Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Boning a leg of lamb.

Boning a leg of lamb enables you to add a stuffing, which will give the meat extra flavor and succulence, and makes it very easy to carve. Or you can lay it flat under the grill or on a barbecue, skin side nearest the heat, where it will cook in just 15 minutes, being turned once. To ensure a neat, easy job, use a narrow, rigid boning knife.

1. There are three bones to remove: the shank bone, which juts out of the meat at the narrow end; the middle bone, which is attached to the shank bone by a ball and socket joint; and the V-shaped pelvic bone, which turns across the thick end of the joint.

2. Lay the leg fleshy side down. Start at the shank end and, holding the knife like a dagger, cut through the flesh down to the shank bone beneath. Change your grip to the normal one and cut along the bone, keeping the knife as close to the bone as possible, so as not to waste any of the meat.

3. Scrape round the ball and socket joint then cut along the middle and pelvic bones. Use your fingers to locate each bone in turn and work from both ends of the leg if you find it easier. Gradually ease the bones out, one by one. The boned meat is now ready to be stuffed, rolled and tied up for roasting.

4. To open the boned meat out flat for grilling which is also known as butterfly boning, make two further parallel cuts through the thick pieces of meat on either side of the space left by the middle bone. Beat the meat once or twice with a wooden mallet to even out the thickness, then grill or barbecue.

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12:31:34 on 09/16/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Tying up a boned chicken.

There are two ways to tie up a chicken In the first, you sew up stuffed and rolled bird using a trussing needle and string, sewing across one end first, down the length of the roll and then across the other end.

Alternatively, you can fold the bird into shape around the stuffing then wrap it in a piece of muslin or a roasting net. First dip the cloth in melted butter or oil and wring out lightly. Put the stuffed bird in the center of the cloth, flap side uppermost, then wrap the cloth around it tightly, securing it at both ends with string to look like a Christmas cracker.

The cooking time should be calculated according to the bird's weight after it has been stuffed. Be sure it is fully cooked through, particularly if you have used a sausage-meat stuffing. Check by inserting a skewer into the center of the joint and the juices should run clear.

If you have wrapped the bird in muslin there is no need to baste it during cooking - but remove the cloth before the bird is completely cold or it will stick.

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07:54:16 on 09/16/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

The difference between braising and stewing.

Braising is a method of slowly cooking meat, game birds and poultry in a heavy-based covered pan or covered casserole, using a bed of chopped vegetables, which can also include some diced ham or bacon added for flavor. Water or stock should be added to come halfway up the joint.

Braising tends to use a slightly better cut of meat than stewing and a whole cut is generally chosen. The meat is usually fried briefly to brown it first, then placed in a pan or casserole with a tight-fitting lid and cooked either on the stove or in the oven. It cooks gently in its own juices and the steam from the vegetables, which impart flavor.

The term 'braising' is also used sometimes to mean cooking vegetables in the oven in a covered dish with a little liquid. For example, heads of celery are braised in vegetable or chicken stock.

Stewing is a method in which the added liquid (beer, cider, stock, water or wine) covers the meat and is heated to just under boiling point. This technique is reserved for the toughest cuts of meat which need long, slow cooking, and the meat is generally cut into chunks to aid the tenderizing process.

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15:34:19 on 09/15/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Boning Chicken

You can bone all poultry by the same method, bearing in mind that the carcass of a turkey is very much larger than that of a chicken. Essential tools for the job are a sharp kitchen knife and a pair of kitchen scissors.

1. Put the chicken breast side down and cut through to the backbone. Feel for the fleshy 'oyster' at the top of each thigh and cut round it to remove it from its pocket, then gently scrape the flesh away from the carcass.

2. Continue cutting away from the backbone until the whole rib cage is exposed. Where the thigh meets the pelvis, cut through the sockets so that the legs stay attached to the body flesh and skin, not to the carcass.

3. Keep working right roung the bird, then use scissors to cut off most of the rib cage, leaving only the breastbone in the center. With a heavy knife, cut through the foot joints to remove the knuckle end of the legs.

4. Working from inside the top of the thigh, scrape the leg bone clean, pushing the flesh down until you can free the bone. Remove the tendons, then bone the other leg.

5. Now for the wings. Cut off the pinions (the last small one on the wing which has no real meat) with a heavy knife and scrape the wing bones clean as you did the leg bones.

6. Carefully lift up and scrape the breastbone free, working from the middle of the bird towards the tail. Take care not to puncture the skin, as there is no flesh under it at this point.

7. Keep the neck flap of skin intact, and fold it over once the chicken has been stuffed. Seal as much of the stuffing as possible, then sew up the bird or wrap it in a roasting net.

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02:47:37 on 09/15/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Blanching vegetables to retain the color

Blanching and refreshing is a method of cooking vegetables for 1-2 minutes in boiling water and then cooling them rapidly in iced water. It is chiefly done to set the color before they are added to another dish, such as a terrine or salad. This method is particularly suitable for green vegetables, such as green beans, as their color survives and becomes very intense.

Blanching is also used to precook a large quantity of vegetables, as they can be boiled in advance until nearly tender, refreshed and chilled, and swiftly reheated when required.

The term comes from the French word for whiten and the technique was originally used to remove traces of blood from sweetbreads or brains, leaving them pale, or to boil off the brown skin of almonds.

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12:15:00 on 09/10/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Growing bean sprouts

Sprouting beans is very easy and is a good way to have a fresh, crunchy, high-protein salad filling on hand. The sprouts can also be added to stir-fries as well as sandwiches. Soak a handful of mung beans overnight in cold water and they will double their bulk. Rinse in a sieve under the cold tap and transfer to a jar. They should fill the jar about one-quarter full.

Cover the jar with a square of loose-woven cloth held in place with an elastic band. Leave the jar on its side. Place in a warm, well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight. Twice each day, uncover the jar. Fill it with cold water, swirl, replace the cover and drain water through the cloth. The seeds should start to sprout on the second day. After a few days, the sprouts will have grown to about 1-2 cm long. which is when they are at their most nutritious.

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09:32:37 on 09/04/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Stringing Beans

Many green beans are sold when they are small and do not need to have their strings removed. Older green beans and runner beans need stringing. To remove the strings, use a small sharp knife, cut each bean from the outer side across the stalk end towards the deeply grooved inner side. Stop just short of the edge and pull the string along the length of each bean. If the string breaks short, cut away a thin strip along the edge to remove it. Nick the top of the outer edge. If a string has been formed there, pull it out as well.

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01:08:07 on 09/03/06 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -