Grilling Asian-style

4 East-meets-West ways to fire up dinnertime — and the perfect drinks for each

Japanese tofu recipe

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; food styling by Karen Shinto

Asian grilling guide: Japanese Tofu Skewers on Soba

Tofu holds up beautifully on the grill as long as you use the firm nigari kind. You’ll need 4 metal skewers (10 to 12 in. each) or wooden skewers soaked in water to prevent burning.

Pair with a spicy, loamy Pinot Noir ​like Blackstone Sonoma Reserve 2007 (Sonoma County; $20).

Recipe: Japanese Tofu Skewers on Soba

Asian grilled chicken

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; food styling by Karen Shinto

Five-Spice Chicken Noodle Salad

Like a cross between a noodle bowl and a salad, this dish is low in fat and has a kick­—thanks to the zesty salad dressing based on a Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Pair with a barely off-dry Riesling like Poet’s Leap 2008 (Columbia Valley; $20).

Recipe: Five-Spice Chicken Noodle Salad

Korean barbecue burgers

Photo by Annabelle Breakey

Korean Kimchi Burgers

Follow the recipe to make your own kimchi, or take a shortcut and use the condiment ready-made from the store. Pair the burgers with a beer with balanced malt and hops like Saigon Export.

Recipe: Korean Kimchi Burgers

Fish curry recipe

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; food styling by Karen Shinto

Mahimahi with Thai Green Curry

You can find jars of Thai green curry at most supermarkets—the potent paste adds instant authentic flavor.

Pair this dish with a crisp, aromatic Viognier like Jorian Hill 2007 (Santa Ynez Valley; $30).

Recipe: Mahimahi with Thai Green Curry

Asian cooking ingredients

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; food styling by Karen Shinto

Beyond soy sauce

For authentic Asian flair, stock up on these pantry staples (pictured left to right) from your market’s international aisle.

  • Chili garlic sauce: The thick sauce of crushed red chiles and garlic adds instant fire. The Chinese version may include fermented black beans and preserved radish; the Vietnamese is simpler.
  • Rice vinegar: Popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisines, this is a light and mildly tart vinegar. The seasoned version contains sugar and salt.
  • Wasabi: The pungent Japanese green paste or powder gives sauces a horseradish-like burn.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooks use this dark oil to lend a nutty aroma to sauces and marinades.
  • Fish sauce: The thin amber liquid, made by fermenting fish in brine, is omnipresent in Southeast Asian cuisines and provides a salty, pungent punch. We prefer more subtle Thai and Vietnamese sauces to stronger Filipino.
  • Mirin: This Japanese rice wine adds subtle sweetness to marinades, sauces, and dressings.
  • Green curry paste: Use the potent, aromatic paste of pounded green chiles and spices to make Thai curry.

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