Thoughts and Ideas

My Top 10 Most Used / Staple Ingredients for Asian Cooking

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:

  1. Fresh Ginger
  2. Fresh Garlic
  3. Shallot
  4. Dark Soy Sauce
  5. Light Soy Sauce
  6. Shiao Shing Cooking wine
  7. Oyster Sauce
  8. Hoisin Sauce
  9. Black Bean Paste
  10.  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!


Introducing a new or unfamiliar ingredient

daikon pic for web

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!

Local Community Share Garden

We spoke recently with the people at this great local community share garden. Our family (including the kids) will be volunteering here this season. This year they are expanding to 4000 sq ft. Part of the garden is plots that locals can rent to grow their garden. The rest is the volunteer gardens, where they cultivate the crops and donate the produce to those in need. I will document some of our time there and look forward to making a difference in our community! Please check out their website and support this great organization!

Spring Has Sprung – what’s in Season?

Here is a recent post and link from my Facebook:

With a new season, there will be new fruits and vegetables in season. Below is a great website that highlights which produce is best to buy in the springtime. Of course it will vary a bit depending on your climate, but this is a good overall resource. Another great thing is that this produce is usually less expensive at the grocer and at your local Farmer’s Markets! Please let me know if you need any recipe ideas.