I love spice flavors from Spanish saffron and smoky sweet paprika to garam masala and the bold heat and bite of ginger, curry, Thai roasted red chili paste and wasabi. I really enjoy dishes from China, Japan, Korea and Thailand at spots that will prepare their dishes in a traditional style with the freshest ingredients available.
I am always tasting and breaking down a new dish so I can learn to recreate all the flavors and textures that we enjoy so much when we travel abroad and eat something new at a local food destination.
I am pretty much self-taught in the smell and taste of spices and spice blends that are cultivated and inspired by Japanese, Korean, Indian and Thai dishes. I dislike any and all barbecue sauces (my girls love them) so I tend to choose dry rub spice blends for my meat grills and roasts.
The girls and I love to go into these local stores and see what strange new items we can find. I have learned to ask about how to use certain unique ingredients and what they should taste like, etc.
I have never been disappointed, but rather pleasantly surprised, by the many new and delicious items I continue to find and add to my food pantry and meal planning.
This Asian-inspired spice mixture is simple and the roasting takes place in a medium hot oven until the ribs are crispy, golden outside and tender inside. We like these as an appetizer before a weekend meal or for a simple weekday meal served with sushi rice, basmati rice, or noodles.
I always make plenty of delicious vegetables to go with this dish. We choose from braised baby bok choy cabbage, sautéed broccoli with garlic or fresh green beans which I prepare with sautéed garlic, vegetable oil, ginger and a dash of sesame oil at the finish (you can add a bit chili pepper heat to the green beans if you like.)
1 large rack of baby back pork ribs, cut into segments
dry-rub spice mixture
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp. ginger powder
2 – 3 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cardamom
cayenne pepper (to taste)
Prepare the ribs and place on a flat work surface covered with wax paper. Season well with sea salt and pepper to taste (always season both sides.) Mix all the remaining spices together in a small bowl and rub the spice blend on all sides of the ribs until covered. Place the ribs in a well sealed zip lock bag and refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours, overnight is best.
Remove the ribs from the fridge about 15-20 minutes before roasting and bring to room temperature. Line a metal baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the ribs on the foil. Set oven to approximately 400 – 425 degrees and roast until golden brown and done through (time will vary depending on the heat of your oven and thickness of the ribs.) For crisper ribs, place under the broiler right before the finished cooking time for a minute or so, then remove from oven to cool and serve.
asian style noodles
wheat, flour or rice Asian noodles
low sodium soy sauce
ginger spice powder
black sesame seeds
I serve these ribs alongside my Asian style noodles which can be room temperature or cold from the fridge. I alternate the style of noodles I choose, from the very thin wheat and grain flour noodles to wide or thin rice noodles for different taste and texture blends.
Once the noodles are cooked per their package directions; drizzle with some vegetable oil so they do not stick and once cooled, dress them with the following ingredients (amounts are open to your personal taste):
A light drizzle of vegetable oil, rice vinegar, ponzu sauce, low sodium soy sauce, ginger powder, garlic powder, chopped scallions, black sesame seeds, a dash of Sriracha hot chili sauce (this is VERY hot and spicy, be sure to add with a light hand and taste and adjust as you go) and a light dash of sesame oil to finish.
Blend the noodles and ingredients well and set aside; if they absorb all the liquids while resting; taste them and feel free to add more of any of the ingredients you desire.
NOTE: I highly recommend you add as much or as little of each ingredient as you choose; in my family, everyone has a different balance they like so I always place the dressing ingredients on the table at meal time.
Serve the Asian style noodles and the roasted ribs with vegetable side dishes and you can also include my Asian cucumber salad.
NOTE: My girls loves these Asian noodles and often take the leftovers to school for lunch with vegetables and chicken, healthy and tasty.
This Asian cucumber salad is my copycat recipe for a salad I love from P.F. Chang’s menu, their Shanghai cucumbers.
I start with fresh peeled and sliced english cucumbers that are dressed simply with low sodium soy, rice vinegar, vegetable oil, salt and pepper (to taste), a dash of sesame oil and black sesame seeds.
Mix all of these ingredients in a large bowl to your own personal taste and serve immediately.
Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti & Daniel Venditti