Thursday, November 26

Black Friday.

We will be closed on Friday the 26th. Sorry for the inconvenience and late notice. Normal hours return Saturday.

Wednesday, November 25

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Though Thanksgiving is traditionally viewed as an American holiday, various countries around the world celebrate their own form of Thanksgiving.

Japan- Labor Thanksgiving Day aka 勤労感謝の日 aka Kinrō kansha no hi. Originally a rice harvest holiday, since 1948 it has been dedicated to human rights.

Korea- Chuseok aka 추석. Another harvest celebration with the dates varying every year. This year it was celebrated on Oct 3.

Pakistan- Eid ul Fitr. A three day celebration marking the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

Philippines- Pahiyas Festival. A harvest festival (anyone else see a trend?) celebrated in Quezon since the 16th century.

So no matter where you find yourself, chances are someone is celebrating their own form of Thanksgiving. For us here, we are thankful for our family and friends. Our new son and of course all of our customers who make a lot of this possible.

Here's wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23

Recipe: Coconut-Galangal Soup in Squash Shell

Talk about falling down on the job. Sorry this post is running late but we just got done with a restock so drop by and check out what we got. Back to the regularly scheduled post.

For today's recipe I opted for an Asian fusion dish. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in America, but this holiday has little to no meaning outside of the US. As such, there aren't really any specifically Asian dishes for this holiday. There are, however, Asian tastes that can be applied to your meal to spice it up a little, and offer a bit of a twist on the traditional meal. Click below to see today's recipe.

Read More


Choose between two presentations for this recipe of intense Thai flavors. The first, more dramatic, is served in a whole pumpkin that is steamed with the soup inside. When serving, you may scoop out bits of cooked pumpkin meat although the flavor of the squash is in the soup.

The second is cooked with diced kabocha squash and is served in a tureen or individual soup bowls. This is much easier and faster but less dramatic. However, kabocha squash is sweeter and more complex in flavor than pumpkin. Select your squash carefully if you're going to serve the soup in the pumpkin shell. It has to fit in your cooking pot.

Ingredients:

One 6- to 10-pound squash that will fit whole in a stockpot or Dutch oven with at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches of space around, below and above, or about 2 cups peeled and diced kabocha squash

5 to 6 cups turkey broth or chicken broth

2 stalks of lemongrass

A 2- to 3-inch piece fresh galangal, thinly sliced, or 6 to 8 dried pieces

4 small, whole shallots, peeled and crushed

8 to 10 Thai chiles, stemmed and crushed, or 4 to 6 serrano peppers, sliced (with seeds)

6 fresh magrut (kaffir) lime leaves, torn to small pieces

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 cups (or 2 bags) frozen coconut milk

4 to 6 tablespoons fish sauce, to desired saltiness

Freshly ground white pepper

Juice of 2 or more limes

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

Cilantro leaves or short sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

For the whole pumpkin service:

1. Cut off and discard the top of the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh, leaving a 1 1/2-inch wall of squash flesh. If you wish, stencil and carve the pumpkin. Make sure the pattern only etches the skin of the squash because you need puncture-free walls to hold the soup.

2. Make sure you have a stockpot, steamer or Dutch oven with lid that the pumpkin will fit into. There should be 1-inch of space between pumpkin and lid. Place a trivet or round cake rack into the water. Select a pie plate, shallow bowl or curved plate into which the pumpkin fits snugly. Water should not touch the squash directly. Bring 1 to 3 inches of water to a boil in the pot, then reduce heat to a simmer. Place the bowl on the trivet and lower the squash into it. Cover and cook over high heat.

3. Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a medium-size pot. Place the lemongrass in a medium-hot oven for about 5 minutes. Remove, cut into 2-inch lengths and bruise with a mallet or the back of a cleaver. Add the galangal, lemongrass and shallots to the soup, return to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the chiles and lime leaves. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Add the coconut milk, stirring until it becomes well blended with the broth and comes back to a simmer.

5. By this time, the hollowed squash in the steamer should be partially cooked. Add boiling water to the steamer as necessary. Pour the simmering soup into the pumpkin. Cover the pot and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the flesh of the pumpkin is just tender. It is important to keep plenty of boiling water around the pumpkin all the time. Test the squash flesh with a knife. It should insert easily. However, the squash should hold its shape.

6. To finish the soup, add fish sauce, white pepper and lime juice. Balance the tartness of lime juice with enough palm sugar so the flavor of the coconut milk comes through. Top with cilantro.

Remove the pumpkin by lifting the pie plate it cooked on. Place on an attractive platter. Bring the entire pumpkin to the table. To serve, ladle out the soup. If desired, scoop a touch of the inner pumpkin flesh into the soup.

For the alternative service:

Begin at step 3, adding the kabocha squash with galangal and lemongrass. Skip step 5. To serve, pour into individual serving bowls or into a tureen and bring to the table.

Serves 10 to 12

For more recipes check out SFGATE.

Picture courtesy: floodllamma

Wednesday, November 18

Chopsticks


To start off the culture section I decided to tackle a fun one. From fancy to simple chopsticks have become the unofficial symbol of Asian food. Found in almost all sushi bars and Chinese restaurants, they are a challenge at first but quickly but extensions of the hand.

Though many Americans got their introduction to chopsticks from Mr. Miyagi, chopsticks have been around since at least the Shang Dynasty of China. That's a little over 3000 years. From China their use spread across much of Asia, to Japan, Korea and even Vietnam. The name chopstick is derived from Chinese slang "chop chop" for quick.

For some fun next time you are eating out, try asking for chopsticks as they are known in Asia.

Japan- hashi
Korean- jeokkarak
Mandarin- kuaizi
Vietnamese- đũa

As with many things, there are some etiquette rules that should be followed when using chopsticks. Most are common sense such as don't use as drumsticks or as toys, but others, such as don't stand chopsticks up in a rice bowl, are less obvious. A more complete list of proper etiquette can be found here.

For more information check out about.com

As always we are open to suggestions and requests for the blog. Let us know by commenting or sending us a note. See y'all at the store.

Picture courtesy: i_yudai

Monday, November 16

Recipe: Chanko nabe (Sumo Stew)


As the weather grows colder, stews become very appealing for their ability to ward off the chill. Keeping this in mind today's recipe is just that, a stew. Not just any stew though, this is chanko nabe. This is the meal that helps sumo wrestlers beef up. Hearty and filling, the stew alone won't pack on the pounds but it will help cut the edge off of a cold evening. For more information on the history of chanko nabe head over to Banzuke.




Ingredients: (ingredients in orange available at the store)

3 lbs. chicken bones
1 2.8-oz. package abura-age (deep-fried tofu), cut into large pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. mirin (sweet rice wine)
Salt
1 medium potato, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise, and blanched
2" piece daikon, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise, and blanched
1 small carrot, trimmed, peeled, sliced on the bias, and blanched
1 leek, white part only, trimmed, washed, and sliced on the bias
1/4 head napa cabbage, cored and cut into large pieces
4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
10 oz. yaki-dofu (grilled tofu), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2"-thick pieces
1/2lb. boneless chicken thighs. cut into thin strips
1/2 lb. very thinly sliced prime rib eye of beef
1 lb. udon noodles

Instructions:

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Put chicken bones and fried tofu into 2 separate colanders set in sink and pour two-thirds of the boiling water over the bones to rinse off any impurities and the remaining boiling water over the tofu to rinse off excess oil. Transfer bones to the medium pot and set tofu aside to drain.

Add garlic and 14 cups cold water to pot with bones and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until broth has reduced by one-third, about 21/2 hours. Strain broth into a clean, wide medium pot, discarding solids, and skim off fat.

At the table, set pot on a portable stove in center of table, add soy sauce and mirin, season to taste with salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Add about one-third of the potatoes, daikon, carrots, leeks, cabbage, mushrooms, grilled tofu. chicken, and fried tofu to simmering broth.

Cook until vegetables begin to soften and chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add about one-third of the beef. Simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute.

Once all the vegetables, tofu, chicken, greens, and beef have been eaten, use a small sieve to pick out scraps. Bring remaining broth in pot back to a simmer, add noodles, and simmer until cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Serve in individual bowls.

Picture courtesy: w00kie

Friday, November 13

Blog Update


I've been kicking around the idea of streamlining our posts here to better serve our customers. So taking a page out of Chris Guillebeau's playbook, we are going to shift to a guaranteed 3 posts a week with miscellaneous updates, such as restocking, scattered throughout.

Here is the breakdown:
Monday- New recipe. We'll continue to bounce around Asia with these, but if there is a specific recipe anyone wants to share or wants to see let us know and we can put it up.

Wednesday- Asian culture. This day's post will be dedicated to highlighting some aspect of the various cultures across Asia.

Friday- Sari Sari aka variety. Friday's post topics will range from culture, to local events to stupid video's we found on Youtube. There is a real good chance it will be food related.

Those are the guaranteed posts. If something comes up we feel is worth posting, we will post it. This is just an effort to make the blog better for those of you out there reading.

As always remember to subscribe to keep up to date with the blog. Either on the right side using RSS, Myspace, or any other number of sites. Or become a fan with our new Facebook widget over on the left.

See y'all at the store.

Thursday, November 12

Recipe: Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Roll)


A recent article in Poultry Magazine stated that Southeast Asian cuisine has become increasingly popular. This is due in part not only to the various exotic flavors, but also because of how healthy many of these foods are. So to shamelessly take advantage of this today's recipe is Goi Cuon aka Vietnamese Cold Spring Rolls. No doubt most who have had Vietnamese food have had these spring rolls. Boasting low fat, carb, and sodium these morsels are healthy and very refreshing. I especially enjoy these on hot days due to their cool temperature and chilling herbs such as cilantro and mint. I'm sure y'all will enjoy these. Check out the recipe below.

Read More

Ingredients

* 1 package clear edible rice paper sheet
* 1/2 lb cooked chicken
* 1/2 lb cooked small shrimp (, peeled, deveined, halved)
* 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
* 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
* 1 head leafy lettuce, washed and separated into leaves
* 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into very,very thin strips
* 1 cup fresh bean sprout, optional
* 1 package vermicelli rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
* hoisin sauce, to taste
* chopped peanuts
* nuoc nam, vietnamese spicy fish sauce

Directions

1. Have all meats precooked and cold and the rice noodles prepared already (the noodles should be white, long and at room temp).
2. Make sure all veggies and herbs are cleaned, dried, and set out before you start.
3. Dip a sheet of rice paper wrapper into water very quickly, no longer than a second or two (or they will get too soggy) and lay flat on a work surface.
4. On one edge, lay a small handful of noodles, a few strips of meat, some shrimp, some cilantro and mint leaves, a lettuce leaf, some cucumber strips and bean sprouts, all to taste but don't overstuff.
5. Carefully start to roll up eggroll style, tucking in the sides, then continue to roll up-but not too tightly or the spring roll will split.
6. These rolls will be thicker than the typical Chinese-style fried eggrolls.
7. Combine a few spoonfulls of hoisin sauce with some chopped peanuts to use as a dipping sauce (or serve with prepared spicy fish sauce dip called Nuoc Mam, available at Asian markets).
8. Serve immediately- these do not keep and will harden up in the fridge, so it is best to make just as many as you plan to serve (store any extra unassembled fillings in fridge and roll later).
9. Note: Please be sure to get the correct spring roll rice papers- these are not the same as wonton/eggroll wrappers, which must be cooked.
10. You can get edible rice paper wrappers, rice noodle vermicelli, hoisin sauce and nuoc nam at the store.

Image courtesy: Annie Mole

Sunday, November 8

Update and random video.


As many of you know we were anxiously anticipating the arrival of our first child into this world. Well Jakob Daniel has finally graced this world with his presence at a whopping 8lbs 3oz and 20" on November 4 at 5:11pm.

This has caused some sporadic hours at the store this week but things should return to normal early next week. Girlyne is recovering well and should be making appearances at the store again some time in December. We appreciate your understanding and well wishes during all this.

Now for the random video part: I stumbled across this compilation of one man's journey from Denver to Singapore. He constantly took photos during his trip and compiled them all into this 5 minute video. It is an interesting watch especially for those who have traveled internationally before and long to do so again.

For those of you who have traveled to Asia see if you can recognize some places in the video. I know I was able to. To watch the video Click Read More below and check it out.

Read More