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Special ingredient provides Asian flavor for incredible meal

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By David Kelly
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 7:17 p.m.

Let's have a celebration of our own in the kitchen with a few ideas on the most popular tastes we enjoy.

Our first recipe features an ingredient that will be found in the Asian section of the market, the produce section of specialty markets or the spice aisle.

The ingredient is tamarind, an acidic fruit that grows in pods and is an ingredient in many meat and poultry dishes, pastries, sherberts and beverages to name a few. It has a unique flavor that is used multitude of Asian dishes.

Barbecued Pork Spareribs

(serves four)

21/2pounds pork spareribs

1 onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root

1/3cup dark soy sauce

1 to 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/3cup water

1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons peanut oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wipe the pork ribs with a paper towel and place them in a wok, wide frying pan or large flameproof casserole.

Finely chop the onion, crush the garlic, and peel and slice the ginger. Chop the chilies and blend all of the ingredients in a processor.

Strain the tamarind and save the juice.

Add the tamarind juice, brown sugar, oil and seasoning to taste to the onion mixture and mix well together.

Pour the sauce over the ribs and toss well to coat. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. Add extra water if necessary.

Put the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan, place under a preheated broiler, on a barbecue grill or, in a preheated oven at 400 degrees.

Continue cooking until the ribs are tender, about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the ribs.

Baste the ribs with the sauce and turn them from time to time.

• • •

Our next feature is for a chicken stir fry with a little bit of a kick.

This is a very popular dish found on virtually every Asian menu and as a buffet standard. All of the ingredients are readily available and are easy to find.

Spicy ChickenStir-Fry

(makes four servings)

1/2teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 bunch scallions

4 celery stalks

2 red bell peppers, seeded

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded

6 ounces zucchini

6 ounce snow peas or, sugar snap peas

sunflower oil for frying

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

Combine the turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and sugar in a bowl. Mix well.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized strips. Add to the spice mixture and stir to coat the chicken pieces and then set them aside.

Prepare the vegetables. Cut the scallions, celery and bell peppers into 2-inch-long strips. Cut the zucchini at a slight angle into thin rounds. Trim the snow peas or sugar snap peas.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a preheated wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and golden brown, adding a little more oil if necessary.

Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the scallions, celery, bell peppers and zucchini over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Add the snow peas or sugar snap peas and cook for another two minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the lime juice and the honey. Cook for two more minutes, stirring frequently. Serve immediately and accompany with plain boiled or steamed rice.

As always, enjoy!

David Kelly has worked as a chef for more than 40 years. He has shared his recipes, tips and experiences in Culinary Corner for 21 years.

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