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Suggestions for sides, veggie or starch, with Asian main dishes?

Any ideas besides broccoli and asparagus for sides for Asian or Asian-influenced main dishes would be much appreciated. Some of the dishes I'd like some interesting new sides for are Thai-style crab cakes, Thai fried chicken, Braised shortribs, Ginger-soy glazed duck, Fish steamed or baked with Asian spices. I always fall back on asparagus, broccoli, or green beans and some kind of rice. What do other CHs serve with these foods and flavors?

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  1. Greens with garlic would be the obvious. Bok choi, gailan, spinach, kale...Maybe eggplant, though I personally prefer these in curry. Maybe soybeans. I guess I think more traditionally Asian vegetables would go well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jadec

      Second greens - asian leafy greens with a bit of garlic, or oyster sauce, or ?? I also love spinach with a bit of peanut sauce, ponzu or garlic. I also make zuccinni and mushrooms (and napa cabbage) with Thai spice (steam and sprinkle spice with a bit of butter, or saute with butter and spices if feeling decadent).

      1. re: akq

        i like assertive greens with asian greens too, like spinach, watercress and chinese broccoli (which is more like cabbage) stirfried with garlic and red chili.

        snap peas
        baby bok choy with black bean sauce
        charred roasted scallions
        braised leeks with orange zest
        dry fried green beans
        edamame -- cold, hot, or mashed with cream & butter
        celery & radish salad
        green papaya salad
        green salad with tom yam dressing
        cukes with miso/ginger dressing
        chilled spinach with sesame dressing (ohitashi)
        fresh veggie spring rolls

        soba noodles--alone or as a salad with cukes & carrots, sesame or peanut sauce
        sticky rice fried into cakes with fresh herbs like shiso added

      2. re: jadec

        Absolutely. Shanghai bok choys steamed and simmered in a good quality Chinese or Thai soy sauce with some chicken broth and a lot of garlic is heavenly. The small bok choys also look wonderful upon completion.

        Snow peas or sugar snap peas also lend themselves well to couplings with Asian entrees.

      3. cucumber salad
        seaweed salad
        some kind of dumpling?
        Trader Joe's mini cilantro/chicken won tons
        Trader joes lemon grass or coconut curry chicken stix

        1. I love chinese long beans or spicy eggplant. Instead of broccoli, maybe broccoli rabe. Although not particullarly asian, a simple sautee of colorful bell peppers might be nice.

          1. You mention starch...how about Robert Lauriston's Cilantro Rice...really delicious with either Asian or Mexican fare. Have you tried it? Will post the link if you need it, not sure if you want it.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Val

              I love cilantro rice! Also Sam Choy's Ginger Scallion Fried rice...can be made w/basmati or jasmine - Yum!

              As for a veggie, my husband likes to really thinly slice a red and a green pepper (as we almost always have these in our kitchen) and then toss them in a sesame, ginger soy dressing that he makes and then sprinkles black sesame seeds on top, it looks pretty and super simple.

              1. re: Val

                Would love to try it, so would really appreciate the post. Thanks.

                  1. re: sparkareno

                    Here's the Cilantro Rice recipe from RL's original post...oh, so grand! And a beautiful dish to behold, also:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328780

                    1. re: Val

                      oh thank you!--just in time for dinner (I'm doing Thai Fried Chicken again, as DH loved it so much when I tried it a few weeks ago), and I have everything on hand for this rice dish.

                      1. re: Val

                        sounds wonderful---thank you for the link. I think I will add garlic because that's just how I roll.

                        1. re: Val

                          I made it last night--so good. Don't know that I've ever described rice as "refreshing," but that's just what it was. Such a nice foil to the fried chicken.

                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                            It really has fresh, bright flavors .... and color!

                    2. Take a trip to your local Asian Market for inspiration!

                      Simply stir fry common Asian vegetables with a splash of soy, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, bean paste, etc

                      Veggies like:
                      Daikon sliced thin
                      Bok Choy, large or small
                      Onion large or small
                      Snow Pea pods
                      Lemoingrass - for Thai dishes
                      Celery
                      Bell Peppers of any color
                      Spicy Peppers
                      Mushrooms of many kinds
                      Mung Bean Sprouts
                      Ginger cut into coins
                      Water chestnut
                      Garlic
                      Bamboo Shoots
                      Small eggplant slices (best if brined first)
                      Carrot

                      For starches look at Udon Noodles, Saifun/Maifun/Glass noodles, and a zillion other kinds. Mango-Coconut rice (cooked in coconut water not tap water)