As another clue to the era from which it emanates, Simply Delicious offers a lot of stir-fry recipes, along with quite a few other “pan-Asian” options. 11-32: Shrimp and Cashew Stir-Fry isn’t much different from a lot of these other types of dishes, but if you like shrimp and cashews, this is your dish.
Simply Delicious suggests serving this with some steamed brown rice. I remember my mom pushing the brown rice on us in the 80s and 90s…it wasn’t great. I know it’s healthier for you, and there are some dishes where it works, but I’m just generally NOT a fan.
Looking for a way to use up some winter vegetables? Maybe your veggie box is heavy with leeks and broccoli these days–if so, maybe give 7-39: Pork Chops with Broccoli and Leek a try. It’s got big “we have Chinese food at home” energy.
If malls were still a thing, you could probably find something similar at a generic Chinese/pan-Asian restaurant in the half-empty food court.
Usually, I give Simply Delicious a hard time for their attempts at “cultural cuisine”–I had gone into 8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole with the same expectations. I even cooked the recipe with that thought in mind–that this was just another lame attempt at something “exotic” for the 1980s housewife crowd to try to excite their disaffected family about. I mean, read that description below and try to imagine how that would go in real life.
However, while researching for the write-up (the last part of this multi-step process), I found some interesting “similar” recipes. I’m still not sure if I’m right or wrong about this one.
Here’s my thoughts on the two things this recipe could be (given my new findings):
They might be trying to attempt nikujaga (Japanese “beef stew”), but it’s missing potatoes which are a crucial (and easy to obtain) part of that dish.
They’re attempting some sort of pan-Asian sautéed beef/Asian veggies dish that you’d be more likely to find in a dead mall’s food court and just calling it Japanese casserole.
I’m guessing it’s the latter, but if you’d like to decide for yourself, keep reading.
Oh, and that dead mall link above? That’s another one of our projects…
As I mentioned in my last post, this project just passed the 6-year mark, and a lot has changed since I first started it–careers, cities, kitchens, vehicles, family, presidents, even dietary preferences.
For the last two years, we’ve been sticking to a plant-based diet, with the very occasional seafood or dairy indulgence (however, traditional meat itself is totally gone). We’ll still go out for a real sushi dinner here and there (although, not lately due to coronavirus), and every so often, I’ll make a recipe like 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp with real shrimp as a treat.
“Fruit from the sea” as a description for shrimp seems strange to me, even though I know Simply Delicious didn’t coin the term. “Fried Jumbo Shrimp” is what they use to lure you into mediocre chain restaurants–it’s not quite haute cuisine.
I’m not doing a good job of selling you on this dish, am I? Well, since fried food doesn’t travel well as takeout, maybe you’d like to take this “opportunity” to learn how to fry your own?
Pork is probably the most common version of sweet-and-sour that you see in Chinese restaurants–there’s even a vegan version of it you can buy in most stores. In case you’re looking for something more refined (but maybe not as easy or meatless), here’s Serious Eats’ take on it.
Stir-fry is not a new concept for Simply Delicious, so you may feel a sense of déjà vu while reading this recipe if you’ve spent any considerable time on this site. 8-25: Stir-Fried Beef isn’t much more than you’re expecting, so if a quick and easy stir-fry is what you’re looking for, read on.
The terms are used interchangeably here, and seemingly in most other places as well. The biggest takeaway from the spring vs. egg roll debate is that spring rolls are originally from China, but have been Americanized along the way (while egg rolls were always American).
They tend to have a thinner wrapper than egg rolls, and are often also associated with the transparent rice paper rolls you tend to see in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.
Chinese cuisine is a lot more prevalent today in the United States than it was 30-40 years ago when Simply Delicious was being written & printed. I suppose we have cookbooks like this to thank in some small part for introducing many 1980s American families to a more global palate.
Speaking of a global palate–I made this dish vegan. Yes, that picture above is vegan–keep reading to find out how. #clickbait
Sometimes when you use recipes from old cookbooks, they can seem a bit “tone-deaf” when it comes to modern-day sensibilities about race and culture. Despite a questionable name, 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp contains many ingredients commonly found in Chinese food.
I love the porcelain bowls they served the example dish in. The wooden chopsticks are also a great touch. What a great photo!