Spicy recipe ideas?

Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 23 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 41 weeks ago.

Hello all. I'm starting to try to cook more for myself, and to bring more than just sandwiches to work for lunch. I've noticed that I often get cravings for some good, really spicy food since I don't get it much (and i'm trying to avoid eating out too much since I'm working on losing weight right now). I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions, especially for things that'd be bento friendly and easy to heat up (or eat cold) at work, not to mention healthy. I've seen a couple recipes, like a Thai spicy basil chicken stir-fry dish that might be ok if I keep the oil content down low, but I haven't found much else left. Looking forward to seeing any suggestions you might have :)

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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 37 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

Wow - I'm impressed with my memory, I just wrote the stuff below, then had the brilliant idea of searching for the recipe online. It's here - I remembered it quite well.

There's a Delia Smith recipe for a roast vege and cous cous salad thing which has a quite spicy dressing and is delicious warm or cold. I never actually follow the recipe (don't own the book), I just use it as inspiration and do something like this:

Cut some vegetables into 3cm cubes or chunks or whatever. These can be root veges like parsnips, sweet potato, or carrots; or they can be things like mushrooms, capsicums, onions, zucchini. You just want a nice mixture, and choose your veges according to your calorific needs. Toss them in a little olive oil and roast them in a hot oven. If you have both root veges and the other sort, you need to roast the root veges until nearly cooked, then add the rest. You are wanting enough veges to cover the bottom of a normal roasting dish quite thickly.

While that's happening, prepare a cup of cous cous as per packet directions, or you can use fine bulgar wheat for more fibre and fewer calories and less scrumminess. Whatever, it needs to be soft and tasty - you want to use some stock instead of water if you have it.

The dressing, as far as I can remember, is approximately: 1 tsp cayenne pepper, juice of a couple of limes (or a couple of tablespoons out of a bottle if you must), 1 tablespoon ground cumin seed (yes, it is a lot), a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste (that's the concentrated stuff), some salt to taste, and oil. You can miss out the oil if you are dieting; just add a bit of water or stock for runniness. Taste it and adjust it until it is how you like it.

Delia uses some greenery in hers, but it doesn't last long once it has dressing on it so I never do. But I always do put in some cubed feta. She uses something like Chevre Salade I think, but I don't like goat cheese much. Adjust quantity and type according to fatteningness and preference.

Anyway you mix up the cous cous, the roast veges, and the feta, then pour the dressing over (a little bit at a time if you are nervous) and mix it up. Very tasty, and lasts for a good few days in the fridge.



My blog is Food and Shoes

Joined: 11 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 14 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

If you have access to a microwave or a small thermos that you can fill up at home, my favorite spicy meal is Chinese hot & sour soup mix. The brand name is Mishima (made in the USA so ask your local grocer to stock it if you can't find it) and 3 individual packets come in each larger packet. The contents of one packet is enough for a small cup (2/3 cup) or a small bowl. The hot & sour soup mix has no MSG, no cholesterol, and no saturated fat. The downside is that it has 660 mg of sodium, but I sweat it out at the gym. It's great on a cold day. The hot & sour flavor is comparable to what I've found in some Chinese restaurants. You really need to like spicy food to appreciate this.

Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I put spice on a lot of my vegetables and proteins, I also crave spicy things on a regular basis. I usually have Kimchi on hand, as a quick fix. But I also use a lot of red pepper in carrot kinpira, stir-fry, kung pao tofu, chili, curry, and whatever else I can manage to put it on. I also add hot sauce or salsa to soup and eggs. There are more but that's what I come up with off the top of my head.

Writing this makes me realize just how many spicy things I eat.... my mom thinks I have a problem, but at least my food is not bland.

Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 2 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

The best spicy bento thing I know is Maki's carrot kinpira... just had it for lunch today!

Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

Add sriracha to anything! ^_^

Bento-ing from: Stockholm › Sweden
Joined: 14 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

My favourite recipe is Spaghetti all'arrabiata, or spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce. The sauce is very healthy as it's just crushed tomatoes with some chili and garlic sautéed in half a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix into buttered (or unbuttered) pasta, add cheese (or not) and YUM!

The main problem with bringing spaghetti in a bento is that they don't pack as well as rice, so you need a bigger box to carry them.



My Bento blog, WereRabbits

Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

If you like spicy and eggplant, you could try this one from Maki-


It's easy and yummy and pretty good cold too.



wisdom goddess born
Bento-ing from: B-more › Maryland › USA
Joined: 20 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 16 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I truly love this as an add in, it's from a local guy and if you really love hot food it is scrumptious and versatile!. It's dry hot sauce, a non liquid dream that has hints of spice and garlic as well as smoky spice. I love it sprinkled on hardboiled eggs, and just about every thing else. It is always in my bentos. Please go to www.whiskeyisland.com and check out Pirate Mick's Dry hot sauce, you will not be sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

My spicy peanut butter dip makes a good dressing for noodles and veggies when you dilute it, and can be eaten cold (like pasta salad) or hot.

Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 8 Apr 2008
User offline. Last seen 6 years 34 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I have some chili miso paste that's very nice. It's good as a broth, mixed with mayo or cream cheese as a spread or dip and as a marinade for meats. It also goes well in sauces if you want to give it a warm kick. I love the stuff.

Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 21 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I'm a girl who reeeaaallly loves her spicy food. For me, I tend to add some heat to just about every meal, so I keep a pantry full of some spicy goodies:

-Dried Chili Flakes
-Crystal Hot Sauce (Or Trappey's, basically a good vinegary sauce)
-Sriracha (Oh the Cock Sauce!)
-Any number of random crazy-labeled hot sauces that the Man brings home.
-Canned Chipotles
-Dried Chipotles (These are great for so much, doens't need to be in a Latin type dish, it's just spicy smokey and great.)
-Paul Prudhomme's Magic Blends (The Man used to work at K-Paul's prepping for the TV show, so these dry blends hold a special place in our heart.)

My favorite and routine way to add heat, is to add a bit of dry something to the oil just before I add whatever in the pan to Saute. Chili flakes just before the mushrooms, togarashi just before my bok choy, and always some Magic before my collard greens, chard, kale......mmmmm.



Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I have a few ideas for spicy recipes, afterall, I'm Thai. But my absolute favorite for bento is Prik Khing because you only need 3 ingredients: protein, string beans, and prik khing paste in a can. Traditionally, this dish is made with pork, but I make mine with tofu. I use firm tofu, cut into 1" sq.x 1/2" thick, and fry both sides until golden brown. It's best with the long string beans cut into 1" length, but green beans are okay too. Blanch them in a separate pot, then drain. Pan fry them with the tofu to cook a little more (a couple minutes on med.), lower heat to low, then add the prik khing paste. Serve with steamed rice.

Another spicy recipe great for bento is Pat-Khee-Mau or "drunken noodle". You need more ingredients for this: flat ribbon rice noodle, protein, Chinese broccoli, basil, red chili flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet/thick soy sauce, eggs. Sorry I don't have all the proportions because it's a dish that I season as I cook & taste. All the stuff needed makes it troublesome to make, so I usually make a big batch good for 4 meals.

Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

Pat, both these recipes are fantastic! I make Prik Khing pretty regularly, but I haven't made Pat-Khee-Mau ..yet :-)



Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I mentioned this in the comments for this article http://www.justhungry.com/basics-cold-soba-noodles-dipping-sauce
I'm a big fan of soba noodles and see them as a 'wonder food' as they have so many health benefits, I was after a way to enjoy them without dashi so that I could share them with vegan friends.
If you like spicy food then I'd definitely recommend that you get some Gochujang. It's a pre-made Korean hot pepper paste. It lasts for ages in the fridge and is inexpensive.
The recipe for this soba salad dish (perfect for a bento and quick to cook/assemble) came from http://mykoreankitchen.com/2007/05/29/spicy-sweet-and-vinegary-noodles-b...
I make it slightly differently though, instead of 2 tablespoons of Gochujang I use just one tablespoon and add a tablespoon of miso. The vegetables in the recipe are a good guide but you can use any you like. The kimchi is definitely optional.

My version of the dressing is this one:
1 tbsp gochujang (Korean pepper paste)
1 tbsp miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey*
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil *

*If you're worried about calories, you can add a little less honey and a little less sesame oil (try it with a little less vinegar if you decide to cut down on the honey - you can always add some more later to taste). But on the whole, this is a very low calorie dish.

For a bento box, don't scrimp with the accompanying salad ingredients, and feel free to add fresh or dried chilli to make it spicier. My last tip would be to keep the dressing (which is quite thick) separately from the soba and shredded vegetables. Keep the kimchi apart too if you're using it. It's MUCH better when you combine the soba and dressing just before eating. If you toss the salad and soba together before adding to the bento box the soba strands won't clump together too much.

I love those recipes! Can't wait to try them.

Bento-ing from: Avignon or Lyon, depends › France
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 15 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

Have you tried mabo / mapo dofu ?
Basicaly it's tofu simmered with vegetables and sometimes meat (depend on the recipe, there's many). Definitely diet if you keep in check the oil and meat fat content and very, very spicy. Well, the chinese version at least... I like spicy, but it litteraly numbed my tongue to the point I didn't feel much, let alone taste anything for about an hour the first time I tried it - from a chinese package mix, which as I found out later was meant for six servings. I've never tried to do it myself, but I'm sure that there is many recipes on the net.
(On the other hand, the only time I ordered some at at japanese restaurant it wasn't spicy at all, it was just tofu and vegetables simmered in a clear miso soup.)

Also, of my favorite winter hotpot is tofu, fish cakes and vegetables simmered in a kimchi based soup (just chopped kimchi and some dashi or kombu) - delicious, warming and very low-cal.

Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 17 weeks ago.
Mabo Dofu

I'd love to find a recipe for a vegetarian mabo dofu.
In theory I should have the hardest part licked as I already have the Touban Jang (douban jang)
Maki mentions it in two recipes:
It can be found in jars in most Japanese stores, but I seemed to have lucked out by finding a Sichuan version made with actual broad beans - spicy and intensely flavoured, a little goes a long way. And I've tried making tofu and minced quorn (a fungus based meat substitute) approximations of Mabo Dofu but they're never quite right. It's not surprising as I've never tried the real thing, it has beef in it. What I've made tastes OK, but my husband is well aware that it tastes nothing like 'real' Mabo Dofu.

But as Toubanjang has been brought up (it's an essential component of mabo dofu - that much I do know) that reminds me that I posted another recipe in the comments section of the Hiyashi Chuuka article

The recipe is made with the following dressing
4 measures dashi
2 measures water
2 measures rice vinegar
1 measure sesame oil
1/3 measure Douban Jiang
I used a translation tool to decipher the original Japanese recipe
(I couldn't leave my bed for months and had a lot of time on my hands!). In it you combine cooked and rinsed cold ramen style noodles, tomato slices, chikuwa fish cake slices and sliced raw goya/bitter gourd. The goya and chikuwa can be substituted by other things.
The result is both spicy and refreshing, perfect for the summer.

Cabbage Kimchi must be another 'superfood' that's tailor made for those who are counting the calories. And it's spicy and doesn't need heating. Sounds like an ideal addition to Raiger's bento and it does make delicious soups and stews.

Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

Thanks, Loretta! I was just in search for more recipes using Gochujang. I bought a big tub last week to make kimchee fried rice for the first time, and didn't know what else to use the paste for. I like soba too so I'll try out your recipe.
Céline - I like mabo tofu also. It's very easy with packaged sauce. But I hope the numbing sensation you experienced was not from MSG. I usually use House brand mabo sauce in a pouch, but one time I tried a Chinese brand in a jar...and that numbed my tongue so bad I could not eat it. It was DEFINITELY not the spicyness. But all in all, mabo dish does not quite "hit the spot" when I crave spicy food.

Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

I think the numbing sensation you're referring to is due to good fresh Sichuan peppercorns, also known as flower pepper, hua jiao in Chinese, sanshō in Japanese. Sichuanese cuisine is particularly known for dishes which are described as tasting ma la, which means `numbing and hot.' I loved the revelation of good fresh Sichuan pepper when it first became available in the states after a lengthy US government ban (that was a fascinating & complex culinary-political drama!). It's really not peppery in flavor (which makes sense since it's not actually pepper), but it has a flowery flavor with a hint of citrusy camphor, and when it is good and fresh it totally numbs the tip of the tongue. The ma la effect is what you get when you combine serious chili pepper heat with that tingly numb Sichuan pepper effect.

I love ma po tofu!

Bento-ing from: Pensacola › Florida › USA
Joined: 28 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 15 weeks ago.
Re: Spicy recipe ideas?

This is a really simple recipe as I love spicy food and need a good kick every now and then.

I use Zucchini and Asparagus. Olive oil, Garlic Salt, and Cayanne Pepper! I just throw them all together, put them in the oven for about 30-40 minute at about 400 (i like some of my veggies really done, but you only have to cook it for as long as you want it done for). I'm sure this recipe will work on just about any veggies you can think of and if you put enough cayanne - it'll knock your socks off. Another variation is to use chipolte chili powder...it'll add this nice smokiness to it with the kick as well.

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