Mex-Asian the best of both flavors

The big-game guacamole, salsas, tacos and tortilla chips are but a memory, the Valentine’s Day chocolate is still being savored, and the Year of the Rabbit Celebration for the Chinese New Year is winding down.

Our family loves Asian food as much as we love Mexican food. We don’t wait for special occasions to enjoy the dishes of both cultures.

These days, you’ll find the flavors of both are beginning to blend, creating some very tasty dishes.

You’ll also find those flavors showing up in other dishes as well.

Ginger, soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, hot peppers, cilantro, cumin and salsa, to name a few, can be found in all kinds of appealing recipes.

As I was giving this column some thought, I decided to search my stash of way too many booklets, brochures and those little 5-by-7 magazines I have hidden away. I came across a Pillsbury Fast and Healthy 1996 issue that had a multicultural taco recipe that made me realize this blending of flavors isn’t that new after all.

I also found a recipe perfect for the upcoming Lenten season and more.

First a couple hints about one of my most favorite flavors: fresh ginger.

I use it all the time when sautéing vegetables along with garlic. If a recipe says fresh garlic, don’t substitute the other. Use a serrated grapefruit spoon to easily peel and grate ginger. Freeze leftovers.

Another hint: Don’t substitute cider vinegar for rice vinegar.

Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos

“Where East Meets West,” courtesy of http://www.pillsbury.com.

1 4.6-ounce package Old El Paso taco shells

3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 large green onion, sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

If desired, heat taco shells as directed on package. Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium/high heat until hot. Add chicken, ginger root and garlic; cook and stir 3–5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add soy sauce, honey, onion and red pepper flakes; stir to coat. Cover; cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chicken is no longer pink. Place scant 1/4 cup chicken in each taco shell. Top with lettuce. 12 tacos; 6 servings.

Dixie note: I use romaine or leaf lettuce instead of iceberg and serve with extra green onion.

Halibut With Noodles in Ginger Soy Sauce

Courtesy of http://www.pillsbury.com.

5 ounces (2 1/2 cups) plain or spinach egg noodles

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound fresh or frozen halibut filleted

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger root

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Cook noodles to desired doneness. Drain; return to saucepan and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, combine coriander, pepper and garlic powder; sprinkle half of mixture on one side of halibut fillets. Spray medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Place fish, seasoned side down, in hot skillet and cook 2–4 minutes. Sprinkle fish with remaining coriander mixture and flip over. Cook another 2–4 minutes until fish flakes easily with fork.

Amanda’s (granddaughter) Favorite Fun Thai Noodles

From http://www.sunkist.com.

8 ounces dried pasta (I used linguine)

2–3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 teaspoons orange zest

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 small clove garlic, pressed

Juice of one Sunkist orange

1 medium sized Sunkist orange, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sugar to taste

Cook pasta until tender, drain and rinse. In the same pot combine peanut butter, orange zest, soy sauce, garlic; stir over low heat for a couple minutes until smooth. Add pasta, toss to coat. Add orange pieces and toss gently. Serve garnished with onions if desired.

Dixie note: I add 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil to the sauce mixture before cooking.


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