Eringi mushrooms are a great alternative to meat. They have no flavor, but they fry well. For this recipe, I only used the stems and not the mushroom caps. You can use the whole mushroom, but I’ve found that the stem fries better than the caps. What I’ve been doing is removing the caps and using them for a different vegetarian recipe the next day.
6-8eringi mushroomsdiced ( I used the stems and not the caps)
2tablespoonsFrontier Co-op Taco Seasoning
2-3tablespoonsgrape seed oil
First, mise en place your ingredients
Next, place a medium-sized pan on medium heat. After about one minute, add the grape seed oil to the pan and swirl it around. It should coat the whole pan.
Add the mushrooms, turn the heat to low and coat the mushrooms with the oil.
Next, turn the heat to medium-high and sautee the mushrooms. Make sure to turn the mushrooms every thirty seconds until they are golden brown. Continue to stir the mushrooms every thirty seconds for five minutes.
Once the mushrooms are golden brown, turn the heat to low and add the seasoning and salt. Coat the mushrooms with the seasoning and salt.
Finally, turn the heat up high, add the lime juice and quickly stir the mushrooms for about ten seconds. Then, take them off of the heat.
Mise en place- prepping you ingredients in bowls before cooking
Last July, when I moved to Japan, I lived in a small neighborhood in Osaka. It has tons of little food shops. It was impossible not to find something good to eat. One shop in particular sold Indian food. Over the past few years, I haven’t really eaten too much Indian food, because it was expensive or the restaurants were a little out of the way. Going to that shop and being able to indulge in inexpensive, Indian food was incredible. I loved everything about that little shop.
Now, I live in Tokyo, a food mecca. However, I live a little outside of the city and there are only four Japanese restaurants and a McDonald’s near my house. Luckily, the majority of grocery stores are fully stocked with ingredients from non-Japanese cuisines, so, it’s easy to recreate Indian food at home.
Recently, I’ve been craving Indian food. I wanted to try to make Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch. Overall, the process of making the masala wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. I’ve only made Indian food about two to three times in my life, and it used to feel strenuous. Making it in a rice cooker helped with the flavor. If you don’t have a rice cooker, try making it in a slow cooker.
I still remember the first spring roll I ever ate. I was in high school and my friend bought a lunch container of spring rolls from the grocery store. I asked him what it was and he let me try one. At the time, I had eaten the fried version of the roll from cheap Chinese restaurants.So, I had no idea what to expect. My first thought was about the wrapper. I did not know that spring roll wrappers were opaque and soft. The roll was filled with vegetables, some I had never heard of, and cooked shrimp. It was paired with a simple ginger and soy sauce. The first bite I took tasted fresh, unlike the fried rolls. In a way, it was unreal how a roll with very few ingredients could taste so good.
Ten years later, I’m living in East Asia and making spring rolls. Surprisingly, the spring rolls that aren’t fried are difficult to find in Nanjing. So, I’ve learned how to make them at home.
At first, I thought making spring rolls was tedious. It does take time to prepare the ingredients before you put them in the spring roll wrapper, especially if you are using an ingredient that needs to be cooked beforehand. When I make them with noodles, I will wait fifteen minutes for the noodles to cool down before handling them. Now that I’ve had more practice, I find it relaxing.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with fillings to see what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what I’ve discovered:
* Cucumbers and carrots are crunchy and keep well overnight in the fridge.
* Bell peppers are good for spring rolls that you plan on eating now, but they slip out of the spring roll when you try to eat one.
* Seasoned vermicelli noodles allow the spring rolls to become a meal, instead of an appetizer, and you don’t have to make a dipping sauce.
If you have some other ingredients that you enjoy adding to your spring rolls, feel free to tell me in the comment section below.
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Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Miso and Sesame Vermicelli
Peel the carrot and cucumber. Place them in two separate piles.
Cook the vermicelli per the directions on the package. While they are cooking, combine the miso, sesame oil and soy sauce in a bowl. Stir until the miso is no longer lumpy.
When the vermicelli is done cooking, place them in a heat resistant bowl and add the sauce. Mix the noodles until they are covered with the sauce.
Wrapping the Spring Rolls
Place lukewarm water in a shallow bowl or pan. This will be used to soak the wrappers.
Take one wrapper and place it in the water for twenty seconds. On the package, it may say ten seconds, but you really need twenty seconds.
When the wrapper is soft, place it flat on your counter top. Then, add your fillings near the bottom edge of your wrapper.
Next, fold the right side in, followed by the left. Finally, fold over the bottom edge and "tuck in" your ingredients. Continue rolling your spring roll. Once it is rolled, place it on a plate or leave it on your counter top.
Fried rice is one of the quickest Chinese dishes to make; it’s also one of the cheapest. When making fried rice all you need is rice and vegetables. You can make it with beef, chicken or top it with scrambled eggs. It’s very easy to make, especially for beginner cooks, and it gives me a chance to try some new Chinese ingredients.
Although I am not a vegetarian, I prefer to eat vegetarian Chinese dishes. I think that most of the sauces and spices used in Chinese cooking compliment vegetables and tofu well. Plus, Chinese vegetables are different from the ones we use in the U.S. The Woks of Life, a blog that focuses on traditional and non-traditional Chinese dishes has a whole glossary dedicated to Chinese vegetables. For this recipe, I decided to keep it simple with carrots and broccoli. However, in the past, I have used bok choy, scallions, bean sprouts, edamame and many other vegetables.
If you are going to try to make fried rice at home, I suggest that you have everything mise en place. This is a fancy French word meaning “putting in place”. Since you will have to work quickly when cooking the ingredients, it’s almost necessary to put all of your ingredients in separate bowls. If you don’t have everything in place, your food can burn and it will be disastrous, trust me.
Don’t be afraid to make fried rice at home. It’s simple to make and doesn’t require much time or money. Even in Nanjing, it’s cheaper for me to make friend rice at home than buying it at a restaurant. Lastly, it’s an easy way to start exploring the world of Chinese cooking.
In celebration of all things fall, I decided to make my squash soup. Soups are one of my favorite foods to eat this time of year. They are easy to make and you can let them cook for a while. Whenever I have no obligations for the day, I will take a couple of hours to make a soup. I love having the aromas from the spices fill my apartment.
A little less than a year ago, I made the first version of this soup. I was very proud of it but I forgot to write down the recipe. I’ve made it about five times since then and each time the soup took on a new flavor. Sometimes it was too sweet or there was way too much cinnamon. One time, I made a vegetable broth into the soup, put way too much salt in the broth and the soup turned out very salty and almost inedible. When I made the new version of this soup, I decided that I would take my time, record every part of the recipes and take lots of pictures in case I forgot a step.
One of my favorite ingredients in this recipe are the shallots. When I saw them in the grocery store, I was kind of skeptical about buying them. I wasn’t too sure about the flavor, especially since I used red onions in the previous versions. Adding the shallots to the recipe really added to the natural sweet flavors of the squash. Also, roasting the squash before hand made a huge difference in flavor.
In my opinion, this has to be the best version of my soup. It is not too sweet and is very aromatic. I think that it shows how much I have improved as a chef, and how much more I need to learn.