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Two Quickie Recipe Reviews

Asian Charred Broccoli Salad


First up, Martha Stewart’s Beef and Pineapple Red Curry


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
1 pound sirloin steak, trimmed and cut against the grain into very thin strips
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
12 ounces pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn


  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add steak and cook, stirring, until browned, 2 minutes.
  3. Add green beans and pineapple; cook, stirring, until pineapple starts to release juices, 1 minute.
  4. Add broth and coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer until green beans are crisp-tender, 8 minutes.
  5. Garnish with basil before serving.

This is a lovely recipe–quick, easy and healthy. I didn’t have basil on hand, so I used mint, and actually recommend using mint. I also recommend using a teaspoon or two of brown sugar in the recipe if you’re using fresh pineapple (as I did). I think the recipe needed a bit more sweet and heat, and–odd as this may sound–I think canned pineapple chunks in syrup or juice would serve you well here. You could probably omit the sugar if you went that way. The curry paste I used was mild. Had a I had my druthers I would have added some chopped fresh chile or red pepper flakes to the dish. That being said, this is absolutely a keeper of a recipe and I plan to make it again soon. I served it over hot cooked rice.


Next up is Rachel Ray’s Asian Charred Broccoli Salad

  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts
  • Sliced red chile

  1. In wok or large skillet, heat 3 tbsp. oil over high. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender and charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes; season. In bowl, whisk ponzu, vinegar, garlic and 2 tsp. oil; toss with broccoli to coat. Top with cilantro, nuts and chile.

Another lovely, easy healthy recipe I am absolutely putting in the ol’ recipe rolodex. I think would it make a fantastic meatless entree if you served it over rice or noodles, though I would let the salad cool to room temperature. I didn’t and wish I had because it would have improved the flavor, and–technically–it is a salad.

I did not have peanut oil on hand so I used olive oil and a couple of drops of sesame oil. I did not have fresh chiles on hand, so I sauteed some red pepper flakes in the oil before adding the broccoli. I wanted to use up some veggies, so I added sliced onions and one fresh tomato to the mix. However, I made sure to char the onions and broccoli first, and only added the tomatoes at the end, so they wouldn’t interfere with the charring process. (Oh, and I used baby broccoli, instead of regular broccoli. )

While the honey-roasted nuts add a bit of sweetness to the dish, I–again–think a teaspoon or two of brown sugar or honey would round out this recipe nicely.

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  • Yossarian

    The curry looks great, but I’m allergic to pineapple. Do you think, say, mango would be a good substitute?

    • I just can’t see why it wouldn’t be.

    • BigHank53

      The only change you might want to make is reducing the cooking time if you use a delicate fruit. Pineapple is pretty durable.

  • cpinva

    I have tried over the years, with varying degrees of success, to convince my family that I actually intended to burn (insert your favorite meat/vegetable here) the food while cooking it. I usually go for “blackened”, and point to all the famous Cajun chefs, who get paid big bucks to do this on tv. so far, no dice. i’ll have to try “charred” next, to see if they’ll buy that.

  • c u n d gulag

    Sounds yummy!

    Are you available to cook on weekends?
    My Mom and I will pay you!
    (She doesn’t like spicy foods, though…………

  • I just ordered Thai food. The chef is stuck in traffic on 84, they’ll call me when it’s ready. Thanks Beth for making me hungrier.

  • narciblog

    One trick I learned from I don’t remember where is equal parts mint and cilantro as a replacement for Thai basil. As I’ve never had a source for Thai basil, I can’t say if it’s authentic, but it tastes good to me.

    • It’s easier than that–just use mint.

    • BigHank53

      I have a Thai recipe that calls for all three: Thai basil, mint, and cilantro, and I’ve left one of them out without damage. You could leave two out too. It won’t taste worse, just different. Feel free to substitute regular ol’ garden-variety basil if you’ve got a plant in your garden, too.

  • Norrin Radd

    Along these lines, here’s a nice “Asian Chicken Salad” recipe I created myself and one which I”m about to enjoy shortly.

    Take 1 package Vietnamese thin rice noodles and cook. In large mixing bowl combine 1 bottle of Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger salad dressing and 1/2 bottle of Thai Peanut Sauce.

    Add to bowl: 1-2 handfuls of chopped green onion, 1-2 handfuls of julienne carrots, 1 handful of snow peas, 1 bunch of chopped cilantro, 2-3 cups of mandarin oranges, and 1 package of your favorite refrigerated, grilled chicken (I like Tyson’s). (For easier eating chop chicken into bite size chunks).

    Add noodles and mix thoroughly. Chill for 3-8 hours or overnight. Enjoy the rest of the week. Its a nice, light, filling, refreshing meal on hot summer days. Even though I use some processed food even my organic, mostly vegan gf loves it.

    The inspiration for this came from eating Vietnamese spring rolls, so add in shrimp if you’d like. For spice in your life throw in some Sriracha. I also call it an Inside Out Spring Roll.

  • Calming Influence

    I’m a little surprised by the basil/mint switcheroo. Would not have thought they were at all comparable, other than that they are both green leaves.

    I’ll have to try it. (What could possibly go wrong? So we eat out…)

  • Julia Grey

    Putting mint in it kinda makes it more Vietnamese than Thai, doesn’t it?

    • Ideally, Vietnamese “mint” is melissa, i.e., more or less lemon balm. But in my experience microclimates (like, even within a [very] large home garden!) have surprisingly large effects on the flavor of members of the mint family.

    • Does it? I don’t know. I think Thai basil has a pretty minty flavor so i’m comfortable subbing one for the other. Then again, i think plain old basil is fine in Thai food.

  • I also recommend using a teaspoon or two of brown sugar in the recipe if you’re using fresh pineapple (as I did).

    If you can get ketjap manis (Indonesian sweetened soy sauce), I bet it would work fine. Wikipedia tells me that what it’s sweetened with is palm sugar, so that would be another possibility (of probably equal difficulty to procure).

    • I find you can find a lot of these ingredients in even supermarkets these days. And you can usually order the rest online.

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