Tag: Asian

Martha Stewart’s Asian Meatballs

Happy New Year everyone! May your 2015 be filled with love, luck and good food.

I’ve hardly made any resolutions this year, although cooking good food is always among them. Working in the house is still on the list, which explains my absence here for the past half year… Sorry about that, though I’m not making any promises I can’t keep until the house is done :-)

And don’t worry about the title of this post – I’m still a vegetarian, no changes on that front (in fact, I started replacing a lot of my dairy with soy products in 2014 and I plan on keeping it that way). I just made these meatballs for our New Year’s Eve party and they are always such a hit that I figured I had to share them. If you consider me a hypocrite now, you’re just giving me a good occasion to put my resolution not to care too much about others’ judgments into practice… On a more serious note: to all vegetarians out there (and to all those meat-eaters who feel the need to judge vegetarians): there is no Bible laying out the rules for being a ‘good’ vegetarian. So if you feel like having meat every once in a while, whether you like or don’t like eggs, dairy, or you can’t go without blue cheese, don’t let anyone tell you what’s right and what’s not. I had one of these yummy meatballs on the very edge of 2014 and I expect I won’t be eating any more meat until at least halfway 2015 (oh barbecue season, still can’t resist those merguez). Any diminishing of meat and animal products on your plate is a contribution toward a better environment… Anyway, time for the recipe!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s hors d’oeuvres bible (if you can lay your hands on it, don’t hesitate to buy!). I’ve adjusted it a bit more in keeping with Belgian meatball tradition and added eggs and bread-crumbs.

For a big platter of meatballs that will satsify at least 10 people (as a hors d’oeuvre):

about 750-800 grams of mixed ground meat (pork – veal – beef, all fine)
a bunch of fresh coriander, leaves finely chopped
one egg
one medium size or two small shallots, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
bread-crumbs (paneermeel)
salt and pepper
for the sauce:

two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 heaping teaspoon of corn starch (maïzena, the yellow package)
200 ml of chicken stock (I just add one cube of chicken stock to water and mix it in the sauce afterwards – laziness prevails)
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
a hint of chili paste (harissa, for example, but anything spicy will do)

How to:

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a big bowl with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bread-crumbs until the meat is not too greasy and can be rolled into balls easily. I usually add at least 2-3 tablespoons, but this can really depend on your ground meat mix. Roll into 2-3 cm bite-size meatballs.

Put a large heavy pan on a medium fire. Add a little bit of oil for the first batch (afther that, there’s enough grease). Bake the meatballs until they’re completely baked in the middle – 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Shake the pan every few minutes to let them brown evenly. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch with two teaspoons of water in a glass.

Once the meatballs are done, leave the pan on the fire and add the chopped garlic and ginger. Let them bake for about a minute, don’t let them become too black though. Add the chicken stock (this is where you’ll be making sure the stock cube gets dissolved) and stir loose the baked bits on the pan. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar and chili. Let the sauce heat up and when it’s boiling, add the corn starch and let it thicken for a minute. Then spread the sauce over the meatballs. Serve with toothpicks and enjoy!


Wok met noedels, aardpeer, knolselder en tofu voor Thuisafgehaald

Voor een keertje een bericht in het Nederlands! Een tijdje geleden schreef ik me in om mee te doen met Thuisafgehaald, een leuk initiatief om van je restjes af te geraken en tegelijk buurtbewoners een plezier te doen. Het werkt zo: je schrijft je in op de site van thuisafgehaald.be en duidt aan of je maaltijden wilt afhalen en/of aanbieden. Als je wat teveel gekookt hebt, kan je dat online zetten. Je plakt er een prijs op gebaseerd op de ingrediënten en geeft aan wanneer je beschikbaar bent voor de afhalers. Iemand die bij je in de buurt woont kan dan reageren en zelf een lekkere maaltijd komen afhalen. Zo leer je ook nog buurtbewoners kennen. Fijn!

Deze week besteedt FM Brussel aandacht aan Thuisafgehaald en daarvoor kwamen ze het concept uittesten. Ik gaf wat uitleg over het concept en de journaliste kon naar huis met twee porties Aziatische wok. Hierbij het recept, een variant van de koolrabi met champignons en tofu.


Wok met noedels, aardpeer, knolselder en tofu
Wok met noedels, aardpeer, knolselder en tofu

Ingrediënten voor 6 personen

500 gram stevige tofu
1 knolselder, in dobbelsteentjes
500 gram aardpeer, in dobbelsteentjes
1 ui, gesnipperd
5 cm verse gember, fijngehakt
500 gram Japanse noedels

voor de marinade:

5 eetlepels sojasaus
4 eetlepels ketjap manis
2 eetlepels honing
3 eetlepels zoetzure saus
3 eetlepels sesamolie
1 eetlepel gemberpoeder
3 cm verse gember, fijngehakt
beetje harissa/sambal/chilipeper


Meng alle ingrediënten voor de marinade. Snijd de tofu in blokjes en meng met de marinade in een potje met deksel. Zet minstens een uur in de koelkast en schep regelmatig de marinade over de tofu. Kook intussen de noedels volgens de verpakking, giet af en meng met een beetje olie, probeer te voorkomen dat het een grote plakkende massa wordt. Doe de tofu in een zeef of vergiet en vang de marinade op. Meng er eventueel wat extra sojasaus of een ander deel van de marinade door, naar smaak.

Zet een wok op hoog vuur (of een wokbrander als je dat hebt) en laat een royale scheut sesamolie goed heet worden. Roerbak de tofu tot hij knapperig is. Leg de tofu in een kom met wat keukenpapier om uit te lekken.

Doe opnieuw een scheut sesamolie in de wok en fruit de ui en gember tot de ui glazig wordt. Voeg de knolselder en aardpeer toe en blijf goed roerbakken. Draai het vuur wat lager en laat de groenten even stomen met deksel op de wok, zo worden de groenten sneller gaar. Blijf regelmatig roeren en neem tijdig het deksel weer weg zodat het niet zompig wordt. Als je groenten gaar zijn, voeg je de noedels toe. Zet het vuur op hoog en roerbak de noedels. Voeg na enkele minuten de rest van de marinade toe en meng goed. Breng op smaak met peper en zout en eventueel wat gedroogde pepers Meng tenslotte de tofu in de wok. Strooi bij het serveren sesam over je bord. Smakelijk!

Wok with kohlrabi, shiitake and noodles

I don’t consider myself an adept at the SouthEast Asian kitchen, but I do love its flavors. Every once in a while I try something myself and this improvised dish came out particularly well! I started with kohlrabi (koolrabi in Dutch), a kind of ‘forgotten’ vegetable I really love – it’s like cabbage, but sweeter and crunchy. By chance, I found myself at the Wednesday bio market at Sint-Katelijneplein in Brussels (a true foodie experience!) and while I was munching down a fish burger from the seafood store as lunch, I spotted kohlrabi at one of the vegetable stalls and couldn’t resist buying some. This neigborhood also harbors a mushroom-specialty store which I’d been dying to check out and several Asian supermarkets – et voila, my dinner was born. I even managed to sneak in tofu without complaints, adapting from a marinated tofu recipe I once made. It’s important to marinate the tofu for at least an hour, because tofu itself is a little tasteless. Also important is to use a wok that can get really hot (mine is from IKEA) on your largest fire pit.

Ingredients for 4-5 people

300 grams of firm tofu
3 pieces of kohlrabi, peeled and chopped into thin match-size slices
300 grams of shiitake mushrooms (or Parisian brown mushrooms, if you can’t find shiitake)
250 grams of thin noodles
1 onion, chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped
sesame oil
1 large tablespoon of sesame seeds

for the tofu marinade:
2 tablespoons of liquid honey
2 tablespoons of ketjap manis
3 tablespoons of (dark) soy sauce
1 small chili pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of sweet and sour chili sauce

Get cooking!

Mix all the  ingredients for the marinade. Cut the tofu into 2cm cubes, put them in a bowl or box and cover with the marinade, carefully spoon the marinade through the tofu. Cover with a lid or plastic foil and let it soak for at least an hour. Scoop the liquid marinade from the bottom over the top of the tofu a few times.

Boil water in a saucepan and cook the noodles as instructed. Drain and set aside.

Drain the tofu in a colander above a bowl, keep the marinade. Cut the larger shiitake in half. Heat a wok on a high fire and add a swig of sesame oil, let it get really hot, until it’s smoking. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for five minutes, until the small mushrooms are starting to shrink. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Empty the wok into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the wok up again, add some sesame oil and bake the tofu. Stir-fry carefully or shake the wok every now and then to let them brown evenly. When the sides are turning crispy and golden brown, remove the tofu from the wok and let it drain on paper towels.

Heat up the wok again with sesame oil and add the onion and ginger. Stir-fry until soft and add the chopped kohlrabi. Stir-fry the kohlrabi until it becomes a little more tender – don’t let it become too soft, it should still be crunchy. Add a little of the marinade to the vegetables and keep on stir-frying. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. When the kohlrabi is al dente, add the noodles, stir-fry a little and then add the tofu, shiitake mushrooms and the rest of the leftover marinade. Mix everything until the marinade is soaked up and the entire dish is hot and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Taste and season with pepper and salt if necessary. Enjoy!