Food Showcase: Asian Foods

On our way home from Wisconsin, my husband got a craving for Chinese food. He tried to hide it by saying he wanted to get it for me. That the hot and sour soup would be good for my cold; make me feel better. And I have to hand it to him, it was a good cover. Hot and sour soup is one of my “I’m sick and don’t feel good physically” types of comfort food (as opposed to the “I’ve had a bad day” type of comfort food). And I have been hammered by a bad cold for the past…sixteen days now. So the hot and sour soup sounded REALLY good to me. But we have to be honest here–it was really about him craving one of his favorites:  Chinese food.

Unfortunately, after the trip to Wisconsin, we’d already used up any extra money we had saved up for fun. So–with the idea of a home based food showcase rattling around in my head–I came up with a compromise: we would MAKE the hot and sour soup. Today I get to tell you about our inaugural “Funk Family Food Showcase: Asian Foods.”

We began with making a list of ingredients we thought might have been included in the hot and sour soup made by Pei’s Ohana in Cedar Rapids, IA (3287 6th Street Southwest for those of you in the area). We then went into our local Osceola Wal-mart and found whatever items were the closest to what had made it onto our ingredients list. Below is what we ended up with:

Funk Family Hot, Sweet, and Sour Soup
64 ounces of Chicken Broth
28 ounce can of La Choy Chop Suey Vegetables
1 bottle Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce for Dippin’ and More (this was located with the hot sauces and barbecue sauces)
1 package whole white button mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 package Nasoya cubed, super firm organic tofu
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 14 ounce package of frozen salad shrimp
3 eggs, beaten
Sesame seed oil

  1. In a large pot, put about four tablespoons of sesame seed oil and the onion. Heat it for about three minutes and then add the garlic. Heat for one minute more and then add about 4 tablespoons of the Franks sweet chili sauce.
  2. Add in half the broth and stir well to get all the flavors off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
  3. Using a spoon, drizzle the beaten eggs into the soup a small amount at a time.
  4. Reduce heat. Add the can of vegetables, the second half of the broth, the pepper flakes, soy sauce, the remaining sweet chili sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the tofu, mushrooms, and shrimp. Wait until the shrimp are cooked and then serve!

Here’s the picture of the finished product:

We also had “Asian Lettuce Wraps” based off of the following recipe (found in the most recent issue of All You). Here’s the recipe as seen in the magazine:

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1 cup bean sprouts (about 4 oz)
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
24 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves
soy sauce, optional

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Stir in turkey and cook, stirring, until almost cooked through; about 5 minutes. Add broth and hoisin sauce. Cook, stirring and breaking up clumps of turkey, until turkey is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in teriyaki sauce, bean sprouts, and carrots. (You should have about 6 cups of filling.)
Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling into center of each lettuce leaf. Serve with soy sauce, if desired.

However, due to the flavors in the soup we were making, the ingredients available at our Wal-mart, and (unfortunately) the ingredients I forgot to get, we had a few differences in our ingredient list:

2 Tbsp. sunflower oil (instead of vegetable oil)
1 lb. ground turkey (instead of 1 1/2 lbs.)
4 Tbsp. Franks Sweet Chili Sauce (instead of the hoisin sauce and the teriyaki sauce; used before dumping the bottle into the soup)
No carrots (because I didn’t have a shredder)
Romaine lettuce leaves (instead of Boston or butter lettuce leaves)

The steps I followed to make it, however, were the same. Here’s a picture of the finished product:

The meal was, for me, absolutely divine! It has been (deservedly) added to my Favorite Meals list. And both my husband and I agreed that it really put the frozen Chinese dishes that are available at grocery stores to shame–and even some of what we have gotten in restaurants was put to shame as well. It was definitely spicy, however, and we didn’t think of what the kids would eat until after we tasted it. They ended up with simple sandwiches, which they really seemed to enjoy, so they didn’t go hungry, but we would definitely recommend thinking about that ahead of time if that’s a concern in your household.

To my readers:  What favorite Asian dish would you like to create in your kitchen?


About Dallas Funk

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two children (a seven-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter), 20+ years of writing experience, and a passion for food that has been developed over a lifetime of experimenting. Over the past 12 years of marriage, I have worked hard to learn all that I can to make my family all that it can be. My expertise has been primarily self-taught, allowing me to provide insights for the average person, whether they be an aspiring cook, a new mother, or a hopeful writer. I have studied and experimented with baking, cooking, budget meals, healthy and tasty alternatives to comfort foods, and even food photography. By combining my writing experience, my hard won cooking expertise, and my "everyman" outlook, I offer a special and unique slant to food and dining. In January of 2015, I will receive my MFA in Creative Writing, with a Popular Fiction specialty, from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Writing Program.
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2 Responses to Food Showcase: Asian Foods

  1. Constance says:

    Congratulations on a successful, healthy meal! Is it possible to make the dish without the spicy stuff and then add that later after the kids have been dished up?

    • That would certainly be something worth trying. The lettuce wraps were mild enough that my 15-month-old daughter ate a few pieces of the meat, but they did still have some spice to them too, so I was careful to only give her pieces of meat that didn’t have red pepper pieces stuck to them. The soup might be a little harder since we added spice at so many different steps, but perhaps we could do the first step with the oil and chili sauce with the onions and then not add any more of the pepper flakes or chili sauce until after the kids were dished up. It probably wouldn’t be to spicy then.

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