Chocolate Banana Fried Won-tons with Boozy Caramel Sauce

chocolate banana wontonsIngredients:

For Won-tons:
2 very ripe bananas
⅓ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ (14 ounce) package won-ton wrappers
oil for frying

For Boozy Caramel Sauce:
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon brandy-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Sabra Orange Brandy), optional
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

To make the filling:

Place the bananas, chocolate chips, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla into a mixing bowl, and mash until evenly blended. Alternatively, chop the mixture in a food processor until the chocolate chips have been reduced in size. This will help prevent the chips from poking through the won-ton skins as you handle them. It will also change the texture of the filling – you will not have pockets of melted chocolate in the won-tons.

To make the won-tons:

Separate and place the won-ton wrappers onto your work surface. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the banana filling onto the centre of each wrapper. Use your finger or a pastry brush to lightly moisten the edges of the won-ton wrappers with water. Fold one corner of the wrapper over the filling onto the opposite corner to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Fry the won-tons in the hot oil a few at a time until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the won-tons over halfway through cooking so they brown evenly. Remove, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

To make the sauce:

Prepare the sauce by combining the butter, brown sugar, orange liqueur, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

To serve:

Serve the won-tons warm with the caramel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips to garnish.

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5 Spice Carrots

5 spice carrotsIngredients:

10 large carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder (click here to see recipe)
salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut halved carrots in half again crosswise on the diagonal. Place carrots into a 2-quart baking dish and drizzle with vegetable oil; sprinkle with 5 spice powder and salt to taste. Toss lightly to coat carrots with oil and seasoning. Arrange carrots into an even layer.

Roast carrots in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, and check for tenderness and stir if desired. Continue roasting until tender, 15 to 20 more minutes. Serve warm.

Hot and Sour Chinese Eggplant

hot and sour eggplantIngredients:

4 long Chinese eggplants, cubed
4 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 green chili peppers, chopped (to taste)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons chili oil (to taste)
1 tablespoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Place the eggplant cubes into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Fill with enough water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well, and drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sugar, chili pepper, cornstarch and chili oil. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant until it is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant is evenly coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Long Beans and Beef

Long Beans and BeefFor those not familiar with Chinese Long Beans, they are a legume cultivated to be eaten as green pods. Also known as the yard long bean the pods are actually only about half a yard long. This plant is of a different genus than the common bean as it is actually a vigorous climbing annual vine. The plant is subtropical/tropical and most widely grown in the warmer parts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern China and has uses very similar to that of the green bean. They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground meat (beef, chicken or turkey)
1 lb. chinese long beans (or regular fresh green beans)
1 cup ketchup
Rice to serve with

Instructions:

In a wok or large sauté pan, brown the ground meat, draining off the majority of any excess fat. Slice the beans into 1 ½ inch sections and add to the meat. Toss to coat the beans in the drippings from the meat. Once beans are cooked through (5 to 10 minutes), add the ketchup, tossing to coat the meat and beans. Lower the temperature and allow the mixture to reduce, an additional 10 minutes or so. Serve hot over rice.

Ginger Sesame Peanut Chicken Noodles

Chicken Peanut NoodlesIngredients:

5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 ½ red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 ½ green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ lb. linguine or spaghetti noodles
¾ cup Peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground ginger root
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Sauté the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, until chicken is browned. Remove from the skillet. Add remaining canola oil and sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and ginger. Once the vegetables have softened and caramelized, return the chicken to the skillet and add the peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, chili peppers, and salt and pepper.

In a separate pot, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, removing from the water just a minute or two shy of fully cooked. Add the pasta to the skillet with the chicken mixture, and toss to coat. You can add some of the pasta water to the sauce if needed to be thinned out. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the pasta and serve warm.

Salmon Teriyaki on Asian Salad

Salmon & Salad

Ingredients:

Salmon:
8 salmon fillets (2-3 oz. each)
1 bottle teriyaki or honey-garlic sauce (your favourite brand)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salad:
2 packages of chicken flavoured Ramen noodles
1 head of cabbage, shredded (easiest to buy the pre-shredded Bodek cabbage)*
4 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)*
1 purple onion, sliced very thinly
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Salmon:
Check over your fillets to make sure that no bones have been missed. Remove any if found. If you salmon fillet still has the skin, you can remove it or leave it on, it is just a personal preference. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your fillets in a baking dish, and pour about ¾ of the bottle of sauce over them. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fillet). Remove the fillets once cooked through, and allow to come to room temperature. They can be served at this point as is or chilled. When serving, sprinkle with some of the sesame seeds over the top of each fillet.

Salad:
In a large bowl, break up by hand the packages of Ramen noodles so that they are not one large clump. Sprinkle over the top the seasoning packets that came with the soups. I find it easiest to use a pre-shredded, pre-cleaned and inspected bag of Bodek cabbage for this recipe, but you can shred the cabbage yourself if you prefer. Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight if possible. This salad, if there is any left, always tastes better the second day. Plate a portion of salad on individual plates, and top with a piece of the salmon teriyaki.

* Click here to learn how to properly check cabbage and green onions.

良好的安息日 Liánghǎo de ānxírì! (Good Shabbos!)

Today’s menu is following an Asian theme… a little of the exotic far east to help warm us up. Has it always been this cold in February? Well, no matter where in the world you are, I’m sure today’s menu will transport you and your Shabbos table to the banks of the Yangtze River. Again, this portions in this menu will serve 6 to 8 people.

Asian Menu