Eric Silverstein’s background in Asian food culture as a child in Japan, and, later, his immersion in Southern and Southwestern cuisine, informs his cooking at his restaurant, The Peached Tortilla, in Austin, Texas.
The 100 flavour-packed recipes here include many of The Peached Tortilla’s most-beloved dishes, like the Banh Mi Taco, JapaJam Burger, and Bacon Jam Fries, which gained rabid fandom when Silverstein first served them out of his famed Austin-based food truck.
Other crowd-pleasing favourites range from Dan Dan Noodles, crispy Umami Fried Chicken and Korean Short Rib Pappardelle with Smoked Crème Fraîche to Asian Pear Miso Salad and Roasted Cauliflower with Nori Brown Butter. This is Asian fusion at its best, delivering soul-satisfying comfort food with a kick!
Dan Dan Noodles
I can’t take all the credit for this recipe because Stephani O’Connor helped me create it. Stephani isn’t Irish by birth, but she’s also not Chinese. I told her I really wanted to nail a Dan Dan noodle dish for Valentine’s Day service a few years back, and she helped knock this recipe out of the park.
For one reason or another, Dan Dan Noodles have made the transition into the mainstream, probably because chain restaurants like Pei Wei™ have put them on the menu. As a result, the recipes and flavour profiles of what people expect Dan Dan Noodles to taste like now vary wildly.
This recipe hovers closer to the traditional end than other iterations and carries some punch from the Sichuan Chili Oil, but the noodles do not sit in a chilli-laced broth, as they do in more traditional recipes.
FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sichuan Chili Oil (recipe to follow)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
TO MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCE
Place the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, chilli oil, garlic, and 1⁄2 cup of hot water in a blender (or use a handheld blender) to puree all the ingredients. The consistency of the sauce should be relatively watery. It will thicken when you cook the dish.
FOR THE PORK
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3⁄4 pound ground pork
3⁄4 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
1⁄2 cup Pickled Mustard Greens chopped by hand or pulsed in a food processor
TO MAKE THE PORK
- Place the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the ground pork and cook it for 2–3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, Hoisin Sauce, vinegar, Chinese five-spice powder, white pepper, and mustard greens.
- Continue to cook the pork over high heat for 2–3 more minutes, stirring it and breaking it apart in the process. You want bits of ground pork in your Dan Dan Noodles, not huge clumps. Set the mixture aside.
8 ounces dried Wheat Noodles
1 1⁄2 cup Peanut Sauce (recipe above)
1⁄2 ounces prepared ground pork (recipe above)
1⁄4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped
1⁄4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup julienned English (seedless) cucumber, using the smallest blade setting on a Japanese mandoline
1 1⁄2 cups bean sprouts
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a medium-size pot. Once the water starts to boil, add the noodles and cook them according to the directions on the package until they are al dente.
- After the noodles have been cooking for about 2–3 minutes, pour the Peanut Sauce into a medium-size skillet and place it over medium-low heat. As the sauce begins to heat up, add the pork. You do not need to cook the sauce for more than 2–3 minutes. When you see bubbles form around the edges of the pan, you’ll know the sauce has thickened. At this point, you can turn off the heat and leave the pan on top of the burner covered.
- When the noodles are done, drain the excess water and place the noodles into the pan with the Peanut Sauce and pork mixture. Using a pair of tongs, incorporate the sauce mixture into the noodles.
- Plate the noodles and top them with the toasted peanuts, green onions, cucumber, and bean sprouts.
If you are having trouble finding the wheat noodles (I recommend Quon Yick™ brand), you can always use lo mein noodles as a substitute. Alternatively, try chajang noodles (see Noodle Glossary, page 216), which have a more slippery texture than wheat noodles when they’re cooked. Chajang noodles are used primarily for Jajangmyeon in Korean-Chinese food.
Sichuan Chili Oil
Makes 2 cups
You can always buy chilli oil at an Asian food store if you are in a pinch, but this homemade version is much more flavorful. It does take a little bit of time to make, but the chilli oil should last you a while, and it’s a great condiment to have around.
1⁄4 cup Sichuan peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
3 pieces of whole Star Anise
2 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup crushed red pepper flakes
- Place the Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaves, and oil into a small pot.
- Over medium-low heat, bring the oil mixture to 325°F, using a high-temperature thermometer or a candy thermometer, and then turn off the heat.
- Wait 6–7 minutes for the aromatic spices to infuse the oil.
- Add the crushed red pepper flakes to the pot and allow them to steep in the hot oil. It should start to give off a fragrance—almost like popcorn.
- Strain the oil and pour it into a heat-proof container. Allow the oil to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. Once the oil has cooled, put a lid on the container and store it at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.