East to West

At-home Asian recipes

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Let your taste buds do the celebrating!

From clean and crisp to savory and spicy, flavors from the East can broaden any Triangle resident’s horizons.

With recipes from the following recent cookbooks, you’re just one trip to the Asian market away from a journey across the world.

Spiced Salmon Stir-Fry
Black Bean and Vegetable Stir-Fry Web Extra!
Oriental Chicken Salad
Chinese Veggie Noodles Web Extra!
Grilled Beef With Lemongrass, Garlic and Chili Paste
Five-Spiced Chicken Web Extra!
Pan-Fried Noodles With Pork and Bok Choy
Deep-Fried Tofu With Japanese Dressing Web Extra!

“Flipcook Wok and Stir-Fry”

By Linda Doeser
Published by Southwater


Spiced Salmon Stir-Fry


4 (8-ounce) salmon steaks
4 whole star anise
2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 3 limes, finely grated
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lime wedges, for garnish


Remove the middle bone from each steak, using a very sharp filleting knife, to make two strips from each steak.

Remove the skin by inserting the knife at the thin end of each piece of salmon. (Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt on the cutting board to prevent the fish from slipping while removing the skin.) Slice the salmon into pieces, cutting diagonally.

With a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the star anise. Place the salmon in a non-metallic dish and add the star anise, lemongrass, lime juice and zest and the honey. Season well with salt and pepper.

Turn the salmon strips to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Carefully drain the salmon from the marinade. Reserve the marinade and pat dry the salmon with paper towels.

Heat a wok, and then add the oil.

When the oil is hot, add the salmon and stir-fry, stirring constantly, until cooked through.

Increase the heat, pour over the marinade and bring to a boil. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.


Makes 4 servings.

Black Bean and Vegetable Stir-Fry


8 spring onions
8 ounces button mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 large carrots
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons black bean sauce
6 tablespoons warm water
8 ounces bean sprouts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut both peppers in half. Remove the seeds and slice the flesh into thin strips.

Cut the carrots in half and then into fine strips, lengthwise. Stack the slices and cut through them to make very fine strips.

Heat the oil in a large preheated wok until very hot.

Add the spring onions and garlic and stir-fry 30 seconds.

Add the mushrooms, peppers and carrots. Stir-fry 5 to 6 minutes over high heat, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften.

Mix the black bean sauce with the water. Add to the wok and cook 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the bean sprouts and cook 1 minute more, until all the vegetables are coated in the sauce.

Season to taste and serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings.


“101 Things to Do With Ramen Noodles”

By Toni Patrick
Published by Gibbs Smith


Oriental Chicken Salad

1 package ramen noodles, any flavor
1 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup oil
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sugar
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
3 to 6 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 head lettuce, torn or shredded


Cook the noodles 1 minute and drain. Roast the almonds in the oven until lightly browned.

In a bowl, mix the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and sugar.

Add the chicken, onions, celery and sesame seeds.

Add the lettuce just before serving and toss.


Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Chinese Veggie Noodles

1 package Oriental ramen noodles, with seasoning packet
1 cup frozen stir-fry vegetables
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce


Cook noodles in water according to package directions and drain. Add the seasoning packet.

In a frying pan, sauté vegetables in olive oil until heated through and add to warm noodles.

Sprinkle soy sauce over top and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.


Makes 2 servings.


“The Little Saigon Cookbook”

By Ann Le

Published by Insiders’ Guide


Grilled Beef With Lemongrass, Garlic and Chili Paste


1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 stalks fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
1 pound beef (any cut that is not too lean: beef round, tenderloin, filet), cut into thin slices
Watercress or red lettuce, for garnish
Chopped peanuts, for garnish


In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, sugar, chili paste, fish sauce and water. Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and shallot and cook a few minutes.

Add the garlic and lemongrass and cook another minute.

Reduce the heat to low and add the beef slices. Quickly pour the fish sauce mixture over the meat. Toss until the sauce evenly coats the meat.

The meat should cook in the juices another 5 to 8 minutes for medium rare.

Arrange the meat over a bed of watercress or lettuce and pour the pan juices over the meat. Garnish with the scallions and chopped peanuts. Serve hot with steamed rice or bun.


Makes 4 servings.

Five-Spiced Chicken


3 pounds whole chicken, quartered and skin removed
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon ground star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup sesame seed oil
2-1/2 tablespoons five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Ginger Lime Soy Sauce (see recipe below)


Clean and pat dry the chicken quarters. Set aside.

In a food processor, mince the onion and garlic. Blend in the ground star anise. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl.

To the bowl, add the sugar, sesame seed oil, five-spice powder, salt, black pepper and soy sauce. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Place the chicken quarters in a shallow dish or a large zipper bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure all parts are completely covered. Marinate at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.

Every so often, baste the chicken in the dish or rotate the bag to ensure all the parts are well coated.

Prepare a grill for cooking the chicken. (A large skillet set on a hot burner is a good alternative.)

When the grill is hot, place the chicken on it and cook 10 to 15 minutes on each side, frequently basting the chicken with the marinade. (If you are using a skillet, our all the marinade into the skillet to cook with the chicken.)

The chicken is done when the juices run clear after being pricked with a knife or fork.

Arrange the chicken on a bed of lettuce. Serve hot with Ginger Lime Soy Sauce and steamed or fried rice or sautéed noodles.


Makes 4 servings.


Ginger Lime Soy Sauce


1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon roughly chopped, fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic


In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.

Leave the bowl at room temperature for a half-hour before serving.

As with dipping sauce, it is best to refrigerate if you are not planning to serve within one day.


Makes 1 cup.


“Harumi’s Japanese Cooking”

By Harumi Kurihara
Published by The Berkeley Publishing Group


Pan-Fried Noodles With Pork and Bok Choy


2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
2 to 3 bok choy
4 ounces pork (most cuts will do)
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon Chinese soup paste or a mix of chicken and beef stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon shokoshu (Chinese rice wine
that has a stronger flavor than sake)
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
5 to 6 ounces cooked Chinese noodles
1-1/2 tablespoons potato starch mixed with
1-1/2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Rice vinegar and mustard


Crush the ginger using the blade of a knife. Chop the bok choy stems into 2-inch julienne strips and keep separate. Season the pork with salt and pepper and cut it into small strips.

Mix the hot water, soup paste or stock, soy sauce, shokoshu and oyster sauce in a bowl to use as a sauce later.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil in a wok over medium heat. Loosen the Chinese noodles, and add them to the frying pan, pressing them into the bottom. When they are crispy, turn them over and cook them on the others side.

Separate the noodles again, and then put them on a warm plate.

Pour a little more oil into the wok. Add the ginger and fry until aromatic. Add the pork and press it down.

Next, add the bok choy stems. After 1 minute, add the leaves.

Stir in the sauce you made earlier.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the potato starch, thickening to taste. Add the sesame oil for an extra-special aroma.

Remove the pieces of ginger and pour the sauce over the noodles. Add vinegar and Japanese mustard to taste.


Makes 2 servings.

Deep-Fried Tofu With Japanese Dressing


2 boxes soft silken tofu
Potato starch or cornstarch, for dusting
Oil, for frying
1 cup dashi stock or fish stock
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Superfine sugar
Grated daikon radish
Grated ginger
Shiso leaves, chopped into thin strips or a mix of fresh basil and mint leaves
Green onion or chives, minced


Drain the tofu and wrap it in paper towels and place in a strainer 30 minutes to remove excess moisture

Cut the tofu into four pieces, dry again with paper towels, and then coat with the potato starch.

Heat the oil to a suitable temperature for deep-frying (around 340 degrees).

Carefully put the tofu pieces in to fry, and when they turn golden, remove and drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

In a small pan, heat the dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce and a little sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil to ensure that the sugar has dissolved.

Divide the tofu among four bowls. Pour a little of the hot sauce into each bowl and garnish with the grated daikon, a dab of grated ginger, shiso and green onion to taste.


Makes 4 servings.