‘East Meets West’– Shiitake Walnut Pasta


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Chef Ming Tsai recently  turned up in Manila to be a head judge in a culinary competition among the country’s top 6 culinary schools. As a writer for FOODIE magazine, I had the chance to do a one-on-one interview with him (full interview on June issue of FOODIE mag). I was so in awe! My smile was like:

ming tsai

I was such an avid fan of his shows, ‘East Meets West’ and ‘Ming’s Conquest’. I covered his 3-day public appearance and boy, was that awesome!

Born out of my ‘Ming exposure’, my food today was inspired by the very concept of most of his dishes– FUSION. Yes, Eastern cuisine blended in with Western ingredients. Something out of the ordinary, eh?

Ming told me (naaks!),  that we have to be adventurous with our palate, he says we can never be ‘high’ in terms of culinary taste and standard if we don’t jump over the bridge. He was referring to Filipinos who are too conservative in their palate depriving themselves of concepts like food fusion and other tastes very unfamiliar to them.

Anyway, today I made my version of ‘East Meets West’. I called it Shiitake Walnut Pasta. Shiitake is a kind of mushroom that is edible. Off white to dark brown in color, these mushrooms are quite common in East Asia and eaten in a lot of Asian countries. Can be used in cooking  as either fresh or dried. It’s a common ingredient in most Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai dishes.

Today, Shiitake of the East met Pasta of the West. It’s the my box-office hit for the day.

And now my lunch:

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 Shiitake Walnut Pasta

1/2 kilo whole wheat spaghetti noodles

10 pcs fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sesame oil

2 tsps dried rosemary

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

What to do:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a separate pan, saute garlic. Add shiitake mushrooms and hoisin sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add dried rosemary and walnuts.

3. Mix pasta and sauce. Top with cheese. Serve while hot.

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