Before I came to medical school, I had never heard of, let alone eaten, brussels sprouts. Somehow, it was just too hipster and organic-sounding for college students and pre-adults like me. I was not a sophisticated eater before medical school. Well…I’m still not terribly sophisticated in my feeding habits, but I have taken a liking to fusion cuisine in the past couple of years. And somehow, the word fusion mysteriously brings on an image of a multi-ethnically cultured young lady, nibbling on food that combines elements from Western and Eastern worlds, while adorning hipster black-rimmed glasses and skinny jeans. The word just has a hip ring to it, don’t cha think?
In my last three years of Houston restaurant exploration, my favorite fusion cuisine restaurant is undoubtedly Uchi, a sought after sushi and seafood restaurant that serves all kinds of delicacies on intricate small platters, like cerviche, escolar with candied citrus, kimchee bowl with lemon creme fraiche. (are ya hungry yet?) Of course, my personal favorite side dish is their crispy brussels sprouts with lemon chili.
When I had it the first time, it was like popping in golden nuggets of joy. It was fried to a crisp perfection, coated with a tangy and slightly spicy sauce. The dish was quite the treat for my taste buds and remained forever imprinted on my memory drive. So I experimented with re-making a healthier version of the sprouts (not fried) in my kitchen, with all sorts of different sauces and spices, and finally, I hit the sweet spot. So here it is, a toast to culinary persistence and inventions!
What are your favorite fusion restaurants in Houston? Do share with us!
Uchi Brussels Sprouts
- 1 lb of raw brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half length-wise
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
With pan on medium-high heat, add oil and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place brussel sprouts flat side down on the pan. Cover the pan with a lid because the oil will splatter when hot. Sear the sprouts for 2 minutes then turn down the heat to medium low for another 2 minutes.
Now you can toss and turn the sprouts, and the bottoms should be golden-brown. Saute for another minute.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, brown sugar, thai chili sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce and simmer over medium heat for 1 minute.
Pour the sauce over the sprouts and turn off the heat. Toss to coat sprouts with sauce evenly. Enjoy as a side!