Sometimes it's a good idea to go beyond your comfort circle. Outside of my comfort circle is pretty much any type of Asian cuisine. I love it when someone else makes it, but when I attempt, it's usually a disaster.
So when the fine people over at Marx Foods asked me to take part in their "East Meets Delicious" challenge, I was a little concerns, but I forged forward. I'm happy i did.
For the challenge, lucky bloggers were given a box of treats to work with. I received some amazing things Dried Maitake Mushrooms, Mochi Rice, Dried Star Fruit, Organic Millet, Adzuki Beans, and Hijiki. The mission? Use four of the ingredients provided to create an original appetizer and main course recipe.
Of course, I wanted to put a local spin on this challenge, using in-season ingredients. I picked up turnips and asian greens from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH from the Newburyport Farmers' Market, and I went to town.
I have to say, it was a challenge. Mochi is tough to work with when you make it into a paste. It's insanely sticky, hard to clean-up, but extremely tasty as well. I made into a seasonal appetizer, that ended up being quite difficult to stop eating. The millet risotto is a great whole grain alternative to regular risotto, and as i found, it's quite awesome to make into cakes and fry up the following day.
Turnip Mochi Pancakes with Spicy Starfruit Topping
Makes: 12-15 pancakes
- 2 cups mochi rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large turnips (or 3 medium, or 1 bunch small hakurei turnips)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Rinse and drain mochi rice three times, letting it drain for at least 30 minutes the last time.
- Put cleaned rice and water into a rice cooker and cook until done.
- Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead 30-40 minutes on medium speed until smooth. Place a towel over the bowl to keep the rice warm while it kneads.
- While the dough is kneading, prepare the turnips.
- Cut off the top and tail of the turnips, slice into 1/4 inch slices.
- Melt butter in a non-stick 12-inch skillet (choose one with a lid) and layer turnip slices in pan. Sprinkle the turnips with thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Cook in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Cover turnips with the heavy cream and chicken stock, put lid on and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, the turnips will be softened, transfer them to a food processor and process until slightly smooth with chunks of turnip.
- Dust a clean work surface with LOTS of corn starch. Dust your hands as well. Transfer dough to work surface.
- Form dough into little balls, once done, flatted each a touch and place just a touch less than a teaspoon of turnip mixture to each ball, re-roll ball so filling is covered.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
- Once warm, work in batches, and pan-fry each ball (it will spread into a pancake), it will release on each side once done.
- Transfer to a plate and serve with Spicy Starfruit Sauce (recipe below)
- 8-10 dried starfruit
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- Soak starfruit in rum over night.
- Drain, and chop starfruit into little pieces.
- Combine starfruit, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the fruit begins to break down and it reaches the consistency you desire.
- Add sriracha and stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes until it's worked in.
- Serve with mochi pancakes.
Millet Risotto with Adzuki Beans and Greens
- 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 a red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce, low-sodium
- 1 cup millet
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (or guyeyre, something with a nutty flavor)
- 1 cup adzuki beans (cooked)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 bunch asian greens
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- In a small saucepan, heat water and broth together until warm (not hot).
- Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, once heated, add your chopped onion and cook until tender.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so)
- Stir in your soy sauce and cook for another minute.
- Now, add your millet, allowing the seeds to toast up 2-3 minutes.
- Now, add the broth/water mixture a 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture thickens and the millet is tender.
- At this point, stir in your cheese and the beans and keep warm.
- Next, heat other teaspoon of olive oil, once warm, add greens and soy sauce to the pan and cook until just warm.
- Top the risotto with the greens and serve.