Start with ‘Simple Asian Meals’ and Go Anywhere for Dinner

August 1, 2012

New takes on Asian favorites and completely original standouts are equally tasty.

A little Indian, a hint of Vietnamese, some Thai, a bit of Japanese and plenty of Chinese—that’s the recipe for Nina Simonds’s latest collection of favorites from all over Asia.

Favorite restaurant foods, original home cooking are the starting point for Simple Asian Meals. Simonds, a journalist, blogger, and author of nearly a dozen cookbooks, definitely mixes it up, with exciting results.

Take for instance, traditional Chinese lion’s head meatballs. Simonds gives them a makeover with ground chicken instead of beef. Ma Po Tofu gets an extra dose of goodness with the addition of edamame and Spicy Sichuan-Style Green Beans goes from classic pork to chicken as the seasoning meat.

Western favorites get a touch of Asian savor, like Tender Braised Pork with Fennel and Sweet Potatoes, Sumptuous Balsamic-Glazed Short Ribs with Garlic and Tandoori Chicken Sliders.

There’s plenty of tempting food in Simple Asian Meals that you probably won’t find in a restaurant. Dishes such as Golden Tempeh Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Curry-Coconut Chicken and Mango Salad and Easy Asian Seafood Paella use Asian ingredients to fashion new dishes.

At the end of each recipe, Simonds explains how its nutritional properties fit into traditional Chinese medicine.

You could go out for dinner, or you could stay in for something really good. Start with one of these simple recipes.


Simple Asian Meals by Nina Simonds (Rodale Books, 2012)

By Nicki Pendleton Wood



Asian Hot and Sour Slaw

Shredded slaw mixes and shredded carrots in supermarket produce section are particularly useful for preparing vegetable side dishes that complement all types of grilled and barbecued dishes.


Easy Asian Seafood Paella

Like its Spanish cousin, this paella is brimming with seafood and spicy chorizo. The dish is a spectacular presentation and a meal-in-one feast.


Five-Spice Quinoa with Toasted Almonds

Five-spice powder is a seasoning that usually includes star anise, cinnamon, licorice root, fennel, and black or Sichuan pepper. It plays well against the slight nuttiness of quinoa, a grain that is rich in protein. Toasting the quinoa in a little oil adds a pleasing nuance of flavor. If the quinoa is sold in bulk or loose, I recommend rinsing it. If it’s in a package, you may omit this step.


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