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Inventive Asian: Buddakan’s tuna tea eggs

In this special weekly feature, TODAY Food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.THIS WEEK: Tuna tea eggs from Lon Symensma of New York City's Buddakan restaurant.Our recipe this week was stolen (with permission, of course!) from chef Lon S
/ Source: TODAY

In this special weekly feature, TODAY Food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.



THIS WEEK: Tuna tea eggs from Lon Symensma of New York City's Buddakan restaurant.



Our recipe this week was stolen (with permission, of course!) from chef Lon Symensma, of Buddakan Restaurant in New York. Buddakan is one of the hippest spots in the city and probably the biggest — at 16,000 square feet, the awe-inspiring space features huge chandeliers in the vast sunken-ballroom dining room, various other dining rooms, a 30-seat banquet table and a library!



The method in the recipe of cooking the eggs in tea creates a wonderful pattern on the white of the egg, making each one a jewel for your eyes and your taste buds! The recipe calls for a few less common ingredients, so we thought we’d explain …

  • Toasted rice pearls that are called for in the recipe as a garnish are available from an Asian market and come ready-to-use.
  • Star anise is a spice that is often used in Asian and Indian cuisine. The star-shaped fruit is very pretty and tastes like anise, only with more-intense flavor. (The two, however, are unrelated.)  Star anise is used as an ingredient in liqueurs such as Galliano, Pastis and Sambuca. The whole star can be added to a dish, or it can be cut into pieces or ground — a little goes a long way and it can be stored for up to a year if it is kept whole in an airtight container.
  • Sriracha is a hot sauce from Thailand made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic and salt and is available in markets that have an Asian section.
  • Sambal is another spicy sauce made from chili and other types of peppers — it is used as a condiment in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka — and sometimes is a side dish. There are many variations of Sambal. It is available in the gourmet or Asian section of your supermarket.

left/msnbc/Components/Photo_StoryLevel/080317/080317-lon-symensma-bcol-1015a.jpg1731100000left#000000http://msnbcmedia.msn.com1PfalsefalseAbout the chef: Lon Symensma grew up in a small town in Iowa and his first encounter with the restaurant industry was the C.J. Diner. This was followed by a stint at the local country club and from there chef Symensma moved to Indiana, where he worked under the executive chef for the entire University of Notre Dame. This was the catalyst for the then-19-year old's participation in the Culinary Olympics in Berlin, where chef Symensma and the U.S. team received the silver medal.



After learning the basic cooking and organization skills necessary to feed an entire student body, Symensma moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. There, he graduated with high honors in 1999 and won the intensive Cucine e Cultura tour hosted by the Italian Trade Commission.



Chef Symensma has traveled the world gaining experience in European and Asian cuisine styles. He spent a year dedicated to working at two Michelin-starred restaurants in the South of France and working in various kitchens in Italy and Spain, including San Sebastian’s famed Restaurant Arzak. His exploration of world cuisine also took him to Asia, where he backpacked though China and Southeast Asia under the guidance of chefs Gray Kunz and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. During this trip, he had extensive training in Chinese cuisine at the Royal Garden Hotel in Hong Kong and the five-star Datai resort in Malaysia.



In 2002, chef Symensma began working for esteemed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, first at his eponymous restaurant and then opening his modern Southeast Asian restaurant Spice Market. Symensma’s interest in Asian cuisine continued with the opening of the critically acclaimed Yumcha. In 2005, Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr offered the young chef a position managing the kitchens of a number of his restaurants along the East Coast, including the Buddakan flagship restaurant in New York City.

When not in the kitchen, chef Symensma enjoys exercising, riding his motorcycle and of course, cooking his favorite cuisine, Vietnamese. He dreams of opening a three-star Southeast Asian restaurant.

Tuna tea eggs are served at Buddakan for $15. This recipe makes 6 restaurant servings.

Buddakan

75 9th Avenue

New York, NY 10011

212 989 6699

www.buddakannyc.com

Tuna tea eggs

Lon Symensma of Buddakan, NYC

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Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a “Steal This Recipe” feature? Just e-mail Phil at phil@supermarketguru.comwith the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.