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Grilling on the Rim : Choosing Sides

October 13, 1994|BARBARA HANSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When you're planning an Asian dinner, what type of meat to grill can be an easy decision: Just follow your hankering. What to serve with it may take more thought. In their appealing small book, "The Asian Grill" (Chronicle Books: $12.95), David Barich and Thomas Ingalls take on both issues.

Twelve menus pair such main dishes as Thai dancing prawns, Chinese barbecued spare ribs and five-spice grilled game hens with Asian-inspired rice, noodles, salads and vegetables.

To accompany Thai barbecued chicken, there's a jasmine rice salad that includes lots of things you'd find in an Asian marketplace: snow peas, mango, cucumber, coconut and bean sprouts. A carrot-and-radish salad goes with Vietnamese barbecued beef; cold Japanese somen noodles and a wasabi-spiced dip accompany chicken teriyaki, and Chinese broccoli with black bean sauce goes alongside Chinese grilled whole fish.

Barich and Ingalls tested their recipes on a standard American kettle-style grill. Their recipes require no special cooking tools, but they do recommend using natural-hardwood charcoal, preferably mesquite because it burns hotter, making it easier to sear foods.

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Along with grilling pointers, there are sources for grills, accessories, charcoal, smoking woods and naturally raised meats. Each menu is handsomely photographed.

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The authors suggest these noodles would go well with grilled eggplant and grilled salmon with miso.

STIR-FRIED SOBA NOODLES

1/2 pound soba noodles

3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

2 teaspoons sake

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 cup bean sprouts

Bring large pot salted water to boil. Add noodles, stirring to separate. When water returns to boil, cook noodles 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Rinse noodles in cold water. Drain well. Set aside. In small bowl combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger and sake.

In wok or large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat until it sizzles. Toss in drained noodles and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in soy sauce mixture and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Add bean sprouts and stir-fry 1 minute. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

276 calories; 1205 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 47 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 0.91 gram fiber.

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Serve this with a Japanese grill menu featuring chicken, asparagus and green onion yakitori.

COLD SESAME SPINACH

2 1/2 pounds spinach, stemmed and well rinsed

1/2 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

1/4 cup dashi or canned chicken broth

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

Place wet spinach in large pot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Place in colander, rinse under cold water and press with back of wooden spoon to remove excess water. Set aside.

Heat dry, heavy skillet over medium high-heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly 3 to 4 minutes, or until they begin to toast. Remove pan from heat and stir 2 to 3 minutes, until seeds stop cooking.

Turn into mortar or small bowl. With pestle or bottom of small bottle, grind seeds to paste. Stir in sugar, soy sauce, dashi and vinegar. Place drained spinach in serving bowl and stir in sesame paste. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

189 calories; 783 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 3.08 grams fiber.

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