Cookbook Review: Myers+Chang at Home

I love Joanne Chang. Love, love, love her. And it’s not an unhealthy fixation, I promise. She’s a culinary genius of grand proportions. I own all her cookbooks and have been to her restaurants. Am I obsessed? A bit. But for good reason.

She’s the award-winning and beloved chef of Boston’s Flour bakery and is best known for her sticky buns—but that’s far from the limit of her talents.

When she married restaurateur Christopher Myers, she would make him Taiwanese food for dinner at home every night. The couple soon realized no one was serving food like this in Boston, in a cool but comfortable restaurant environment. Myers+Chang was born and has turned into one of Boston’s most popular restaurants. It is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2017, just in time for publication of this long-awaited cookbook.

These recipes are meant to be shared, and anyone can make them at home—try Dan Dan Noodle Salad, Triple Pork Mushu Stir-fry, or my personal favourite, Sweet Potato and Chinese Sausage Fritters. Paired with the couple’s favourite recipes, the photography perfectly captures the spirit of the restaurant, making this book a keepsake for devoted fans, like me!

Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.


SWEET POTATO AND CHINESE SAUSAGE FRITTERS

Makes 7 or 8 fritters

An addictive treat, these fritters are creamy and soft inside and super crunchy on the outside. They get their exceptional crunch from the panko crust. Panko is a Japanese bread crumb that is puffed so that it fries up light and crispy. You can find panko in most grocery stores, along with small cans of red curry paste (often labeled “Thai”) and plastic jars of sambal oelek. You’ll likely have to visit an Asian grocery store to find Chinese sausage, sometimes labeled “lap cheong.” It is a firm, cured sausage that is reddish in color like salami with a distinctive sweet flavour. Feel free to substitute chopped-up chorizo, bacon, or ham, or leave it out altogether for a vegetarian version. If you can find Japanese sweet potatoes, which have a purple skin and are especially sweet, definitely use those; otherwise, regular sweet potatoes or even yams work well here.

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1[1/2] pounds), scrubbed clean

[1/3] cup finely chopped Chinese sausage

2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (about [1/4] cup)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon Homemade Red Curry Paste or jarred Thai red curry paste (we like Roland brand)

1[1/2] teaspoons kosher salt

1 large egg

[3/4] cup panko bread crumbs

[1/4] cup vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more as needed

[1/2] cup Sriracha Aioli, or [1/2] cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 tablespoons sriracha

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and roast for about 1 hour, until they are completely cooked through. You should be able to easily poke a small knife directly into the middle of the potatoes when they are done. Remove from the oven and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with a small paring knife and place the flesh in a bowl. Mash the potato with a fork until smooth. Add the sausage, scallions, butter, curry paste, and salt. Mash with a fork or wooden spoon until well combined.

In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg with a fork and pour the panko crumbs onto a large plate. Shape the sweet potato mixture into small cakes, 2 to 3 inches round and 1 inch thick. Dip the sweet potato cakes in the egg to coat both sides, then in the panko crumbs, covering them completely.

In a large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Carefully place the fritters a few at a time in the hot oil and fry them until they are golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve the hot fritters with the Sriracha Aioli.

SWEET POTATO AND CHINESE SAUSAGE FRITTERS excerpted from MYERS+CHANG AT HOME © 2017 by Joanne Chang & Karen Akunowicz. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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