Side Dish Recipes


Thai Wild Mushroom Salad

Thai Wild Mushroom Salad

Stock up on cilantro, mint, and shallots and you’re well on your way to enjoying the aromatic salads of Thailand. Lightness and the emphasis on balancing hot, sour, and salty elements seem to be the hallmark of Thai greens. Instead of oils and vinegars, try whipping out the chiles, limes, and fish sauce for a [...]

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Morel Mushroom Pilaf

Morel Mushroom Pilaf

I was reluctant to try this recipe because morel mushrooms aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. Foraging is not an option because I don’t know any mycologists and there’s always that tiny chance of Death by Shotgun if I unknowingly wander into an ex-convict’s backyard.
A Julie Sahni recipe has never steered me wrong, though, so [...]

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Pickled Ramps, Japanese and Korean Flavors

Pickled Ramps, Japanese and Korean Flavors

Even before I open my eyes in the morning, when senses are at their dullest, the first thing I’ve been noticing lately is the pungency of ramps. I’m not sure whether it’s my breath, clothes, or skin pores, but I’m guessing that pouring a boiling red pepper broth over wild leeks is enough to trump [...]

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Sautéed Ramps in Guanciale

Sautéed Ramps in Guanciale

I swore that if I failed to post at least one recipe for ramps this season, then I would deport myself to the nearest city with a Chinatown (because a Filipino needs a local source for patis – see blog name). Ramps are the stinky wild leeks after which Chicago was named after all.
The local [...]

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Sautéed Morel Mushrooms and Fava Beans

Sautéed Morel Mushrooms and Fava Beans

Buttery fava beans still in its pale green skin are added to sauteed morel mushrooms in this recipe. Crème fraîche, a cultured cream, gives the dish a rich tang. It’s a simple way of enjoying what is arguably the most coveted of spring produce.
When it comes to fresh ingredients, sometimes the simplest recipes are [...]

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Cremini Mushroom Toast

Cremini Mushroom Toast

Mushroom toasts are a great way to use up stale bread. It could also serve as a bold top half for your version of The World’s Greatest Sandwich or as a worthy excuse to fire up your George Foreman grill or panini press*.
I don’t really care for any of that, though.
I like making these because [...]

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Gamja Jeon – Korean Potato Pancakes

Gamja Jeon – Korean Potato Pancakes

Realizing that I’ve been using the oven almost exclusively lately, turning to other kitchen appliances seems to be in order. I hear that stove tops get heavy use in other kitchens so I’m dusting off the skillets and cooking with (gasp) fire instead of hot air.
Gamja jeon are savory skillet-crisped pancakes made with grated potatoes. [...]

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Bread Bowls for Soups

Bread Bowls for Soups

We’re all about baking and cooking from scratch here. Homemade serving vessels might be taking things a bit too far, though. Gently nestling flattened pieces of dough on upturned bowls seems so… homely. I feel like scrapbooking or knitting a sweater after making bread soup bowls.
These are always fun to have on hand whenever soups [...]

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Potato and Orange Salad – Ensalada Valenciana

Potato and Orange Salad – Ensalada Valenciana

Ensalada Valenciana is a simple salad of potatoes and oranges dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. This light salad has several layers of sweetness — subtle red potatoes, fresh and fruity oranges, and roasted savory pimientos.
What is a pimiento? It’s a generic Spanish word for peppers, but in this recipe, pimientos refer to roasted, skinned, [...]

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Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Not getting enough butternut in your risotto? Has this ever happened to you? (Warning: video contains choice words from British chef)
This basic butternut squash risotto recipe comes from a less disgruntled (gruntled?) British chef whose cooking style I really admire. The dish may be simple, but the garnish makes it a bit more interesting.
In addition [...]

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Dal Makhani (Kali Dal) – Buttered Black Gram Beans

Dal Makhani (Kali Dal) – Buttered Black Gram Beans

Poke around my burgeoning list of recipes and you may notice that outright lack of knowledge and unpronounceableness haven’t deterred me in the least from trying out new foods. In keeping with the spirit of blissful ignorance, here are a handful of things I know about dal makhani, a slow-cooked lentil stew with black gram [...]

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Whole Pumpkin Baked with Cream and Cheese

Whole Pumpkin Baked with Cream and Cheese

One thing that can go wrong with baked whole pumpkins is incinerating it into mush. Filled with cream and Gruyère cheese, you’ll know when the pumpkin is overcooked. It will likely collapse into a deflated mound of white and orange laced with strings of melted Gruyère. The semi-successful dish will still be delicious, as long [...]

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Nasi Uduk – Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice

Nasi Uduk – Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice

My attempt at the Indonesian spice cake called spekkoek was a complete disaster, so weaseling my way into the this month’s edition of WTSIM means that I have to go with Plan B.
There is no Plan B, so let’s see what’s in the fridge:

Sriracha – Not much use in Indonesian cookery as far as I [...]

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Kinpira Gobo – Burdock Root, Stir-Fried and Spicy

Kinpira Gobo – Burdock Root, Stir-Fried and Spicy

There are many things that look more exciting than the beige stick facade of burdock roots but few have the appealing crunchiness it is prized for. Resembling a lengthier anemic carrot, it takes well to braising, retaining its crispness where other root vegetables turn mushy, and stir-frying, where its appetizing aroma is drawn out. Both [...]

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Baba Ghanoush – Eggplant and Tahini Dip

Baba Ghanoush – Eggplant and Tahini Dip

Whenever pita bread is puffing up in my oven, a bowl of baba ghanoush glazed with olive oil is surely waiting nearby. In this classic Middle Eastern appetizer, roasted eggplants are mashed and flavored with tahini, a sesame seed paste equally useful in Asian cookery, particularly in Japanese Cuisine, where it can be used in [...]

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Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataang Gulay – Vegetables Simmered in Coconut Milk

Ginataan is a Filipino cooking technique where ingredients such as vegetables, seafood, or fruits are simmered in coconut milk. It can be sweet or savory depending on the ingredients — the term ginataan by itself refers to a warm dessert soup traditionally served in the Philippines as merienda, mid-afternoon snacks that help make the long [...]

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Grilled Eggplants, Japanese-Style (Yakinasu)

Grilled Eggplants, Japanese-Style (Yakinasu)

This Japanese treatment for eggplants turns the spongy fruit — I thought it was a vegetable — into creamy morsels that lend itself well to the simplest of seasonings. Serving as its own cooking vessel, the purple berries are grilled until charred while steaming from the inside. The whole eggplants will expand and sputter as [...]

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Homemade Corn Tortillas using Masa Harina

Homemade Corn Tortillas using Masa Harina

Chicago is home to several vibrant Latino neighborhoods, some predominantly of Mexican heritage. It follows that there is hardly any shortage of sources for Mexican ingredients. There are even several tortillerias open to the public that produce freshly made tortillas by the truckload and buying from these factories is easily the best option — the [...]

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Banana Hearts Kinilaw

Banana Hearts Kinilaw

Kinilaw (pronounced ki-ni-lao) involves fresh ingredients doused with an acidic component such as vinegar or citrus juice. Also known as kilawin, it is the Filipino version of ceviche, most commonly used to prepare freshly caught seafood. Kinilaw can also feature fruits, vegetables, and half-cooked meats. Additional ingredients include aromatics such as ginger, onions, and chiles. [...]

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Simple Stir-Fry: Shanghai Bok Choy

Simple Stir-Fry: Shanghai Bok Choy

Some variation of tumis sayur, a side dish of stir-fried greens, is often found on the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean dinner table. Three ingredients — Shanghai bok choy, garlic, and fresh chiles — come together within minutes to create a simple but satisfying addition to any meal. The fresh chiles are essential in this dish. [...]

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Perfect Brown Rice

Perfect Brown Rice

When Saveur Magazine calls something perfect, my initial reaction is to just take their word for it and bookmark regardless of subject matter. Whether it’s about poaching or pig’s feet, I trust that the technique or recipe will work, so when Saveur recently published a method for making perfect brown rice, a staple in my [...]

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Asparagus the Japanese Way

Asparagus the Japanese Way

There are two major categories in Japanese salads — sunomono (“vinegared things”) and aemono (“dressed things”). This crisp asparagus salad falls under aemono where a simple dressing of Japanese mustard, egg yolk, and soy sauce is applied sparingly, just enough to provide that distinctive mustard heat.

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Rhubarb and Asparagus Top Chef Style

Rhubarb and Asparagus Top Chef Style

Leave it to Top Chefs to come up with interesting seasonal recipes using fresh produce from farmers’ markets. This pickled rhubarb and asparagus side dish is from Stephanie Izard, winner of Top Chef Chicago, but it’s nowhere to be found in Bravo TV’s collection of recipes from the show. It was posted in Green City [...]

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Japanese Vinegared Cucumber

Japanese Vinegared Cucumber

This is a refreshing and simple recipe for the ubiquitous Japanese side dish that seems to go well with anything. The sanbaizu, or “three flavors vinegar” dressing, is a delicate balance between sweet, sour, and salty but doesn’t overwhelm the clean and mild flavors of cucumber.

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