Tag Archives: Rice

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Well, it’s that time of year again, where I think about putting myself in detox after all my holiday sugar intake and eating just a tad more healthy, and perhaps shedding a few pounds to welcome in the new year. I was thinking along these lines this month when I came across this recipe in Cooking Light.

I like lettuce wraps. They make me feel like I’m eating healthy even when I’m reaching for a third or fourth leaf of lettuce. How can that possibly be bad for you? The rice in these make them more filling and they were quite satisfying. Choose a head of Bibb lettuce that has nice big leaves for a little bit less mess. Count on some sticky fingers in any case and serve with extra napkins.

I’m all for eating light if it doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. The chicken in these lettuce wraps packs a nice punch, without being spicy. The sauce for this includes a new ingredient for me – Gochujang sauce. I looked for it in the grocery store and didn’t have any luck. After searching the shelves at my Asian market, I gave up and asked for help, and the kindly employee pointed it out…right in the middle of the shelves I was looking at. If you can’t find this stuff, you can make something similar by mixing equal parts of Sriracha and white or yellow miso paste.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(from Cooking Light)

2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon gochujang sauce (I found this at the Asian market, but some grocery stores probably carry it, or in a pinch you can mix equal parts Sriracha & miso paste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 Bibb lettuce leaves
1 English cucumber, sliced
4 green onions, diagonally sliced
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Cook rice according to package directions.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Do this in batches if needed so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Tear leaves off of head carefully so they stay whole. Gently wash and pat dry.

A tower of lettuce

A tower of lettuce

Place a big spoonful of rice in each lettuce leaf; top with some chicken slices, cucumber slices, and green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. If, like me, you forgot to pull some out before you stuck the chicken in the bag, just mix up a little extra.

So delicious.

So delicious.

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Chicken Korma

I don’t have any tattoos.  I’ve thought about it, but then I think about how often I change my mind about things I like.  Food, TV shows, decor, people… you get the picture.  We all have at least one piece of furniture/art/outfit that we absolutely adored when we just had to buy it and now we look at it and think “what the heck was I thinking?”  So I’ve abstained from having anything permanently inked upon my flesh.  But the other day at Saturday market, I happened upon a booth where a nice lady was doing henna tattoos.  Oooh…artsy and cool, but temporary!  I’ve always wanted to play with henna, so I got some to take home and proceeded to “tattoo” all over myself and my daughter.

Fun with henna. Not bad for my first effort!

While looking at cool henna designs for inspiration, I came across a couple of web sites with Indian-inspired designs and fun stuff.  And that made me want Indian food.  So we made Chicken Korma for dinner to complement our newly decorated body parts.  If you are new to Indian food, this is a terrific “intro to Indian” recipe.  The flavors are very mild and delicious, and not too out of the ordinary.  The spices used are flavorful but not hot and the sauce is to die for.  There are no ingredients that can’t be found at most grocery stores.  And it’s super simple to make.  Pair it with some rice and fresh veggies and you’re all set.

Chicken Korma. Looks pretty and tastes even better.

Chicken Korma

2-3 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 cup heavy cream

Rice for serving

Saute onion and chicken in oil over medium heat until onion is soft and chicken is no longer pink.  Add garlic and ginger and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add salt, turmeric, and cumin.  Cook 1 minute.  Add water.  Turn down heat slightly and stir in garam masala and cream.  Cook 5 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened.  Serve over rice with fresh steamed veggies on the side.  Serves 4.

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Jambalaya Night

A friend asked me recently if I knew how to make jambalaya and I honestly couldn’t even remember.  I’ve EATEN jambalaya.  Does that count?  I seem to recall making it many years ago, but if it’s been that long, obviously it was high time to make it again.

Searching for recipes for this little project, I realized something:  there are about a million variations of jambalaya.  I chose one that was fairly basic for the test drive.  This particular variation has a lot of tomato, which I personally liked.  The Creole spices (which appear to be a mixture mostly of pepper and garlic) give the dish a real kick and the combination of ingredients lead to a wonderful smelling house!

Luckily this recipe also serves 6-8 people, so invite a few friends and have a jambalaya night!

Jambalaya with a side of fresh green beans.


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 green onions, chopped

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside.  Add onion, pepper, celery, garlic and seasonings.  Saute 5 minutes or so until veggies are tender.

Veggies and seasonings. Smells so good, but don’t breathe too deep right over the pan, those peppers will get you!

Stir in reserved sausage, tomatoes, broth and rice.

This is what it looks like before the rice sucks up all the liquid. Looks pretty good to me! Is there a jambalaya soup experiment in my future? I think so!

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Stir in shrimp, cover and cook 5 minutes or until done.  Sprinkle each serving with green onions.

**If you are making this for a group that includes vegetarians (which I was), you can saute the meat first and set it aside to serve on top of the rice dish, rather than cooking it with it.  I sauteed the sausage and then added the shrimp for a few minutes at the end and sprinkled it all with a bit of Creole seasoning for some extra flavor.  Vegetable broth can also be substituted for the chicken broth.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Where’s The Tortilla in Tortilla Soup?

When I was in art school I had a great job for a while, working at Denver Art Supply.  Not only did I get a discount on all my art supplies for school, I learned all sorts of fun things and I had the pleasure of working with a great group of people.  One of the people I looked up to was a girl named Jennifer, who although only in her mid-20’s, was a wife and mother and artist and knew all sorts of interesting things.  One of the things she taught me was how to make tortilla soup, which to this day, although I’ve played with it a little bit, is still very similar to that original recipe.

Of course one of the great mysteries (to me) about tortilla soup is that there are not any tortillas in it.  I’ve come up with some answers to this, mostly just because I like answers to questions.  One is that there USED to be tortillas and the recipe has somehow evolved to not need them anymore, perhaps because someone discovered it’s just better to crunch up chips in at the end instead.  Or maybe it’s because it’s really great when you eat it WITH tortillas, scooping some of the soup up with a torn off bit and making a total mess of yourself in the process.  Either way, it’s delicious!

Chicken Tortilla Soup. Not a tortilla in sight, but it’s still awesome!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1/2 pound chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups beef broth
1 cup tomato juice
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 can black beans, drained
2/3 cup uncooked rice
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder
Salt & pepper

Saute onions, garlic & jalapeño in a little canola oil for a couple of minutes.  Add chicken and continue to cook until onions are soft and chicken is no longer pink.  Add broth, tomato juice and worcestershire.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium and cook for 10 minutes or so.  Add beans, rice and seasonings.  Stir to combine and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until rice is done.  Top with a squeeze of lime, avocado, cheese, sour cream or tortilla chips (or all of the above)!

The leftovers freeze great, so I highly recommend making a double batch!

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Project Veggie: Day 17 – Thai Red Curry

When I think of Thai food, I think of Tong’s.  This little restaurant in Springfield, Missouri has wonderful food, and made me forever a Thai food fan.  But my favorite part of going to Tong’s was Tong himself.  He would come out of the kitchen to visit and tell fantastical stories about his adventures.  After he flew to Thailand for a vacation, he made fun of the airline for taking away his nail clippers but letting him keep his chopsticks, laughing as he told us it was much easier to kill a man with chopsticks than with nail clippers!  He had many photos on his wall of himself with celebrities, including one on a movie set with Bruce Lee.  Of all of us, his favorite person was Luke.  He was so tickled that at a very young age, Luke could easily polish off a man-sized plate of Pad Thai at regular spice level.

One happy day the local newspaper published an article about Tong, along with a couple of recipes.  One was for one of my favorite dishes, his red curry.  I started making it myself after that.  Such a tasty dish, and one that’s so easy to throw together.  I’ve long since lost the newspaper clipping but was shocked to find that it’s a pretty simple recipe.  I think Tong’s version may have had a couple of additional ingredients, but this simplified recipe works great and is delicious.  Any combo of vegetables (or meat) work well with this sauce.  I’ve even used a bag of frozen veggies in a pinch.

Thai Red Curry with Green Beans and Cauliflower

Thai Red Curry

2 cups fresh or frozen veggies (I used fresh green beans and cauliflower this time)
1 can coconut milk
1 heaping tbsp. thai red curry paste (use more or less to control the spice level, I would consider this amount medium)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 cup water or broth
Fresh basil – chopped coarsely
Brown or white rice (I used brown with a little wild rice thrown in for texture)

Cook rice (I use a little rice cooker for this. Best $20 I ever spent).  Meanwhile, saute veggies in a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet for a couple of minutes.  Add coconut milk and thai curry paste and stir well.  Add brown sugar, fish sauce and water or broth.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until veggies are tender.  Stir in basil.  Serve with rice.

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