Tag Archives: Asian

Staying at home…so enjoy Thai Chicken w/Sweet Potatoes & Peppers

It’s been a minute since I’ve been on, foodies.  There have been many things going on. A quick catch-up on all that, outside of the obvious of course.

Right around the time the CoVid-19 pandemic got super serious around here and they started shutting everything down, schools, restaurants, facilities,  etc, my father, who has battled Parkinson’s Disease for years, took a turn for the worse and he passed away on March. 19. This was made exponentially more difficult because his skilled care center was on lockdown and only end of life visits allowed.  On top of that, my mom, who had been in the hospital with a non-Covid illness (at least we think so as she tested negative) was just released from the hospital and moving into rehab and then back to HER assisted living facility, which was ALSO on lockdown. So we could visit him and so could she, but she has not been able to receive visitors at all in the past 2 weeks while she grieves. We had to settle for a private graveside service with no hugs, which was very difficult. But we shall celebrate my Daddy’s life in a few weeks, months, whenever it is safe to do so.

So…here we are.
I hope you are all doing well. After a hectic week and a half going back and forth to the Triad, I actually am so grateful for being at home with my family and cooking and only going out for essentials. As much as I like to eat out, I am a homebody. As you may know, I homeschool, so our schedule hasn’t changed too much other than we don’t go to our school co-op on Friday or church on Sunday. I like an excuse to stay home for sure.

I figure no time like the present to pop in for some recipes and what’s going on in the local restaurant world when I hear about it. For one, DO try to support local restaurants by ordering takeout occasionally. They need your support now more than ever. But since you can, enjoy cooking at home too.

So here’s the first of a few recipes I plan on posting that will hopefully get you out of the doldrums and pack your plates with flavor. I didn’t take a lot of photos because I was throwing it together, however it was just so pretty, I decided to snap one.

This dish turned out so great and was gone in a flash.  I cooked it in the Instant Pot but it can easily be done on the stove, you just need to cook longer until the potatoes are cooked through.

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Thai Chicken w/ Peppers & Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds chicken, boneless thighs preferred here
1 red pepper, sliced in strips
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 bunch of arugula, kale, spinach (optional)
1 large knob of fresh ginger, divided
1/4 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 Tbs. Thai red chili paste
1 Tbs. ground or fresh turmeric
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbs. fish sauce
juice of one lime
Handful of cilantro (optional but really not)
red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
green onions for garnish
2-3 Tbs. oil, sesame oil or ghee
salt/pepper to taste

Before you start cooking, rub the chicken with the turmeric and half of the ginger. Let it hang out overnight or a few hours but if you forget, it’ll be fine. Turn the IP to sauté and once hot, sear the chicken on both sides until lightly browned.

Add the onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, chili paste and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic remaining ginger, broth, coconut milk, cayenne or red pepper and fish sauce if using. Here, you may add the red pepper but I like it a little crisper, so you can add it at the end if you prefer.

Turn the Instant Pot to manual pressure and cook on high for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure, remove the lid, add the red pepper, greens, lime juice and season if needed.  Turn the heat to sauté and reduce the broth a bit, until peppers are tender crisp. This won’t take long. Stir and check for flavor, being careful not to bust up your sweet potatoes. Serve over rice. Top with fresh arugula or cilantro and or green onion.

Stove Top version:

In a dutch oven, heat oil of choice. Follow all the steps as above at medium heat, adding the peppers to the pot, but once you get to the pressure cooking part, turn the heat down to a light simmer and allow to cook partially covered for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are mostly tender (you don’t want them falling apart). Add some broth if it gets too thick. Once fully cooked, add your greens, lime juice and spices as necessary.  Top with cilantro or arugula and green onion and serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Review: Full Kee Chinese Restaurant

UPDATE:

Several weeks after this blog post, Full Key closed for business and Sue Chen retired. Since then, former owner George Yu came OUT of retirement and bought his restaurant back. It’s now called Tasty 100 and the menu and same great taste is back!  I hope to visit there soon and hopefully even have a Chef’s Table again. Until then, stay tuned and please visit Tasty 100 and show George some love!

You probably know by now (if you’ve been opening your email and clicking on the blog) that I’m am HERE for Full Kee Chinese Restaurant, a local eatery that calls itself “gourmet Chinese.”  We went back for a taste because I wanted to “research” it for a possible future Chef’s Table. And it did not disappoint. So here’s the review when I brought Sister Foodie with me on our foodie exploration.

You can read the full article for YES! Weekly here.

Full Kee has been located at 3793 Samet Drive since 2005.  It was owned and operated by George Yu, who had a very popular restaurant in Washington D.C. before he and his family moved to the Triad. What started as a takeout restaurant, Full Kee expanded into a cozy restaurant with beautiful Chinese art, dim lighting, and a full bar.  In May of last year, George retired and moved to Florida.  Sue Chen had been a partner with George in the early days but had since moved on. Now there was a very brief period of time between George selling and Sue buying the space that the restaurant was not itself.  For one, the restaurant was operated by someone else. Full Kee’s Chef, Carlos Lopez, who had worked under George’s tutelage for nearly a decade, had left to pursue another opportunity while that owner was in charge. The restaurant experienced some not so great reviews for a few weeks. Sue ultimately purchased the restaurant in November and the space its in and brought Carlos back. And now Full Kee has risen to its former glory. Some say it’s better than ever. Update: Carlos has moved on and Sue has a new chef in the kitchen, but all the recipes are the same.  UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Sue retired and George Yu bought the place back and is in the kitchen. 

Back before my food writing days, Full Kee became a favorite. You can read that initial view here. I found it so interesting that there was actually a Chinese restaurant that claimed to be “gourmet”.  It just wasn’t the norm. Chinese was and is almost entirely takeout and often quite low-key (no pun intended). Full Kee invites your casually dressed self into an ambiance that feels like fine dining, but is very comfortable and inviting. The dim lighting is soft and elegant. And what was more thrilling, amazing, astonishing, is that my children ate their food. At a restaurant. It was then and there that my children discovered they love Asian food, specifically dumplings, stir fry rice and “sweet chicken” (as my son calls it). To this day, General chicken is is favorite food (besides brownies). 

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Egg Drop Soup: If you’re an egg drop soup fan, you’ll love this light broth with the ribbon of yolks. It doesn’t have that off-putting corn starch-like consistency. My sister, who was dining with me the evening we visited, it’s the best egg drop soup she’s ever had and that she ever feels a cold coming on, she knows where she’s headed.

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Lettuce Wraps: A perennial favorite with romaine lettuce and finely minced chicken with  vegetables. They are always a crowed pleaser for the table. The chicken was mild and seasoned wonderfully and the cool, crisp lettuce acts in contrast to the tiny hint of heat.

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Dumplings: Carlos makes all the dumpling wrappers from scratch. The result is a delicate dumpling exterior, tender on top, crispy on the bottom, while it lets the filling shine through. It comes with the typical sweet and savory dipping sauce. It is the perfect appetizer. 

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Spring Rolls: You just can’t not get some spring rolls when you eat Asian food amirite? They were super hot, super crispy, came with two dipping sauces and fab.

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General Tao Chicken: According to Sue, it is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (as it is in just about any Chinese restaurant). Full Kee’s General chicken, with its secret ingredient in the sauce, is light and crispy and not full of breading like you might find with ordinary takeout. “We wanted it ti be a bigger piece of chicken, but not heavy with flour and not cooked too long. It’s crispy outside and tender inside,” Sue told me.  It’s wonderful. And what often comes off as an afterthought, the broccoli is al dente and actually flavorful. Sue says, “It used to be just very plain, but I asked Carlos to add more seasoning.” The result is broccoli with a hint of garlic and it’s perfectly cooked.

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Walnut Shrimp: These firm, juicy jumbo shrimp are lightly crisped in the same manner as the General Tao’s, but the sauce is a bit more robust and amber in color with crunchy walnuts in the mixture.  I highly recommend this dish as well as the Philomela Shrimp, which has a creamier sauce. Or you can get the Full Kee Shrimp, which is a combo of the two. Both come with the same tasty garlic.

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Mongolian Beef: Customers will notice a change to this dish as the protein portion has been increased and the onions have decreased. It’s very savory and peppery and hearty.

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The menu includes a wide variety of traditional Chinese noodle and rice dishes, including Stir-Fry Rice, Stir Fry Sea Bass, Boneless Duck and Curry. Sue has also recruited a wine connoisseur to help patrons with the perfect wine selection.  We agree with Sue that everyone in your dining party should order something different from one another.  “We want everyone to be able to try a little bit of everything.  It’s the best way to enjoy Chinese.”

Full Kee has retained its loyal following of customers, some of whom have a place at the table every Friday night. Andrew Priddy, who lives outside Winston-Salem, says they’ve been loyal since 2010. “We travel a lot. And this by far is our favorite restaurant. Great food, great service. They’re like family. We just love it.”

Tasty 100 Asian Restaurant
3793 Samet Dr, Ste 140
High Point, NC

A Take On Takeout: Sichuan Noodles

If there’s anything you’ve heard me griping about, it’s that my children are so weird with their food choices. They are keen to eat junk all day (if I’d let them) but I’d say about half the time I make a meal at home, I can barely get them to eat half of it. But NOT when we make anything from some other continent. Spaghetti? Pizza? They gobble it up. Asian food? They pretty much inhale it and then lick the plates (not really but they really really like Asian food. And Indian food.) Weird?

So I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, if you will. Mr. foodie has already bought a wok and tried his hand at General Tso’s chicken (amazing), Lo Mein (also delish) and in our regular rotation is the Korean Beef Bowl from How Sweet Eats. I can’t describe the goodness of this bowl…impossibly delicious!

So a loooooong time ago, I saw Maggie Zhu’s recipe of Omnivore’s Cookbook for Sichuan Chicken aka “Saliva Chicken” and it included her Red Oil Sauce. You’ve seen similar sauces at Asian restaurants and maybe at the store. But homemade is best, obvs.

And I have yet to make that recipe…but I have all the ingredients. But I am still going to, honest. It’s not even a difficult recipe…I have no excuse really.

Then I saw Tieghan Gerard’s “easy” Szechuan noodles recipe on Half Baked Harvest and I decided to use HER noodle recipe and marry Maggie and Tieghan’s chili oil recipe to make a little Mag-Tiegh chili oil baby. 😀

It also helped that I had some ground chicken I needed to use up. 🙂

I jooshed up both recipes to incorporate what I had on hand and what I know my kids like, but I’m so glad to have these ladies for inspo. Like I say, you get inspiration from all over…just keep your eyes and mind open. Note: Maggie’s tip says you can use bay leaf and star anise in your aromatics. After playing, I love the combo of flavors below.  You can make the oil in advance and use it on all kinds of things later. The noodles themselves come together in less than 20 minutes (if you count cooking the noodles).

Oh, and in case you were wondering….yes indeedy, this dish was a hit and gobbled right up by all the humans. Go figure.

Sichuan Noodles with Red Chili Oil
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: 30 min.)
Serves 4 (you should make double, for real)

Chili Oil (adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook & Half Baked Harvest)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 tsp. Sichuan chili flakes (these are what I used), regular is fine too
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp, ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional + I left mine whole and it was fine)
1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 TBS. sesame seeds

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and cook 3-5 minutes until it sweats down a bit. Add all the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and simmer for another 3 minutes. The oil will  turn a beautiful amber red color. Add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds and simmer for another minute. The oil will be probably be sizzling but don’t let it go hard or it will make your chili flakes and sesame seeds taste bitter. Carefully transfer to a heat proof glass jar or bowl.

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Sichuan Noodles (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: -20 min)

16 oz wide Chinese egg noodle (if you can’t find, pappardelli is fine)
1 lb ground chicken (ground pork is also fine) or leave out if vegetarian
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. honey or brown sugar
2 tbs. garlic chili sauce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
2-4 green onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of bok choy, chopped

1. Cook the noodles
2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili paste + 1/3 cup water in a bowl.
3. Place the same skillet  over medium high heat. Add the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, crumbling as you go and cook for 5 minutes.   Add the onions and bok choy, and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the chicken is coated with the sauce, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Add 2 TBS. chili oil and toss well.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with more chili oil, green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: You can add more or less seasonings to taste. You can also add mushrooms if you love them and omit the meat if you prefer.

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foodie b’eat: Xia Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar via CHOW in YES! Weekly

A year ago or so, we took a lunch break from our office in WS to Xia to check out their sushi. It was pretty good, but we really didn’t get back there (even though it’s next door) because we discovered that Wen Hwa (a few blocks over) was the microfoodies’ favorite place to eat in the history of kidkind.

So we went to Wen Hwa. A lot. And that was our Asian Fusion fix for a good 6 months. Until the unspeakable happened. Wen Hwa was damaged in a fire a mere 2 hours after we had just eaten  lunch there. We waited and waited for months, but it just didn’t open. And then recently they announced they would not reopen.

Anyway, we went back to Xia because guess what??? They also have Pho. Pho! Something that’s been absent in this town. We have had no Pho in #WSNC. But Xia has it. And you should check it out. And all the other stuff they have too. Heck, try the sushi too. Read all about it here.

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This is the Honey Sesame Chicken. Ours order it with no sesame. Very similar to General Tso. It will look like this, but be spicy.

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Fried Spring Roll

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Jasmine Tea

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Pho Beef Combo (with rare beef and meatball)

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foodie b’eat: The Best of Asian in the Triad via CHOW in YES! Weekly

This might be more of a refresher for some of you who are more regular readers of the blog. Here’s a checklist of some of our fave Asian spots across the Triad.  It’s all in my latest CHOW article in YES! Weekly.

By the way, since we went to press, we found another that we really love. nOma Food is a new fast casual restaurant on Battleground Avenue. They officially open Monday, August 24. You must check them out. They are fab. Especially love their curry and the beef rice bowl! Enjoy, foodies! PS…if you don’t see a fave, let me know what I’m missing.

Sushi Republic