Candied Jalapenos

Candied Jalapenos

My jalapeno plants have done really well this year and I have gotten a bumper crop. I was thinking about making a jalapeno jelly with some of the peppers, but run across a recipe for Candied Jalapenos and gave it a go instead. It has been four weeks since I made the first batch and they are now ready to eat. They are amazing! So addicting. They are a nice balance between sweet, hot, and sour. My jalapenos are super hot, so they make me hiccup. Even with the hiccups and burning lips, I think I could easily eat the whole jar. I think these Candied Jalapenos will be great on Vietnamese rice vermicelli (bun) dishes, as well as on sandwiches and tacos.

Candied Jalapenos 2

I found the recipe I used for Candied Jalapenos here.

I would highly recommend wearing gloves while working with the jalapenos. Trust me.

Sliced Jalapenos

Candied Jalapenos 3

Canned Candied Jalapenos

Kimchi Stew

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I made a batch of kimchi a few weeks ago. Kimchi continues to ferment and gets more sour with age.  I don’t like my kimchi overly sour, so I wanted to use what was left before it got too funky. Stews are very traditional Korean dishes and Kimchi Stew is very common. This Korean stew is super quick and a great way to use up left-over or older (more sour) batches of kimchi. It’s spicy, flavorful, and a great way to get your Korean food fix. Serve it with hot rice, if you wish.

This version of Kimchi Stew does not have the traditional pork belly in it. It is not vegetarian, though, because it does contains fish sauce. Of course, you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. Just be aware that some kimchi is made with fish sauce, so if you want a truly vegetarian dish, you will have to buy a vegan version of kimchi or make your own.

You can buy kimchi at grocery stores, natural food markets, or Asian markets. It is usually in the produce section. It’s easy to make and you can find a recipe to make you own here.

Kimchi Stew

1 small onion, slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled, minced
1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped into bite-sized pieces (include kimchi juices)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chile pepper powder)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
6 ounces firm tofu, cubed (about 3/4 a package)
salt and pepper to taste
hot rice, to serve (optional)

Heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion and saute until they just start to get tender. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to saute for a minute. Add the kimchi, gochujan, gochugaru, fish sauce, and Chinese cooking wine. Bring to a slight boil and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cubed tofu and heat through. Serve with hot rice, if desired.

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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Bamboo Shoots

This is a curry I threw together for lunch today.  It was so easy and delicious.  I used chicken, but any other protein (including tofu) can be used instead.  I found fresh, pre-cut bamboo shoots at the Asian market and used them for my curry.  Fresh bamboo definitely has a more distinct flavor (and aroma) than canned, but the canned bamboo is much easier to find (most grocery stores carry it) and works and tastes fine. Green curry tends to be spicy hot.  You can cut back the amount of curry paste in this recipe to try to tone down the heat level.

I keep a variety of curry pastes and canned coconut milk in the pantry for quick meals.  The Maesri Curry Pastes are so amazing and functional.  There are so many flavors available and directions are on the can (although I always deviate from their instructions…don’t be afraid to experiment).  You can take a can of curry paste, mix it with coconut milk and add any meat and/or veggies you have on hand to make wonderful curries.  Red curry, chicken, and a bag of frozen green beans is a favorite combination of ours.  Great for weeknight dinners.

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Bamboo Shoots

1 can Maeri Green Curry Paste
1 can coconut milk
1 – 2 chicken breast(s), thinly sliced
1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 bell pepper (green or red), seeded and sliced
Fresh Thai basil leaves (to taste)
Fish sauce (optional and to taste)
Sugar (optional and to taste)

Combine the green curry paste and coconut milk in a large pan or wok over medium high heat.  Let the mixture come to a slight boil and then add the sliced chicken.  Let the chicken cook until it is no longer pink and then add the bamboo shoots and bell pepper.  Simmer about 5 minutes (or longer to let the sauce thicken up some).  Stir in the Thai basil and fish sauce and sugar, if using.  Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

This typical Thai soup is addictive.  I love the contrast of flavors and it’s adaptability.  The seasoning paste is essential to the authentic flavor of this soup.  If you have a mortar and pestle, use them to make the paste.  Otherwise, I’m sure a blender will work just fine for making the seasoning paste.

As always, I don’t follow the recipe exactly.  When I make this soup I substitute rehydrated shiitake mushrooms for the canned straw or white mushrooms the recipe calls for.  I also add a handful of rehydrated black fungus, thinly sliced.  The black fungus (also known as cloud ears) adds an unique crunch and texture to the soup.  I don’t always add the sugar or tomatoes to the recipe.  I have a hard time finding fresh galanga (a member of the ginger family), so I just add a few slices of the dried (or frozen) and fished them out of the soup (along with the lemongrass) right before serving.  Additionally, I usually skip the step of browning the shrimp shells in the oil and simmering them in the broth.  I don’t feel that step adds enough of another dimension of flavor to make it worth it.

hot and sour shrimp soup

To make this soup a more substantial meal, I serve the soup over rice noodles or pasta.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon ground chili paste
1 fresh red chili, any kind (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve the shells)
5 cups homemade, unsalted or canned low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces and bruised with the back of a knife
3 thin slices galanga
3 kaffir lime leaves, cut into thirds
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup canned straw mushrooms or sliced white mushrooms
2 red ripe tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
10 fresh Thai basil leaves
5 fresh cilantro springs, chopped

seasoning paste

Place the garlic, shallot, chili paste, chili, cilantro, and peppercorns into a mortar and pound into a paste.

seasoning paste 2

Heat the oil in a soup pot over moderate heat.  Add the shrimp shells and brown until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the spice mixture to the pot an stir until fragrant, about 2 seconds.  Add the chicken stock and let simmer 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the shells and discard. Add the lemongrass, galanga, lime leaves, fish sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the shrimp and cook until almost done, about 2 minutes. The shrimp will continue to cook in the hot broth.  Remove from heat and add the lime juice, basil, and cilantro.  Serve piping hot.

Recipe source:  The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking by Mai Pham (Prima Publishing, 1995).