Tag Archives: asian fusion

Green Tea Soba Noodle Salad

January sure is flying by, isn’t it? We’re already halfway through the month! This is crazy! Only 17 days ago we celebrated the new calendar year. But do you know what other new year is rolling around?

Chinese New Year is coming just around the corner, and I can’t exactly say I’m ready for it. By the stroke of midnight on January 31, the calendar shifts over from the current Year of the Snake to the Year of the Horse!

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A few weeks ago I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival in Dallas and they devoted a whole section to the Chinese Zodiac. I’ve heard a couple different legends on how Chinese New Year began, but the one presented at the Chinese Lantern Festival was that once upon a time, the Jade Emperor summoned all the animals to a meeting. Only 11 of them, plus the dragon, arrived, and the Jade Emperor rewarded them by giving each of them a calendar year in the order that they arrived in. Because the Rat arrived first, it got the first calendar year that begins the 12-year Chinese Zodiac.

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Vegetarian Pajeon (Korean Pancakes)

I think Korean food is just naturally yummy. From all-you-can-eat samgyeopsal—which is pretty much the only meat I’ll really and truly miss!—to freshly-cooked bibimbap. Korea seems to produce a lot of good stuff: K-Pop idols, pajeon, samgyeopsal, K-dramas, pajeon… Whoops. I guess it shows you what I’ve been thinking about lately: pajeon, or Korean pancakes. Not like I’m ever not thinking of food. (Wait, what?)

My mom makes a really good vegetarian pajeon. She came up with the recipe herself, so it’s pretty unique.

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I love these Korean pancakes so much because you can actually see and taste the vegetables inside. Taste them. I think a lot of vegetarian dishes forget about the fact that “vegetarianism” and “vegetables” should go hand-in-hand. Instead, veggie burgers and fake meats get pushed on me, and I always have to push back with a big “Yuck! Those are disgusting!”

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Two of the key ingredients for both the sauce and the pancake batter are gochujang (hot pepper paste) and the vegetable pancake mix. You should be able to find them at any Korean market or general Asian market. Please please please don’t forget these—your Korean pancakes just won’t be the same without them! I’m trying to save you from impending culinary doom!

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Watching Mom make it, I realized that it’s not actually that difficult. Also, it tastes good. Very good.

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We experimented a little on the sauce, adding gochujang to it for some more flavor. Luckily, nothing exploded… except the flavor. At least you’ll have a unique sauce to go with your Korean pancakes!

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Vegetarian Pajeon (Korean Pancakes)

Ingredients

For the sesame soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste) ~ this is optional, but it makes it unique! It tastes great, too!

For the pancakes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable pancake mix
  • 2 cups water ~ you may need more or less depending on the package directions for the vegetable pancake mix
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly julienned
  • 2 small-sized zucchini squash, thinly julienned OR 1 large zucchini, thinly julienned
  • 3 cups matchstick carrots
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for sesame soy sauce and mix. Add in half of the chopped green onions as well as sesame seeds, then set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.
  3. Place 2 cups vegetable pancake mix with 2 cups of water in a bowl. If your package of vegetable pancake mix wants you to use a different amount of water, follow their instructions instead. Mix well until there are no lumps. Then mix in the gochujang.
  4. Add vegetables into the batter. Mix well.
  5. Scoop out ½ cup of batter mixture and pour into the skillet.
  6. Fry the batter mixture on both sides until browned and crispy.
  7. Serve with the sesame soy sauce and enjoy!

Udon Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Vegetables

I’ve always loved udon noodles, whether it was in a stir fry or in a soup. Maybe that was a product of living in Tokyo as a baby, but I’m not sure. Maybe a love for udon noodles—or noodles of any kind—is just ingrained into anyone with the slightest bit of Asian blood? It’s completely possible, and I don’t see any scientific evidence disproving my theory!

Stir fried noodles are pretty common in my household. I mean, how can you go wrong with the delicious taste of udon noodles with vegetables? There’s something simply enticing about getting a steamy, mouth-watering bowl of noodles. Each time you go in with your fork (or chopsticks), you get a different flavor from all the vegetables. Sometimes you get a crunchy vegetable. Other times you get a soft vegetable. You can even get a vegetable that’s soft on top and crunchy on the bottom, like bok choy!

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The great thing about bok choy is everything is that, like udon noodles, it soaks up the flavors around it, from the sweet stir fry sauce, to the taste of the freshly cut carrots, and to even the savory mushrooms.

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The best part about this udon stir fry is that it’s super easy to make and doesn’t even take very long. You’re still eating a kind, vegetarian diet, as well as being quite healthy. It’s pretty much a win, win, win, win.

If you really wanted to, you could probably throw in some tofu! Mmm, now I’m hungry again…

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Udon Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 package buna-shimeji mushrooms (can be substituted with shiitake/baby portobello mushrooms)
  • 4 baby bok choy
  • 1 package udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian stir fry sauce (or use vegetarian oyster sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wok, then add the minced garlic.
  2. When the garlic is a little brown, add the carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, and bok choy.
  3. Stir fry until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the udon noodles and pour on the stir fry sauce and soy sauce.
  5. Stir fry until you are happy with the texture of the udon noodles. Adjust the amount of sauces you use according to taste.