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Asian feast

THE WASHINGTON POST – With his latest cookbook, Simple Family Feasts, Jeremy Pang wants to help home cooks grasp not only Asian recipes and cooking techniques but also the skill of cooking multiple dishes at once – each ready at precisely the right time and each contributing a balance of colour, texture and flavour.

“It’s daunting for people who don’t cook as Asians cook. We cook feasts. That is how Asian cuisine is meant to be eaten,” he said in a phone interview from the United Kingdom (UK), where he lives. He likes to start several shareable dishes at once and have each be ready, hot or cold, at just the right time.

“In Asian cuisine, we aim to reach every part of the palate,” he said, with fried foods served beside something fresh and crunchy as well as something soft and luscious.

This style of cooking comes naturally to Pang, who comes from three generations of Chinese chefs, and because he is something of a master multitasker in his everyday life.

Pang owns School of Wok, an Asian cooking school and retail shop in London; maintains a popular YouTube channel; occasionally appears on television cooking shows; and, most recently, began Curious Crab, a video production agency that focuses on food and travel.

In this cookbook, his fourth, each chapter is dedicated to a different cuisine – Chinese, Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Pinoy, Korean and Japanese – all of which are among the styles of cooking taught at School of Wok.

The cookbook laid out the technique of using a “feasting wheel”, with icons next to each recipe to help home cooks ensure the meal will provide variety.

Once the recipes are selected, Pang advised prepping all the ingredients and then laying them out using his “wok clock” – that is, arranging them clockwise in the order they will be used, beginning at 12 o’clock. Pang generally maxes out at four or five dishes at once. (I made two, picking Garlic Fried Rice, a “gentle bite” from the Pinoy chapter, and the scrumptious Teriyaki Rib-Eye Steak, a “juicy, succulent” dish from Japan, and then added my own sliced and lightly dressed chilled cucumbers for a “crunchy” addition. Baby steps.)

Pang’s goal is to help home cooks train themselves to think this way whenever and whatever they are cooking. No more stopping to refer to the recipe or forgetting to add an ingredient, he said.

“It’s an educational tool for not just Chinese cooking, but all cuisines,” he said. “You know what to do next – visually – in an instant… It gives you order without too much explanation.” – Ann Maloney

PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST
PHOTO: FREEPIK

Teriyaki rib-eye steak

Ingredients

– Four tablespoons soya sauce

– One tablespoon Chinese dark soya sauce

– One tablespoon granulated sugar

– One boneless rib-eye steak, about one-and-a-half inches thick

– Neutral oil, such as vegetable, for cooking

– One-inch fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks

– Two scallions, sliced into two-inch pieces

Steps

In a large bowl, whisk together the soya sauce, dark soya sauce and sugar until well combined. Add the steak and massage the marinade into the meat.

Heat a medium skillet over high heat until very hot. Brush the pan with oil, and then add the steak, reserving the marinade. Sear until well charred and caramelised on both sides, adjusting the heat as needed, three to four minutes per side.

About one minute before your steak is cooked to your liking, add the ginger and scallions to the pan and briefly sear, then pour in the marinade and allow to boil vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds, or longer, depending on how well done you want your steak.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for two to three minutes, then slice against the grain into thin strips. Transfer the steak to a serving platter. Heat the marinade for about one minute, then pour it over the steak and serve.

PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST
PHOTO: FREEPIK

Garlic-fried rice

Ingredients

– Two tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable

– 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

– Two scallions, finely chopped, plus more for serving

– Four cups cooked white rice, chilled or at room temperature

– One-quarter teaspoon fine salt

– One-quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a small heatproof bowl, and place it near the stove. In a wok or medium skillet over medium heat, heat the oil for about one minute.

Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is evenly light golden brown, two to three minutes.

Pour the oil and garlic through the sieve, allowing the excess oil to drain from the garlic.

Set the fried garlic aside. Return the oil to the wok or skillet, using a silicone spatula to scrape every drop from the bowl. Set over medium-high heat and heat until smoking hot.

Add the scallions, quickly followed by the cooked rice, and stir-fry until the grains have separated and are piping-hot, three to four minutes.

Season with the salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with the fried garlic and additional scallions and serve.

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