Introducing New Ingredients
As I’m sure you know by now, my culinary emphasis is on Asian cuisine. I like to cook healthfully and utilize the freshest ingredients (when possible). More and more I am seeing dietary restricted people. Whether it be allergies, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, diabetic or something else. As a chef, I take these restrictions very seriously and have spent a lot of time this year making sure I can prepare a dish, no matter what the case may be. If you follow my Youtube, I have made a great effort to share with you a variety of dishes to meet your needs. Here is an example of a gluten-free preparation (you can find on my Youtube). These turned out to be delicious. I will continue to expand my repertoire of these kinds of foods for those who want and/or need it.
Here is a link to some detailed information on the mighty GINGER ingredient….which I use daily! It has amazing health benefits too. Check out my Youtube channel for recipes that include ginger.
Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, 壽司?) is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice sushi-meshi (鮨飯, “sushi rice”) combined with other ingredients (neta [寿司ネタ]), usually raw fish or other seafood. Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is vinegared rice. The rice is also referred to as (shari [しゃり]) and “sumeshi” (酢飯, “vinegared rice”).
Raw meat (usually but not necessarily seafood) sliced and served by itself is sashimi. Many non-Japanese use the terms sashimi and sushi interchangeably, but the two dishes are actually distinct and separate. Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice.
I have several videos on Youtube if you would like to see how to make it – it’s easier than you think!
Definition: Tofu is made from soybeans, water and a coagulant, or curdling agent. It is high in protein and calcium and well known for its ability to absorb new flavors through spices and marinades. Due to its chameleon-like qualities and nutritional value, tofu, a staple of Asian cuisines for hundreds of years, has recently become popular in Western vegetarian cooking. So popular, in fact, that it is celebrated with its own annual festival and has almost become synonymous with vegetarianism itself. Look for tofu in the produce section of your regular grocery store.
Types of tofu: There are two main kinds of tofu, silken or soft tofu, and firm or regular tofu. When cooking with firm tofu, you will usually want to drain and press the tofu first, and some recipes will tell you to freeze and thaw your tofu.
Please check out this new recipe I posted on Youtube using tofu.
How To Make Stir Fry Beef With Home Garden String Beans:
I have many other recipes on my Youtube using tofu. I hope you enjoy.
Did you know that there are over 30 kinds of Chinese Cabbage? Obviously it is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Just thought I’d share some information about this that you might not be familiar with. It is terrific in soups, salads, and stir frys (and more!) Give it a try!
Chinese cabbage - As many as 33 varieties of Chinese cabbage have been identified in Asia, and the most common varieties in the West are celery cabbage or pe-tsai, pak-choi or “bok choy”, and “choy sum”.
- Celery cabbage or “pe-tsai” is native to China , where it has been consumed for thousands of years. Also known as Chinese celery cabbage or Napa Cabbage, it is eaten on a daily basis in northern China . Celery cabbage resembles a Romaine lettuce. The leaves are crisp and delicate with a faint cabbage taste. Use the crinkly inner leaves for salads and the outer leaves for stir-fry. Also called Chinese cabbage.
- Pak-choi or bok choy also known as “Chinese white cabbage”, Chinese chard, or Chinese mustard, it is a leafy vegetable similar to Swiss chard and celery. The leaves are dark green and its whitish ribs are crisp and thus frequently is used to give stir-fry dishes a crunchy texture. There are many varieties of pak-choi, some of which are short-ribbed while others have long ribs. A popular variety is baby pak choy or ” siu pak choi “, a smaller version of pak choi. Pak-choi is available year-round in most supermarkets. Select bunches with firm, white stalks topped with crisp, green leaves and refrigerate in an airtight container for no more than three to four days.
Another variety is called tsai shim,” choy sum ” , ” bok choy sum ” or ” Chinese flowering cabbage “. The light green leaves, pale green stems and clusters of tiny yellow flowers on the tips of the inner shoots are edible.
I was looking on-line to see what some of the most requested Chinese recipes are. This one was in the top 10, and one of my (and the kids) favorites too!
These dumplings are one of the “lucky” foods served during Chinese New Year – the crescent-shaped dumplings with pleated edges are thought to resemble ancient Chinese money. In northern China, families have jiaozi-making parties on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Definately a simple and tasty dish to make!
While there are many variants, a common mix is:
- Star anise (bajiao, 八角)
- Cloves (dingxiang, 丁香)
- Chinese Cinnamon (rougui, 肉桂)
- Sichuan pepper (huajiao, 花椒)
- Fennel seeds (xiaohuixiang , 小茴香)
Other recipes may contain anise seed or ginger root, nutmeg, turmeric, Amomum villosum pods (砂仁), Amomum cardamomum pods (白豆蔻), licorice, black pepper, Mandarin orange peel，or galangal. In the South China, Cinnamomum loureiroi and Mandarin orange peel is commonly used as a substitute for Cinnamomum cassia and cloves, respectively, producing a different flavour for southern versions five-spice powders.
Five spice may be used with fatty meats such as pork and duck. It is used as a spice rub for chicken, duck, pork and seafood, or added to the breading for fried foods. Five spice is used in recipes for Cantonese roasted duck, as well as beef stew. It is used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken. The five-spice powder mixture has followed the Chinese diaspora and has been incorporated into other national cuisines throughout Asia.
Although this mixture is used in restaurant cooking, many Chinese households do not use it in day-to-day cooking. In Hawaii, some restaurants place a shaker of the spice on each patron’s table. A seasoned salt can be easily made by dry-roasting common salt with five-spice powder under low heat in a dry pan until the spice and salt are well mixed.
Give this a try – you will find it in many of my dishes. Enjoy!
Lemongrass is a stalky plant with a lemony scent that grows in many tropical climates, most notably in Southeast-Asia. A common ingredient in Thai cooking, lemongrass provides a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to many Thai dishes. Lemon juice (or lime) may be substituted for lemongrass in a pinch, but citrus fruits will not be able to fully replicate its particular qualities.
Lemongrass is also thought to have numerous health benefits , especially when used in combination with other Thai spices such as garlic, fresh chillies, and coriander. In fact, scientists are now studying Thailand’s favorite soup: Tom Yum Kung, which contains all of these herbs and spices, with lemongrass as the key player. Tom Yum is thought to be capable of combatting colds, flus, and even some cancers. Check out my recipe for this soup at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a42trbq0N5I
Shopping Tips: When purchasing lemongrass, look for firm stalks (not soft or rubbery, which means it’s too old). Lower stalk should be pale yellow (almost white) in color, while upper stalks are green (do not purchase if outer leaves are crusty or brown). Usually fresh lemongrass is sold in groupings of 3-4 stalks, secured with an elastic band. Stalks are approximately 1 foot long (or more). Look for fresh lemongrass at your local grocery store or Asian market. If you can’t find it with the fresh produce, check the freezer section – lemongrass stalks are also sold in frozen packets.
Note: you can also buy prepared, ready-to-use lemongrass: look for it in tubs in the freezer section of your local Asian/Chinese grocery store.
Many people ask me, “What are the best ingredients to keep in my pantry and refrigerator for Asian cooking?” I have narrowed the list down to a simple 10, but please know that there are SO many more terrific ingredients out there to utilize in your cooking! Here they are….in no particular order:
- Fresh Ginger
- Fresh Garlic
- Dark Soy Sauce
- Light Soy Sauce
- Shiao Shing Cooking wine
- Oyster Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Black Bean Paste
- Sesame Oil
Most of these can be found at your local grocery store. If you cannot find an ingredient, locate an Asian market in your area – they are sure to have it!
One of my goals is to introduce you to some ingredients that you may not be familiar with. There are so many tasty “Asian” foods that are much more easily accessible at the local grocery store. Here is one I use frequently….the DAIKON.
Daikon, mooli, or white radish is a mild-flavored, very large, white East Asian Radish with a wide variety of culinary uses. Despite often being associated in Japan, it was originally cultivated in continental Asia.
Uses: In Japanese cuisine, many types of pickles are made with daikon, and is also frequently used grated and mixed into ponzu, a soy sauce and citrus juice condiment. Simmered dishes are also popular such as oden. Daikon radish sprouts are used for salads or garnishing sashimi and the leaves are frequently eaten as a green vegetable. Pickling and stir frying are also common, as well as in soups and to carve elaborate garnishes.
I use this ingredient quite a bit. You will see it in many of my Youtube videos. Try it!