Asian burgers


Sorry foodies that it has been so long since I last posted! I have been extremely busy riding camels in Israel, reading for class, and working on my thesis. But I made it a priority to post a new recipe this week, so here it is!

My camel

My camel

Camel in the Judaean Desert

Ty and I on our camel in the Judaean Desert

The markets in Israel were beautiful, yet chaotic and overstimulating. They were overcrowded with people and full of pungent smells, bright colours, fresh produce, and shouting, haggling, beckoning shop owners. A food adventurers heaven…

Jerusalem shuk

everyone in Jerusalem preparing for the shabbos

How we felt at the market

How we felt at the market

And now to my recipe…

I am a very traditional (I mean lazy) lunchtime cooker. I will typically choose eating leftovers from dinner the night before or throw together a sandwich with whatever fillings are in the fridge. However, my favorite thing to splurge on is a weekend gourmet sandwich made from deliciously fresh ciabatta from Knead, and layers of Woolie’s salami and edam, rocket, avo, and Pesto Princess pesto, made for Ty and I to eat while we sit on the couch watching our favorite series of the moment.

Last weekend, I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to make Asian burgers as a Sunday lunch treat. The key is to use whatever ordinary ingredients you happen to have in the fridge and turn them into something fancy and delicious.

After Ty took his first bite he said “You need to open a restaurant”. *Sigh* Maybe one day!

Asian Burgers (serves 2 + leftovers)

Asian burgers

cooking my Asian burgers

Asian burgers

The final product

Ingredients

  • 400g raw minced beef
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 sprigs finely chopped green onions
  • 1 handful finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 large brown mushroom finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 heaped tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 1 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbl curry
  • 1 tbl jeera
  • sprinkle of chili flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. gently mix all the ingredients together, minus the salt
  2. using your hands, form large, thick patties
  3. grill the patties in a lightly oiled panned for 10-15 minutes until both sides are golden
  4. sprinkle some salt on the patties
  5. serve (with mayo if you’d like) on slices of toasted bread

Zhoozsh Peanut Butter Thai Chicken


My all time favorite Thai dish is Pad Thai and the absolute best can be found at Sophia’s in little old Davis, California.  I have a thing for the sweet and savory juxtaposition and food textures, which makes peanut sauce with crushed peanuts a deadly combination for any food-related self-control.  Couple that with bottomless Thai Iced Tea and you have made it to tastebud ecstasy plus an extreme case of fond reminiscing about my college years at UC Davis.

I have not tried making Pad Thai myself but am in love with the idea of a peanut buttery thai curry, as you now know why, so was very excited when I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Chicken with Curried Spinach in my new Zhoozsh cookbook.  The Zhoozsh! cookbooks are written by Jeremy and Jacqui Mansfield, who are famous for their easy to make, delicious, and down to earth recipes, which are presented in an intimate story-like photo journal fashion full of memories, humor, and love.

I saw their second cookbook “Faking it” at the bookstore a few months before Christmas and immediately was endeared by its unique style and laid back guidance on how to cook a diverse range of dishes from South Africa and beyond.  I was also immediately sold on the idea of “faking” gourmet and cooking on a budget, as I am still a young professional/student who cannot afford to always buy fancy ingredients. However, the more I cook, the more I realize that you do not need fancy ingredients to cook an awesome meal anyways! I then made it my goal to not so discretely beg Ty to get me “Faking it” for Christmas, which landed me a copy of my own from Ty’s grandma so that I would not have to go to the bookstore and surreptitiously take photos of the recipes using my iphone.

For my first Zhoozsh recipe experience, we made lamb rubbed with a fresh mint and coriander pesto for Christmas and accidentally burnt the lamb to the point that all the fresh the flavors dissipated but the lamb was still awesome.  However, the pesto looked, smelled, and tasted really great on its own so I will definitely try it again!  For my second attempt at making a Zhoozsh recipe, I successfully made Peanut Butter Chicken with Curried Spinach, which was quick, easy, tasty, and just absolutely lovely!

Zhoozsh Peanut Butter Thai Chicken

Ingredients (serves 2 + leftovers)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 heaped tsp garlic
  • 2-3 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 4 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size cubes
  • 2 heaped tsp curry powder
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 packet chopped english spinach
  • 3 tbs crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • spaghetti or thai noodles
  • a handful of crushed peanuts

Directions

  1. saute the onions and garlic in oil and stir in the tomatoes
  2. add the chicken, curry, and salt and saute until browned
  3. add the spinach and cook until wilted
  4. meanwhile, cook your pasta
  5. stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, and sugar; let simmer and thicken while stirring continuously
  6. mix the pasta and sauce together
  7. garnish with crushed peanuts

Zingy Asian Salad


Asian food has always been one of my favorite food genres.  Growing up we went to the same Chinese restaurant every week.  We were like part of the family and they always knew what we were going to order – which was Moo Shoo Chicken with hoisin sauce wrapped in tortilla-like pancakes for me.  Although I have had to convince Ty of its awesomeness over the years, the pivotal moment for our kitchen was when Ty fell in love with sushi and wholeheartedly began endorsing experimentation with Asian flavors at home.

Sometime last year we decided to have steak for dinner and I was determined to try out something new.  When I first began cooking, Epicurious.com was my gateway website to experimenting with ingredients, cooking gourmet, and following food blogs. So, I consulted Epicurious for a recipe and found a great one that included all of my favorite Asian flavors.  It turned out to be really excellent, which was confirmed by Ty, who claims that he does not like soy sauce, although I put it in my dishes all the time and he continues to love my cooking.

This afternoon I was craving something cold, fresh, and zingy, so I adapted the original recipe to make an Asian salad that was super delicious.

Zingy Asian Salad

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbl lemon
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 heaping tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbl water
  • a dash of red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the salad
  • 2 stalks chopped spring onion
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 grated zuchinni
  • 1/2 julienned red or yellow pepper
  • a handful of mange tout
  • 1 tbl sesame seeds
  • a handful of chopped fresh coriander

In separate bowls, mix together the dressing ingredients and the salad ingredients.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until nicely coated.