(BPT) - Preparing a meal that will please everyone at the table is something that every host strives for. The vibrant flavors of Asian food are surprisingly easy to create at home – particularly when you have the right ingredients – and so versatile that they can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion.
“There’s a perception that making Asian food is challenging,” says Asian cuisine expert Corinne Trang. “But really, simple family cooking is at the heart of so many Asian cuisines.”
Stocking your pantry and refrigerator with go-to items like those from Simply Asia or Thai Kitchen makes preparing a restaurant-quality Asian meal as easy as opening the door and grabbing what you need – so when you need a quick dinner solution, a memorable meal is easily within reach. Use these tips from Trang to incorporate more Asian meals into your cooking repertoire.
Great food is essential, even for more casual occasions. If a family member drops by, or even if you’re just looking for a memorable evening meal with the kids, there are plenty of Asian recipes that can be ready in a snap.
* Weeknight meals: If you’re juggling all the demands of the week, simply getting a meal on the table can feel like a challenge. But opting for a quick, simple recipe that dials up the flavor without taking too much time – like Sweet Ginger Garlic Stir-Fry – will make everyone happy without interrupting your schedule.
* Valentine’s Day: Avoid the headache of trying to make reservations for an overpriced set menu and make a romantic, gourmet meal right at home. A delicious dish like Pad Thai for two can be made as spicy or mild as you choose, and includes rich and complex flavors sure to please every palate.
There are also plenty of occasions year round that are great opportunities for inviting friends, family or coworkers to your home – but you can just as easily put together an impromptu party whenever the mood strikes.
“Asian recipes are easily adaptable for entertaining,” Trang points out. “They’re an ideal solution because they’re incredibly easy to make but will still wow your guests.” Consider these ideas:
* Chinese New Year: If you love to entertain and are looking for a reason to extend the holiday celebration season, consider throwing a Chinese New Year party. It’s a great way to enjoy delicious food, fun traditions and get the new year off to an exciting start. Chicken Satay Skewers – rich with complex flavors, thanks to a coconut milk-based marinade – with peanut dipping sauce are a delicious, fun-to-eat finger food that are ideal for mingling at a party.
* Game day: Whether it’s regular season, playoffs or the big championship, watching sports just wouldn’t be the same without some great eats. Trang recommends spicy Kung Pao Wings – which feature savory Chinese flavors – as a fun twist on the usual game-day wings.
Try these recipes for your next event or everyday dish, and find additional meal ideas at www.thaikitchen.com.
Sweet Ginger Garlic Stir-Fry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Simply Asia Sweet Ginger & Garlic Seasoning
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 cups assorted cut-up vegetables – broccoli florets, sliced carrots, red pepper strips, snow peas
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
Mix water, Simply Asia Sweet Ginger & Garlic Seasoning, soy sauce and cornstarch in small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir fry 3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet.
Stir sauce mixture. Add to skillet. Stirring constantly, bring to boil on medium heat. Boil 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Makes 6 servings.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Satay Dipping Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Refrigerate: 1 hour
Cook Time: 6 minutes
1/2 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
2 teaspoons minced fresh lemon grass
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch strips
1/2 cup Thai Kitchen Peanut Satay Sauce
Mix coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste and lemon grass in small bowl until well blended. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; toss to coat well.
Refrigerate 1 hour or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Thread chicken strips onto skewers.
Broil or grill over medium-high heat 3 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with Peanut Satay Sauce for dipping.
Makes 8 appetizer servings.
Test Kitchen Tip: Soak bamboo skewers thoroughly in water for at least 30 minutes before threading with chicken. This prevents them from burning when on the grill.