Friday, July 14, 2023

Wok Charred Edamame with Togarashi

The last time that I visited Fort Lauderdale for work, I went down to the hotel restaurant for a drink and dinner. The food is pretty good, but sometimes it can be hit or miss. As I sat at the bar drinking a nice local brew, I decided to get an order of Wok Charred Edamame with Togarashi. I love Edamame, and, the name of the dish, with its reference to Togarashi, piqued my interest.

I have previously posted about Togarashi. It is a uniquely Japanese spice blend that is heavy on the chile pepper, but includes some other interesting ingredients, such as dried seaweed and hemp seeds. The key thing to remember about Togarashi is that the preparation involves seven ingredients. That gives you Shichimi Togarashi.

Having prepared some Shichimi Togarashi for myself, I decided to recreate the dish that I had at that Fort Lauderdale restaurant. I searched the Internet and came across a few recipes, which I used as a starting point. The recipes called for ingredients that I would have expected in the dish, such as rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

However, in the end, the recipes fell a little short from what I had in the restaurant. The restaurant version had a more reduced, slightly sticky sesame sauce that coated my fingers with a very delicious chile sesame mixture as I ate the Edamame. This turned the dish into a "finger-licking" good appetizer. My re-creation of Wok Charred Edamame with Togarashi produced a runnier sauce and, hence, cleaner fingers. Still, the flavors were essentially there, especially the Togarashi, which makes the dish. 


Recipe adapted from multiple sources

Serves several


  • 4 cups edamame in shell, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon shichimi togarashi
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted


1. Prepare the edamame.  Heat a wok over high heat. Add the peanut oil or vegetable oil. and Add the edamame. Toss the edamame until they are coated with the oil. Then add the rice vinegar and togarashi. Toss again to ensure that the edamame are covered with the spice blend. 

2. Finish the dish. Allow the edamame to sit in the hot wok for about 30 seconds to char. Then remove from heat, stir in the sesame oil and the sesame seeds. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.


Saturday, July 1, 2023


While there is no dispute that jambalaya comes from Louisiana, there is a fair amount of uncertainty as to where "jambalaya" comes from. One school of thought is that the word itself originated from Provence, France. There is a Provencal word - jambalaia - that means "mixed up." Then again, the name could be a mixture itself, from the French word for ham, jambon and the African word for rice, ya. (Although, I have serious doubts about this theory, because I cannot find an African language that translates "rice" into "ya.") There is still another thought that the origin is Spanish, with the combination of jamon and paella

One of the most interesting theories is that the word "jambalaya" is actually derived from the Atakapa, a Native American tribe who lived along the Gulf Coast in what is present-day Texas and Louisiana. The Atakapa would say, Sham pal ha, Ya! This translates roughly into "be full, not skinny, eat up!"

Whatever the name's origin, what is beyond dispute is that jambalaya is a mélange of influences. Perhaps the most obvious influence comes from western Africa, with the use of rice and its similarity to jollof rice. There is an equally apparent influence from southern Spain, with the dish resembling paella and probably the use of tomatoes (rather than saffron).  There are French influences, mostly in the form of the spices used, which may have come from the Caribbean as well. 

Yet, there is still some mystery surrounding even the culinary influences, as the written record of recipes for jambalaya date only back to the late 19th century, even though the dish itself goes back much further in time. As for this particular recipe, it is a rather straightforward version of the dish. The absence of tomatoes pushes this dish more into the Cajun column than the Creole one (as the latter is known for its use of tomatoes in the preparation). I have also used turkey based products, such as smoked turkey sausage and turkey thighs, because that is the only meat that my beautiful Angel eats. You can use the more traditional ingredients, such as Andouille and chicken thighs in its place.


Recipe adapted from Kitchn

Serves 4

Ingredients (for the seasoning):

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white ground pepper
  • 12 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Ingredients (for the jambalaya):

  • 2 medium scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (about 12-ounce) package smoked turkey sausage
  • 1 pound turkey thighs, skinned, trimmed, and de-boned
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat, picked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 2 cups medium or long grain rice
  • 2 1/2 cups turkey broth 


1. Make the seasoning. Combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, white ground pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. 

2. Prepare the vegetables. Thinly slice the 2 scallions and set aside for garnish. Dice 1 small yellow onion, 3 medium celery stalks, and the green bell pepper (about 1 cup of each). Mince the three garlic cloves.

3. Prepare the meats. Cut the sauce into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Cut the turkey thighs into bite-size pieces. Season the turkey with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning. Carefully rinse the crab meat in a colander and pick out any shells. Season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the seasoning. 

4. Brown the sausage. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage in a single layer and cook until browned on the cut sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter using tongs and repeat until all the sausage has been browned.

5. Brown the turkey. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to the drippings in the pot. Add the turkey and cook until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the turkey to the plate with the sausage. 

6. Sauté the vegetables. Add the onion and garlic mixture, remaining seasoning and remaining salt. Cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper, continue to scrape up the browned bits and continue to stir occasionally, about 2 more minutes. 

7. Add rice. Add the 2 cups of rice and cook, stirring frequently until the rice is opaque and toasty smelling, about 3 minutes. 

8. Add liquid and meats. Pour in the turkey broth and bring to a boil. Add the turkey and sausage and any accumulated juices to the pot and give everything one good stir to mix together. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer undisturbed until the rice is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

9.  Sauté the shrimp. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small sauté pan. Add the shrimp and sauté until opaque, 2-3 minutes per side. 

9. Stir and let sit. After the rice is cooked through, add the shrimp to the top. Give the mixture a gentle stir on top. Cover again and remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. If the rice is still too wet, take the lid off so the extra liquid evaporates. If the rice is a little dry, keep the lid on a little longer to give the rice more time to absorb the liquid.