Bottles of chile oil decorated with ribbons and tiny paper-mache chiles make nice gifts for anyone who likes to cook. Include an oriental stir fry recipe along with each gift bottle. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
Asian-Style Cayenne Hot Sauce
This year we used about a pound of LC Cayenne pods to cook up a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. Unlike “Louisiana Style” hot sauce, this one is thick, almost like ketchup, and is a lot less vinegary. It is great with grilled shrimp, over rice, for Asian cooking, and even as a dip.
Read Harald Zoschke’s entire article on the Burn! Blog here.
1 pound red, ripe NuMex Las Cruces Cayenne chiles (or similar meaty cayenne peppers)
1/2 sweet red pepper (e.g. Gypsy or a small ripe bell pepper)
1 medium-sized onion, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound sugar
4 ounces rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
2 ounces rice vinegar **
1 ounce maple syrup **
water (if necessary) **
4-5 empty hot sauce bottles
** These ingredients are to be added after cooking and blending.
Rinse the cayenne peppers, cut off the tops with the stems, and slit pods open lengthwise, discarding most but not all seeds. Cut pods into chunks. Also remove the stem and “innards” of the sweet pepper and cut the pod into chunks as well.
In a sauce pan sauté the onion in the oil until soft (2-3 minutes).
Add the garlic and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
Add sugar and the 4 ounces of vinegar, stir well and bring to a boil.
Add chopped cayenne and sweet peppers, stir well and simmer over medium heat for about 45 minutes, until the peppers are soft.
Meanwhile, sterilize your hot sauce bottles in boiling water and let them drain upside down on a towel.
Blend the sauce in a blender, or in the sauce pan using a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. Using a whisk, blend in the maple syrup and the 2 ounces of vinegar. ***
The sauce should be smooth and thick now, with a consistency almost like ketchup. If the sauce appears to be too thick, carefully add a little water and whisk again. Bring sauce briefly to a boil again.
Using a funnel, fill the bottles with sauce and put on lids immediately.
Design a label and put it on your bottles. Enjoy! Store opened bottles in the refrigerator. Yield: about 20 oz. (i.e. four “Woozy” type 5oz./148 ml bottles). I bet now you’re glad you kept those emptied hot sauce bottles!
*** Since vinegar tends to lose acidity during cooking, we add some of it at the end. That way we’re getting a lower pH (= higher acidity), which is necessary for preservation. If you would produce such a sauce commercially, you would check the pH with a meter and keep it well below pH 4.2).
Asian Shrimp Salsa with Pomegranate Vinaigrette and Wonton Chips
This recipe features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur in a vinaigrette that could be used on a variety of salads. For more recipes, visit www.pamaliqueur.com.
½ lb. medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, cored and chopped
1 green onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Half a package of square wonton skins (about 20 skins)
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
Put the shrimp, jalapeño, shallot, tomato, green onion, and cilantro into a wide shallow bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the wonton chips. Pour oil into a stir-fry pan to a depth of 1 ½ inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F. While the oil is heating, line a plate with two layers of paper towels.
Cut the wonton skins into triangles. Working in batches, fry the skins, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden brown (about one minute per batch). Drain on paper towels.
Serve the salsa with the chips on the side.
Asian-Style Kirby Pickles
I don’t know about you, but I like to nibble on sweet, salty, and tangy vegetable pickles with my meals. They help digest food and provide balance during the meal, especially when you are eating starchy foods like noodles. They also whet the appetite, which is probably why they are served the minute you sit down in many Asian restaurants. I call for kirby, Persian, or Japanese cucumbers, all of which are slender when compared to regular cucumbers. Kirby and Persian pickles are 4 to 5 inches long, while Japanese cucumbers are a couple of inches longer. The pickling liquid here is traditionally used for pickling sliced cucumber, carrots, and daikon, so feel free to try these vegetables as well. The amount of pickling liquid may look inadequate, but there will be enough because the cucumbers give up some of their natural water while sitting in the brine.
12 kirby, Persian, or Japanese cucumbers, quartered lengthwise (see Note)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
1 to 2 red Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded, and halved or coarsely chopped (optional)
In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers with the salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain, wipe, and transfer them to a large resealable plastic bag.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and rice vinegar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into the large plastic bag containing the cucumbers, and add the chiles (if using). Seal the bag, squeezing any air out. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. The longer the vegetables macerate, the more pickled they will taste.
Note: If you like a milder flavor, pickle these small cucumbers whole.
Mongolian Asian Noodle Salad
Mongolian Asian Noodle Salad
This salad makes an excellent first course or a spicy accompaniment to any Chinese meal, meatless or not. This is a very basic recipe can add whatever ingredients you desire such as blanched Chinese pea pods.
2 cup chicken broth or more to dilute
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons Asian garlic chile-based sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups cooked vermicelli or Chinese noodles
2 cup chopped green onions, including some of the greens
1 cup sliced red bell peppers
2 cup shredded carrots
2 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
Garnish: Chopped roasted peanuts
Chopped fresh cilantro
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and mix well. Add additional broth to thin to desired consistency. Allow the dressing to sit at room temperature for an hour to blend the flavors.
Place the noodles in a large bowl or platter and top with the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the salad and gently toss to coat the noodles.
Garnish the salad with the nuts and cilantro and serve.