Exciting variations of traditional dishes need not take lengthy preparation or even advanced cooking skills. Just follow the guidance of an enthusiastic pro.
To prove the point, here are a couple of Asian-inspired recipes from Oklahoma City chef Joseph Royer: pork pot stickers and green curry-coconut sauce, served with green papaya coleslaw. They are quick to make but sing out with bold flavors from a combination of the ethnic ingredients that nowadays are available in most supermarkets.
He's a classically trained chef, Royer says in a phone interview, but he says he likes to reach out for what's different and fun.
"Pot stickers is a Chinese thing," he points out, "but here there's a Thai influence with the green curry-coconut, green papaya and lemon grass and so on." His other ingredients include soy sauce, ginger, basil, garlic and lime. "I do stuff like that all the time," Royer says, "I like to cross boundaries, take and combine flavors, from Asian to Latin and beyond."
Royer has worked as chef in several area establishments. Now he runs his own restaurant, Saturn Grill, in Oklahoma City, serving fresh, eclectic cuisine in a casual atmosphere.
This dish would serve equally well for entertaining, or as a rather exotic treat for the family. Plan to make the coleslaw first, to allow plenty of time for the full flavor to develop.
PORK POT STICKERS AND GREEN CURRY-COCONUT SAUCE
(Preparation about 30 minutes, cooking time about 7 minutes)
For Pot Sticker Filling:
8 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into cubes (about 1/2 of 1 tenderloin)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon grated lemon grass
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
20 to 21 won ton wrappers (about half of a 12-ounce package)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For Green Curry-Coconut Sauce:
14-ounce can coconut milk
10 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
Juice of one lime (about 1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 teaspoons green curry paste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
To make pot sticker filling: Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor; puree until smooth. Brush won ton wrappers lightly with water on one side. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper up around the filling, pressing to seal in pork filling. Set aside.
To make the sauce: In a large saucepan, stir together all sauce ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes; remove from heat. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Place pot stickers in the skillet; brown both sides. When pot stickers are brown, pour sauce in skillet. Bring to a boil; simmer for 1 minute.
Serve pot stickers on plate, spoon sauce over top. Serve with Green Papaya Cole Slaw.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 324 cal., 21 g total fat (14 g saturated), 27 mg chol., 1,099 mg sodium, 19 g carbo., 15 g pro., 1 g fiber.
GREEN PAPAYA COLESLAW
1 large or 2 small green papayas, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups chopped bok choy or baby bok choy
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Optional garnish: Chives, reserved red bell pepper strips
In medium bowl, combine all coleslaw ingredients; set aside.
In small bowl, combine dressing ingredients; pour over coleslaw mixture. Stir to combine; set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Garnish with chives or red bell pepper strips, if desired. Serve with Pork Pot Stickers and Green Curry-Coconut Sauce.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 147 cal., 5 g total fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg chol., 3 3 mg sodium, 27 g carbo., 1.5 g pro., 3 g fiber. —AP recipe developed by Joseph Royer, courtesy National Pork Board