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Working in batches, add wonton squares to pan and fry until crisp and brown, about 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer wontons to paper towels; drain. Place lettuce and fried wontons in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat and serve immediately. Serves 4





SINGAPORE NOODLES
Yield: 4 servings
6 oz medium rice stick noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp bottled Asian oyster sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp hot chili paste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c finely sliced leeks (white only)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
8 oz lean pork, cut into julienne
8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 c fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c chopped fresh coriander
In bowl, pour boiling water over noodles, let stand for 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, honey and chili paste; set sauce aside. In wok or large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry curry, ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add leeks and red and green peppers; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add pork and shrimp, stir-fry for 4 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Add noodles, sauce and bean sprouts, gently toss to combine. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until noodles are heated through. Garnish with coriander.





SINGAPORE STIR-FRIED NOODLES
In this popular Cantonese teahouse specialty, the rice noodles are permeated with an aromatic infusion of curry spices and herbs, seasonings borrowed from Indian and Malay cooking--both cuisines are indigenous to Singapore.
6 dried Chinese black mushrooms
1/2 lb dry rice stick noodles
3 tbsp peanut or corn oil
2 quarter-inch slices fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb Medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 whole chicken breast, skinned, boned and cut into shreds
1/4 lb Chinese barbecued pork, cut into match stick strips
1 small yellow onion, cut lengthwise into thin slices
1 stalk celery, cut into diagonal thin slices
1/4 lb fresh snow peas, stems removed and julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 green onions, cut into 1-1/2" lengths
1 - 2 tbsp Indian curry powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce, or more if needed
4 tbsp chicken stock, or more if needed
Cover mushrooms with warm water. When soft and pliable, remove and squeeze dry. Cut off and discard stems. Cut caps into thin slices.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; using chopsticks, stir and loosen noodles. When soft and pliable, about 30 seconds, drain them into a colander. Cover and let cool.
Preheat wok until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 slice of the ginger, the chicken, shrimp and pork; stir-fry until shrimp and chicken feel firm to the touch, about 1 minute. Remove and set aside. Pick out and discard ginger.
To hot wok add remaining oil, ginger and salt, crushing ginger against sides of wok. When oil is hot, toss in onions, celery, snow peas, mushrooms, bell pepper and green onion; stir- fry until tender and crisp (1 to 2 minutes). Push vegetables to side of wok. Add curry powder to center of wok and lightly saute for 10 seconds. Then add sugar, soy sauce and chicken stock. Mix.
Add noodles; combine,with vegetables by using chopsticks, to lift, shake and separate strands of noodles, until they are evenly coated with sauce, moist but not wet and begin to cling to each other. (Add more chicken stock if noodles seem too dry). Return meat mix mixture, taste for seasoning. Toss to heat through.





THAI GRILLED BURGERS
I located this while surfing one morning, and lemongrass is one of our favorites. The stalks are tough and fibrous so I use a vegetable peeler to pare it into little slivers, then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer.
1-3/4 lbs ground round
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 tbsp pared lemongrass
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 shallot, minced
2 tsp Thai style chili paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 limes
Preheat grill for high heat. In a large bowl, mix together ground round, bread crumbs, lemongrass, shallot, and chili paste. Season with salt and pepper. Form into patties. Lightly oil grate, and place burgers on grill. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill, and sprinkle burgers with lime juice.





VIETNAMESE LEMONGRASS MARINADE
Lemongrass stalks are sold in bundles in Asian markets. Not only does it lend a great flavor in marinades, but used by itself makes a wonderful hot tea.
Lemongrass stalks are quite tough to cut with a knife (and too fibrous to leave in large chunks; you'd need to strain it out before serving). Here's how I prepare the lemongrass. Trim and discard the roots. Use a vegetable peeler (I prefer the "OXO" brand) to "whittle" the stalks into thin partial slices. Do this over a large bowl so you catch all the pieces. You'll be able to use almost the entire stalk. I whittle the entire bunch, then place in a freezer ziploc bag and freeze until needed.
Prepared like this, you won't need to strain your sauces or marinades.
Now, here's the recipe:
Ingredients:
1/4 c prepared lemongrass
6 strips fresh lemon zest (optional)
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 - 3 shallots, minced
2 serrano or jalapeno chilies, minced
2 tsp light brown sugar, or to taste
3 tbsp Asian fish sauce ("nam pla")
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp Vietnamese or Thai hot sauce (or Tabasco Sauce)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Add sliced boneless chicken or thinly sliced beef. Toss; place in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare your outdoor grill so the coals are white-hot. Remove meat from the marinade and grill until done. Discard leftover marinade.
Serve with jasmine or basmati rice, or fried rice, and a fresh salad.
Finger-lickin' good!!





VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS
16 oz unseasoned lean ground pork
4 c shredded fresh carrots
1 small individual package mung bean noodles (these are the thin transparent noodles, usually sold 8 packages to a bag in Asian markets)
1 large egg
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 heaping tbsp bottled Asian oyster sauce
3 green onions and tops, sliced very thin
12 oz package spring roll wrappers (25 wrappers in a package) 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
Unwrap the package of dry mung bean noodles, remove the string, and soak for 1 hour in cold water. Drain thoroughly in colander and cut into approximately 2" lengths.
In a large bowl, mix well together all the ingredients except the wrappers.
Place about 2 heaping tablespoonsful filling in the center of the straight edge of a single wrapper. Fold over once, fold in both sides and roll tightly to the opposite straight edge. (They should resemble short cigars). Seal the end by brushing with a little of the cornstarch slurry. Repeat to form all the spring rolls.
Preheat 1" vegetable oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat. Fry several spring rolls at a time, turning frequently with tongs, until golden brown all over. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. To preserve crispness, do not stack the finished rolls.
Serve with either sweet & sour or hot mustard dipping sauce. Makes 25.




BJGOURMET's Tribute To A Taste Of Kansas City !



"Pull Up A Chair, Deal Your Hand, and Stack The Deck With Some Of Kansas Cities Finest Cuisine !"



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