By Rob Corliss
February 17, 2021
Side dishes serve as a menu cornerstone, affording diners the opportunity to enhance their main course or enjoy a few sides as a grazing course or shareables experience with friends/family. American-Chinese cues provide a wonderful pathway to accentuate side-dish staples like vegetables, potatoes, rice and pasta in diverse ways.
Here, we focus on three categories where modern American-Chinese flavor combinations can make a splash. These are meant to be fun and playful takes, creating side dishes that grab attention and deliver craveable flavor experiences.
- Mongolian Green Beans: Steamed fresh green beans tossed with browned garlic, crispy pork, sweet hoisin-soy glaze, sliced scallions and sesame seeds
- Kung Pao “Rice”: Cauliflower fried rice with shelled edamame, bean sprouts, peanuts, split chiles, kung pao sauce
- Char Siu Mushrooms: Marinated, roasted and broiled (charred) whole cremini mushrooms glazed with sweet/savory/sticky char siu sauce
- Orange Bok Choy: Sautéed baby bok choy leaves and Asian pear slices with star anise syrup, applewood smoked bacon, dried orange peel
- Ginger Butter Spuds: Mini whole-roasted creamer potatoes tossed in softened butter/ginger purée/soy sauce
- Mala Fries: Shoestring french fries dusted with a crushed Sichuan peppercorn/minced dried red chile spice blend, served with soy gravy
- Chinese Sweet Potato Bake: Luscious mixture of mashed sweet potatoes, egg, almond milk, honey, butter in a crock, topped with a brown sugar/ flour/butter/chopped walnuts/Chinese five-spice crumble; baked in the oven
- Imperial Potato Pancakes: Shredded (raw and parboiled) russet potatoes mixed with smoked bacon, minced garlic/sesame seeds/red chile powder/cumin; formed into flat cakes and griddled crispy golden rösti-style
- Egg Drop Pilaf: Rice pilaf (cooked in chicken broth/sesame oil/turmeric) flavored with soft-scrambled egg and sliced scallion
- Honey-Garlic Rice: Steamed brown rice flavored with honey-garlic sauce and crispy shallots
- Black Pepper Pasta: Corkscrew pasta tossed with shaved celery, caramelized onion and an aromatic black pepper butter sauce, drizzled with a touch of syrupy Chinese vinegar
- Crab Rangoon Mac: Large elbow noodles tossed with a creamy Jack/cream cheese sauce, imitation crab and sliced scallions, topped with crushed fried wonton