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Measurement for Recipes

Measurement for Recipes

Anyone who has watched as Asian cook in action knows that all of the measurements used are 'by eye' and 'by hand'. It would be considered an affectation to use standard measuring spoons and cups. That's fine for someone who knows what they are doing and also knows how to adapt the amount of a certain ingredient used (such as chilies or ginger) according to the variety and heat of the chili, or the age and strength of the ginger. But for the average Westerner venturing into the exciting world of Asian cooking, guidelines are required.

Spoon measures are fine when it comes to teaspoons and half or quarter teaspoons. But talk about tablespoons and we are in troubled waters. In most Western countries the tablespoon measure is equivalent to 15 ml or three 5 ml teaspoons. In Australia the standard tablespoon is equal to 20 ml or four 5 ml teaspoons. When it comes right down to it, the home cook usually reaches for the home cutlery set and uses that. Those tablespoons can vary. In most recipes, and measuring most ingredients the difference is not crucial. However, when measuring gelatine, yeast, baking powder or bicarbonate of soda, a difference of 5 ml could make a dramatic difference to the result.

All measurements are level. A heaped spoonful should not be used because my 'heaped' could be different to yours. When measuring dry ingredients such as flour, do not press down into the cup. Do not shake or tap the cup on the bench as that will cause the dry ingredient to settle and result in more than is intended for the recipe. Spoon in, and level off with the back of a knife so that it is just to the rim.

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