The Real Deal Kung Pao Chicken

it wasn’t too long ago that I had my first real deal kung pao chicken. I always thought of it as an americanized-chinese-mall-food-court thing, often looking way too electric orange for comfort, and always mixed with an assortment of previously frozen vegetables (including the dreadful baby corn) note: fresh baby corn is actually amazing but really difficult to come by in north america

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Flavour Bomb Edamame

there’s not much to explain for this one. great as a quick snack or party app, this edamame is dressed to impress as it is packed full of flavour! this recipe makes about a cup of dressing, but you’ll only need about 1/3 of the recipe per 500 g pack of edamame. don’t worry when the dressing comes out a bit thin - you’ll just want to flavour the beans, not coat them. bonus for not having super greasy hands after eating these either! 1 pack of edamame makes about 6-8 servings, but I would lean closer to 6 since people tend to eat more than they think they will. serve with a nice, crisp cider or gluten free beer of choice.

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Simple Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp Fried Rice (JLo's 糯米飯)

even though I grew up cbc (canadian born chinese), cooking cantonese always seemed so technical and intimidating, until I realized that it can actually be pretty simple.

sure, some dishes can have a lot of components, but simple dishes are really simple. and that’s how my mom likes her food. hot and simple.

once I figured out that all it takes is a hot wok, I mean screaming hot, and a little flick of the wrist (practice makes perfect with uncooked rice in a pan), I knew how to make food that she’d truly enjoy.

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Gochujang Braised Beef Tacos

the other day, we found some frozen beef cheek at our fav new neighbourhood butcher (shout out to fore quarter!) and decided to experiment with it. beef cheeks are amazingly tender and delicious when cooked down, but feel free to use beef chuck or any other braisable cut with this recipe too!

we were craving something braised and something asian, and that of course led to…korean beef tacos!!! spicy and savory, tangy and sweet, these are sure to satisfy any taco craving you may have (reid gets them A LOT). if you don’t have a pressure cooker, braise for about 2 hours at 250 F in a dutch oven or oven proof pot. serve with fresh homemade corn tortillas, kimchi, lightly pickled cucumbers, and cilantro.

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Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

the next time you go to a pho restaurant, look for this hidden gem on the menu. it’s probably past #20 of all the potential meat combos you can get in your pho. compared to pho, bo kho has a deeper umami taste, due to the tomatoes and fish sauce in the broth. it’s almost like the vietnamese version of beef bourguignon, but this time served on rice noodles! you can either cook this low and slow, sans agression (thanks ludo lefebvre for the best way to describe gentle cooking), or the process can be expedited with a pressure cooker or instant pot.

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Chicken Adobo

I didn’t grow up eating chicken adobo, but it feels like I’ve been eating it forever. there’s just nothing like a bowl of tangy, soy-saucy chicken on a bed of white rice. adobo is traditionally made with vinegar and soy sauce, but the added coconut milk in this version gives it a rich, southeast asian twist. with just a handful of ingredients, you’ll be able to whip this one up in no time - all you really need is to buy the chicken. feel free to sub the chicken with fried eggplant or tofu for a vegetarian version. must serve with white rice.

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Not Quite 'Pad Ka Prao' - Thai Style Minced Pork Stir Fry with Basil

When you ask a local in Thailand what they cook at home, the answer is often some version of Pad Ka Prao. This minced pork stir fry is made with 'holy basil' or ka prao, a peppery cousin of the commonly found sweet basil in North America, but since holy basil is difficult to find, feel free to substitute either Thai or Italian basil -- just don't let a Thai chef catch you calling it "Pad Ka Prao". We love this dish because it's super easy and packed full of flavour. Serve with steamed rice, a crispy fried egg with a yolk that oozes over and some steamed veg, and you've got dinner in under 30 minutes. We make our version farang spicy but if you can handle your chiles like a true Thai you can toss in a few more. 

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Buddha Bowl

I first made this for the family I've been personal chefing for the summer. I drew inspiration from multiple recipes online and combined them to achieve the ultimate buddha bowl! If you're body is craving a hearty and healthy meal, this is a great option. If you care for more protein, sautéed shrimp is a nice addition. 

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Bun Thit Nuong

This recipe requires a shoutout to our friend Mat who introduced us to it. He made it for us one day and while it seemed like a large production the first few times we tried it, it became much easier once we got used to it and started treating the recipe more liberally. Don't have pork? Use whatever leftover meat/ tofu/ root vegetables are in the fridge. No vermicelli? Sub in some rice. Beansprouts always rot in the fridge so you don't know how anyone ever uses them in time? Skip them. There are two ingredients though that are absolutely necessary: pickled vegetables (traditionally carrots and daikons) and nuoc cham, a vietnamese "dressing" of lime, sugar, fish sauce, water and (optionally) garlic and bird's eye chilies. This dish is perfect for a warm summer day, since it's served with cold vermicelli noodles, raw vegetables and plenty of spice.

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Kecap Beef

This is one of the courses that we served when we hosted a supperclub at Toronto's Depanneur recently. It's inspired by a dish we tried on an island in Malaysia a couple of years ago. This island had absolutely awful food. Every restaurant had the exact same menu and none of the options were great. But! Every day, this family of women from a neighbouring island would boat over with a few giant tupperwares of home cooked food that they'd sell on the beach. One of the recurring dishes was called kecap beef (pronounced "ketchup"), named after the kecap manis, or sweet soy, that was in the dish. This recipe is our best attempt at recreating their kecap beef. It's sweet, savoury, a bit spicy and incredibly rich. To balance the richness and to complement the soft texture, we recommend serving it with a side of either pickled vegetables or a vinegar-based slaw as well as topped with something crispy - fried shallots, fried potato, peanuts, whatever you want. 

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