Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Solving problems with ginger

Avoiding problems with using ginger and gelatin
Heat ginger before adding it to a gelatin mixture. Ginger contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting properly. Heat destroys the enzyme. The microwave oven makes this a quick fix: Heat the ginger on medium power until heated through, 20 seconds.

Chopping candied ginger without sticking
Chop in a mini food processor with a bit of granulated sugar (if the recipe you're making includes sugar, use some of the sugar to chop the ginger, then add the sugar to the recipe). Or, if chopping small amounts with a knife, spray the knife blade with cooking spray or dip the blade into flour. You can also use scissors. Or, for convenience, you may want to keep prechopped crystallized ginger on hand in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature.

To quickly peel ginger
Scrape the skin with the side of a teaspoon, following the curves and bumps of the root. You can also use a vegetable peeler, but it tends to take a bit of flesh with it. The flesh just beneath the skin layer is often the most flavorful.

To avoid peeling ginger
If you are slicing ginger to flavor a marinade or tea, or if it will be grated, there is no need to peel it.

To quickly chop or mince ginger
For large amounts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place in a mini food processor and mince in 2- to 3- seconds pulses to desired fineness. For small amounts, cut into small chunks and place in a good-quality garlic press. Press over a small bowl or directly into the food. This will yield mostly ginger juice, so scrape off the garlic press to get the flesh as well.

To avoid chopping or mincing ginger
Use preminced or prechopped ginger, a widely available product. If you frequently use ginger and garlic together, look for ginger-garlic paste in Asian markets.

Grating ginger
Grating ginger is much easier and faster than mincing it. Simply peel away the skin from one of the knobs, hold the entire unpeeled root with your free hand, and grate the peeled section on a cheese grater or rasp. If you're frustrated by the tiny fibers of fresh ginger than can clog graters and rasps, look for a special ginger grater at an Asian market. Made from strips of bamboo or a solid porcelain plate, ginger graters have small teeth that crush the flesh of the ginger but leave the hairs attached to the stub of ungrated ginger.

** Asian Recipes **

14:14:30 on 05/25/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

More tips on using ginger

When storing ginger in liquid
Peel pieces or slices of ginger, place them in a glass jar, and fill with dry sherry or vodka. Secure the lid and refrigerate for 4 to 6 weeks. The sherry (or vodka) and ginger will exchange flavors during storage. You can use ginger-kissed sherry in stir-fry sauces or marinades.

To juice ginger
When you want the pure essence of ginger without the fibers, make ginger juice. A tablespoon or two is great in sauces or marinades for chicken breast strips or shrimp. The easiest method is to keep a chunk of ginger in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, thaw it, then press out the juices with a garlic press. You can also peel fresh ginger, cut it into chunks, and shred it on a cheese grater or puree it in a food processor. Then, wrap the shredded or pureed ginger in a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.

To use ground ginger
Avoid using ground ginger to replace fresh ginger. It's made from the same rhizome as fresh ginger but it has a very different flavor. Ground ginger works best in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and other baked goods, as well as in curries with other Indian spices.

To use candied ginger
Crystallized, or candied, ginger is usually made from slices of fresh ginger that have been softened in a sugar syrup and coated with crystallized sugar. Store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Chop or snip with scissors and add freely to cookie doughs, muffins, scones, or ice cream. Crystallized ginger also makes an elegant addition to glazes for roasted poultry or braised root vegetables.

To use Japanese pickled pink ginger
When tender young spring and fall ginger is sliced paper-thin and pickled, it turns a lovely pink color. Eat pickled ginger with sushi and sashimi, or add to relish-like condiments, marinades,m and mayonnaise.

** Asian Recipes **

10:51:19 on 05/24/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Cooking with Ginger

This tropical rhizome (an underground stem) is one of the essential flavors of Asian cuisine. Its pleasantly pungent flavor comes from naturally occurring chemical irritants that also create a warm sensation on the tongue. When choosing fresh ginger, choose the hardest, smoothest pieces you can find. The longer ginger sits around, the more wrinkled it gets. Avoid any pieces that show signs of mold. To test for freshness, break off one of the knobs. If the ginger if fresh it will break with a clean snap.

To store fresh ginger
Keep it at room temperature for up to a week, or wrap it in a paper towel, seal it in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 weeks. Or, keep unpeeled ginger in a pot or container of horticultural sand. Cover with well-pierced foil to provide ventilation, and store in a cool, dark place.

To freeze ginger
Place whole, unpeeled knobs of ginger in a zipper-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Slice or break off what you need and return the rest to the freezer. Freezing ruptures its cells and changes its texture, but the flavor remains intact. Avoid freezing fresh ginger after it is peeled and chopped.

** Asian Recipes **

13:53:37 on 05/23/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Lowering Cholesterol with Garlic

Eating garlic has been known to lower the cholesterol level. Research indicates that eating half to one clove of garlic a day may reduce blood cholesterol levels by about 9 percent. Garlic is also believed to be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of cancer. To reap the full health benefits of garlic, use fresh garlic. Although fresh is the best, use garlic in cooked or powdered forms as well, since each has its own important healing compounds.

When cooking with fresh garlic, chopping it finely will increase the surface area and release the full benefits of the healthful compounds within. Also, cook fresh garlic only briefly, or add it during the last few minutes of cooking, as overcooking can destroy some of its delicate compounds.

** Asian Recipes **

21:44:57 on 05/17/09 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

How to tame the bite of raw garlic

In order to tame the bite of raw garlic, saute it briefly in a little oil, just to soften but not color. This is a good technique before making recipes that usually begin with raw garlic. You can also drop unpeeled garlic cloves in boiling water for 1 minute. The peels will slip off easily and the garlic flavor will have mellowed. Or you can toast unpeeled cloves in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Peel and use as desired.

Garlic also provides flavor to mashed potatoes quite well. When making a pot of mashed potatoes, add 1 to 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves to the cooking water with the potatoes. After draining, mash as usual, garlic cloves included. The cooked garlic will add a mellow garlic flavor.

** Asian Recipes **

11:36:34 on 05/08/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

How to save time when cooking with garlic

To save chopping time when cooking with garlic, use a garlic press. Don't bother peeling the garlic. Just place the unpeeled clove in the chamber of the press, close it with gentle pressure, and scrape off the emerging garlic paste with a knife. In the event if the holes of the garlic press got clog, you can actually unclog it without a cleaning attachment. Just use a toothpick. Or scrub out stubborn shards of garlic with a toothbrush.

You can also make ready-to-use garlic cloves to save time. Cover peeled cloves with olive oil and store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The oil will keep air away from the garlic, and when the garlic is used up, you will be left with garlic-infused oil that is wonderful on salads, whipped into mashed potatoes, drizzled over pasta, or blotted by bread.

** Asian Recipes **

05:54:00 on 05/06/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Solving problems with garlic

To prevent sticking when mincing garlic, sprinkle the garlic with salt, using about 1/8 teaspoon for 3 cloves. The salt will help absorb the liquid in garlic, making it less sticky. Adjust the salt in your recipe as necessary. Burning could be avoided when sauteing by chopping the garlic fine. Large pieces of garlic are more likely to burn than small ones. Also, avoid adding garlic to hot oil. Add the garlic and oil to the pan at the same time. Then proceed to heat.

Removing garlic odors from the hands after handling is not hard. Rub your fingers over a stainless steel spoon under running water. Any stainless steel surface will work. This trick also works with onions, leeks, and other onionlike vegetables in the allium family. You can also rub your hands with lemon juice and salt (provided you have not cuts on your hands). Or, keep a bowl of coffee grounds near the sink. Dip your hands in to get rid of garlic odors. To remove garlic odors from a cutting board, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water.

Having meetings after a garlic meal could be embarrassing, and to remedy the garlic breath, chew on fresh parsley leaves, on chlorophyll tables, or on fennel seeds. Or drink some lemon juice (tempered with a little honey, if desired). you can also eat some lemon or lime sherbet.

** Asian Recipes **

00:02:00 on 05/05/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Preparing Garlic

When peeling garlic, place the flat side of a large chef's knife or Asian cleaver over the garlic and smack it assertively, but not too hard, with the heel of your hand or your fist. The jolt will crack the peel, making it easy to remove. Pound more forcefully, and you will separate the peel and crush the clove at the same time, which will give your a head start on chopping or mincing. you can also lay a garlic clove on the counter and roll it back and forth with your palm. This loosens the skin, making it easier to peel. Or, drop the cloves into a pot of boiling water for 45 seconds. Drain and cool briefly, then pinch the cloves, and the peel will pop right off. This blanching works well when you have pasta water boiling anyway.

For best results when chopping garlic, use a large chef's knife instead of a tiny paring knife. Turn the clove up on its ridge, then cut lengthwise into thin slices. Turn the clove on its flat side and slice lengthwise again to make short sticks. Now, turn the clove and cut crosswise to mince. The garlic may spread across the board as you chop. Use your knife to scrape it back to the pile and continue chopping with a back-and-forth, rocking motion until the garlic is chopped very fine.

To mash garlic to a paste, use a garlic press. Or cover the cloves with parchment and mash with a meat pounder. You can also smash garlic cloves with a heavy object, then sprinkle with a little salt. Mash with the flat side of a heavy knife.

00:01:00 on 05/04/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Cooking with Garlic

A relative of onion, garlic has an assertive flavor that is an essential ingredient in many of the world's great cuisines, including those of France, China, Mexico, Italy, and South-east Asia. Keep in mind that heating garlic mellows its flavor, while chopping it intensifies the taste. Whole bulbs of roasted garlic have the mildest flavor, and raw, minced garlic has the most intense garlic taste. Also, oversize bulbs of elephant garlic have a very timid flavor that is likely to disappoint true garlic fans.

When choosing garlic, look for firm bulbs that are heavy for their size and show no signs of mold or sprouting. Keep garlic in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation. Avoid refrigerating garlic, which promotes rot. When loosening cloves from the garlic bulb, set the bulb upside down on your work surface and press down hard on the root with the palm of your hand.

The cloves will break free. You can also microwave 1 heat of garlic for 1 minute on high power, turning halfway through cooking. Let stand until cool enough to handle. The skins will slip right off. Use immediately, or simmer leftover garlic in oil to cover for 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

** Asian Recipes **

07:29:40 on 05/03/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Preserving food by freezing

Few methods of preserving food are as easy as freezing. But while cold temperatures slow the deterioration of foods, they do not stop the process entirely. Freezing can also damage the cells of many foods. The ideal temperature is about 0F. At this temperature, foods freeze quickly. Freezers that are too warm (between 25 and 31F) take too long to freeze food, causing large ice crystals to form on the food and give frozen food a poor texture.

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04:04:08 on 05/02/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Flavor Essences

These are concentrated flavorings made by distilling fruit or other ingredients with the same process used to distill perfume. Flavor essences are much stronger and purer than flavor extracts such as vanilla extract, and a little goes a long way. In fact, if you use too much, the flavor can be intensely unpleasant. For example, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon flavor essence would be enough to flavor 1 quart of fruit sorbet. You can buy flavor essences in large supermarkets and specialty shops and through catalogs.

To boost the flavor of strawberries
When sweetening 1 or 2 pints of strawberries, reserve the best ones whole or halved, then mash the remaining ones with sugar to taste, and add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon wild strawberry essence (and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, if desired).

To mix or match flavor essences
Dozens of flavor essences are available: strawberry, raspberry, peach, pineapple, pistachio, chocolate, caramel, and coffee, to name just a few. They always work well when matching, say, fresh pineapple with pineapple essence, but you can experiment and add caramel along with the pineapple essence to create a great flavoring.

** Asian Recipes **

12:35:35 on 05/01/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -