Garlic Ginger Vinaigrette

Good salad dressings are quite simple to make.  One of the simplest to make is a vinaigrette, of which the basic components are vinegar and oil.

You can be very creative with this versatile dressing.  Use different flavors of balsamic vinegars, champagne vinegar, or for an oriental flair, try rice vinegar.  If you’d rather have a citrus base for your dressing, try lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice instead of vinegar.


Various oils can give your vinaigrette a whole new dimension.  Use classic olive oil, or try truffle, sesame, avocado, or spicy chile oil.

Now here’s where you can go wild with the depth favors you can create for your vinaigrette.  Add optional ingredients such as crushed garlic, honey, dried or fresh herbs, fruit purées, or grated cheese.


If you’d like a creamy vinaigrette, add Dijon mustard, mayo, or try a bit of mashed avocado.  The variations are virtually endless.  Use your creative imagination and go wild.  Who says salad dressings have to be boring?  An added bonus ~ by making it yourself, you know that you’re putting wholesome, natural, quality ingredients into your body.

The inspiration for this vinaigrette is from a favorite Japanese restaurant. To give it that oriental flavor, I use sesame oil, rice vinegar, aji mirin and honey for some sweetness, and for that flavor punch, I add lots of crushed garlic and grated ginger. I also added grated carrots for a bit of added sweetness, and salt and pepper to taste.

imageYou can find my complete recipe below.  Here’s how to make it.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, aji mirin, honey, garlic, ginger, carrots, salt and pepper.  You can add as much — or as little — garlic and ginger as you like.  If you like your dressings sweeter, by all means, add more honey.  That’s the beauty about this type of recipe.  It’s all up to you to add/decrease ingredients to suit your taste.


What you do need to remember is that basic vinaigrettes contain a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. I actually prefer less oil in my vinaigrettes so I use a 1:2 ratio instead.  My recipe uses a one-part mixture of rice vinegar and aji mirin with a two-part mixture of sesame and vegetable oil.

Sesame oil has a very intense flavor and can taste a tad bitter if you use too much of it. I don’t want the bold flavor of the sesame oil to overpower the other flavors in this vinaigrette so I use half sesame and half vegetable oil.

Once you mix your vinegar base together, slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar mixture, vigorously whisking as you pour in order to emulsify the oil into the dressing.


It’s the vigorous whisking that breaks down the fat molecules in the oil and allows the vinegar to mix with them, creating a smooth dressing that doesn’t separate. You’ve seen those dressings in the store before, the one where all the vinegar and spices have sunk to the bottom of the bottle and all the oil is floating on top.

TIP: To help with the emulsification, whisk in a spoonful of mustard or mayo.


That’s it!  You now have a delicious vinaigrette in minutes!  This recipe makes a little more than 1 1/2 cups of dressing.  Refrigerate any unused dressing

Pour over your favorite salad greens and ENJOY!



Garlic Ginger Vinaigrette
A vinaigrette packed full of the bold flavors of garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Delicious on salads, this dressing is also good as a marinade for your favorite cuts of meat.
Recipe type: Sauces & Marinades
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup aji mirin
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup grated carrots
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more or less, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, aji mirin, honey, garlic, ginger, carrots, salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar mixture, vigorously whisking as you pour in order to emulsify the oil into the dressing.


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Thai BBQ Pork

My Thai BBQ Pork is one recipe you’ll definitely want to try.  The secret is really in the marinade and basting sauce.  Cilantro, soy sauce, lots of garlic and fish sauce form the base for this yummy marinade.  Lime juice not only adds wonderful flavor to the meat, but the acid also serves to break down the meat, allowing the marinade to work its magic.


The basting sauce, a mixture of rich coconut milk and some of the reserved marinade mixture gives you an added layer of flavor.  The heat from the grill caramelizes the basting sauce as the meat cooks, creating beautifully browned and juicy pork with a slightly sweet and savory coating.


Now that I’ve got you drooling, here’s how to do it.

Place the cilantro (leaves AND stems) and garlic in a food processor along with the soy sauce.  You’ll need the liquid in there to help break down the cilantro.


Pulse or grind the mixture until your mixture looks like the photo below.  You want the cilantro chopped as finely as possible.


Place the cilantro mixture into a large bowl or pan.  Add the rest of the marinade ingredients to the bowl, stirring to combine it all.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the marinade mixture; place it into a small bowl along with coconut milk. This will be your basting sauce.


Place the pork into the marinade.  Use your favorite cut of pork, but make sure you use something that has some fat; lean pork will dry out too quickly for this dish.  I like using pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into strips or cubes (for shish kabobs).  Let the pork marinate for 2 or 3 hours, longer if desired.  Keep the mixture refrigerated if you don’t plan on grilling this right away.


To make shish kabobs, place several pieces of cubed pork onto a skewer.  I have metal skewers so there’s no soaking required.  If you use bamboo or wooden skewers, be sure to soak the skewers for several hours (overnight is good too) before grilling.


Skewer the meat AFTER it’s been marinated.


Place on a hot grill and baste immediately.

Grill the meat over relatively high heat.  I have a Traeger grill that has a temperature gauge built into it.  I grilled this at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, basting and turning every 15 minutes.


Turn the meat over occasionally, basting each time.



The coconut milk mixed with the reserved marinade caramelizes into a lip-smacking coating that will have you oooh-ing and ahhh-ing (trust me, it’s that yummy). 🙂


I know some people who absolutely won’t eat charred BBQ, but that little piece of charred goodness in the photo below was TO-DIE-FOR-delicious!!!


Mmmmmm…soooo good served with hot steamed white rice and fina’denne’.

The next time I make this, I’m going to make just a little bit more marinade, reserving some to use as a dipping sauce when the pork is done.


Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂


Thai BBQ Pork
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand)
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 pounds pork (preferably boneless pork shoulder), cut into strips or cubes
Make the Marinade:
  1. Place the cilantro, soy sauce and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. Pour the mixture into a large bowl or pan.
  2. Add the brown sugar, fish sauce, and lemon juice to the cilantro mixture. Stir to mix the ingredients together.
Make the Basting Sauce:
  1. Remove ¼ cup of the marinade mixture and place into a small bowl. Add the coconut milk; mix to combine and set aside.
Grill the Meat:
  1. Place the meat in the marinade mixture. Let the meat marinate for 2 to 3 hours (longer if you like, but refrigerate the mixture).
  2. Place the meat on the grill. Immediately baste with the reserved coconut basting sauce. Turn the meat occasionally, basting each time. Stop basting when the meat has started to caramelize and is a rich brown in color.
  3. Grill until the meat is done and nicely caramelized.
Serve and ENJOY!


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Lumpia Dipping Sauce

Lumpia is delicious all on its own, but occasionally I like serving them Vietnamese style — on a bed of rice noodles atop a lettuce leaf with a side of tangy dipping sauce.



Here’s my recipe for the dipping sauce.  Don’t let the fish sauce deter you — this is a must-try the next time you make lumpia.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Here’s the link to my Lumpia recipe if you’d like to try it as well. 🙂


Lumpia Dipping Sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients together. Serve with lumpia and ENJOY!


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BBQ Chicken Marinade

The classic Chamorro marinade is quite simple.  Start off with a base of soy sauce and vinegar — the ratio is up to you, but I like using a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar (e.g., 1 cup soy sauce mixed with 1 cup vinegar).

I also add a few other ingredients to my marinade to give it an additional depth of flavor.  What you add depends entirely on you, so you can be as creative as you can here.  Some of my favorite add-ins are garlic and onions (powdered or fresh), ginger, brown sugar (not too much because sugar burns easily), honey, and sometimes even a cup or two of coca cola (use your favorite soda).

Marinate your chicken for several hours or overnight before grilling to allow the marinade to really soak into the meat.  I like using zip lock bags to marinate any meat I plan on grilling.  Just flip the bag over every hour or so to ensure all the meat gets marinated evenly.

Grill the chicken as you normally do.  We have a smoker, so I start off by smoking the chicken  — skin side down — for 30 minutes, then I crank up the heat to 275 degrees and cook the chicken — skin side up now — for about an hour and a half or until it’s done and a nicely browned.

Make a smaller (fresh) batch of your marinade (do not reuse the marinade the chicken was soaking in) for glazing the chicken after it’s done.  Place the marinade in a small sauce pan and add some corn starch to it.  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sauce thickens slightly.  Brush the glaze over the cooked chicken to give it a beautiful (and tasty) sheen.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll love it.

My recipe below makes enough marinade for approximately 3 pounds of chicken.  It’s also good for marinating pork chops, ribs, and steaks.

BBQ Chicken Marinade
Classic Chamorro marinade that's sure to make your neighbors come out of their homes wondering what's grilling that smells so good!
Serves: 2 to 3 cups
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup vinegar
Optional Marinade Additions:
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (powder or minced)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (or ½ small onion, finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (ground or freshly grated)
  • 1 cup cola
  • ⅓ cup vinegar
  • ⅔ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Add any of the other optional ingredients used in your marinade
  1. Place all of the marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag. Seal the bag then shake it up to mix the ingredients together. Add the chicken to the bag then re-seal. Marinate the chicken for several hours before grilling.
  2. Place the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan. bring to a boil, whisking contantly. Cookmuntil the sauce thickens. Brush the glaze on the cooked chicken.


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Miso Donne’ Dinanche (Miso Pepper Sauce)

Donne’ Dinanche, or a hot pepper paste, has many variations.  It can be made with just peppers and no other seasoning, or you can add other ingredients such as onions, garlic, coconut milk, vegetables, crab paste and lemon juice.

One variation that is quite popular — tasty too — adds miso paste to the mixture.

The resulting sauce — it’s more like a thick paste — is a spicy, salty, savory mixture that goes perfectly with grilled meat (or any meat dish, really) and hot steamed white rice.

Give my easy recipe a try.  If you like spicy condiments, you’ll like this one. 🙂

These are some of the ingredients I used — a Japanese long purple eggplant (although any eggplant will do), yellow onions, fresh green beans, garlic (not pictured), lemon powder (not pictured) and ready-made Tinian donne’ dinanche.

You can make your own donne’ dinanche if you don’t have any of the pre-packaged kind.  Use a blender you’re willing to dedicate solely for grinding peppers; using the blender for after you use it to grind peppers will most likely add a spice to the other food.  I don’t know about you but spicy smoothies don’t taste all that good to me.  Blend about 3 cups of hot chili peppers, adding a few spoonfuls of some sort of liquid–coconut oil, lemon juice or water–if the blender is not grinding the peppers into a smooth consistency.

If you’d rather not use your blender to grind peppers, mince the fresh peppers as finely as you can.  You could also substitute the fresh pepper mixture with dried pepper flakes that you can buy in an Asian store.  Ask the store clerk for the dried pepper flakes commonly used to make kimchi.

Add the eggplant, onions, garlic, and coconut oil to a large frying pan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to prevent burning.

Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions and eggplant soften.  Press the mixture with the back of your cooking spoon to start to mash the mixture — you don’t want to mash it completely, but the final consistency should be a spreadable, paste-like mixture.

Add the beans to the pan.  Cook for a few minutes until the beans soften.

Add the miso to the pan.

Stir the mixture to combine all the ingredients together.  Cook for a few more minutes, pressing down with your cooking spoon to mash any large pieces.

Turn the heat off then mix in the donne’ dinanche (mashed hot peppers).  Be careful — ensure your cooking area is well-ventilated.  The fumes from cooking pepper are quite potent!

Taste the mixture.  Add lemon powder or freshly squeezed lemon juice if you want to cut back on the saltiness.

Serve with BBQ meat (or your favorite meat dish), hot steamed rice and ENJOY!

Miso Donne' Dinanche (Miso Pepper Sauce)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A spicy concoction with hot chili peppers, garlic, and the saltiness of miso paste ~ it's perfect with any meat dish.
Serves: 2½ cups
  • 1 large Japanese purple eggplant (or 2 medium)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups Japanese miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons donne' dinanche (mashed hot chili peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon powder, optional
  1. Dice the eggplant into small pieces; place in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and coconut oil to the pan. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent and the eggplant softens, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking to the pan and burning.
  2. Add the beans to the pan; stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes to soften the beans. Add an additional tablespoon of coconut oil if the mixture appears too dry and is sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the miso paste; stir to combine. Mash the mixture slightly with the back of your cooking spoon.
  4. Add the pepper paste to the pan then turn off the heat (ensure your cooking area is well-ventilated when you add the pepper).
  5. Add lemon powder, to taste (optional).
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