Category: Dinner Fusion

Coconut Chicken Curry

By , June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I came across this recipe the other night.  It was so easy and delicious.  I love how you just throw everything in the food processor and it makes a wonderful curry.  The original recipe calls for green pepper, but I loved it with the red one I had in the fridge.  It can also be adapted for the slow cooker, although I’m not sure how bone-in chicken would work, and I’m afraid chicken breast would get way over-cooked and stiff.  Here’s what worked for me.

Coconut Chicken Curry


6-8 chicken thighs
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) coconut milk
1.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Curry powder
1 small red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 dry whole red chili pepper (optional, for those who like their curry on the burning side)

For thickening: 1.5 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water


1.  Cook bone-in chicken in skillet until almost cooked through.  Drain grease.

2. While chicken is cooking place all the ingredients (except the chili peppers, cornstarch and water) in a food processor bowl and process together until the mix is smooth(ish). Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken, mix well, add hot peppers if using any.  Cook covered until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes or longer.  When the chicken is falling off the  bone you know it is ready.

3.  If it needs thickening mix water and cornstarch until cornstarch is completely dissolved, add to curry and mix well.  (I didn’t use this- it seemed to thicken up enough by leaving the lid off for a bit to let the extra liquid evaporate).

4. Serve on top of steaming white rice, something wonderfully aromatic like Jasmin or Basmati rice. Decorate with lots of chopped coriander. Inhale. So good!

For a variation on this recipe, used chopped chicken  breast and cook in crock pot on low for 6 hours.  An hour before serving add in cornstarch mix.  Then replace lid and continue cooking.


Adapted from

Falafel Burgers

By , June 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Serves 4

Falafel Burgers

14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 small red onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

handful of flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder

2 Tbsp plain flour

2 Tbsp oil

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion.

Yogurt sauce:  Add some dill to plain yogurt and stir (mix in chopped cucumber and tomato for color)

1. Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towel.  Mix in food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt.  Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into patties with your hands.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden.  Serve wrapped in lettuce, toppings, and yogurt sauce.  You can also serve on toasted pitas, with tomato salsa and salad.

Adapted from

Perfect Pancakes

By , June 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I love these pancakes.  Thank you Fergusons for sharing this secret recipe!

Perfect Pancakes

1 cup of milk (skim milk works well for me)

2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup flower

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

little palm of salt

1 egg

2-3 Tbsp oil


Mix lemon juice with milk and let sit.  Combine the dry ingredients, then stir in egg, milk (which will be clumpy- mock buttermilk), and oil.  Cook on heated griddle. Mix the batter each time before pouring.

Firecracker Shrimp Bowties

By , November 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

Firecracker Shrimp Bowties

1 lb frozen raw shrimp
1 pkg snap peas (or snow peas)
1-2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped.
4 tbsp jarred pesto
A good drizzle of olive oil
1 lb bowtie pasta (also called farfalle)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt and pepper

Get your shrimp running under cold water in a colander for 5 minutes to defrost them. Also put on a big pot of water and salt it for your pasta.

While you are waiting for your shrimp to defrost and water to boil, you can start de-stringing your pea pods. This is the only tedious part. Grab the tip of one end and pull the string until it comes out the other end. Do this to all your pea pods and then cut them in half. To deseed your tomato, you cut it in half (with the tomato sitting face up on your cutting board), and then stick your fingers inside and pull out all the juicy seedy parts. Leave all the tomato flesh inside. This will make your sauce taste much better.

Put your pasta in the boiling water. De-shell the shrimp once they are defrosted as well as remove the tail. Put a frying pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, throw in your shrimp and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. They should really only take 1 to 2 minutes to cook. You just want them to have barely turned pink. Remove them from the pan onto a plate and add your pea pods to the frying pan. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes. You can then turn off the heat, add the pesto and a good healthy dose of olive oil. It’s an olive oil based sauce so be pretty liberal with it. You can also add your shrimp back to the sauce.

Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain and add the veggie/shrimp/olive oil sauce. Dish up and serve with French bread slices and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.


Pho Chau, Rochester, MN: Red Snapper Takes an Hour to THAW?

By , April 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Pho Chau

1014 Broadway Ave N
Rochester, MN 55906

(507) 281-3342

As seen on UrbanspoonYelp, Tripadvisor, Google Hotspots ‎

2/5 stars

Well Pho Chau is the second Vietnamese restaurant to open its doors in the past month in Rochester (the other being Far East Fusion which I haven’t yet tried but I hear it’s predominantly Chinese food) and is here to bring some competition to the longstanding Rochester Vietnamese exclusive Pho Tai.  Perhaps ill-fated to by its location, perched on the same site of the late Vietnamese Cafe turned Tony’s Cafe (I never saw a soul ever go in either of those places), according to the local paper this new location is run by a Vietnamese brother and sister who run Hunan Wok Express and at the urging of a catering clientele decided to open up Pho Chau.

While Pho Chau is still ironing out its quirks such as pretty green and awkward waiting staff, mis-communications to the kitchen on orders (we got our appetizers at the end of the meal, and the table next to us was missing something until the end too), I won’t fault them much on that.  I’m sure as the place matures a bit, the wait staff and dining experience can improve.  The atmosphere is rather bland with an assortment of elevator music playing overhead and the tables a little too cramped for comfort, but otherwise it can pass as a cafe, but definitely not a classy restaurant.

But something inexcusable was my experience with the red snapper which I ordered only to find out a few minutes later that I needed to order that an hour ahead, because “we need time to defrost the red snapper, it is frozen.”  Instant shudder.  Even if that is what you would be doing with the fish, please don’t tell me at the table side.  Same is true for the walleye which is off by $10 on the takeout menu, so it’s actually $19.95 not $9.95, plus of course, an hour wait.  The lesson here is too much info can be detrimental.  If it is on your menu, it better be serve-able, otherwise why is it to begin with?  This place screams of inexperience when it comes to something as simple and practical as that.

The rest of the meal that we ordered, a large bowl of Pho Chau’s special pho, braised tofu, broken rice pork special, Vietnamese egg rolls, and spring rolls were mediocre at best.  There was nothing memorable about the meal, and it compared to the dozen or so Vietnamese cafe’s that I have eaten in in my days in Dallas, Texas — everything tasting homecooked, yet leaving just that impression that it was just another homecooked meal, not something that I would take the time and effort to go out and eat at a restaurant.  Certainly something I would not pay a premium for.

This is where Pho Chau does come through though.  It’s pricing is very reasonable and entrees (with the exception of my frozen fish friends) are generally less than $10 and are served with rice and accouterments.  You leave full, but maybe not so satisfied?

Tip for the restaurant:  Take off the frozen entrees from the menu, or serve it fresh and ready to order, emphasize your marketing that you are not the same owners of Vietnamese Cafe, or Tony’s Cafe or the stigma that you are version 3.0 will impair you.

Pros: Inexpensive, new Vietnamese food option

Cons: Service is inconsistent, some menu items require 1 hour de-freezing time and really shouldn’t be on the menu, is in the location of two defunct Vietnamese restaurants, food and options mediocre with nothing enticing me to come back for more.

Osaka Sushi & Hibachi Rochester, MN: Overpriced Gross Disappointment

By , April 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Osaka Sushi & Hibachi

2043 Superior Drive Northwest, Rochester, MN

(507) 288-5283 ‎

As seen on UrbanspoonYelpTripadvisorGoogle Hotspots ‎

2/5 stars

Came here for kitchen entrees on Friday night and was impressed by the modern decor of the place and the relative festivity of the atmosphere (if you consider a loud blaring of a re-jingled Happy Birthday song over the PA every 10 minutes festive — our dining neighbors said it felt like Chuck-E-Cheese’s). We ordered from the relatively expensive menu trying out the kitchen entrees and tried to sample some of the sushi as well. Uni, one of their specials that was still whiteboarded at the entryway was “out,” so I ended up with a Monkey Roll. The rest of the party had a dinner box chicken terriyaki, dinner box salmon and shrimp, and I ordered the seafood udon soup.

Service was mediocre, service was fast (not a good sign necessarily as you can read on), and our server didn’t speak English too well and was less than warm or friendly. The miso soups with the dinner boxes had been sloppily prepared with tofu chucks stuck to the OUTSIDE bottom of the bowls, suggesting that they had been stacked either on the tofu itself, or on top of one another with soup inside, the salads were just iceberg with a giant glob of dressing (too much in my opinion, or perhaps just not dressed with finesse), and when it came to the proteins of the dinner box, everything was overcooked, rubbery, and cold – chicken and shrimp especially. The salmon did have some hint of a crispy glaze that gave it some redeeming grace and at least the tempura (2 shrimp, 1 squash, 1 onion, 1 taro) were decently prepared (albeit served without tempura sauce that had to be requested separately). Sushi? While the presentation was nice, the quality left a lot to be desired. The rice was hard and spread too thin and unevenly with seaweed glaring through much of the monkey roll and the California rolls that came with the dinner boxes. The Monkey roll was nothing memorable and frankly I prefer the Rock N Roll or the Phoenix roll at Asian Kitchen over this. Having just come back from San Diego and sampling Tora and Todai’s sushi buffet selections (beautiful looking, awful tasting), the sushi I had here was nothing memorable and came across comparable to buffet style sushi, and giant “meh” and certainly not worth $13 a roll to me.

Let’s get to the Seafood soup. $16 for udon, at least flair this up a little right? WRONG, this literally looked like a packet of the $2 refrigerated udon packets that you can get at Asian Food Store or Saigon Market in a broth as flavorful as the MSG packet that accompanies one of them. The broth was literally salty and tasteless. There was a pittance of some greenery in the soup and 3 shrimp, some whitefish, some other fish, 3 scallops, and two sticks of bloated unraveled imitation crab sticks that looked like someone’s mop head had been left on top of the soup by accident. All the seafood was terribly overcooked and rubbery and about 5 bites into this foul inedible concoction, I thought to myself, where’s the clams? I called the waitress over to question whether or not the soup had clams and she brought a menu over to review the item’s description — yes, clearly, clams. She went to investigate with the manager and apparently Osaka was out of clams too so they substituted my $10 / lb item with $1/lb Pollock imitation crab meat. I called the manager over and asked him whether he thought that was a problem substituting for me without notifying or asking first. He offered me more imitation crab stick or 2 more rubbery shrimp (none of the three which I had even completely eaten), and with that I graciously declined and asked him to take that revolting pot of overpriced college food away and to his credit he “removed” both financially and physically the noodles although it would have been more impressive had he comped me something else. In fact he really should have had taken everything away, but I paid an undeserved $60 to Osaka for a meal that left a lot to be desired.

Irony? Our party stopped by McDonald’s on the way home for happy meals as there clearly was no happiness in the food at Osaka Sushi & Hibachi, a terrible disappointment and a meager 2/5 stars in my book.

Pros: Trendy, modern decor, another ethnic option in Rochester, at least it’s not Jenpachi
Cons: Overpriced, poor quality, tasteless, service is poor, out of food items, substitutes food items for you without your knowledge or consent (something that clearly should be a restaurant faux pas – I mean would you substitute a colonectomy for a colonoscopy?, I think not)

Asian Kitchen: Surprisingly good sushi for a Chinese restaurant and all-you-care-to-eat pricing makes for budget sushi adventure dining

By , March 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Asian Kitchen, Rochester, Minnesota
Barlow Plaza
1117 Civic Center Drive, Rochester, MN 55901-1888
(507) 252-8888

As seen on Urbanspoon, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google Hotspots ‎

4/5 stars

Being an Asian Rochester resident confined to the selection of Rochester’s Asian cuisine scene for the past four years I am happy to report that the Asian Kitchen has been an unexpected happy sushi surprise that graces our palates with decent sushi at a reasonable price. While I have been a fan of Sushi Nishiki and Sushi Itto (now closed), I have always felt a little gouged by their roll prices which range upwards to $15 per roll and never have I felt satisfied by the value of what I received at those places. Sure the International Buffet (now closed) and Kingdom Buffet offer Chinese sushi variants, however these sushi selections are distinctively buffet-class and lack the freshness, quality, or finesse of made-to-order sushi. Jenpachi in my opinion is a disgrace to sushi in the one and last time I went there, and the recently opened Osaka is still on my list to visit. Lastly in my humble opinion, Hyvee, Trader Joe’s, Target sushi are supermarket sushi and a class lower than Chinese buffet sushi so they aren’t even worth mentioning as I would never touch that stuff. With these biases I describe Asian Kitchen’s offerings as follows:

General: Definitely could have used a restaurant designer to coordinate the interior arrangements. Seating is cramped with a set of booths extending longitudinally, and some odd seating along the entrance corridor for two. The sushi chef’s bar lacks any seating area and is adjacent to the cashier’s counter with some seating next to the soda fountains for those waiting for their take out orders. Tacky stock photography of the random dishes from the menu tell you very little of what’s being served, and a giant green and hideous life-sized “we-don’t-use-MSG,-we-use-some-other-type-of-flavor-enhancer” bogus certificate really poisons the well for making a good first impression on this place. Styrofoam plate ware and plastic cutlery is also a downer for any classy dine-in.  So atmosphere? Yeah a 1/5. Not a place to take your first date, your business contact, or your fiancee to propose. But if it’s decent food at a reasonable value you’re looking for, read on.

Sushi: Sushi is made to order and is price a la carte per piece / roll, or if dine in all-you-care-to-eat during certain times. Current pricing a la carte ranges upwards to $11 per roll, but lunch sushi ‘buffet’ is priced at $16.95, and dinner ‘buffet’ at $24.95 — the difference being that dinner includes sashimi options. Prices include soft drinks and either wonton or egg drop soup. Menu can be seen here: and offers a decent selection of classics and a surprising variety of special rolls and sashimi which was all surprisingly fresh beating most of my expectations. The downside is there is only one sushi chef, so your order may take a few minutes to make, especially when there are multiple orders in que, however, the made to order nature ensures the freshness of the sushi so this is more of a plus rather than a minus. Hibachi and terriyaki options are on the menu but I have not yet tried them so I cannot comment.

Chinese: If you’ve been to China Star, China King, Great Wall, you’ll recognize the menu and the food that you’re served as this is another extension of the owner’s locations (although I am told by the staff Imperial Wok is the exclusion to the rule). It’s Americanized Chinese fast food and nothing to write home about, but that being said it’s relatively cheap ranging from $6-9 for small entrees to combo specials, and if General Tso’s chicken is really Chinese food, this place makes a pretty good version of it, but again, the Chinese food is the same ubiquitous Chinese takeout found in Rochester–30-40 dishes made with essentially the same stir fried ingredients tossed with different types of sauces.

Conclusion: Since Soriya left Asian Kitchen’s strip of retail lots I’ve been waiting for Asian cuisine to make a comeback. While Asian Kitchen is a cloned extension of the Rochester Chinese Take Out scene, and as such not the most favorable addition to Rochester, it nevertheless does surprise with a well executed, fresh, and relatively economical sushi selection. So long as they can keep up the quality and the value this place will be one place that I will frequent to satisfy my hankering for raw fish.

Pros: Surprisingly fresh sushi options, all-you-care-to-eat pricing to allow for budget sushi adventure dining.
Cons: Atmosphere is lacking. Chinese food is cloned.

Update April 4, 2011
An update from my third trip to the Asian Kitchen for the sushi buffet.  Looks like the owners are open to criticism, read this review, and kudos to them for listening as lo and behold the “We-don’t-use-MSG,-we-use -some-other-type-of-flavor-enhancer” poster is gone!  I applaud them for actually listening to the feedback and their efforts to improve their service.

Sushi this time around was still top notch, meticulously prepared, and still as fresh as you are going to get in Rochester, MN.  I took many more  pictures and tried to hit up the menu a little more diversely to show you more of the options within the photo gallery, so make sure to go salivate over the new entries.  Personally the Rock and Roll and the Phoenix Roll or Happy Roll are my favorites.  Hope the pictures help visualize some more of their options.

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Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

By , January 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Found this recipe on the other day and thought it ended up pretty tasty.  Try substituting the chicken with tofu to make a vegetarian dish.

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce


4 Chicken breast halves;
1/2 tsGround cardamom
1/2 tsGround cinnamon
1/2 tsGround cloves
1/2 tsGround coriander
1/2 tsGround cumin
Cracked black pepper
1/4 tsGround turmeric
1/4 tsChili powder
1 lgRed onion; chopped
5 Garlic; minced
2 Jalapeno pepper; seeded
1 tbolive oil
14 ozUnsweetened coconut milk
2 tsCornstarch
3 tbFresh basil; snipped
1 tbGingerroot; finely chopped
Hot cooked rice
Fresh basil


Rinse chicken; pat dry; cut in 1″ pieces. Place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together spices (cardamom to chili powder). Sprinkle over chicken; toss to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or I the refrigerator 1-2 hours. In a large nonstick wok or skillet cook and stir onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers in hot oil over medium-heat 2 minutes. Remove onion mixture. Add half the chicken to the wok. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until chicken is tender and no pink remains. Remove chicken from wok; cook and remove remaining chicken. Stir together coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to wok. Cook and stir until bubbly and thickened. Return chicken and onion mixture to wok. Stir in snipped basil and gingerroot. Cook 2 minutes until heated through. Serve over rice. Garnish with fresh basil.


Recipe by: Better Homes and Gardens, January 1998, Page 122.

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

By , January 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

If you want to try an authentic Chinese recipe this is so delicious and perfect for the freezing weather we’ve been having lately.  I have to be honest and say that Dan is the one who found this recipe and he is the one who always cooks this dish, but it has become one of my new favorites.  Brings me back to my days in Taiwan when I used to order soup off the street from little vendors on my bike ride home for dinner.  Yum!

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

2-3 lbs of beef shank
Water to cover
Green onion and ginger

2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorn
2-3 tablespoons of minced (or grated) ginger
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
2-3 star anise
2 tablespoons of spicy chili bean paste
1 tablespoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder (optional)

1 lb tendon (optional)
½ lb of Chinese greens (I used Shanghai bok choy hearts)
Noodles (homemade or fresh store bought)
Green onions
Slivered zha cai (Szechuan pickled vegetable) (optional)

1. Place the whole beef shank in a large pot or Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Add about 4-5 stalks of green onion (well-rinsed) and 4-5 slices of ginger. Do not salt! This will ruin the flavor of the broth; you will be adding soy/salt at the very end. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a strong simmer for about half an hour. Remove and discard green onion and ginger. Then take the shank out and carve it into largish chunks, placing these (along with any juices) back into the pot. You will want a very good serrated knife for this task, as the shank is very tough to cut.

2. Heat the oil for the seasoning paste in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved and just starting to caramelize (you will see a golden brown color appear in the bottom of the pan). Then add the rest of the seasoning paste ingredients and stir vigorously for about 90 seconds. This will smell fantastic, and you will want to eat a bowl of beef noodles right on the spot. Not so fast, my friend, you’ve still got three or four hours left to go. Throw this delicious mixture into the broth pot.

3. If using tendon in your soup, simply boil it whole in a separate pot over medium-low heat until tender (about 2½ hours). Make sure to keep topping up the water level if necessary. Chop into bite sized pieces and add it to the main soup pot. Note that tendon will dissolve if you cook it for too long, so you may want to keep this aside if your soup isn’t close to ready yet.

4. Every recipe I read claims that after two hours of simmering over very low heat, the beef will practically be falling apart. This was not the case for me. Mine took about four hours, at which point it became so lusciously tender that it practically dissolved upon contact. It was well worth the wait.

5. About 15 minutes before serving, add soy/salt to taste. I added about 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Remove the peppercorns and star anise with a Chinese spider or skimmer. If you miss a few peppercorns, don’t worry. They’re edible, just a little bitter.

6. Prepare your noodles according to the package instructions. Shanghai noodles are available at most Asian markets, and work the best here. Or you can make your own, a surprisingly simple task that I document here. You have about six hours to kill anyway. Blanch veggies in the same pot of water. In your soup bowl, place a ball of noodles, followed by veggies. Pour about two cups of beef broth over, then add a few pieces each of beef and tendon. Scatter the top with slivered zha cai and green onions and serve.

Recipe stolen from

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

By , January 2, 2011 at 1:28 am

I came across this recipe for Dan after he requested something with mushrooms (he really loves those things).  This has turned out to be a favorite dish with a little spicy kick.

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

6 ounces of portobello mushrooms medium dice (other mushrooms work too)
1 onion medium diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1/2 cup of white wine (or apple juice)
1 cup of chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper
3 stalks of thyme
1 stalk of oregano
8 TB of butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
Your favorite pasta cooked with about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water

In a large skillet over medium add in 4 TB of the butter and once melted add in the mushrooms and onions.  Cook slowly till the mushrooms are softened (about 8-10 minutes).

Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Increase the heat till medium-high and add in the white wine and reduce by 1/2.  Once the wine has reduced add in the chicken stock, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano and reduce to about 1/2 cup.

Add in the remaining 4 TB of the butter.  Add in the pasta and if needed the remaining 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.

Serve and enjoy with some grated parmesan cheese and diced parsley.

Copyright 2004-2013 Dan & Carolyn Chan