My Favorite Clear Tom Yum Soup

Whenever I make one of my Mama’s recipes, I have to remind myself that cooking takes practice and things don’t often go as smoothly as they look on TV (How does Jacque Pepin make things look so easy?). And when I call her to ask why I carefully followed the recipe and the dish doesn’t…

Saturday Fish Fry & Why We Eat Whole Animals

Every Chinese New Year and on other occasions, my Mama performs a ritual of offering a variety of dishes to the Buddhist alters that protect our homes in hopes of ushering a year of good fortune. This involves purchasing and preparing a plethora of whole animals, pigs, ducks and chickens — with feet, faces and…

Perfect Khao Mun Gai (Singapore Chicken Rice)

Khao mun gai literally translates to “chicken-fat rice” in English, and cooking the rice in chicken fat and stock is what makes it so delicious. The dish, also called Hainanese chicken rice, originated in Hainan, an island off China’s south coast. But it is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysian — particularly in…

Nipa’s Amazing Orange Chicken

Before your scoff at this recipe, hear me out: I obviously can’t speak for all Asians, but my family adores orange chicken. The crown jewels of North American-Chinese cuisine, orange chicken and sesame chicken are not commonly found in Thailand (or China, for that matter). As a result, we’ve had relatives fall in love with…

Easy Creamy Tom Yum Soup

While many Americanized Thai restaurants serve tom yum soup as an appetizer or soup course, Thais typically eat the beloved dish as a main course with rice, which offsets the heat from the chilies. There are two versions of the soup: creamy and clear. My Mama’s super-easy recipe for the creamy variety uses tom yum…

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

Thai basil chicken is a zesty go-to dish that my Mama can always make on the fly. While fattier chicken thighs always seem to add extra flavor, the sauce adds moisture and zing to even the driest chicken breasts. Up the number of chilis if you like it tongue-tingling hot or leave them out completely…

Just My Luck

Since the year of the pig is just around the bend, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months. My Mama forecasted an auspicious year for rabbits like myself, and although I endured some serious obstacles, I can’t say that her predictions were incorrect. From marrying my longtime love (in…

Chinese-Style Chow Mein

My Mama’s crispy noodles, served with a saucy stir fry packed with veggies, is my husband Gavin’s favorite meal. The fact that he refers to the sauce as gravy makes me laugh — but it does have the same soul-warming characteristics as the American classic. While executing the recipe, you might produce a small mess,…

The Dreaded Rooster

Didn’t win the Powerball jackpot? It’s the year of the rooster. Someone cut you off in traffic? It’s a rooster month. Have a headache? It’s a rooster day. Got into an argument with the boyfriend? Rooster. Lost your credit card? Rooster. Cranky? Rooster. Every time I have an out-of-the-ordinary day, I can’t help but run…

From My Mama

Like many Asian mothers, my Mama shows her affection best through food. She knows my boyfriend Gavin loves peanuts, so at one point she was buying him two 48-ounce jars of crunchy Jif Peanut Butter every two weeks, along with equally-Costco-sized cans of honey roasted peanuts and mixed nuts. Charmin toilet paper. Eight-pound pork bellies….