Instant ramen, that old dorm-room standby, gets a massive upgrade when you ditch the artificial flavor packet in favor of fragrant aromatics and fresh spinach.
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
- 1 smashed clove of garlic
- 2 thin slices of ginger
- Kosher salt
- 6 oz. instant ramen noodles
- 1 oz. (1 packed cup) baby spinach
- 2 large eggs
- Sriracha or other hot sauce
- Asian sesame oil
- In a 4- to 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat.
- Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, garlic,ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the noodles (discard the seasoning packets) and spinach and cook, stirring to break apart the noodles, until they sink and the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.
- Crack the eggs into the pot, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit until the whites have set, about 3 minutes.
- Divide between 2 bowls, top with a dash of Sriracha and a drizzle of sesame oil, and serve.
It’s never a bad idea to have a good supply of dumplings on hand. Ours taste way better and are much lower in sodium than what you’ll find at the store. Plus, they go from freezer to plate in only 10 minutes–what could be easier? Just cook what you need tonight, and stash the rest in the freezer for a busy night later.
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 4 ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
- 5 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 14 ounces lean ground pork
- 40 gyoza skins or round wonton wrappers
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
- Cooking spray
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/2 cup onions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Combine mushroom mixture, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, hoisin sauce, pepper, and pork in a medium bowl.
- Arrange 8 gyoza skins on a clean work surface; cover remaining skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons pork mixture in the center of each skin. Moisten edges of skin with water. Fold in half; press edges together with fingertips to seal. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch; cover to prevent drying. Repeat procedure with remaining gyoza skins and pork mixture.
- Combine 1/4 cup hot water and brown sugar in a small bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add remaining 1/4 cup green onions, remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, vinegar, and sambal, stirring with a whisk until well combined.
- Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat. Generously coat pan with cooking spray. Add 10 pot stickers to pan; cook 30 seconds or until browned on one side. Turn pot stickers over; carefully add 1/3 cup water to pan. Cover tightly; steam 4 minutes. Repeat procedure in batches with remaining pot stickers and more water, or follow freezing instructions. After cooking, serve pot stickers immediately with dipping sauce.
Freeze dumplings flat on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch 10 minutes or until firm. Place in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag with 1 teaspoon cornstarch; toss. Freeze sauce in a small zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months.
Thaw sauce in the microwave at HIGH in 30-second increments. No need to thaw pot stickers.
TO REHEAT: Follow recipe instructions for cooking, placing frozen dumplings in pan and increasing steaming time by 2 minutes.
How about a fast festive appetizer just for two? These hot, crispy little bites boast a rich creamy filling with a hint of crab. They simply melt in your mouth.
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons canned crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
- 2 teaspoons chopped green onion
- 6 wonton wrappers
- Oil for frying
- In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, crab and onion. Place 1 rounded teaspoonful in the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten wrapper edges with water; fold in half lengthwise and press firmly to seal.
- Keeping the filling in the center, again fold wonton wrapper lengthwise. Moisten the top of the short edges with water. Bring the two top edges from opposite sides together, overlapping the edges; press and seal (finished wonton resembles a nurse’s hat).
- In an electric skillet, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry wontons for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
Yield: 2 servings.
Serve wontons with plum sauce or sweet-and-sour sauce for dipping.
Benihana fried rice is to tasty. If you have been to Benihana, you know you should not skip the Benihana fried rice they serve. To me, it is the best menu item of all. With a few simple ingredients you can make the Benihana fried rice recipe at home. Thankfully there are no exotic ingredients in this recipe. You can find everything you need at home.
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon garlic
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2/3 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
- Vegetable oil
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the rice in the water according to package directions. For best results, spread the cooked rice in a shallow metal pan and stick it in the freezer to cool quickly. Do not let it freeze, though. If you don’t have time to chill the rice, just spread it out so it cools completely.
- While the rice is cooking and cooling, spread the sesame seeds in a shallow baking pan. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, shaking pan occasionally for even color. Remove from the oven.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions, carrots, and scallions. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat another large skillet or a wok if you have one. Add a splash of oil and swirl it around. Pour the eggs into the hot skillet. Cook as you would scrambled eggs.
- When the eggs are barely done, add the vegetables, rice, and sesame seeds and and sprinkle with the soy sauce.
- Stir-fry until everything is mixed and hot.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.