Asian Recipes

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Roasting fresh chestnuts on an open fire.

Before roasting fresh chestnuts, split the skins first to prevent them from exploding. Shake the chestnuts over the fire in a long-handled frying pan, turning them occasionally, until the skins are blacked. The chestnuts will peel easily when cooled slightly.

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14:01:43 on 10/07/06 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Is there an alternative to using fresh chestnuts in recipes?

Dried chestnuts are available from health food shops and when reconstituted, by soaking in water, they can be cooked and used in the same way as fresh chestnuts. Home-frozen peeled chestnuts taste identical to the fresh variety and are well worth storing in the freezer.

Canned whole and pureed chestnuts have been processed so do not have as good a flavor as fresh. And when using canned chestnut puree in savory recipes, always make sure that you have not purchased the sweetened version.

Fresh, dried or frozen chestnuts can be used for soups and stuffings, salads and vegetarian nut loaves and patties. Canned chestnuts are more suitable for sauces, cake fillings, desserts and ice cream recipes.

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12:41:11 on 10/07/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to cook fresh chestnuts once they have been peeled?

For stuffings or to serve with vegetables, gently boil fresh chestnuts in salted water or stock for about 30 minutes until just tender - they should feel soft when pierced with a fine skewer but not break up.

For purees, fresh chestnuts need to be cooked a little longer so that the nuts will be soft enough to pass easily through a sieve or mouli mill, or be processed in a blender or food processor.

For soups and casseroles, add the chestnuts raw and allow to soften in the cooking liquid along with the recipe's other ingredients. When using chestnuts in cakes and desserts, cook them barely covered with some sugar syrup or sweetened milk in a lidded, heavy-based saucepan, stirring often.

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11:41:59 on 10/07/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Which are the best cherries to eat fresh and which should be used for cooking?

There are three basic types of cherry: sweet, semi-sweet and sour. The cherries that you generally find in shops are sweet or semi-sweet dessert cherries and they can be red, black or pale-skinned (sometimes referred to as white cherries). Some are plump and tender, others have a firmer flesh.

Sour cherries are red and the best known is the morello cherry, which has a strong acidic flavor. Morello cherries are suitable only for cooking and can be poached, used for sweet and savory pies, added to desserts, savory dishes, or made into preserves. Dessert cherries can also be used for cooking but will not have the same deep cherry flavor as morello cherries.

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10:00:59 on 10/07/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the quickest way to remove stones from cherries?

Use a cherry stoner, available from most kitchen shops. First remove the stems from the cherries. Place them one at a time and with the stalk end uppermost on the base of the cherry stoner, then close the plunger to push out the cherry stone. Alternatively, you can use the point of a knife to split the fruit and carefully praise out the stones.

Besides, you might also want to stone cherries inside a clean, plastic bag to prevents the cherry juice from splashing over the work surface or your clothes.

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08:13:11 on 10/07/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -