Chinese chicken salad

Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in the dressing. It is well worth it and you will mostly have them in the pantry if you like Asian-style cooking. This is one of my favorite salads.

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Serves 6

For the Sesame-ginger dressing
3 tbsp Chinese mustard
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 medium piece of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (available in most supermarkets)
1/2 tbsp sweet chilli paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the dressing;

Put the mustard in a blender and then add the sesame oil, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper (go lightly on the salt because of the soy sauce).
Give it a quick blend and check for seasoning.

For the chicken salad

1 medium Napa cabbage, washed and shredded
1 medium iceberg lettuce, washed and thinly sliced
1 medium romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup snow peas, sliced
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
6 chicken breasts, (6 oz each) cooked and diced
Garnishes for the salad
crispy wontons (available in supermarkets)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted

To make the salad

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuces, peppers, snow peas, peanuts, green onions, carrots, beansprouts and diced chicken.
Toss together with the sesame-ginger dressing until well combined.
Divide the salad among 6 plates and garnish with the crispy wontons, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.


Soba noodles with sesame seeds

This is a wonderfully simple and utterly addictive recipe from Nigella Lawson. As she so poetically says, “You can lift the bowl to your face with this dish”. They are served cold so are perfect for a packed lunch.

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3 oz sesame seeds
8 oz soba noodles
5 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil (I love toasted sesame oil)
6 green onions

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over a high heat until they are golden brown and tip them into a bowl.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add some salt.
Put in the soba noodles and cook them for about 6 minutes (or according to the packet instructions) until they are tender but not mushy.
Have a bowl of iced water waiting to plunge them into after draining.

In the bowl you are going to serve them in, mix the vinegar, soy sauce, honey and oil. Then finely slice the green onions and put them into the bowl with the cooled drained noodles and mix together thoroughly before adding the sesame seeds and tossing again.

Leave the sesame seed noodles for about 30 minutes to let the flavors develop and lift the bowl to your face!

Grilled soy – mustard chicken thighs

Another terrific and easy recipe, this time with Asian flavors for either grilled, broiled or even oven roasted chicken thighs. These recipes are so good for crowds with lots of rice to soak up the tasty juices.


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Serves 6
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (about 1 1/2 lbs)
3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp Chinese or Japanese sesame oil (preferably toasted)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 heaped tsp chopped orange zest
1 heaped tsp chopped fresh ginger

With a sharp knife, trim away all the fat from the thighs. Place the pieces on a plate.
In a blender or small capacity food processor, mix the soy sauce, mustard, garlic, fresh cilantro, parsley, sesame oil, olive oil, orange zest and ginger to make a rough paste.
With a spatula spread this paste evenly over the surface of each chicken thigh.
Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and marinate for 2 hours.
A half hour before you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the fridge.
Preheat the grill, broiler or oven. (If you’re using an oven set it to 400 F)
If cooking the chicken on the grill or broiler, turn it once until it is brown and fairly firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes approximately.
If using the oven, it might take up to 30 to 45 minutes until brown.
Serve at once.

Oven baked parcels of fish with scallions, mushrooms, ginger and sesame oil

This is one of our most favorite, light and extremely tasty fish dishes, steamed to perfection, snuggled cozily in their own aluminum foil packets. All you need to serve with it is steamed white rice, as the juices from these parcels are divine.

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Serves 2
2 x 6oz fillets of Chilean sea bass, cod or halibut
6 scallions, sliced on the diagonal in 1″ pieces
1 large clove of garlic crushed
1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely or chopped very finely.
1 tbsp  toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
6 good sized mushrooms, or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 can baby corn pieces, drained  (optional
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sliced scallions, ginger, garlic,red pepper flakes, mushrooms, baby corn, if using, and ground pepper.
Mix well and set aside.
Get two large pieces of aluminum foil and in the middle of each piece, place a piece of fish. Bring up all the sides of the foil, so the liquid won’t run out, and tip 1/2 of the mixture in the medium bowl over each piece of fish.
Gather up and seal the packages really well.

Screen shot 2014-07-18 at 6.00.56 PMPlace in a small roasting tin and bake at 400 F for about 15 mins max.
To test, open one of the packages and put a sharp knife into the fish to see if comes away easily.
Place the fish over a pile of simple steamed white rice in a bowl, and pour over all the sauce and vegetables.


Creamy ginger soy sauce

This is a great dressing for a fresh salad or as a sauce for your favorite Asian cuisine featuring meat, fish or chicken. It’s also divine as a dipping sauce for vegetables or shrimp.
Really easy to make and so exotic!

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like too spicy)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup good quality mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine and thoroughly mix the white wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, sugar, minced fresh ginger, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
Gradually whisk in the mayonnaise until completely blended.


Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Gorgeous!! Soba noodles tossed with scallions, cucumber and a light yet creamy sesame -ginger tahini sauce.

8 oz soba noodles (about 2 bundles)
1 large or 2 small English cucumbers
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped (about 3/4 cup, chopped)
1/3 cup tahini<
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp white miso
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
A handful fresh cilantro, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sesame seeds, (preferably black)
sea salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the soba noodles until al dente, according to the package directions. (Do not over cook them) Drain and rinse under cold water.
Using a chef’s knife or better yet, a julienne peeler, slice the cucumber into long skinny strips. Toss out the super-seedy inside strips. Then you can slice the remainder into 3 inch long strips or leave them long.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, rice vinegar, ginger, miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Once blended, whisk in water until you reach your desired consistency.
Toss the soba noodles in the sesame-ginger sauce. Toss in the cucumber strips, scallions, sesame seeds and extra cilantro if desired.
Season to taste with salt or more soy sauce.
This dish is best served promptly, as the salt will draw out the water from the cucumbers and dilute the flavors.

Asian spicy pork and greens soup

Soothing, healthy and comforting soup.

1/2 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz wide rice noodles
Also nice to try it with;
beet greens, kale or turnip greens 

Mix the pork, garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes and cumin in a medium bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon until browned and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  Add the broth and bring to the boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally until the greens are tender, 5 to 8 minutes, season with salt and black pepper.
Meanwhile cook the rice noodles according to the package directions and drain.
Divide the noodles among the bowls and ladle the soup over