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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

What is the best material for a chopping board?

Wood is generally preferred for chopping boards as a thick board made of seasoned wood will last a very long time and the food does not slide over the surface. Wood also has the advantage of not blunting knives as quicly as other materials.

Doubts have been raised about the hygiene of wood, but researches found that wooden boards may be better than plastic for keeping bacteria at bay. A variety of boards were deliberately contaminated and left overnight. Levels of bacteria on the wooden boards were virtually undetectable while bacteria levels had actually risen on some of the plastic boards. The researches surmized that bacteria may be sucked in by the porous structure of wood and destroyed by the antimicrobial chemicals that protect trees from infection.

Other materials used for chopping boards are polypropylene and toughened glass, both of which can be sterilized easily. In a restaurant or other professional kitchen, these polypropylene boards are often color coded so that different ones are used for raw meat, cooked meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to avoid cross contamination.

Whatever material you choose, be sure to scrub your board thoroughly in hot fresh water and soap or an antibacterial cleaner after every use. If the board is washed properly and stored on its edge and not in contact with other surfaces, contamination will be minimal.

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09:26:22 on 10/14/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best chocolate for cooking? And when a recipe says dark chocolate what should be used?

The best chocolate for cooking is dark cooking chocolate containing a high percentage of cocoa solids. Milk chocolate is rarely used in cooking as it does not have the depth of flavor of dark chocolate, but it can be used if it is chilled and then finely grated before melting. These steps are necessary because milk chocolate can easily seize up.

'Chocolate compound' cake coverings or coatings are not chocolate at all. They contain no cocoa solids and most or all of the cocoa butter has been replaced with coconut or palm oil. Although they are very easy to melt and handle, these coatings do not have the flavor or texture of real chcolate. It is a false economy to cook with very inexpensive chocolate or substitutes as the results are disappointing.

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08:37:12 on 10/14/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best way to make a smooth chocolate sauce?

Use roughly equal amounts of fresh cream and finely grated dark cooking chocolate. For example, put 100 ml of cream into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Remove it from the heat immediately and leave for 30 seconds to cool. Add 100 g of chocolate and stir well until the sauce is smooth and glossy. You could then add a flavoring such as cherry, coffee or orange brandy if you wish, and use it at once if the sauce is to be served warm. To serve the sauce cold, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of milk and leave it to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

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07:21:31 on 10/14/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -