Lima bean “humous”

 

lima bean "humous"

lima bean "humous"

 

If you can make humous out of chickpeas, you can make it from any other bean. I haven’t attempted the edamame puree that has been rather popular with foodies, though I probably should since there are always bags of edamame in the freezer. I like to snack on them as is though. So I resorted to killing some other beans. I tried making a lima bean puree (since I couldn’t see making a snack of of lima beans). 

This is a low-fat version, though I guess you could always add a spoonful of olive oil to help the pureeing process. I found a bit of water was enough, but the texture is for sure a bit more coarse without oil. I used this as a spread on crackers and it was OK. It didn’t lack flavor but I think it was slightly on the bland side, then again, adding more stuff to it would definitely make it too complex. I think this would be best suited for crackers that are flavored.

 

Lima Bean “Humous”

1 can lima beans

2 cloves garlic

1t cumin

1/2t salt

 

Blend all in food processor. Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight container (should last a few days).

Plain Old Jasmine Rice, Herbed.

Rice Cooker

A leaving home conversation, Chinese style:

“Mom, I’m moving out.”

“OK!”

“OK? Is that are you’re gonna say?”

“Hm, no. Do get a good rice cooker before you go.” 

 

Being Chinese, I probably learned how to operate a rice cooker before a toaster: Add rice, add water, press the button, go take a shower, and come back to perfectly cooked rice. The whole boiling water, standing by a pot, stirring and fluffing rice thing, I never got. I also can’t understand why you would eat rice that comes out of Uncle Ben’s bag, either. I never believed that was real rice.

While flipping through a dinner menu one night, I had a discussion with my best friend on how restaurants like to make dishes sound special by specifying that Jasmine rice was used. We both agreed that is stupid, as Jasmine rice is just “plain old rice” to us, being the only rice Chinese families grow up on. We don’t consider it fancy, and we most certainly don’t call it “aromatic”. To us, that is just how “plain old rice” is supposed to taste and smell. However, I pointed out that I myself often make that very distinction but for a different purpose: I don’t want to impart that I am eating another type of long grain rice, particularly basmati, which I don’t like. In fact, it wasn’t until I tried basmati rice that I realize just how tasty Jasmine rice is. Basmati pales in comparison in flavor and aroma, and is rather bland to my palate. It is no wonder that Chinese people eat plain rice, cooked in water, day after day for all their lives – because Jasmine rice is actually tasty. I guess what is also true is that in Asian cuisine, rice is the backdrop that carries all the main dishes. It is meant to bring an equillibrium to the meal, since all the various dishes can be strongly flavored, and each differently so. Which is why we enjoy rice so … “undressed”.

As a child my favorite thing to do (the only “dressing up” of rice I ever did) was to take a big pat of butter and mix it into my bowl of hot rice. None of this browning in a skillet thing – my butter rice is dead simple, probably not the healthiest, and delicious. When I saw a recipe of herbed rice in The Best of Cooking Light, I decided to do something with a few of the staples I have in the kitchen.  

 

 

Herbed Rice

Herbed “Plain Old” Rice

I use Thai brown Jasmine rice, which I love because it has a nice chewiness to it. Instead of cooking it in water as I always do, I used dashi broth. I then chopped Chinese Trinity (cilantro, green onions, and fresh ginger) into very fine bits. You could use a blender for this, but I just knifed through it because I like to cut things up. I used about a 4:4:1 ratio of cilantro: green onion: ginger. I mixed this into the rice once it has finished cooking (in the rice cooker, of course), using about 2 tablespoons of herb mixture to 1 cup of cooked rice. That’s it.  

It was nice – not too salty but not bland – and I liked the look of the greenish specks. Next time, though, I would use much less ginger, or just omit it. I love ginger, but it was a little too much zing for this rice, and I had wanted to taste more of the cilantro and green onions instead. (It’s probably fine if ginger-rice was what you were after though.) Definitely worth a second try and some further experimentation with different ingredients. I have a few ideas brewing in my head…

Back in the day: 出前一丁 (instant noodle) lunches

I was digging through some old pictures and found this, which made me chuckle. Back when I didn’t know how to cook, this was one of my favorite snacks/lunches to make in a jiffy: instant noodles cooked with an egg broken and poached right in the soup, topped with some cha siu (barbequed pork), soy chicken… and maybe some tomato wedges when I’m feeling healthy. I used to go through boxes after boxes of Nissin 出前一丁instant noodles: When I was in school I’d have an instant noodle a day, every day, as a snack. It’s probably the first thing and the only thing I could “cook” well back then. I haven’t eaten any since this picture, which was two years ago. Looks pretty satisfying though. Still makes me shake my head and chuckle. 😄

Instant noodles

Instant, easy.

Spicy Udon with Chicken and Garlic Sprouts

Sobaya Spelt Udon

Spelt Udon

I came across these organic Spelt noodles from Sobaya at a specialty food store. They call it Spelt “udon”, but these aren’t thick like udon. They’re more like linguine to me. (In addition to udon, Sobaya also makes Spelt or Kamut ramen, which also contain buckwheat flour.) Anyway, I decided to cook some for lunch.

I used some shredded, left over chicken and fresh garlic sprouts (蒜心). These sprouts are really garlicky. A bit chive-like, but with more body and crunch, as they are not hollow inside. If you cannot stand garlic, stay away! Garlic sprouts will aromatize your kitchen enough to fight off a band of vampires.

Garlic Chives

Garlic Sprouts

 

I was going to do a udon in soup, but since these aren’t like typically fat udon I decided to omit the soup. I could immediately recognize the slight nutty smell of Spelt after cooking the noodles for a bit, but it was really quite subtle and wasn’t that apparent afterwards. Although the noodles are thin like pasta, they do have more of a soft, udon consistency. So I could imagine them to be much more udon-like if they were perhaps four times thicker. 

Spelt udon with chicken and chives

All in all, a satisfying lunch that took hardly any time to prepare.

Recipe follows…

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Lazy house chow fan.

I find chow fan (Chinese fried rice) to be a most boring of dishes. Maybe it’s the Asian in me that feels like it’s a bit of a cop-out kind of dish: It’s something you throw together with whatever you can find for a meal because you don’t have the time or want to make the effort. Everything will taste great together in fried rice. Fresh ingredients not required. In fact, it’s the best way to get rid of left-overs. (Perhaps that’s why I always stay away from fried rice dishes at Chinese restaurants.) I guess it at least makes for a decent packed-lunch when reheated the next day.

Here’s my Lazy House Chow Fan:

My house fried rice

Recipe follows.

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