Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Are fricassee and blanquette the same dish?

Although both of them are white stews, they are not the same dish. A fricassee is made from poultry and other white meat, and the meat is just turned in fat but not browned before cooking in a white sauce.

For a blanquette, the meat or seafood is poached in stock and a sauce is made with the liquor after cooking, to pour over the meat.

Fricassee really should be made with fresh meat but sometimes using leftovers could also be an excellent way.

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15:50:48 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why do recipes require the use of stock for casseroles when the ingredients should have provided enough flavor?

A well-flavored stock will give a better taste than plain water. However, it is quite acceptable to use plain water with the tougher cuts of meat. These are anyway best left to cook for a long time along with other flavorings such as herbs, vegetables, spices and wine.

Adding some bones is another way in which you can help to improve the taste of a casserole. Shank bones have a hollow center that contains a soft material called marrow. Putting these bones in enhances the stock flavor as well as providing good nutrients.

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14:50:55 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Recipes often suggest cooking casseroles for 2 hours to make them tender, but sometimes, it could take about 3 hours to do so. Is it normal?

The cooking time for a casserole depends largely on the cut of meat that is used. Nowadays, relatively tender cuts of meat are included, and these can be cooked successfully in as little as 1-2 hours.

In previous times, traditional casseroles were made with the tougher cuts from the leg, neck and shoulder of older animals. The well-developed muscle fiber and connective tissue could be broken down only by slow, moist cooking. Casserole meat is usually cut into pieces to accelerate this process.

These tough cuts of meat usually have an excellent flavor, with the connective tissue dissolving to a gelatine during slow cooking. This gives a very soft texture and an excellent rich, velvety sauce, but the process may take 3 hours.

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13:19:59 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why do recipes tell us to flour and fry the meat first when it is going to be casseroled for hours?

The meat is fried partly to seal in the juices, and also to give it a rich brown color. Flour protects meat, and helps to thicken the gravy.

Fry the meat in small batches, for only about a minute or two each batch. It is not necessary to move the meat around in the pan. Simply turn each piece so it browns all over.

To flour meat, place the cubes into a clean paper or plastic bag and add the flour and seasoning. Hold the bag closed and shake until all the meat has been coated. Using the plastic bag to toss meat in flour helps to ensure an even coating.

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10:05:26 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the difference between a casserole, stew and daube?

All of them use long, slow and moist cooking in a covered container to tenderize tough meats and vegetables, but they differ in the ingredients and type of pot used.

A casserole uses small pieces of meat and vegetables and is usually cooked in the oven. A stew is made on the top of the stove. In fact, it was originally would have been cooked slowly over an open fire. A daube makes use of a large cut of meat, often beef, braised in wine. Traditionally, it was cooked over a fire in a tall casserole with an indented lid full of hot carcoal, so it had heat from both the top and bottom.

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09:19:23 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are electric carving knives worthwhile buying?

Electric carving knives are labor-saving if you have large amounts of meat to carve. However, they can be unwieldy and noisy and are not very suitable for use at the table.

Besides, it can be difficult to achieve very thin slices with an electric knife, especially when carving hot meat. Great care must be taken as electric knives are very sharp and can be dangerous to use.

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06:55:30 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why is it so important to let meat rest before carving?

Whatever meat you have roasted, you should always take it out of the oven and leave it to stand for about 15-30 minutes, depending on the size, before it is carved.

Cover the joint with aluminum foil and put it in a warm place. Resting allows the juices to sink back from the surface and they can then be reabsorbed to tenderize the meat. It also makes meat easier to carve, as juices will not spurt out.

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03:00:21 on 10/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -