Making Asian food at home

Chinese New Year is Sunday.

In honor of the Chinese New Year, which kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 10, gather up some new ingredients, put on your can-do cooking apron and whip up an Asian dish that will yield a delicious way to mark the occasion.

Yes, trying a new recipe can be both exciting and intimidating, especially if you are tackling something out of your kitchen’s comfort zone, but we’ve consulted an expert: certified personal chef Debbie Spangler, of the Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service of Cincinnati.

Spangler offers these tips when preparing an Asian recipe:

“When cooking Asian foods, don’t add salt. Many of the sauces are quite high in sodium, and if you are watching your sodium intake, try low sodium soy sauce or try mixing it with orange juice or even diluting with water,” Spangler said. “Keep vegetables crisp when cooking. Just give them a light saute. They should be brightly colored and crunchy.”

Spangler said Asian recipes can be budget-friendly. “Typically Asian cooking uses tougher cuts of meat that are cooked in liquid for longer periods of time to tenderize. This is a great way to stretch your budget,” Spangler said.

Ready to cook?

Try these two client-favorite recipes of Spangler that she adapted from meals during a three-week visit to China.

“Most all ingredients can be found in the Asian aisles of the supermarket, or you can venture into an Asian market and pay a lot less for the same item,” Spangler said.


Recipes by Debbie Spangler.


Serves: 4

½ c apricot preserves (or can use Major Gray’s Mango Chutney)

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

½ c Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce

¼ c lime juice, fresh squeezed

¼ c dry white wine

1 tablespoon spicy chili garlic paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled, finely grated

2 lbs baby back ribs, silverskin peeled

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine apricot preserves, garlic, sweet chili sauce, lime juice, white wine, spicy chili garlic paste, soy sauce and ginger together and pour into large resealable bag.

Add ribs to marinade, seal bag and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove ribs from marinade and place in prepared baking sheet.

Bake, uncovered, two hours. Pour marinade in large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. After ribs have baked for two hours, brush every 15 minutes with marinade until ribs are done – depending upon size of rack of ribs it will be 60-90 additional minutes.

Remove ribs from pan, slice into serving portions and garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve with remaining marinade as dipping sauce.


Serves: 4

Peanut Sauce:

½ c soy sauce

½ c orange juice

¼ c creamy peanut butter

¼ c Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons chicken broth

2 tablespoons spicy chili garlic paste

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer 20-30 minutes. Cool completely. Freezes well.

“This sauce is very versatile and is great with salmon, chicken, shrimp and beef,” Spangler said.

Noodle Salad:

1 recipe Peanut Sauce

¼ c orange juice

¼ c soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons ginger root, peeled, grated

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 lb stew meat, trimmed

Olive oil, for browning meat

1 – 15 oz can beef broth

6 oz Oriental noodles, uncooked (may substitute vermicelli or thin spaghetti)

1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2” cubes

1 large carrot, peeled, shredded

1 small onion, diced

Mix together orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in large resealable bag. Add stew meat, seal and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Remove meat from marinade. Heat olive oil in large pot and add stew meat. Sear well on all sides, reduce heat and add beef broth. Cover and allow beef to cook until fall-apart tender two-three hours. Remove beef from broth and shred.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse well with cold water and shake off excess water. Pour noodles into large bowl. Add shredded beef, cucumber, carrot and onion. Mix well.

Pour Peanut Sauce over noodles and toss well.

“This salad is great warm, chilled or room temperature and is even better the next day. You may need to add additional Peanut Sauce the next day, as pasta tends to absorb sauce,” Spangler said.

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