Category Archives: Asian

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay.  Now close your eyes and repeat after me.  Saa-taay…  While you are saying it, just imagine hot, juicy, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken on bamboo skewers drizzled with peanut sauce.  Close your eyes and say it again.  Saa-taay…

Did I just catch you drooling?

If you have never had satay before, satay is an amazingly flavorful barbecued dish that is generally of Southeast Asian origin.  It is prepared with many different ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb, fish, pork, goat and even tofu.  One of my favorite ways to prepare satay is with chicken.  I like to use bits of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated for several hours in coconut milk, Indonesian soy sauce and a variety of spices.  I then thread the chicken on to the skewers and cook them on the barbecue.

I like to serve my Chicken Satay with my homemade peanut sauce or drizzled with sweet chili sauce or sriracha.  I also serve it with a scoops of fluffy jasmine rice and fresh sliced cool cucumbers for garnish.  I also make sure that there’s plenty of sambal oelek on the side for those who love fiery hot food.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.  Once the marinade has been blended, add the chicken and toss well to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Take 10 -12 bamboo skewers and soak completely in water while the chicken is marinating.  Soaking the skewers in water prevents the skewers from burning off while the satay cooks on the barbecue.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and cook on medium hot barbecue or grill pan until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Do not brush it on the chicken while cooking and do not even think about reusing it.  Pay attention and turn your skewers occasionally for even cooking.  Be sure not to over cook or under cook the satay.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.

“Stove Top” Baked Beans

“Stove Top” Baked Beans

Late yesterday afternoon Bruce and I were invited to a backyard barbecue at my sister’s home with family and friends.  We never go to somebody’s home empty handed so I offered to make some Baked Beans to share.  My sister made pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw so the Baked Beans were a perfect addition to the feast.  We socialized with friends, played bean bag toss games and competed ferociously at foos ball for hours.  We all had a wonderful time!

I had only a couple of hours to prepare the beans so I thought I’d cook them in a dutch oven on the stove rather than firing up the oven.  And I am pleased to say that the stove top method worked.  My “Stove Top” Baked Beans were delicious and I completely sold out by the end of the evening.  My Baked Beans are an interesting combination of black beans, great northern beans and little sweet aduki beans.  They are similar to a Southern Style Baked Beans but with a distinct Asian flair.  Instead of molasses, I used sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce.  I also added zesty Sriracha and floral scented Szechuan pepper for a bold and unique flavor.  These beans tasted so good that the “carnivores” in the crowd had no idea that the beans were vegan too!  Makes 12 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can great northern beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can aduki beans (drained)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha sauce
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Begin by grabbing a dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid.  Heat dutch oven on stove with a medium flame and add canola oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent or about 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, turn stove down to low and cook partially covered for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally.  Add water if the beans are too thick, or remove the lid and cook longer if the mixture is too thin for your liking.  Taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes 1 1/2 quarts or 12 servings of “Stove Top” Baked Beans.

Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad

Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad

When I got home from work this evening, I stopped at my little garden on the side of our home to see what I could gather for our dinner tonight.  I was surprised to see that my broccoli was ready to pick and that I had a bunch of sugar snap peas on the vines.  The cool wet weather we have had lately here in Southern Oregon has been perfect for my little garden!

Broccoli growing in the garden…

I’ve never been really successful at growing broccoli until this year.  The broccoli heads were beautiful and I did not have any problems with aphids.  I grow everything in my garden organically without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilizers.  We compost as much of our kitchen scraps as possible and I rotate the plants every year.  I believe that growing organic vegetables is better for you and tastes so much better than chemically treated vegetables.

Fresh picked broccoli

I found it interesting that the broccoli florets that I picked were not as dense or tightly packed as you would see with store bought broccoli.  I’m not really sure why.  Maybe it was the variety that I planted.  Regardless, the broccoli tasted amazingly fresh and delicious!

With my fresh picked broccoli and sugar snap peas I decided to make an Asian inspired Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad.  My Sesame Broccoli Snap Pea Salad has fresh crunchy red bell pepper, bright red onions, sweet shredded carrots and tossed with a sweet and tangy sesame seed vinaigrette.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 8 ounces broccoli florets (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas (cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 Tbs Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
  • 1 Tbs each black and white sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Prepare your vegetables and set aside.  Grab a 4 quart pot, fill with water and add a big pinch of salt.  Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.  Get another bowl and fill with ice cubes and water.  Add broccoli to boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to ice water to stop cooking.  Do the same with the sugar snap peas but cook only 1 minute.

Drain broccoli and snap peas and add to a mixing bowl.  Add remaining vegetables.  Grab a small bowl and whisk together the canola oil, Mirin, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, honey, garlic paste, salt and white pepper.  Add to vegetable mixture and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup

With all the warm weather we have been having here in Southern Oregon, my little garden is going nuts…  Just a few weeks ago, I planted some bok choy starts and in no time I am completely inundated with bok choy.  As I would say, I have “enough to choke a goat”.  The problem is that there are just the two of us in the home and what do we do when all the heads of bok choy need to be harvested at the same time?  Well, first of all, share with friends, family and neighbors.  Second, share with coworkers.  Third, I start cooking everything I possibly can with bok choy!

For those who do not know what bok choy is, this is what it looks like.  Bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage. It has a wonderful delicate flavor and goes great in stir-fries, soups and main dishes.  I love it because it is easy to grow and it’s super low in calories.  It has crunchy white stalks and beautifully flavored green leaves.

While picking bok choy in my garden this afternoon, I took my camera with me to photograph some of the beautiful plants in my yard.  This is a photo of a red Japanese maple tree.  We have a several Japanese maples planted around our koi pond.  They are without a doubt, my favorite specie of deciduous tree.

Next to my kitchen window I have an arbor covered in tiny pink roses.  I believe they are called “Cecile Brunner”.  You would not know it from the photo but the plant is twenty feet tall and covered with hundreds of blooms!  It’s just gorgeous!

On the back patio I have a big pot of Sweet William flowers.  Sweet William are adorable little biennials that are fragrant and look wonderful cut and placed in vases.  I like the bright pink color and the jagged edges on the petals.

After photographing plants in my yard, I harvested a few heads of bok choy.  One of the heads of bok choy was going straight into a light and tasty Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup for my lunch.  The other head of bok choy that I picked will be used in a dish for tomorrow’s dinner.

Next time you have an abundance of bok choy, be sure to try my Bok Choy Shiitake Mushroom Soup.  It’s light, flavorful and really easy to make.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 4 cups bok choy (chopped)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Szechuan pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 6-8 drops sesame oil (use sparingly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chopped chives for garnish

In a large pan cook onion and canola oil on medium low.  Stir constantly until onion is opaque.  Add remaining ingredients except sesame oil, salt and pepper.  Cook until shiitakes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives.


Spicy Watermelon Salad

Spicy Watermelon Salad

I just love hot and spicy food.  I can’t even think of even one hot and spicy dish that I don’t like.  Whenever I go to a restaurant and I have the option of choosing the heat level of my food I almost always choose 9 out of a scale of 1 to 10.  1 on the scale means very mild.  10 on the other hand, means it will burn a hole in the sidewalk.  I generally choose a 9 because I still want to be able to taste my food :).

Every time I order hot and spicy food, my sweet husband Bruce looks at me as if I am completely out of my mind.  I look back, smile at him and think to myself that mild food is not an option.  He should know me by now.  I warned him about this little detail many years ago.

Sambal Oelek

If you don’t know or never have heard of sambal oelek before, sambal oelek is an extremely hot (and delicious) Asian chili pepper paste.  Sambal oelek is always a staple our refrigerator and I could not even imagine doing without.  Sambal oelek is not for the faint of heart or is something that you can pack in your child’s lunch.  Simply put, sambal oelek is a delicious condiment that is to be respected.

My Spicy Watermelon Salad is made with bright red watermelon, spicy sambal oelek, sweet chili sauce, sour tamarind paste and lime juice.  It’s easy to make and only contains 5 ingredients.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 4 cups watermelon balls (seedless)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs  sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)

Begin by grabbing a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together the lime juice, sweet chili sauce, tamarind paste and sambal oelek.  Taste and correct your heat level.  Using a melon ball tool, make 4 cups of melon balls.  Add watermelon balls to your sauce.  Toss to coat.  Chill the salad if necessary.  Makes 4 – 1 cup servings.


Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad

During the busy work week I try to make dishes that are quick and easy.  My Asian Cucumber Salad is one of those side dishes that I make quite often for my family at dinner hour.  Cucumbers are always a staple in my refrigerator and it’s extremely rare that I don’t have any in stock in the vegetable drawer.  In the summer months I always plant cucumbers in my little garden so I can just go out the back door and pick whatever I need for the family meal.

My Asian Cucumber Salad is super simple to make and ridiculously quick to prepare.  I use a mandolin to slice my cucumbers thinly and perfectly.  If you don’t have a mandolin, I seriously suggest you get one.  My Asian Cucumber Salad is bright, light, and fat free.  The Ponzu and sweet chili sauce makes my Asian Cucumber Salad pop with flavor.  Serve alongside grilled chicken or beef and a scoop of warm fluffy jasmine rice.  Makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 cups English cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbs Lime Ponzu (lime flavored soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbs Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • garnish with fresh snipped chives and toasted sesame seeds

Toss all ingredients into a bowl.  Lightly mix.  Refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes or until well chilled.  Garnish with chives and sesame seeds.

Guava Chicken


Guava Chicken

My son called me the other day just to gently point out to me that I did not live up to my promise to post easy recipes that he could make in his slow cooker while he studying at the university.   During our conversation he asked me to come up with something Asian inspired that he can toss together quickly and serve with jasmine rice.  My slow cooker Guava Chicken is just the ticket.  It’s easy to make, tender and flavorful.  Not to mention, I assembled the ingredients in about 10 minutes.

My slow cooked Guava Chicken is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, guava jelly, Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, garlic and rice vinegar.  It’s sweet, tangy and has just the right amount of spice.  Next time you find some guava jelly at your favorite grocery store, buy some and make this.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup guava jelly
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chives

In a slow cooker, add the chicken.  In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the garnishes.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for about 4-6 hours or until fork tender.  Taste your seasonings, correct and serve with fluffy jasmine rice.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chives.  Serves about 4.

Teriyaki Blue Marlin Skewers

Grilled Teriyaki Blue Marlin Skewers

Our family eats a lot of fresh fish for dinner at our home.  So, it’s not unusual for me to prepare fish for my family at least once a week.  Here in Southern Oregon we are fortunate to have fresh local salmon, steelhead, and trout.  We live close to the Oregon Coast so we also have access to fresh red snapper, dungeness crab, ling cod and tuna.  So let me tell you… It’s not too often when my favorite fish counter carries exotic fish such as fresh caught blue marlin!

Fresh Blue Marlin Steak

Whenever I purchase fish, I make sure that the clerk behind the seafood counter lets me smell the fish before I purchase it.  I used to be shy and embarrassed when I asked to do that but not anymore…  Nothing makes me madder than spending ten dollars a pound on fish, taking it home and opening the package only to find that it is not fresh.  Trust me… I’m confident that the seafood counter clerk would rather see me quietly and politely refuse to purchase the fish on the spot than to see me back in the store a couple of hours later with a bad attitude and stinky fish in hand.  A lot of people I know will not eat fish because they say it tastes “fishy” and strong…  Well, I say duh!  Fresh fish is not supposed to be that way!  Preparing a meal with fresh fish is quick, easy and tastes great!

Spiny scales on the skin of the Blue Marlin

My Teriyaki Blue Marlin Skewers are wonderfully exotic and easy to make.  If you have never had Blue Marlin before, you will find that it is a dense meaty fish that can be grilled, skewered or fried.  You can use fresh tuna, shark or any other firm fleshed fish when making this dish.  Serve with a scoop of jasmine rice and cucumber salad.  Serves about 6 – 8 people.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 3/4 pounds Blue Marlin Steaks
  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup Mirin
  • 2 Tbs white sugar
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • juice of one lime

Begin by trimming the Blue Marlin Steaks.  Remove any skin.  Be careful because I found that the skin has sharp spines!  Cut the fish into one inch cubes.  Set aside.   Soak 16 – 20 bamboo skewers in water.  Soaking the skewers prevents the bamboo from burning on the barbeque grill.

Whisk together in a saucepan the light soy sauce, Mirin, sugar, cornstarch and lime juice.  Heat on stove to a boil and remove immediately.  Let cool completely.  Add half of teriyaki sauce to the bowl of fish.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about a half an hour.  When ready to grill, place fish cubes on 10″ bamboo skewers, 4 – 5 cubes at a time.  Grill on your barbeque or indoor grill about 3-4 minutes per side or to your liking.  I prefer the fish to be cooked medium rare.  Brush with remaining teriyaki sauce and serve with lime wedges.  Makes 16 skewers.

Spicy Strawberry Salad

Spicy Strawberry Salad

Many people when they think of strawberries they conjure up images of sugar and spice and everything nice…  I don’t.  When I think of strawberries, I think of them as the sassy little bad girls of the fruit world.  Of course strawberries are pretty and sweet however, they are feisty enough to stand up to hot and spicy flavors like nobody’s business.  Strawberries are cool…

My Spicy Strawberry Salad is reminiscent of an Indonesian hot fruit salad also known as Rudjak Manis.  My Spicy Strawberry Salad is made with fresh picked sweet juicy strawberries tossed with fiery sambal oelek, sweet Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, tamarind, and brown sugar.  If you have wimpy friends, you can control the heat by adding less sambal oelek.  Next time you pick or purchase a pound of fresh strawberries, try this easy to make exotic salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, cored and sliced
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (chili pepper paste)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbs water

In a bowl whisk together the sambal oelek, brown sugar, ginger, tamarind and water.  Add the strawberries.  Toss to coat and refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavors marry.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  If you don’t like it too hot, then use less sambal oelek.  Makes 4 servings.

Asian Slaw

Asian Slaw

I can’t even believe it… I completely forgot that I bought a head of purple cabbage late last week and I went ahead and purchased another one yesterday.  That’s not usually a problem but there’s just the two of us living in the house now.  Bruce does not know it yet but we are going to be eating an unusually large amount of purple cabbage in the next week.  I guess it’s time for me to start getting creative and make tasty dishes so he does not notice my little mishap that occurred in the produce section yesterday…

Unlike my sweet husband, I love purple cabbage.  It’s brightly colored and adds interest to many dishes.  However, in my opinion, purple cabbage is one of those vegetables that is best served raw.  Once cooked, the purple cabbage seems to lose its gorgeous color.  So, that’s why I believe that purple cabbage does best in chopped up in salads or shredded in a slaw.  My Asian Slaw is a perfect application for that beautifully colored cabbage.  I like to toss freshly shredded purple cabbage with bright orange carrots, crunchy snow peas and a tangy Asian dressing that has a hint of peanut butter and sweet chili sauce.  My Asian Slaw is quick and easy to make and my Asian dressing can easily be used as a salad dressing or a marinade.  Word of advice, do what I should have done the next time you go to the grocery store…Make a list.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/4 pound purple cabbage (sliced thin)
  • 1/8 pound carrots (sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1/8 pound snow peas (sliced thin on the bias)
  • 2 Tbs Asian Dressing (see below)
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro

Begin by making the Asian Dressing and set aside.  Prepare your vegetables and place in a mixing bowl.  Add dressing to taste, toss to coat well.  Garnish with fresh cilantro.  Serve immediately.  Makes 2 gorgeous salads.

Asian Dressing

In a small bowl mix whisk together the following ingredients.  Store in refrigerator in a jar with a tight fitting lid for about a week.  Makes about 3/4 cup of a zesty salad dressing. Shake well before using.  Enjoy!

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/8 cup mirin (sweet wine)
  • 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • juice of 1/2 lime