Corrine Trang is a cookbook author and writer so influential she's been called "the Julia Child of Asian cooking." This morning she's putting a lot of her favorite flavors into a simple, three-course meal for four. And as our "Chef on a Shoestring," she's got a budget of just $40.
Trang is a New York-based award-winning author who has written for such distinguished publications as Food & Wine, Health, Cooking Light, Bottom Line Personal, Organic Style, and Saveur.
Born in France's Loire Valley to a French mother and Cambodian-Chinese father, she was raised in Phnom Penh, Paris and New York, and studied cuisine throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Her first cookbook, "Authentic Vietnamese Cooking: Food from a Family Table" (Simon & Schuster) won international awards. Her new release, "Essentials of Asian Cuisine: Fundamentals and Favorite Recipes" (Simon & Schuster), covers Chinese cuisine and its influence on the major cuisines of Asia, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In addition to writing and teaching, Trang is also a food stylist and photographer.
Shiro-Miso (white miso): Miso is a traditional Japanese food produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the mold kōjikin. The most typical miso is made with soy. The typical result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats.
Korean Sweet Potato Noodles: These are Korean noodles made from sweet potato starch. It is a thin long, translucent noodle with a chewy texture. Cellophane noodles are a good substation, though slightly thicker and a bit tougher.
Shiitake Mushrooms: Shiitakes have a strong, meaty flavor. The stems are tough which is why you typically don't eat them.
Coconut Milk: The milk from the coconut is a sweet, milky white cooking base derived from the meat of a mature coconut. The color and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content and sugars.
Lemongrass: Lemon grass is widely used as an herb in Asian and Caribbean cooking. It has a nice citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. Lemon grass is commonly used in teas, soups, and in many curry dishes. It also goes very nicely with poultry, fish, and seafood.
Baby Arugula with Ginger-Miso dressing and Tofu
1 tablespoon shiro-miso (white miso)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
black pepper to taste
1 ounce finely grated ginger
4 cups baby arugula or mixed baby leafy greens
1 lb firm tofu
1. Slice tofu into 1/2 inch-thick rectangles and pan fry until golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the miso, vinegar, and mirin until smooth. Stir in the grapeseed and sesame oil. Add the leafy greens and toss lightly. Divide among four plates and distribute the tofu evenly on top of the greens .
Cellophane Noodle Stir-fry with Beef, Carrots and Spinach
1 package Korean sweet potato starch noodles, soaked in water (room temp or cold) until softened (or cellophane noodles)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium carrot, julienned
8 fresh shiitakes, stems discarded, caps julienned
8 ounces beef sirloin, thinly sliced
4 cups baby spinach
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
Toasted sesame seeds
1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until transparent, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock under cold running water.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil and honey. Divide the sauce into two. Toss the beef with half the sauce and marinate for 20 minutes.
3. In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrot and shiitakes and stir-fry until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer all to a plate. Heat another tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the beef until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the same plate with the vegetables .
4. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the noodles with the remaining sauce. Toss well to distribute the sauce evenly. Return the vegetable and beef stir-fry to the noodles and toss to mix well.
5. Transfer to a plate and serve garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.
Banana Spring Rolls with Lemongrass-infused Coconut Sauce
(Note: It is important to roll these tight. They should measure about 1/2-inch in diameter by 2-inches long.)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup palm sugar or regular sugar
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
4 large square wheat spring roll wrappers, quartered into 4 smaller squares (or rice spring roll wrappers)
3 ripe bananas, lightly crushed
1. In a small saucepan, add the coconut milk, 1 cup water, sugar, and lemongrass, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Dilute cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and whisk into coconut milk. Continue to cook until lightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl or individual sauce dishes.
2. Place a small pot filled halfway with oil over medium and heat to 360-375°F.
3. Meanwhile assemble the spring rolls. Take a small square and place it in a diamond shape in front of you. Add about 1 tablespoon of crushed banana on top. Lift the pointy side closest to you and fold over the filling. Fold in the sides, and continue to roll bushing with egg wash to secure. Continue until you have 16 rolls.
4. Deep-fry the rolls until golden all around, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper-towel-line plate and serve.