I cannot tell you how delicious each of these Asian inspired seafood entrees were. Asian cuisine is one of my favorites, and I adore seafood. I have been looking forward to making these since I got the MasterChef Junior Cookbook a year ago. However, I put them off because all of their ingredients lists were not only extensive, but most of the ingredients are not at my usual grocery stores. These dishes actually inspired a new term I started using. I no longer say I’m going grocery shopping; I call it grocery hunting.
For these MCJ dishes, I had to make multiple trips to an incredible Asian market about 50 minutes from my house. Then, once I arrived, it took me longer than I would like to admit to find the ingredients because most of them were labeled in different Asian languages. I would ask the occasional employee for help, but that didn’t get me very far either since most of them didn’t speak much English. Honestly though, I loved it. It reminded me of when I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii. A huge part of the current culture in Hawaii is Asian, and it felt like I was back home at one of the local Asian markets there.
Thai Curry with Prawn Dumplings
I was so excited and super nervous for this one because I had no idea how difficult it would be to make dumplings. It turns out, it was not difficult at all and they tasted amazing. I cannot wait to make these again and try all sorts of different fillings. While the dumplings were delicious, next time I will pan fry them. I waited tables at P.F. Chang’s for years, which is where I developed my unwavering love for pan-fried dumplings. Steamed dumplings are good, but pan-fried dumplings are next level. Trust me.
If I were making this recipe my own, I would call for the heads to be removed from the prawns because it just takes more work to eat them once they’re cooked. For some reason though, most gourmet chefs feel it’s important to have the heads on. Don’t ask me why.
Cod with Sautéed Asian Vegetables
Unfortunately, not even the massive Asian market in Korea Town of Dallas had fresh black cod, which is what this recipe called for. They had frozen black cod steaks that just didn’t seem right, so I substituted it with regular cod, and it still tasted absolutely delicious.
This recipe was packed with incredible Asian ingredients including burdock root (which, little did I know, comes in stalks about three feet long. LOL), mirin, sake, white miso paste, lemongrass, ginger, makrut lime leaves, baby bok choy, maitake mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms. Can we just take a second to talk about all the crazy cool things that the earth grows?! Sometimes we get so used to our own culture’s food we forget all the other amazing things that are harvested and used regularly in other parts of the world.
I’m definitely going back to that Asian market soon. When I do, I’m going to bring back as many unfamiliar ingredients as I can and see what fun recipes I can develop. I can’t wait to experience all the different flavors.
Asian-Inspired Soy-Marinated Yellowtail with Veggies
This was a fairly easy dish to make, but Yellowtail is not a cheap fish, otherwise I would definitely make this more often. I will likely make similar dishes in the future but with a more affordable fish.
I’m also never as impressed with green beans as I’d like to be. Next time, I will substitute the green beans for asparagus (one of my favorite veggies).
Overall, trying these three Asian-inspired seafood dishes was a treat and a fun experience. I only have one more MasterChef Junior Seafood recipe left. Stay tuned!
All my love,
Dani, a big tid
Thai Prawn Curry with Prawn Dumplings, Miso Cod in Coconut-Ginger Broth, and Soy-Marinated Yellowtail with Sautéed Green Beans and Mushrooms
Pg. 69, 61, & 70
Dara (Season 1), Addison (Season 4, finale + winner!), Nate (Season 4)
87+88+89 down…10 to go!
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