Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Light and Healthy Asian Inspiration

Talk about low fat, good carbs and lean proteins, tonight's dinner really fit the bill. This is not really authentic Asian cuisine but it certainly has its inspiration from across the Pacific. I made a soup with onions, kale and konbu flavored with a clam dashi and poached tilapia filets in it. The only fat was a tiny splash of olive oil in the pot to sauté the onions. More on the soup in a minute. I really want to talk about this simple and delicious salad I threw together. There's a legume event going on over at The Well Seasoned Cook and I blogged about cooking up some whole grains and legumes in my last post. Now these beans and grains were just fine by themselves seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper, but I really love to eat them cold with fresh crunchy vegetables and a tangy dressing. What you see in the bowl below is a couple cups of those cooked grains, a cup or so offinely sliced romaine lettuce hearts, a half cup each of finely diced celery, carrots, and scallions, three cloves of garlic finely chopped and a good tablespoon of minced ginger. A little salt and pepper, a splash of soy sauce, a couple tablespoons of rice vinegar and the tiniest drizzle of sesame oil was mixed in with these. The result is shown below. I garnished it with sesame seeds.

All right. Let's talk soup. I love soup and this one was pretty easy to make. I first sautéed one medium onion with a tiny bit of olive oil until it began to brown. Four or five cloves of chopped garlic were added and this was quickly cooked for about a minute to release the flavor. I added a few tablespoons of rice vinegar to deglaze the pan. In went a little bit of dried konbu seaweed and a couple cups of chopped up kale. Salt and pepper was added along with a couple tablespoons of a Korean clam dashi powder. About 8 cups of water was added and this was simmered covered for about 30 minutes until the kale was nicely softened and the flavors were all integrated.

Here in Fargo it is not that easy to get fresh fish so we have to rely on what we can find frozen much of the time. I am, after all, located in the geographical center of North America. There is no other place further from an ocean than North Dakota. Anyway, of the frozen fish I find the mild taste and nice texture of tilapia to work great in a soup. You certainly don't want to overcook it though. So, I just slip in the thawed filets right before serving and let them simmer in the broth for just a couple of minutes. I only use as many filets as I'm going to serve. I find the fish does not keep that well in leftovers. So, we eat all the fish and any soup that is left can be used later. You can reheat and add more fish or even throw in some tofu. I like to serve the filet whole in the bowl. It makes for a nice presentation. However, you could break it up into pieces as well. It was delicious and the broth perfectly seasoned this time.

1 comment:

Lee R said...

Both your salad and your soup look delicious, and thanks to you, I cooked black beans for the first time in my rice cooker today.