Fixing both familiar, fusion Chinese fare

THE BALTIMORE SUN

If you want Chinese food in a hurry, you could drop by your local carryout. But in probably less time than it takes to phone in your order and pick it up, you could cook your meal at home.

Celebrity chef Martin Yan shows you how in his latest Public Broadcasting Service series, Martin Yan Quick & Easy, and in the companion cookbook of the same name (Chronicle Books, 2004, $24.95).

The book contains more than 150 recipes for familiar Asian fare that can be made in less than 30 minutes, including sesame-orange beef, miso soup and sesame noodles. But Yan also ventures beyond traditional recipes and includes a number of fusion dishes.

Take, for example, his Backyard Asian Coleslaw, which includes bean sprouts, soy sauce and wasabi paste. And his Great Wall Hoisin Pizza made with pre-made pizza crust and a sauce of grated ginger, tomato paste and hoisin sauce.

That kid staple, chicken fingers, gets an Asian twist with a lemon juice and soy sauce marinade. Sea scallops are bathed in lime juice, fish sauce and ginger before being fried in a hot skillet. Pork spareribs take on a rich, lusty flavor with a hoisin sauce and honey glaze.

As the title promises, the dishes are quick and easy, and most of the ingredients can be found in today's supermarkets.

Yan provides a few pages of cooking lessons and recommended pantry items, but he doesn't linger on cooking theory. Who has time for that when the cook's in a hurry?

Honey-Glazed Spareribs

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 side pork spareribs (about 2 pounds)

MARINADE:

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

HONEY GLAZE:

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Cut the side of the ribs between the bones into individual pieces. Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add the ribs and cook for 5 minutes, then pour into a colander to drain.

To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add the ribs and stir to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes; for a deeper flavor, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the honey is dissolved. Set aside.

Lift the ribs from the marinade and place on a rack in an aluminum-foil-lined baking pan; reserve the marinade.

Bake the ribs for 10 minutes. Turn the ribs over, baste with the reserved marinade, and bake for 5 minutes longer. Brush with the glaze and continue baking until the ribs are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

Per serving: 363 calories; 18 grams protein; 24 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 16 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 74 milligrams cholesterol; 876 milligrams sodium

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