Being forced to cook without oil makes one realize that it is often unnecessary. This is a hard habit to break simply because sauteing seems to be how most dishes are started, no matter if it’s a soup or a casserole or a stew that’s simmered for 3 hours. Garlic, onions and vegetables are always inevitably sauteed in oil before anything else is done. Especially in Asian cuisine, stir-fried dishes seem to be a staple, as is the use of oil.
We made this fajita without frying and without adding any oil or flavoring other than that provided by its ingredients.
Chicken fajita topped with salsa, cilantro, black beans, avocado on a tomato wrap.
Chicken, peppers and onions on a cast iron skillet
We found that more often than not, the sauteing ingredients (commonly onions, peppers, garlic) produce their own flavored liquid which adds to the complexity of the sauce or stew. Continue reading
One evening at a friend’s house, a friend of theirs named Fanny magically appeared with a whole fish in a brown bag. After a few minutes in the oven and stirring up a fragrant mixture in a pan, she came up with this simple but sumptuous fish dish that we’ve tried to replicate since. Below is a recipe for the fish as well as a made-up cold noodle dish that I’m sure is a mockery of someone’s Asian sensibilities. Tough.
Fanny’s Ginger Fish
In a greased glass baking dish, bake one whole fish covered in foil at 400C. Bake for 15-20 minutes then remove promptly. While the fish is resting, in a pan saute ginger strips in sesame oil until brown then drizzle with a little bit of Kikkoman Soy Sauce. While hot, pour ginger and oil mixture on top of fish and serve.
Cold Sesame Buckwheat Noodles
In a boiling pot of water add 1-2 servings of buckwheat noodles then turn off the heat. Soak the noodles for five minutes, drain and soak the noodles in cold water until ready to serve. In a separate bowl mix together chopped ginger, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoons white or rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to taste and then serve on the side. Drain noodles well and top noodles with scallions before serving, allowing diners to spoon the sauce over their noodles to their taste.
The problem with making Sesame Shortribs is that the sauce turns out so rich and tasty that you can’t just throw it out even if all the meat is gone. Today I tried to make the little leftover meat a topping for vermicelli along with the sauce. I also sauteed some baby bokchoy as a side and to add color to the dish.
The Sesame Shortribs recipe is here, while the sauteed bokchoy recipe is below:
8-10 bunches baby bokchoy
1 big bunch regular bokchoy
1/2 small white onion
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup water
Saute onions in olive oil until transparent. Add fish sauce, bokchoy and water and cover until cooked, stirring occasionally for even cooking.