Category Archives: Asian

Grilled Thai Turmeric Chicken


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrilled Thai Turmeric Chicken

If you ever wanted to know what my top ten favorite spices or herbs were, turmeric would definitely be on that list.  I love cooking with turmeric.  Turmeric’s vibrant yellow color and earthy, pungent and ginger like flavor marries so nicely with dishes that contain chicken, beef, eggs, tofu, vegetables and rice.  For those who are unfamiliar with this spice, turmeric can be purchased in either dried or in fresh rhizome form.


Notice the bright yellow color of ground turmeric?  Next time, be sure to add a few teaspoons to your favorite stir fry!


When selecting fresh turmeric, be sure to look for unbruised, firm, and smooth skinned rhizomes.  Fresh turmeric packs more flavor that dried. However, dried turmeric is much more common and easier to find.  There’s no shame in using dried turmeric.  I buy mine in bulk all the time.

My Grilled Thai Turmeric Chicken is an easy to make yet, an exotic tasting dish. It’s made with succulent boneless skinless chicken thighs marinated overnight in a fragrant turmeric spice blend with sweet brown sugar, coriander, garlic, white pepper, fish and soy sauces.  I like to serve it alongside a scoop or two of fluffy white rice and some thinly sliced cucumbers.  It’s simply delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 5 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs

Add all of the ingredients to a covered container and refrigerate the chicken mixture at least four hours or overnight.  Toss the chicken on a medium hot barbecue grill or grill pan and discard the marinade.  Be watchful of the chicken, turning occasionally, being careful not to burn. Cook until the juices run clear or the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes 8 servings.

Indonesian Grilled Chicken


If you are looking for a simple to make and yet an exotic tasting way to prepare chicken, then you are in for a real treat.  Indonesian grilled chicken is also called Ayam panggang or ayam bakar.  There are so many versions of it, ranging from sticky and sweet, to hot and spicy.  My version of Indonesian Grilled Chicken tends to be on the sweet side, for my chicken is marinated in sweet Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, garlic, coriander, turmeric and white pepper. It’s similar to my chicken satay recipe but without all the fuss of chopping and threading the meat onto bamboo skewers.  It’s super easy to make and tastes fantastic!  Serve with a scoop or two of steamed white rice, sliced cucumber and for those who love fiery food, add a teaspoon or two of sambal oelek in the marinade or serve it on the side.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/8 cup Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 – 2 tsps. ground turmeric
  • 1 – 2 tsps. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. or one clove minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. water (optional, to thin marinade)
  • 2 tsp. sambal oelek (optional)

Add all of the ingredients to a covered container and refrigerate the chicken mixture at least four hours or overnight.  Toss the chicken on a medium hot barbecue grill and discard the marinade.  Be watchful of the chicken, turning occasionally, being careful not to burn. Cook until the juices run clear or the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes 4 servings.

Spicy Teriyaki Sauce


The year 2013 is quickly coming to a close and I wanted stop and say hello and squeeze in one last recipe for the year.  For so many dumb reasons, 2013 has not been the best year for me and frankly, I really look forward to a clean slate in 2014.  You know, you just have to realize that some years are just like that.  We’ve all had those years. Unfortunately, it is what it is. By late spring of this past year, I knew that I had to just had to put my head down, grit my teeth and push through it. And I did. It was hard. I endured a few bumps and bruises, spilled a few tears but I made it through 2013 in one piece and with my chin held high. This next year I plan on devoting more time to my blog, taking a much needed fly away tropical vacation with Bruce and most importantly, focus on simplifying my life. Oh, and I really would like to take a photography class…  Sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it?

Last week, I was thinking about making a batch of teriyaki sauce for some grilled salmon that I wanted to prepare later on in the work week.  This time, I wanted to prepare something different than the usual (but, delicious) teriyaki sauce that I make for my family.  I wanted a sauce that was sweet, spicy and packed a bit of heat.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce turned out to be just the ticket.  It’s great drizzled over grilled chicken, fish, tofu or beef.  For even more flavor, marinate your protein ingredients in the Spicy Teriyaki Sauce prior to tossing on the grill.  Maybe even use it in stir fried vegetables or noodles.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce is super simple to make and tastes delicious!  With that said, I hope that you will have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add more garlic chili sauce if desired.  Place over medium low heat, cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour in a clean airtight container.  Store refrigerated for up two weeks.  Makes about 2 cups.

Egg Drop Soup


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love it when the leaves on the deciduous trees in my neighborhood turn canary yellow, fiery orange and bright red.  Fresh picked apples, pears and pumpkins are some of the last crops sold at the local farmers markets as the late summer harvest winds down.  Remnants of my little garden will be tossed in a compost bin and added back to the soil next year.  Seeds will be saved.  Pots need to be scrubbed and cleaned and tomato cages need to be stacked.  In a few short months, the seed catalogs for next year will be in my mailbox.  Can you believe it?  I’m already planning next year’s garden.


On the flip side, fall marks the beginning of the cold and flu season.  People walking around with sniffles and barking coughs become increasingly noticeable.  At the grocery store, over the counter cold remedies and boxes of tissue seem to fly off the store shelves.  Hand sanitizer and constant hand washing does help in the prevention of colds but, sometimes there’s no avoiding it.  Once you got it, you’ve got it.  We’ve all had it.  Unfortunately, most of the time, you just have to let it simply run its course…


One of my favorite dishes to prepare while dealing with the common cold is Egg Drop Soup.  My Egg Drop Soup is similar to what you may find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.  My Egg Drop Soup is slightly different for I like to add finely chopped carrots, celery and use galangal root instead of ginger.  It’s easy to prepare, mild in flavor and has a wonderful soul soothing chicken soup like quality about it.  I love curling up on the couch with a good book and wrapping my hands around a warm little cup of my Egg Drop Soup.  Egg Drop Soup certainly won’t cure your cold but it may help you feel just a little bit better.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 quart chicken stock (reserve 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (chopped fine)
  • 1 slice dried galangal root
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 Tbs cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (optional)
  • chives or green onion for garnish

In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat add 3 cups chicken stock, celery, carrot, galangal, and white pepper.  Bring to a slow boil.  Cook until the celery and carrots are tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.  In a small bowl lightly beat eggs.

Now, grab a spoon and stir the boiling soup in a single direction.  Slowly add the egg mixture to the soup stirring gently.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove galangal root.  Add soy sauce if desired and garnish with chopped chives or green onions.  Makes about 4 – 1 cup servings.

Lemon Cucumbers and Peanut Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALemon Cucumbers and Peanut Sauce

I’m curious…  Have you ever heard of or seen lemon cucumbers before?  The reason that I ask is that I have to tell you that lemon cucumbers are my all time favorite variety of cucumber.  Every year I grow one or two plants in my little garden and for about 4 months during the summer, I get big handfuls of tennis ball sized sweet little cucumbers.  This year, due to lack of garden space, I had to grow my lemon cucumber plants in a pot.  They did surprisingly well and I will be sure to try that method again next year.

One of the ways I like to eat lemon cucumbers is to slice them into thin slices and dip them into a creamy homemade peanut sauce.  I could eat lemon cucumbers and peanut sauce all day if I could… I first was introduced to peanut sauce by my grandmother many years ago.  She always seemed to have a small bowl of peanut sauce on the table at family barbecues and meals.  I loved to drizzle it on many Indonesian dishes such as pork satay, nasi goreng and gado gado.   Many years later, I’ve taken peanut sauce a step further and put it on pizza, tofu tacos and turkey burgers.  Peanut sauce is so versatile and delicious!


Lemon cucumbers resemble lemons with the yellow color and oval shape.  What I like about lemon cucumbers is that you don’t have to peel them for the skin is paper thin and you can eat them like an apple.  After picking them, you will notice that the cucumbers have a bit of a rough exterior.  All I do is wash them well and rub off the small little stickers or spines with a damp cloth that grow on the outer skin of the cucumber.   Once cleaned up, the skin is smooth and the cucumber is ready to eat.  Lemon cucumbers are delightfully mild and delicious.  Lemon cucumbers have a short shelf life as compared to the green cucumbers that you see in the store.  Once picked you have to eat them within a day or two.  Maybe that is why they are hard to find except if you grow them yourself or visit a farmers market.  Lemon cucumbers taste great sliced up in salads, on sandwiches or in a pickle.  If you get a chance to purchase or grow lemon cucumbers, be sure to make some of my peanut sauce for dipping!  Enjoy!  Tessa



  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 Tbls. sweet chili sauce
  • regular soy sauce (optional, to taste)
  • sambal oelek or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Lemon cucumbers (regular cucumbers can be substituted)

Grab a medium sauce pan or saucier.  Find a whisk.  Add all ingredients to the pan and cook on low heat for 20 – 30 minutes, whisking constantly.  You want the flavors to marry and the sauce to thicken.  Taste it.  If it is too sweet for your liking, add some soy sauce.  If you want it spicier, feel free to add some sambal oelek or some red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat and let it cool.  Pour into a serving dish.  While preparing the peanut sauce, wash and slice the cucumbers.  Serve cucumbers with the peanut sauce.  Makes nearly 1 1/2 cups.

Snow Pea Slaw


Early this morning, barely after finishing my cup of coffee, I grabbed my metal pail off the pot rack and headed straight out the back door to my little garden…  My reason?  My snow peas are finally ready to pick!  Every spring I plant snow peas in March and by mid May I have plenty to add to stir fries and salads.  Sometimes, I may even have extra to share with family and friends.  Snow peas prefer cool wet weather and by the time summer rolls around, they stop producing and the vines quickly wither away.


My favorite variety of snow pea is the Oregon Sugar Pod II.  It’s a hardy variety of snow pea and is fairly resistant to pests and disease.  It’s a prolific producer of beautiful 3 – 4 inch long pods that taste wonderful raw or cooked.


This year I planted my snow peas in large pots and I supported them with tomato cages.  Once the snow peas are done for the year, I swap the peas out for my favorite heirloom tomato plants.  Growing below the snow peas are edible yellow pansy blossoms.  Behind the peas in the raised boxes are some newly planted heirloom tomatoes.


Snow peas climb using their tendrils…  Tendrils grow quickly and wrap around anything that will support them.


The beautiful white pea flowers quickly produce tender green pods.  Within a couple of days, this pod will be ready to pick.  Sometimes my snow peas never make it into the kitchen.  They taste delicious right off the vine!

A few feet away from my garden I planted some giant allium bulbs.


The round purple flowers are just stunning!  They grow over three feet tall and bloom from May through June.  This is the third year that the allium bulbs have bloomed.  I hope they come back and bloom again for us next year.


While I was picking the snow peas, I noticed that some of my purple cabbage was ready to harvest.  I planted only 6 heads of cabbage this year but I am starting to think that it was a bit much…  Fortunately, cabbage has a fairly long shelf life in the refrigerator as compared to other vegetables such as lettuce and spinach.  I picked the largest head and thought it would be wonderful in a Snow Pea Slaw.

My Snow Pea Slaw is a fresh combination of snow peas, purple cabbage and an Asian inspired sesame dressing.  It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/4 pound snow peas
  • 1/4 pound purple cabbage
  • 1/8 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds (I used black and white mixed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 – 5 drops sesame oil (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Begin by slicing your snow peas lengthwise into this strips.  To make the process go faster, stack two or three snow peas on top of each other and then slice.  Set aside.  Thinly slice the purple cabbage into similar sized pieces as the snow peas.  Add cabbage to snow peas in a medium sized bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the canola oil, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper.  Add dressing to the snow pea and cabbage mixture.  Mix well and serve.  Makes approximately 2 – servings.  Keep refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Grilled Steelhead Trout


Now that the spring in Southern Oregon is in full force and the weather is warm, I prefer to prepare many of our meals outside on the backyard barbecue.  Our barbecue sits out on the back deck only a few short steps from the kitchen.  When barbecuing meals for our family, I simply roll the barbecue in front of the sliding glass door so I can easily keep an eye on the grill temperature and quickly deal with any flare ups as they may occur.

During the work week, I often cook fish for dinner for Bruce and myself.  I love to cook fish because it is quick, easy, healthy and most importantly, we both enjoy it.  What I enjoy about living in Southern Oregon is that we have access to some really great species of fish. For local fish, Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, bass and steelhead top the list. If we take a short drive west to the Oregon Coast, we have access to ling cod, tuna, and snapper fresh from the ocean.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABear Creek earlier this spring….

Bear Creek is a tributary of the Rogue River here in Southern Oregon.  Bear Creek runs through the middle of the Rogue Valley and during certain times of the year, you can actually see salmon and steelhead making their journey back from the ocean to their spawning grounds a few miles upstream.  Bear Creek is home to many species of plants and animals including otters, beavers, ducks, and turtles.

Of all the fish that I cook for my family, steelhead is one of my favorite fish to prepare.  Steelhead trout lead a different lifestyle as compared to the other species of trout that inhabit our local creeks, lakes and reservoirs.  It’s an anadromous fish and that means it is born in the fresh water, spends most of its life in the salt water ocean and returns later in life back to the fresh water stream where it was born to spawn.

My Grilled Steelhead Trout is simple to prepare and perfect for a busy weekday meal.  Steelhead trout is similar in texture and taste to salmon.  Just marinate the fresh fillets in a homemade teriyaki sauce, toss on the grill and within minutes dinner is done. Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 12-16 ounce steelhead fillet (use salmon if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and skin the steelhead fillet. Cut the fish into large serving sized pieces.  Marinate the fish in teriyaki sauce for at least 1/2 hour.  Heat up the barbecue and lightly oil the grates.  Place fillets on hot barbecue.  If you don’t have a barbecue, that’s okay…  Feel free to prepare the fish on a grill pan on your stove or broil it in your oven. Cook for only a few minutes, flipping fish only once.  Fish is done when it begins to flake with a fork.  Be sure to not over cook.  Remove from heat, drizzle with teriyaki sauce and serve.  Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.


Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry


Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry

I was so thrilled to have my son come home from school to visit last weekend.  I don’t see him too often but we do skype or email to keep in touch. I like using skype because I can actually see him while we talk but sometimes the quality of the connection can be poor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining…  I simply prefer talk to someone in person than use technology to do it.  Good or bad, having a face to face conversation beats a phone or email converstation hands down.

Whenever my son is home he can always bet on home cooked meals surrounded by friends and family.  No sandwiches, pizza, frozen dinners or anything that bears the slightest resemblance of college student food.  I can’t say that I blame him.  I would feel the exact same way.  I know because, I walked in those same shoes many years ago.

I made my Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry for a quick lunch as my son was packing his bags to go back up to the University.  It’s made with chicken, ramen noodles and a large handful of chopped pak choi fresh picked from my garden.  Pak choi is an Asian variety of green leaf vegetable similar to cabbage or turnips.  It cooks quickly and lends a wonderful flavor and texture to many Asian dishes.


Pak Choi growing in my garden.  I planted two varieties of this Asian leafy vegetable, a small purple leaf Pak Choi and a large white Bok Choy.


Bok choy.  This grows more than twice the size of the pac choi.  It is also slower to bolt.

Pak choi or bok choy can be found in many grocery stores and at farmer’s markets.  It’s a cool weather crop so it’s more likely to be found in the fall, winter and spring months.  My Chicken Pak Choi Stir Fry takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.  What I like about it is that It’s inexpensive and a great option for a quick lunch or weekday dinner.  My son liked it and I hope that you do too!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 package ramen noodles
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/4 onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 large handful of Pak Choi (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Indonesian soy sauce or Kecap Manis
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Begin by boiling 2 cups of water in a sauce pan.  Add ramen noodles.  Save the seasoning packet for another day.  Cook ramen for only for three minutes.  Remove from heat, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, bring a wok or large fry pan to medium high heat.  Add canola oil.  Now add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion is transluscent (about a minute or two).  Add cooked chicken, ramen noodles, pak choi and Indonesian soy sauce.  Cook another few minutes until the chicken has heated through and the pak choi has wilted.  Don’t over cook.   Remove from flame and serve.  Makes one serving.

Teriyaki Chicken


Teriyaki Chicken

While digging through one of my mother’s old cookbooks a while back, I found this gem of a recipe.  It was handwritten on the back cover by my mother and is one of the dishes that I remembered as a child.  This recipe came from a woman named Kay who worked with my mother at a furniture factory over thirty years ago.  Kay’s teriyaki chicken is without a doubt one of my most favorite all time dishes.  I like to serve it with steamed jasmine rice and a crunchy Asian Cucumber salad.  I adapted Kay’s recipe by adding a little bit of cornstarch and removing the Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate).  Enjoy!  Tessa



  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 – 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

To make the teriyaki chicken, marinate chicken in a cup of the teriyaki sauce for several hours in the refrigerator. Place chicken on barbecue or indoor grill and cook until juices run clear or reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Throw away the marinade, don’t even think about reusing it.  Remove chicken from grill and let rest for about five minutes.  Slice chicken and serve with jasmine rice.  Drizzle chicken with teriyaki sauce (don’t use the same the teriyaki sauce that you marinaded the chicken in) and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Thai Tofu Tacos

Thai Tofu Tacos

A few months ago I offered to write a guest post for “Choc Chip Uru” at a website called GoBakeYourself.  I was thrilled when she accepted because Choc Chip Uru is a wonderfully talented young food blogger from Australia who loves to bake and make some insanely delicious desserts!

I asked Uru what she would like me to prepare for her and she suggested that I make something savory vegetarian.  In my opinion, I’m not much of an accomplished dessert maker, so the first thing that came to mind was Thai Tofu Tacos.   My Thai Tofu tacos are quick and easy to make and perfect for a busy weekday dinner.  They are vibrant in color, crunchy in texture and judging from their taste, you would not know that they are actually good for you!

Many thanks to Uru for allowing me to be do a guest post on her site!   Her enthusiasm for food, baking and desserts is simply a joy to behold. I enjoy subscribing to her site, reading her comments and most of all, her delicious recipes.  Thank you Uru!  Those who have not met Uru yet, please stop by her site, say hello and most of all, subscribe to her website.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Few drops of sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 small tortillas (warmed)
  • 8 lime wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce for drizzling (optional, it’s spicy!)
  • Chopped peanuts for garnish (optional)

Begin by draining the tofu and placing it between some paper towels for about 15 minutes to pull out some of the moisture.  Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch or 1 cm pieces.  Meanwhile, whisk together in a bowl, peanut butter, water, garlic paste, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and sesame oil.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Add water if you need to.  This is the sauce for the tofu.  Set aside.

Shred the carrots.

Thinly slice your cabbage.

Chop the cilantro.

Slice the limes into wedges.

Grab a medium sized bowl and mix together carrots, cabbage cilantro, and green onions.  Add lime juice and a few drops of sesame oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Lightly toss.  This is the topping for the soft tacos.  Set aside.

Place a nonstick skillet on the stove and heat to medium high heat.  Add canola oil.  Add tofu and cook until it’s a light golden color.  Add sauce to tofu.  Cook for about a minute or two or until heated through.  You’ll notice that it thickens up real quick.  Remove from heat.

Divide tofu mixture between 8 warm tortillas.  Add the cabbage and carrot mixture, fold in half, drizzle with the optional Sriracha sauce and sprinkle with peanuts and serve with a lime wedge.  Makes 8 vegetarian Thai Tofu Tacos.  Enjoy!  Tessa