Chilli Soy Sauce and Dipping Sauce

Our garden features several well-bearing chilli bushes, and we do a number of things with them. Firstly, we freeze some, whole, for use during winter. We use them in our cooking of course, especially Indian dishes. Some red ones are dried for use as dried chillies in Indian food during the year. Chilli jams, sauces and pastes are made. And we pretty much use them in everything else.

Today’s recipe is a very simple, Asian condiment, which soaks fresh chillies in soy sauce, to be drizzled over, well, pretty much everything. I love a good stirfry and rice, and with abundant amounts of this condiment to drizzle and to dip. Imagine dipping some deep fried tofu in this sauce! Also good over noodle dishes and vegetables. Try it with samosas, or Chinese Scallion Pancakes.

Similar recipes include Preserved Sweet Chillies, Balinese Sambal Iris, Tomato and Chilli Jam, and Chilli Pastes. Also try Onion Jam, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Sauces and Condiments. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Sweet Chilli Sauce

This is a simple and easy recipe for Sweet Chilli Sauce, a sauce that can be used in so many ways – with noodles or over vegetables, in a stir fry, as a dip, or as a condiment. Use it in sandwiches, add some to pasta sauces, and spread over grilled tofu or haloumi. You will find a million ways to use it.

The recipe’s heat content depends on the chillies that are used. For mild chillies, add more. For firey chillies, stay with 3 or reduce to 2. My latest batch of sauce, made with 3 ripe chillies of the purple cayenne variety, is quite sweet with a delightful mild-medium heat perfect for a dipping sauce. If you like real HEAT, add more chillies. You can also boost up the amount of garlic should you prefer a garlic twist to your chilli sauce.

Similar recipes include Preserved Sweet Chillies, Chilli Soy Sauce, Sweet Chilli JamGreen Chilli and Coriander Paste, Chilli Jam, Chilli Paste, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Browse all of our Chilli recipes and all of our Sauces. Our Asian dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Baked Marinated Tofu

There is a magnificent Asian grocer near us, their shop is so large it goes on and on. And, well, it has inspired me to play more with tofu. They have every variety from Five Spice Tofu to Deep Fried Tofu, to the hardest firm Tofu to the silkiest Silky Tofu.

For this recipe, I used really firm tofu. It is first marinated then baked for a delightful snack or summery side dish. It is a perfect dish, sticky and dark. Eat with a green mango salad. Or a crunchy, herby, green Asian Style Salad.

You might like to try some other Tofu dishes: Sticky Tamarind and Kaffir Tofu, Peach Salsa with Marinated Tofu; Hou Hod (Deep Fried Tofu with a Sweet Peanut Sauce); and Black Pepper Tofu.

You can browse all of our Tofu recipes here, and our Snack recipes. Or you might like to explore all of our easy Early Summer Recipes.

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Glass Noodles with Spinach

Glass Noodles are wonderful – silky, soft and translucent, they are great in salads, soups and stir fries. Other names for these noodles include Cellophane Noodles, Chinese Rice Vermicelli and Chinese Vermicelli. They don’t take much to prepare – stiff like wire when you buy them, they soften with a short soak in hot water, and within about 5 minutes they are ready to toss with other ingredients. But don’t mix them up with Indian rice Vermicelli, that is vermicelli of a different type.

This salad takes some fresh, younger spinach and wilts it with sesame oil before tossing with the glass noodles. You can sprinkle with some sesame seeds to complete the dish.

Similar dishes include Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad, Indian Vermicelli Payasam, and Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhurji.

Browse all of our Spinach dishes, and all of our Vermicelli dishes. Our Asian dishes are here. Or browse our Early Spring recipe collection.

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Chinese Style Greens with Garlic and Sesame

If you are like me, you love a plate of greens now and again. And if they are straight from the vegetable garden, there is nothing better. This is an easy dish to whip up and is fragrant with the garlic and spring onions.

The recipe can be made with just the leaves, or, if you have an abundance of stems, it is also good made with just the chopped stems. But mostly, I mix the two.

Similar dishes include Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhurji, Spinach Stem Salad with Sweet Raisins, and Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach.

Browse our Chinese dishes and our Asian recipes. Our Spinach dishes are here. Or browse our Early Spring recipes.

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Quick Pickled Radishes with Asian Flavours

Radishes without their peppery tang

The little red radish is so easy to grow that kindergartens grow them to introduce children to the joys of gardening. It takes only 3 days for green shoots to appear, and a few weeks later they are ready to pick, these little red or white ping pong balls. The flavour is tangy, a little on the peppery side with its sharp pungency that pleases adults, especially with a sprinkling of sea salt. Perfect for nibbling, they also make such a pretty addition to salads. They are a bit peppery for kids, though.

Not surprisingly, they say that radishes have health giving properties – it clears the sinuses and soothes sore throats.

This beautiful recipe comes from Kylie Kwong via Lucy Nourish Me who adapted it from the original. I have altered it again. This recipe diminishes the level of radish’s sharp tanginess. It is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty. Use as it is as a side dish, or with a bowl of beautiful rice. Toss them in salads or into sandwiches. Lucy says that thinly sliced carrots also work very well with the radishes in a salad with some lettuce leaves.

Similar recipes include Japanese Quick Pickled RadishesBraised, Raised Radishes, French Buttered Radishes, and use this recipe to pickle radishes.

Also try Asian Style Greens with garlic and Sesame.

Explore our other beautiful Radish Dishes, and other Quick Pickles. Our Salads are here. And browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Chinese Scallion and Orange Zest Pancakes | Coriander and Chilli Pancakes | Fenugreek and Ajwain Pancakes

A classical Chinese dish with a twist

Scallion Pancakes are classic Chinese fare – crisp, flaky and chewy, made with layers of dough and sesame oil – they are surprisingly easy to make. You can also pre-make the dough and pop it in the fridge to make later. The pancakes can even be rolled out prior to cooking and kept with layers of baking paper between until you are ready to cook.

The traditional filling is Spring Onions (aka Scallions in the US), but indeed any filling can be used. Today, I have made 3 different ones:

  • Fenugreek Leaves with Ajwain and Cumin Seed
  • Coriander Leaves and Green Chilli
  • Spring Onions with Grated Orange Zest and White Pepper

Are you looking for similar recipes? We have some Indian chickpea flour “pancakes” here, and try some Indian dosa.

Check out our Chinese and other Asian recipes. Or explore our easy Winter dishes.

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Cumquat Tea | Kumquat Tea

The season of cumquats are upon us, and not only are we able to get gorgeous ones from our local Asian Grocery, but friends who are not so kitchen-friendly as me, arrive with baskets of them.

For many years we have made our beautiful go-to cumquat recipes. Marmalade, Chutney, Pickles, Oils, and Soaked in Gin.

But a conversation with a Fijian friend changed, or rather, expanded, the way we think about this tiny, semi-sour globular fruits. He related how they use cumquats like lemons, squeezing the juice into dishes that need that bit of tang. Now not only are they squeezed, we cut them in halves and nestle them into oven baked dishes, they are floated in stocks, soups and stews to infuse, we char grill them for salads, and they find their way, chopped into 2 or 4 or 6, into warm vegetable mixes.

And they are made into tea.

What a delicious infusion this is. Just cumquats, or with mint and/or other herbs added, it is a perfect mid morning or mid afternoon pick-me-up. Surprising. Wonderful.

In terms of herbs, use your favourites, and don’t be afraid to experiment with a leaf here and there. Tulsi, basil, mint, thyme, parsley. Add honey if you need a sweetener. I don’t. But some Cumquat varieties are more sour than others.

We have some similar teas for you to try – Longan and Young Ginger Tea, Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea, and Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea.

Are you looking for other Cumquat recipes? Try Cumquat Rice, Steamed Thai Eggplant with Cumquat, and Cumquat and Pea Shoot Salad.

Browse all of our Cumquat recipes, and all of our Teas. Or take some time to explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Kombu and Carrot Quick Pickle

An Asian flavoured Quick Pickle

Quick pickles are the go when time is rushed and there are no pickles ready at hand. They can be made in a matter of minutes but do take an hour or three to pickle and develop their flavours. They are wonderful mixed in the morning and eaten for lunch or in the evening.

This pickle is unusual as it combines kombu, that salty seaweed from Japan, with crispy carrots. It is pickled in a mixture of sake and rice vinegar, sweetened with mirin and salted with soy sauce. It is allowed to pickle for a few hours before being ready to serve.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Japanese Quick Pickled Radishes, Quick Carrot Pickle, Celery Quick Pickle, Onion Quick Pickle, and Cucumber and Radish Quick Pickle Salad.

Have a look at our other Pickles, and our Chutneys too. You might like to browse our Asian recipes, and explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Celery Quick Pickle with Chilli

I am always looking for celery recipes to fill that void that a lack of celery dishes creates. An unassertive vegetable – it always plays second fiddle to other vegetables rather than feature in its own right – it deserves much more prominence.

This is a quick pickle is a perfect accompaniment to meals (I like to have a pickle with each meal, it balances the other flavours), and a perfect ingredient in other salads or even sandwiches. It keeps well in the fridge, so make a double batch. I like to add chilli and spring onions to the mix.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Celery Yoghurt Salad, Spicy Celery Salad, and Simple Celery Salads.

Try also Quick Carrot Pickle, Carrot and Kombu Quick Pickle and Onion Strings Pickled Salad.

You might see our other Celery Dishes. Or browse all of our Salad recipes here. And explore our easy Mid Spring recipes.

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Spicy Celery Salad

Celery sort of misses out in the salad stakes. There are not so many salads that feature celery as its core ingredient. This salad changes that, it at least puts a stake in the Celery Salad map. Asian style in flavours with a little heat, it will be a classic at your place once you have tried it.

The original recipe was inspired by The Back Yard Lemon Tree, and she credits Lottie and Doof as her inspiration.

Are you after Celery recipes? Try Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata, Quick Pickled Celery with Chilli, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Celery and Avocado Cold Soup, Nashi Pear and Celery Salad, and Simple Celery Salads.

Or try these Salads – Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Mediterranean Buckwheat Salad, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads.

You might see our other Celery Salads. Or browse all of our Salad recipes here and here. All Celery dishes are here. Or explore our easy Mid Spring recipes.

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Longan and Young Ginger Tea | Dragon Eye Tea

Longan Berries are warming, according to Chinese philosophy. So this tea is great for warming the toes on cold nights, or perfect for when a cold is coming on or you just feel cold. Enjoy this by the bowlful.

Longan are sold fresh and dried. For tea, it is much more convenient to use dried. They are loved by the Chinese and used commonly across China. They are used to flavour many dishes – winter sweets, sweet Chinese soups and congee. Great for snacks on their own if freshly dried, or mix with raisins and other dried fruits, and walnuts and other nuts.

It is easy to find them. Wander the aisles of your local Asian/Chinese shop until you find the dried fruit section. Sometimes you will find them sold in bulk. Choose ones that are soft, like raisins, and avoid the harder dried ones. Store them in a jar in your pantry, keep them in the fridge, or even freeze them to preserve them well.

In China this tea would be called a sweet soup. Serve it with the berries in the tea. You can strain them out if you prefer, but they are lovely left in and munched on as you sip. Longan are very relaxing and good for the memory as well.

Are you after other Teas? Try Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea, Cardamom, Coriander and Fennel Herbal Tea, Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea, and Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea. Enjoy your tea with some Chinese Scallion and Orange Zest Pancakes.

Explore all of our Teas, and our Chinese dishes. Or take some time to browse our warming Early Winter dishes.

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Tofu and Chilli Salad

Sichuan Pepper and chillies mix with tofu in this interesting salad.

This salad layers different chilli flavours with tofu that has been pressed, so it absorbs its dressing very well. It is a playful, delightful salad.

Would you like to browse other Tofu recipes? Try Peach Salsa with Marinated TofuBaked Marinated Tofu, Thai Deep Fried Fresh Beancurd with Sweet Nut Sauce, or Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu.

Or perhaps you are looking for a salad with a difference. Have a look at another Tofu salad – Asian Lightly Pickled Cucumber and Tofu Salad, or Orange and Olive Salad with Mint and Basil, or even Wombok  (Chinese Cabbage) and Red Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes, and our Salad recipes. We have a collection of Bittman Salads here. Or be inspired by our Late Summer recipes.

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Kimchi, Vegetarian Style

It is possible to make excellent vegetarian kimchi. Here is how.

I love subtle dishes as much as full flavoured ones. Not so subtle is Kim Chi, that Korean staple!

Kimchi is not traditionally vegetarian, but you can still make a great vegetarian version. It can be made at any time of the year, from a whole range of vegetables including cabbage, daikon radish, watermelon radish, turnip, carrot, fennel, cucumbers. Mix and match.

Grab some ko choo kah roo (Korean chilli flakes) for a more authentic taste and colour. It does make a difference.

You might also like to try this alternative Kim Chi for Vegetarians. Or browse the Pickle recipe collection here and here. We love an Indian Quince Pickle and Pickled Ginger. Explore our Korean recipes too.

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Black Pepper Tofu

With all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

Ever since I saw the Black Pepper Tofu in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, I have wanted to make it. It has all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

You might like to try Tofu, Spinach and Miso NapoleonsBaked Marinated Tofu, and What to Do with Deep Fried Tofu.

Or browse our Tofu recipes here and, and other Ottolenghi recipes. Our recipes from Asia are here. Or browse our easy Late Summer dishes.

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