Thai Lemongrass and Ginger Dipping Sauce

I thought it was funny the other day while driving my daughter on one of my errands, that when prompting her with the classic ‘what do you think we should have for dinner?’ question, she immediately responded with lettuce wraps and sticky rice. I find that funny because most kids here age would probably say things like pizza, or hot dogs, or burgers. Sticky rice and lettuce wraps. I’m glad my kids not only are able to experience new things that I make for them, but they appreciate and have fun interacting with things like sticky rice.

Anytime I make sticky rice, I always, always make a batch of some type of dipping sauce. Some of my favorites are the Thai shallot sauce, as well as a Thai three sauce, but one dear to my heart is a very simple sauce that is so addictive. It’s the Thai lemongrass dipping sauce.

Thai Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

This sauce is not only great with dipping your sticky rice into, but you can drizzle it on grilled meats, lettuce wraps, and everything in between.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced into a paste
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 whole lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar

Add everything to a small mixing bowl, and let it sit out on your table until you are ready to serve. How to make a Thai Dipping Sauce

 

You could go as simple as the chilies, garlic, lime, and fish sauce and that still makes an awesome sauce, but the addition of the lemongrass and ginger really enhance this sauce. My daughter, who is curious with various chilies, was dipping a bit of her rice into the sauce, and it’s funny when they do explore the reaction on their faces. This was a bit too hot for my youngest, but I have a feeling years from now she will be answering me when I ask what she would like to eat that it is going to be something along the lines of ‘sticky rice with that spicy dipping sauce’.

Hope you enjoy!

 

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Filipino Kare-Kare

I’ve been married to my wife now for a couple of handful of years, and as she is from Filipino descent, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of Filipino cuisine. I’ve tinkered with giniling, adobo, afritada, lechon manok, the torta, chicharrones with rice, lumpia shanghai, and even a take on sisig, but there is one thing I haven’t tried yet, and that is kare-kare.  You see, my father-in-law is from a province from the Philippines known as Papanga, and they are known for their cooking, and one of their traditional dishes is kare-kare.

Kare-kare is essentially a stew, typically made with oxtail, however other variations do exist. Now I’ve purchased oxtail for my father-in-law in the past, typically from my local Mexican supermarket, but I’ve never smelled, nor tasted this authentic Filipino stew. So as I was at the market a few weeks back, I saw some folks buying oxtail in bulk, and that led me to some interest. I moseyed over there and asked how they were going to make those oxtails. They politely said, that they braise them and serve them with vegetables. That sparked that idea of making kare-kare, and that’s when it began.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Let’s get started.

Now, let me state that not only was this awesome, but I got two thumbs up, with almost a bit of a giggle (because it was that good) from my father-in-law. That meant a lot to me. I also would state that you can go a number of different ways with kare-kare, but this was my take on it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs oxtail, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1/2 lb beef tripe, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 10 cups of water
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bundle of snake beans, or green beans cut into 3 inch segments
  • 5 baby bok choy, rinsed
  • 4 baby Asian egg plant, cut in half
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of toasted, ground rice
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp roasted bagoong (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbsp annatto powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding water to a large soup pot. Add in the oxtail, and bring to a boil. When the scum comes to the surface, skim with a large spoon and discard. Continue boiling until all of the scum is removed, about 3 hours or so.

Next add in the tripe, black peppercorns, fish sauce, and bay leaf. Continue to cook at a low boil for about 1 hour, then remove from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for making kare-kare

Now you might be wondering why I put it in the refrigerator overnight. I do this, not only because my mother-in-law recommended it, but I knew that it was going to have fat from the oxtail that would surface, and I wanted to remove that for a cleaner stew.

So the next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the 1 inch hardened fat that surfaced.

Return the stock pot back to the stove, and bring to a medium heat.

The next couple of steps will get you to have a few pans on the stove. Once your stew comes back to a simmer, remove the oxtail from it and place them on a plate.

Next, heat up a small skillet on medium heat, and add in the oil, and the annatto powder. This gives the great color to the kare-kare. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add in the onions and garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the annatto oil mixture to the stock and give it a good stir.

Add in the roasted shrimp paste as well as the peanut butter and toasted rice. Give another good stir, and continue to simmer the stock.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a bit of oil onto the carrots and egg plants, and cooke until tender, about 30 minutes.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Next, get a stock pot out and add with water, about half way up. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the snake beans, and cook for a few minutes. Once cooked, add them to a bowl of ice water to blanch them. Strain and reserve them for later use.

Do the same with the bok choy.

To a large skillet, bring it to a medium-high heat, and add the oxtail. Brown both sides, and then return them back to the stock.

Now you are ready to serve.

Some will cook the vegetables in the stock, and I went a different route as suggested by our cousin in California. My father-in-law said this is ‘fancy’ kare-kare. I’ll take that.

When you are ready to plate, again, you can go a couple of different routes. I plated mine, arranging the oxtail and tripe, near the rice and array of vegetables, ladling the awesome sauce over the top. However you can add everything to a serving bowl, excluding the rice, mix, and serve. It’s entirely up to you.

Kare-Kare Recipe

When I offered my plating to my father-in-law, I think he was in a bit of shock. Not only how I performed with the classic Papangan kare-kare recipe, but how it was plated. He called me later in the day, thanking me of a job well done. Now I know what kare-kare is, and how awesome this stew was. By the way, have no fear of the oxtail or tripe. It’s a winning combination that will have you wanting more and more.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope to offer you a lot more Filipino recipes in the future.

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Pho Style Chicken Stock

Do you love Vietnamese pho as much as I do? Sometimes I feel I cannot get enough of it. If you have never tried pho, please go out and try it, or better yet try making your own. The broth is unique in the sense that I know you will fall in love with it. It has notes of cinnamon, star anise, and roasted onions and ginger that it has you slurping up those noodles, beef, and bean sprouts like you were some sort of soup ninja. As pho is typically done with beef, there is also a chicken pho that is just as great. So recently I decided to make a big batch of pho style chicken stock to be used in some of my braises, and a base for ramen throughout the week. This stock is so good that you can simply reheat any day during the week, and drink it from a cup.

Pho Style Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole onions
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • 1.5 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 quarts of water, to cover
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sake, optional
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the onions and ginger to a baking sheet, and place into the oven until they are nice and charred. You can do this on your grill as well if you desire. Once charred, add them to the stock pot, along with the chicken pieces, salt, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, sake, and sugar.

How to make chicken pho stock

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat. You will notice a bunch of chicken scum come to the top during the simmer. No fear. You want to remove all of this. Use a skimmer to remove the scum, and discard. If you do not have a skimmer, use a large spoon. Continue to remove the scum as it appears.

I cooked my stock for about 6 hours, because, hey, why not? Once thoroughly cooked, strain using a chinois, or another type of strainer over a large pot. I use the chinois, and press the mixture until all of the stock is strained. Let the stock cool, the cover and refrigerate.

When you are ready to use, add the stock (it will be thickened from all of that great chicken fat) to your pot to reheat, letting it come to a boil.

This pho style chicken stock is just loaded with awesome flavor, and again is something you can use for a couple of weeks, whether that be with a noodle soup, a braise, or as part of a slow cooker recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Pho Style Chicken Stock
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole onions
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 lb chicken thighs
  • 1.5 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 quarts of water, to cover
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 whole star anise
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sake, optional
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the onions and ginger to a baking sheet, and place into the oven until they are nice and charred. You can do this on your grill as well if you desire. Once charred, add them to the stock pot, along with the chicken pieces, salt, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, sake, and sugar.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat. You will notice a bunch of chicken scum come to the top during the simmer. No fear. You want to remove all of this. Use a skimmer to remove the scum, and discard. If you do not have a skimmer, use a large spoon. Continue to remove the scum as it appears.
  3. I cooked my stock for about 6 hours, because, hey, why not? Once thoroughly cooked, strain using a chinois, or another type of strainer over a large pot. I use the chinois, and press the mixture until all of the stock is strained. Let the stock cool, the cover and refrigerate.
  4. When you are ready to use, add the stock (it will be thickened from all of that great chicken fat) to your pot to reheat, letting it come to a boil.

 

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Loaded Kimchi and Chorizo Fries

For years now, I have been a big fan of Korean kimchi. There’s something so great about it, either eaten alone, or placed inside a variety of different items. I’ve done everything from a kimchi grilled cheese, to a burger, tacos, fried rice, and even nachos. Yes, I love kimchi that much. There’s something about the fermented vegetables that offers the awesome balance of spice and sour. With that said, this past weekend I was looking through my cupboard, and thought ‘oh crap, I better use those russett potatoes soon or they are going to go bad’. That’s when it came to me, well, to make hand cut french fries (which I highly recommend), but then I had to go up another level, and start purging some things in the refrigerator. That’s when I saw Mexican chorizo, and the kimchi. Now we have loaded kimchi and chorizo fries. They were amazing.

Loaded Kimchi and Chorizo Fries

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole russet potatoes, cleaned, peeled, cut into thick match sticks
  • 4 cups of canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup of Mexican chorizo, cooked and drained
  • 3/4 cup of Korean kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by soaking your cut fries in a bowl of cold water. This will prevent them from turning color, as well as remove some of the starch. After about 30 minutes, drain the potatoes, and rinse with cold water. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a towel, or paper towel, and lightly pat all of the fries to remove excess water.

During this time, heat a pot of oil on the stove over medium-high heat. If you have a thermometer, use it, and bring your oil up to 300 degrees. You are going to cook these twice. Add a batch of fries into the preheated oil, and cook for about minutes, then remove the fries with a spider strainer, and place into a wire strainer, or a paper lined plate.

Repeat with the remaining fries.

During this time, cook your chorizo. It’s a bit greasy, so strain any excess oil when it is done cooking.

Bring the oil to 350 degrees. In batches, cook the fries once again, for about 5 minutes or until nice and golden brown. Again, strain and season with salt and pepper.

How to make loaded kimchi and chorizo fries

To a saute pan, take a tablespoon of the french fry oil, and heat that up. Add the shallots, cooked chorizo, and the kimchi. Warm these through, mixing along the way.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a baking sheet, or if you have one use a cast iron fajita plate, and add the fries. Top with the kimchi and chorizo mixture, then top with the cheese. Top with any remaining kimchi mixture.

Loaded Kimchi and Chorizo Fries

Cook until the cheese is nice and melted. Garnish with the sliced green onions, and dig in.

I almost felt guilty eating these. They were hard to stop. Perfect heat, texture, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. It’s an explosion of flavor, and this would be a great one for a game day appetizer. Hope you enjoy!

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