Asian Paella

Classic dishes, new flavors.

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!

That’s what I’m going for today with this super-duper tasty Asian Paella. I took the classic Spanish dish that I have for some reason been so intimidated to make and gave it my own Asian spin, and I am in LOVE with the result. I make a pretty darn good paella for an amateur, if I do say so myself 😉


Let’s talk for a second about that intimidation factor. I know I’ve said it before, but have you ever come across a dish that you’d die to be able to make on your own, yet that fear of the unknown holds you back? What if said dish takes an insanely long time to make? Or has some crazy involved technique that you have no idea how to do? Well, after forcing myself to tackle things like this Homemade Matcha Pasta and this Whisky Gravlax, I’m very happy to report that this is rarely (if ever) the case. I’m always amazed at how easy something ends up being after I’ve been so afraid to tackle it for so long!

So if there’s one lesson I want you to walk away with by reading this post (besides how to make an insanely delicious Asian Paella,) it’s that the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the kitchen are hardly ever so at all, so get in there and give a new dish or technique a shot. You’ll not only broaden your “foodie” horizons, but you’ll also both impress anyone you’re cooking for and help them feel more empowered to get in the kitchen on their own and make something out of the norm.

Up-close photo of the most delicious Asian Paella you've ever tasted!

Okay, enough preaching! Let’s talk about this Asian Paella. I first came up with this idea after the hubs and I had a date night at a fairly new Spanish restaurant here in Santa Barbara called Loquita. They have a huge selection of authentic tapas and main courses, and everything is served family-style so you pretty much have no choice but to share. Did I mention they also make amazing cocktails?

When the hubs and I went there, we decided to keep it fairly simple with just a couple of tapas and one order of paella, which really is enough to serve at least four people (but whoever complained about a few leftovers?) As I started tasting all of the different flavors in the dish – chorizo, chicken, fresh mushrooms and veggies – I realized that I could easily swap in some of my favorite Asian ingredients to give this classic dish a new twist.

I used the popular Chinese sausage lap cheong in lieu of the chorizo, and decided to go with easy-to-cook shrimp instead of the chicken. I also made sure to grab shiitake mushrooms and fresh snow peas along with the usual tomatoes and bell peppers.

All of the ingredients for delicious Asian Paella thrown into one big paella pan over the grill.

Because I was already using so many strong Asian flavors (namely the lap cheong and the shiitake mushrooms) I decided to keep the seasonings of the paella traditional, using smoked paprika and saffron. Be sure to use SMOKED paprika (which you can easily find at any grocery store, including Trader Joe’s) as it will help impart the delicious smoky flavor that will make your paella taste like you’ve been cooking it over open coals all day, rather than the gas grill I recommend using here. Also, if you’re hesitant to make the minor investment in very-expensive saffron, don’t be! As you can see from this recipe, a little bit really goes a long way so it will last you a while.

As far as the cooking process, I used my trusty Gourmet Today cookbook as my guide and followed their suggested technique of cooking the paella in an oven-proof paella pan (or wok, in my case) over a gas grill. Aside from the appliance that you cook the dishes on, from there the process is much like that of making risotto, if you’ve ever ventured into that territory.

You cook the proteins first (here, that means the shrimp and the lap cheong) and then add most of the vegetables. After those ingredients have gotten a good head start on cooking, you add the rice and then the chicken broth, stirring occasionally until the rice has soaked up nearly all of the broth and other delicious seasonings.

The protein, vegetables and broth for Asian Paella set to simmering before adding in the rice.

Asian Paella simmers over the grill, waiting for all of the delicious broth to be absorbed by the rice.

One other quick note RE: the rice. I did not use the traditional Bomba rice that most paella recipes call for, simply because I was too lazy to track some down and already had some sushi rice on hand, which still worked wonderfully! The only thing I did notice was that it got mushier the longer the paella sat, because it continued to soak up any sort of liquid that was left in the pan. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re serving your Asian Paella hot off the grill (which is THE best way, I might add) but perhaps stop the cooking process a little bit earlier (before all of the liquid is completely absorbed) if you’re planning on reheating the dish to serve later.

The recipe technique I followed in Gourmet said the entire cooking process would take about two hours, and they were spot on. If you ask me, that’s not too intimidating and means that this recipe is still totally doable for any night of the week when you need to serve a crowd.

Asian Paella for humpday dinner, anyone?

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!
Print
Asian Paella
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time
2 hr
 

The classic Spanish dish gets an oriental flair with the use of lap cheong, shiitake mushrooms, fresh snow peas and so much more!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning shrimp plus 1 teaspoon salt for paella
  • 1/2 pound lap cheong, sliced
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, cut in half diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 3 cups sushi rice
Instructions
  1. In a large, oven-proof paella pan or wok, heat the olive oil over a gas grill set to medium-high heat. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shrimp and juice of ½ a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to heated paella pan and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque. Add the lap cheong and continue to cook until shrimp looks mostly cooked through.

  3. Move shrimp and lap cheong to the edge of the pan and add mushrooms, snap peas and bell peppers to the center. Cook these vegetables, stirring every so often, for about 4 minutes.

  4. Add tomatoes, garlic and one teaspoon salt to mixture in center of pan and stir until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and cook, without stirring, for one minute before stirring the proteins on the edges of the pan back into the mixture. Stir in stock and saffron.

  5. Turn grill heat to high, cover the grill with a lid, and bring the mixture to a boil. This may take up to 20 minutes depending on your grill. Once mixture is boiling, turn heat back to medium-high and sprinkle rice evenly into the pan. Stir until all rice grains are submerged.

  6. Cook for 10 minutes, stir, and then stir. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring at 5-minute intervals, until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente.

  7. Using potholders, carefully remove pan from the grill and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

(Affiliate) links for special ingredients:

Asian Paella | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars

Say hello to your favorite new work, school, travel and just plain everyday healthy snack!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars have been a total game-changer for me and I’m preeeeetty sure they will be the same for you. Anything that is filled with protein and whole grains yet tastes like dessert is a winner in my book, plus they’re so easy to grab and go you really can enjoy them anywhere you are, at any time of day.


Remember when I made these Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers and went on and on about how I’ve always aspired to make all of my foods from scratch rather than buying the pre-made, preservative-laden stuff at the store? These Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars also fall under that “totally-easy-stuff-I-can-make-at-home” category.

Really, they’re made with ingredients that you should already have on hand in your pantry (maybe save for the sunflower seed butter, but you can find that at any Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s) and require NO baking. That’s right, just a little bit of time in the freezer to set up and you’ll be stocked with healthy, filling Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars for days to come!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

I think it’s also very important to mention that these bars are both gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats) AND nut-free, which means just about anyone can enjoy them. (Sorry if you’re allergic to chocolate, but you could always just leave out the chocolate chips!) And let me tell you, that sunflower seed butter is legit and will not make you miss peanut butter or any other sort of nut butter at all. Promise.

So I bet by now you’re wondering, what all goes into these uber-delicious Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars? Let me tell you – just seven ingredients! Seriously, guys, I don’t think I could have made this any easier for you.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We’re talking rolled oats, dates, honey, coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, chocolate chips and vanilla extract. That’s it! So many nutrient-packed ingredients all packed into one little bar. That’s my kind of snack/breakfast/late-night nosh.

We take all of the ingredients (save for the chocolate chips) and throw them into a food processor, where we pulse until a crumbly dough-like texture forms.

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

We then transfer the mixture to a large bowl to work in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon (or even better, our hands.)

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

The next step is to line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture in nice and tight. A one-hour turn in the freezer and your Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars are ready to be cut and consumed!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

One important recipe note: Since I tried to use as whole ingredients as possible in these bars, they do turn a bit crumbly after they’ve been out of the freezer for a while. I’ve found that the best technique is to slice the bars after the initial freeze, then wrap them individually and keep them back in the freezer for storage. I may be the only weirdo that does this, but I actually really like munching on the bars straight out of the freezer. However, if you are packing them to-go for work or as a travel snack, just be prepared that they may get a little crumbly as they come to room temperature. Don’t worry, they still taste fantastic!

Basically, you should go whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars ASAP so you have them on hand to get you through the rest of the week. There’s nothing like a couple of good ol’ bites of healthiness to give you the power to get through the day!

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chocolate Chip Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars
Prep Time
1 hrs 10 mins
 

These nutrient-packed protein bars are full of filling oats, sunflower seed butter and a touch of chocolate. Plus they're gluten- and nut-free!

Course: Snack
Servings: 12 bars
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine rolled oats, pitted dates, sunflower seed butter, honey, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly dough forms.

  2. Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix in the chocolate chips. 

  3. Line an 8x8-inch glass or metal baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a little extra hanging off the sides to make it easy to pull the bars out once they are set. 

  4. Transfer dough to the prepared baking dish and press it in tightly with your fingers. Place in freezer for at least one hour.

  5. Remove from freezer and, using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into 12 pieces. 

  6. For best results, wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Chocolate Chip-Sunflower Seed Butter Protein Bars | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream

I just had to jump on the sweet potato toast bandwagon.

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

According to various online articles and news sources, sweet potato toast is the new up-and-coming “Instagram phenomenon.” I have to admit, though, that I had not actually seen this new trend showing up on my Insta news feed. You’d think that as a food blogger who follows mostly food-based Instagram accounts I’d have been more clued in, but I guess I’m just not following the right people!


Anywho, after some further research on this supposed sweet potato toast trend, I must say I was intrigued, and I’m pretty darn excited to share this Sweet Potato Toast with Roasted Broccol Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream recipe with you today. (I hope you’re not tired of cashew cream yet…Can you tell it’s my new favorite thing?)

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

But before I get into that, how was everyone’s weekend? What did you do? Where did you go? What did you EAT? Our trip to Napa was amazing (as always) and filled with lots of delicious wine and food (as always.) Head on over to Instagram to see more photos from our adventures. And now the final countdown is on!

Which brings me to some big news I’ve been wanting to share with you. You see, the final countdown is not just on for Chris and my Big Day, but I also have exactly FIVE. DAYS. LEFT at my 9-to-5, Monday through Friday job I’ve been holding down for the last three years.  That’s right! I’m taking the leap and following my dream of being able to start my own business and work for myself. This blog is a HUGE part of that, and I couldn’t have done it with all of my family and friends’ (both virtual and IRL) support . So thank you!

It’s a scary thing leaving a cushy, 40 hour a week job to strike out on your own, but I am a firm believer in the fact that one can never realize a dream unless they put themselves out there and give it a shot. I’m at a great point in my life to take this risk and make it a reality, so that’s what I’m going to do! This means I’ll have so much more time to devote to creating great content for you guys, and giving you stuff you want to hear. So please, get in touch! Tell me what you want to see more or less of, how I can improve, what you love, etc. It would mean so much!

Okay, so let’s get back to this Sweet Potato Toast with Roasted Broccoli Rabe and Cashew Cream. It turns out that this sweet potato toast thing is actually pretty darn easy, you just need a teeeeny bit of patience and a reliable toaster (and blender for the cashew cream of course.)

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty darn impatient once I smell something cooking in the toaster, so we’re going to be prepared for that and prep all of our toppings in advance. The Cashew Cream (as you already know from this Spicy Stuffed Pasilla Pepper recipe) takes a little bit of prep time, but you can make it up to a few days in advance and keep it in your refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Basically, you should be keeping a container of Cashew Cream in your refrigerator at all times to use in anything and everything because it is absolutely delicious and makes your tummy feel all happy and healthy whenever you eat it.

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

We’ll also need to roast our broccoli rabe before we make our toast. A quick toss in coconut oil, salt and pepper, into the oven, and out in about 20 minutes.

Now we’re ready to rock’n’roll!

Despite what you may think, we are not making toast out of bread and spreading sweet potato all over it (that’s definitely what I thought at first!) No, we are actually going to slice the sweet potatoes nice and thin and put the potato slices themselves in the toaster. Who would have thought?

Because sweet potatoes are a bit harder to “toast” than a piece of bread, you’re going to have to turn the toaster as high as it will go and you may need to run the sweet potato slice through two to three times at this high setting. Just keep an eye on it the first time you make it as all toasters are different. My cheap-o toaster from Target took three cycles at the highest level before the sweet potato slices were nicely browned.

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Once the sweet potato is toasted, this dish comes together in a snap. We first take a dollop of Cashew Cream and smooth it over the top of the potato, top that with the roasted broccoli rabe and then add some fresh sliced tomatoes as a final touch. If you’re feeling really ambitious, drizzle some balsamic glaze over top….bomb! And that’s it!

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

This dish is an incredibly tasty, healthy alternative if you’ve gotten a little tired of avocado toast (although can we ever tire of avocado toast?) or simply want to squeeze more veggies into your breakfast, lunch or snack (because I’m pretty sure this dish can qualify for all three of those.) It also just so happens to be vegan AND gluten-free, so there are no excuses for any of you to pass up Sweet Potato Toast with Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream!

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Finally, if you like what you’ve been seeing here on CaliGirl Cooking and would like to help support me in my new entrepreneurial adventure, it would mean the world to me if you could give me a shout-out for the 2016 Saveur Blog Awards. Nominations are only open until end of day TODAY, so please hop on over! Feel free to nominate me in the Best New Voice, Best Food Instagram or Best Drinks Coverage categories. It takes less than 5 minutes and you can vote as many times as you want. Thank you, lovely bloggy friends, for all of your support. This dream could never come true without you! XO

Sweet Potato Toast with Broccoli Rabe, Tomato and Cashew Cream

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Two slices of sweet potato toast with toppings

This sweet potato toast is the perfect breakfast, lunch or snack. It's vegan, gluten-free and topped with velvety cashew cream, roasted broccoli rabe and fresh tomato.

Ingredients

    For the cashew cream:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
    For the roasted broccoli rabe:
  • 8 ounces broccoli rabe, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
    For the rest of the sweet potato toast:
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 4 slices each (slices should be about ¼ inch thick)
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Balsamic glaze for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the cashew cream in advance. Soak the cashews in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain cashews and transfer to a blender. Add nutritional yeast and salt. Begin running blender and slowly stream in water until cream has reached the desired consistency. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if not using right away.
  2. Next, make the broccoli rabe. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the broccoli rabe in the coconut oil, salt and pepper. Lay broccoli rabe out on jelly roll pan and roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Turn your toaster to the highest heat setting and toast the sweet potato slices. You may need to run the slices through a few times, until the center of the sweet potato slices are soft and the edges are golden and crispy.
  4. Remove slices from toaster and spread cashew cream over top. Top with roasted broccolini and then tomato slices. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, if desired. Eat immediately.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
https://www.caligirlcooking.com/sweet-potato-toast-with-broccoli-rabe-tomato-and-cashew-cream/

 

Sweet Potato Toast with Tomato, Broccoli Rabe and Cashew Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Open wide!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thought and opinions are my own.