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.
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…
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.
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!
UPDATE 2/5/2017: Went back and updated a few of these–mostly adding to where I’ve done more recipes since the last time I wrote. Edited and fixed some of the pictures that didn’t transfer well from the initial Tumblr migration. Carry on.
In this final portion of the Cooking Glossary series, I’ll give you even MORE recipes that I’ve covered so far in this Simply Delicious Cookbook Project, and for those that I don’t have an example, I’ll update it just as soon as I do.
“Oriental” is a word you don’t hear often anymore (for good reason)–this would probably be referred to as an Asian dish in a modern cookbook. 7-11: Oriental Stir-Fried Pork is a pretty standard Asian stir-fry starter recipe which could also work with chicken, beef, or shrimp.
The teaser line on the front reads “tantalizing flavor”. Not so much, at least in my opinion. This is a basic bare-bones stir-fry–if you want something that’s going to have some kick to it, you’re gonna have to do it yourself.