Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow Cooker--Asian Style


Well, it's the same old story. As a mother of young children with a husband who is frequently gone for church callings and night school (etc.), I am always in search of quick and easy meals.

My mother and sister and I were talking about how handy slow cookers are--but that they have a drawback. Many slow cooker meals taste the same! How many times have you seen a slow cooker recipe that calls for chicken and some type of creamy soup? It seems to be the basis for many slow cooker meals. Don't get me wrong, chicken and creamy soup in a slow cooker is a winning combination. There's a reason that there are so many recipes that utilize this combination--it tastes great! It is yummy comfort food. But you can't have that same type of meal all the time...it gets old fast.

That's why I'm always on the lookout for unique slow cooker dinners. Slow cookers are fantastic for making soup (but, for me at least, it isn't soup season and I won't be in the mood for soup again until at least September). Slow cookers are also great for making tender shredded meat (for pulled sandwiches or Mexican dinners such as taco salads). Many slow cooker meals are paired with some type of carbohydrate (such as rice or pasta). As a result, slow cookers work quite well with Asian cuisine.

So, today, I'm sharing three Asian inspired recipes that are lovely when served over rice. I hope they come in handy for you!

Soy Ginger Chicken

Serves 4


1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches long), peeled and cut into thin strips
5 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (1 cup packed)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
4 chicken drumsticks and thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total), skin removed
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Cooked white rice, for serving


In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, stir together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, cilantro, ginger, 1/2 cup scallions, vinegar, coriander, and pepper. Add chicken and carrots, toss to coat.

Cover, and cook on low until chicken is tender, about 6 hours. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from surface of cooking liquid.

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Ladle 1 cup cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture. Serve chicken with white rice, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and remaining 1/2 cup scallions.

Source: Martha Stewart.

Notes: I used more carrots (because I wanted to increase the veggies and make the meal go a little farther). Also, while the drumsticks were pretty and added variety to the appearance of the meal, I don't really love drumsticks and I will probably skip them and increase the chicken thighs. Finally, rather than thickening the cornstarch mixture in a separate saucepan, I simply added it to the slow cooker about an hour prior to serving.

Above: Thai-Style Pork Stew as it was meant to be served. Honestly, it tastes good without the toppings...but with the toppings, it looks and tastes fantastic. The peanuts, splash of lime, and green onions add so much (both aesthetically and flavor-wise). You want your food to look as good as it tastes. In the first picture, Thai-Style Pork Stew looks pretty boring...but in the next picture, it looks really yummy. The crunch added by the peanuts was to-die-for.

Thai-Style Pork Stew

Peanut butter melds with classic Asian flavors to lend this one-dish meal a Thai flair. Lime makes a perfect accent.

8 servings (1/3 cup stew, 3/4 cup white rice, 1 tablespoon green onions, 1/2 tsp peanuts, and 1 lime wedge)



2 pounds boned pork loin, cut into 4 pieces
2 cups julienne-cut red bell pepper
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Remaining ingredients:

6 cups hot cooked basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
8 lime wedges


To prepare stew, trim fat from pork. Place pork and next 5 ingredients (pork through garlic) in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid, and cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours. remove pork from slow cooker, and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in slow cooker; stir well. Stir in pork.

Combine stew and rice in a large bowl. Top each serving with onions and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition information: 412 calories, 13.6 g fat, 28.9 g protein, 42.3 g carbohydrate, 2.1 g fiber, 64 mg cholesterol, 2.9 mg iron, 425 mg sodium, 37 mg calcium.

Source: Cooking Light, September 1999

Notes: I also have a cookbook that has this recipe in it. It lists the serving size differently, but the nutrition information is the same. Here's how they listed the serving size: 1/3 cup stew, 3/4 cup rice, about 1/2 teaspoon peanuts, and 1 lime wedge. Also, if you don't have teriyaki sauce on hand, you can use soy sauce and sweeten it with a little sugar, to your taste.

Slow Cooker Char Siu Pork Roast

In this recipe for Char Siu, the Chinese version of barbecue, the pork is cooked in a slow cooker for an extra tender, juice, and stress-free meal. Serve with sticky or long-grain rice and a steamed or stir-fried medly of bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, sliced baby corn, and water chestnuts.

8 servings (3 ounces pork and 1/4 cup sauce)


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth


Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with two forks; serve with sauce.

Nutrition information: 227 calories, 9.5 g fat, 21.6 g protein, 12.7 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g fiber, 73 mg cholesterol, 1.7 mg iron, 561 mg sodium, 30 mg calcium.

Source: Cooking Light, March 2006

Notes: I didn't remove the pork. I simply shredded it in the slow cooker and added the broth at that time. Also, don't use more five-spice powder than the recipe calls for. It is potent stuff!


  1. I'm going to try a couple of these. I really need easy recipes that can feed a lot of people fast. Thanks!

  2. I added another picture for the Thai-Style Pork Stew. I also added a total of 4 red bell peppers this time so that it would have more veggies and more color. It tastes fantastic.