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Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass

Thai Stir-Fried Asparagus with Lemongrass recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

The extreme swings of spring in Minnesota – from jogging in a T-shirt two days ago to now watching through my bedroom window as the heavy snow falls under the street light – remind me of home in Penang when suddenly this time of year, where there once was a sidewalk, transforms overnight into a carpet of fragrant, yellow flowers.

Because as quickly as the bright golden-yellow flowers explode on the giant Angsana trees around the island, they have already fallen, transforming paths and streets into yellow brick roads. But not all signs of spring in Penang – an island where time stands still under a year-round blazing sun – are as unmistakable and striking. A walk through the Botanic Gardens reveals the subtlety of a tropical spring with a hint of fresher, more fragrant air.  And a morning stroll through the market with the appearance of Penang durian at the fruit stalls, and tender asparagus I can’t resist bringing back to my kitchen.

penang botanic gardens

High in fiber, and rich in folacin – a vitamin necessary for blood cell formation and growth, and prevention of liver disease – asparagus are more than just a seasonal vegetable. These green shoots are incredibly healthy, and found in cuisines around the world because of their versatility to match with a wide variety of spices & herbs.

Sweet Orange & Pineapple Salad

Sweet Orange and Pineapple Salad with Asian Citrus Dressing by SeasonWithSpice.com

Flowers and fireworks and sunshine all rolled into a colorful salad.  I keep making these bright dishes to give spring a little push to get going.  And I think it’s working.  The snow has already melted, the birds are chirping louder every morning, and I even saw the first rainbow of the year on St. Patrick’s Day of all days.

ingredients for sweet orange salad

If you’re ready for spring as much as I am, it’s time your kitchen starts to reflect the colors of the season.  Try this easy Sweet Orange & Pineapple Salad.

Korean Tofu & Shiitake Mushroom Rice Bowl

Korean Tofu & Shiitake Mushroom Rice Bowl recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

If you are a vegetarian, or just someone like me who looks for ways to cut down on meat for a healthier diet, then grab a package of extra-firm tofu and some fresh shiitake mushrooms from the fridge, a jar of our Korean BBQ Blend from the spice rack, and let’s get cooking…

Korean BBQ Blend at SeasonWithSpice.com

Our Korean BBQ Blend may bring to mind meaty dishes, such as our recipe for Korean Beef Stir-Fry, but it also makes a great marinade for veggie dishes like in this recipe for Korean Tofu & Shiitake Mushroom Rice Bowl.

Honey Tangerine & Quinoa Salad with Asian Citrus Vinaigrette

Honey Tangerine & Quinoa Salad with Asian Citrus Vinaigrette by SeasonWithSpice.com

With spring around the corner, start adding more color to your diet with this Honey Tangerine & Quinoa Salad with an Asian Citrus Vinaigrette.

The salad is bright with citrus fruits, creamy with avocado, and crisp with sunflower shoots. It’s also packed with nutrients from quinoa, and dressed lightly in a refreshing Asian vinaigrette. 

Honey Tangerine & Quinoa Salad with Asian Citrus Dressing recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Quinoa is one of my ‘superfood’ staples. I love its fluffy texture, and delicate, nutty taste. It’s easy to prepare and makes a fantastic canvas for salad recipes like this one.

For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, it is actually a seed that’s high in protein and fiber, along with many other beneficial nutrients. It’s healthy and light, gluten-free, and versatile for making all sorts of dishes. I usually make a big batch, and store the leftovers in the fridge for a meal the next day, and freeze the rest for later.

New Japanese Seasonings

New Products: Sweet Japanese Seven Spice, Spicy Japanese Seven Spice and Japanese Chili Flakes (Ichimi togarashi) available at SeasonWithSpice.com

From ramen and udon, to shoyu and miso, Japanese food and flavors are on your mind. That’s what we’ve been hearing from you in-store and online. So we’ve been sharing more and more Japanese-inspired recipes like our recent Miso Soba Noodle Soup.

We feel the same way about Japanese cuisine. It’s fun! It’s fun to cook, and try out different ingredients, and eat all kinds of new dishes.

We want to make Japanese cooking at home a little more fun with a few more seasoning options for your kitchen. We already offer our handcrafted Japanese Sesame Seasoning, as well as Japanese Seven Spice (Shichimi Togarashi).  And now, we’ve created a new version of Japanese Seven Spice – a hotter blend to spice up your Japanese dishes…

Japanese Seven Spice (Shichimi Togarashi) Sweet & Spicy Versions available at SeasonWithSpice.com

Our new Spicy Japanese Seven Spice begins with the key ingredient of the blend – Japanese Chili Flakes (Ichimi Togarashi). The seedless chili flakes add not only a cayenne-like heat to the blend, but also a vibrant reddish-orange color. To balance out the heat a bit, we mix in Sichuan pepper. This unique spice also has a slight tangy flavor, which along with orange peel and ginger, gives the blend its refreshingly citrus notes. Next, we blend in wildcrafted nori flakes with its naturally occurring minerals, iodine, sodium, and other nutrients. And finally, for texture and a nutty crunch, we mix in toasted white & black sesame seeds.

Give an extra punch of flavor by sprinkling the blend on white/brown rice or fried rice, ramen noodles, or to make that bowl of hot udon noodle soup extra spicy.

In combination with our Spicy Japanese Seven Spice, or if you just prefer a less spicy version, you can also try our Sweet Japanese Seven Spice – a versatile blend using the milder Korean chili flakes, and with the addition of sea salt and brown sugar.  [A note for those of you who have purchased our Japanese Seven Spice before, we have renamed this blend 'Sweet Japanese Seven Spice]

Ichimi Togarashi (Japanese Chili Flakes) available at SeasonWithSpice.com

If you want your Japanese dishes even spicier, you can add in a little extra chili with our new Japanese Chili Flakes, otherwise known as Ichimi Togarashi, which means 'one flavor chili pepper'.   They have a fiery reddish-orange color and a refreshingly spicy kick to boot. These seedless chili flakes will brighten any dish you sprinkle them onto, from rice and noodle dishes, to stir-fries, salad dressings, soups, and grilled meats & veggies.

Of the 5 types of chili flakes we offer, Japanese Chili Flakes (Ichimi Togarashi) are the spiciest. Think cayenne hot.  Just enough to pleasantly burn the tongue without overpowering the dish.

Roasted black sesame seeds at SeasonWithSpice.com

For some extra crunch, and a rich, nutty flavor, you can also sprinkle on some of our new Roasted Black Sesame Seeds. They’re a must have for Japanese & Korean dishes.

 free jar of japanese seven spice

Chinese Gourmet BBQ Pork Jerky (Bak Kwa)

Chinese New Year is an overwhelming experience in Penang, Malaysia.

At night, fireworks shoot up from busy roads and explode over shophouses.  Hundreds of thousands of colorful lights brighten Kek Lok Si Temple on the hillside.  Lions & Dragons dance in the street, moving with the rumbling of drums and the deafening of firecrackers.

chinese new year in penang

During the day, the roads are clogged with cars and motor bikes.  Families moving from one house to another, visiting with loved ones while munching down pineapple tarts, love letters, almond cookies, peanuts, melon seeds, and endless other homemade and store-bought snacks.  Then washing it down with cans of shandy and Tiger beer.

Yee Sang (Chinese New Year Prosperity Salad)

Chinese New Year Yee Sang Salad recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

This Wednesday – the 7th Day of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration – it’s your birthday!   But before you start asking everyone for gifts, it just happens to be their birthday too.  According to Chinese legend, humans were created on the 7th Day of the New Year, so to this day, it is celebrated as Renri 人日, which means “Human Day”. 

To celebrate together, Chinese families & friends in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia will enjoy a festive colored salad dish called Yee Sang 鱼生.

Chinese New Year Yee Sang Salad recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Everyone will gather around the table, chopsticks in hand, and toss the Yee Sang ingredients up in the air, while saying Lo Hei (toss up), or any well wishes for the New Year.