coconut jasmine rice

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we love us some asian dishes around here..
this past month, i have been adapting all all of our go-to recipes for my better half’s whole30 challenge (which we have loved and highly recommend). i edited so many good ones from the blog and made the cinnamon bun muffins as a reward when he was halfway through. i even made this hearty baked potato soup whole30 approved! (check out the “whole30 friendly” category on the right side of the home page to check them all out.)
our favorites that we pretty much kept on repeat were these asian turkey meatballs and these chicken lettuce cups. now that the husband is about to cross the finish line on his challenge (which by the way he did wholeFORTY 😐 overachiever), i am excited to re-introduce a few things into our diet at home, including rice!

this recipe – IT’S AMAZING Y’ALL. it is not just your average side dish that comes to you in the chinese restaurant.. it’s super creamy and tons of flavor comes from the coconut milk. and i will tell you, i am not a huge fan of coconut itself, but cooking with coconut milk is totally different and i love the flavor of it. this is a super simple recipe and one that is sure to become a kitchen staple in your house too.

coconut jasmine rice
makes about 3 cups

ingredients

1 1/4 cups jasmine rice (uncooked)

1 14-oz can coconut milk (unsweetened; not “lite”), shake well before opening

3/4 cup water

a very generous pinch of coarse sea salt

directions

  1. in a medium sized saucepan, combine all ingredients. heat to boiling over moderate high heat. once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. cook rice for 12-14 minutes until all water has been absorbed. fluff with a fork and serve along with your favorite asian main dish.

asian chicken lettuce cups

asian chicken lettuce cups

during the winter, there is a lot of chili-and-cornbread-eating, curl-up-with-a-hot-bowl-of-soup nights around here. i love the warmth and the fullness of my belly after a big bowl.
but after a few months of this loveliness, i do crave a fresh, crisp, even crunchy dinner. and recently, it was these chicken lettuce cups.

if you’re like me, you first fell in love with this concept after discovering the chicken lettuce cup at p.f. chang’s. i’ve always loved their version of the dish, but this recipe is by leaps and bounds the best i have ever made myself and the best i have ever eaten. i might even like them better than p.f. chang’s.
sorry, p.

(you can also serve this dish sans the lettuce cups and with rice instead. i used a white jasmine rice as the bed for the chicken filling a few times and it is delicious, and a little heartier.)

*to make this recipe whole30 friendly: for the dipping sauce, sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, sub pure date syrup for the brown sugar, omit the cornstarch, and make sure there is no added sugar in your OJ.

asian chicken lettuce cups
adapted from the family chef cookbook by jewels & jill elmore

ingredients

the filling:
2 lbs ground chicken (you could also use turkey)

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded or finely chopped

4 green onions, finely chopped

2 tsp ground ginger

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 small can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

the sauce:
1 cup soy sauce

4 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

4 tbsp orange juice

4 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp water

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp chili flakes

for serving: 2 heads of iceberg lettuce, washed & leaves peeled into cups

directions

1. for the sauce, mix all sauce ingredients together with a whisk and set aside.

2. heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. when the pan is hot, add the peanut & sesame oils. saute the carrots, green onions, ginger, and garlic for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. add chicken and cook, stirring constantly to break up the meat.

3. when the chicken is almost cooked, add the sauce. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking 5 or 6 minutes.

4. remove pan from heat, stir in water chestnuts. spoon the mixture into lettuce cups and serve while warm.

enjoy!

(photo above is from the family chef cookbook. because, let’s be honest.. i could NOT for the life of me get the lettuce cups to cooperate.)

asian vinaigrette with sesame oil + black pepper

asian vinaigrette with sesame oil + black pepper | via she likes to eat

this weekend, i made this dressing because i was in serious need of change from the regular dressing stock in our fridge. and, i need to confess, it was because we had no fresh garlic and no fresh herbs – things you uuusually need to make a fresh vinaigrette. so i grabbed my trusty dressing shaker that has recipes on the outside and chose this one (adapting it a little), since the ingredients were all things i had on hand.
yeah, i know, so boring.
BUT it was so good! it has an awesome balance of tartness from the rice wine vinegar and sweetness from the brown sugar. and then the pepper hits your tongue… seriously. so good.

*to make whole30 friendly, sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, and sub pure date syrup for the brown sugar.

asian vinaigrette

ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

directions

1. place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to blend. pour over a salad of arugula, spinach, carrots, and broccoli (and tomatoes…if you’re into that kind of thing) or toss with cut up veggies.

asian turkey meatballs

asian turkey meatballs | via she likes to eat

these little gems were a lovely surprise this week. i was skeptical, them coming – randomly – from the disney family website (i have NO earthly clue how i originally got this recipe, although i think the link was sent to me by a family member). i had read through the ingredients and the instructions and they sounded delicious. and they were. divine. they have all the flavors of a chinese dumpling and the sauce is heavenly.

the meatballs are served best over jasmine rice and a side of the sauce. it’s an easy meal and delightfully yummy.  also, the meatballs and the sauce save pretty well for a few days and are great reheated. oh and kiddos LOVE them. (both of the little shes are in a dipping phase right now – i know you mommies know what i’m talking about – so this was a HIT in the highchair this week.) these also freeze quite well, so they are a good option for make-ahead meals.

*updated march 2016
**to make whole30 friendly, see note at the bottom

asian turkey meatballs
makes about 2 dozen

ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (you can use lean or dark meat)

2 green onion stalks, finely chopped (or snipped with kitchen shears)

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (or you can use liquid aminos)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup ricotta cheese (not skim)

for dipping sauce:

6 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger, heaping)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 400.

2. in a large bowl, mix together turkey, scallions, cilantro, oils, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, egg, and ricotta with your hands, then form meatballs by rolling 2 tablespoon-sized scoops between your palms.

3. arrange on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 minutes, until browned on top and cooked through.

4. while the meatballs are in the oven, make the dipping sauce: in a small saucepan, stir the sauce ingredients together over medium low heat until the sugar has dissolved. simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens a bit.

5. serve with jasmine rice + dipping sauce on the side.

**to make this recipe whole 30 friendly, make the following substitutions for the meatballs: sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce, replace panko breadcrumbs with guiltless superfoods’ 7 seed flour or raw almond flour, omit the ricotta cheese. then for the dipping sauce: sub pure date syrup (this one is my favorite and there is no added sugar) instead of brown sugar  (using 5-6 tbsp), and again subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce. and don’t forget to skip the jasmine rice if you’re on whole30!