Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Are there different types of garlic?

Are there different types of garlic, as some bulbs seem to be much more pungent than others?

There are several types of garlic and most is pearly white, but other varieties are streaked with pink and mauve. However, the color does not noticably affect the flavor.

The more important distinction is seasonal. The most familiar garlic is sold from late summer, sometimes plaited into skeins to hang in a cool place for winter. It has been dried in the sun, which has firmed up the heads and transformed the skin into a tissue-like wrapping, and the garlic is good if it is firm. It will get stronger in taste as green shoots begin to germinate and sprout in the individual cloves.

As well as locally grown garlic, there is a lot of imported garlic on the market. Also becoming more commonly available are garlic shoots, which are seen from midwinter to spring. The cloves are immature and the stem is thick and fleshy. This green garlic is sweet and mild enough to be treated as a vegetable, and is very good roasted whole with fresh herbs such as thyme.

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00:34:00 on 12/16/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it true that removing the green shoot from an old clove of garlic prevents a garlic breath?

Not necessary true, but the green tip is strong and bitter and should be removed anyway, if possible. Some people who eat a lot of garlic claim their digestive system adapts and the smell of garlic no longer lingers, but this is not proven. The theory that only raw garlic smells, not cooked garlic, is also folklore.

Scientists do agree, however, that garlic, a traditional folk remedy to 'cleanse the blood' of impurities, does have anti-clogging properties. They recommend eating it often for a healthy heart.

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00:25:00 on 12/15/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why do some cookery experts prefer not to use a garlic crusher?

Many experienced cooks prefer to use a knife to cursh garlic because garlic crushers can be hard to clean and may harbor stale remnants that can taint the next dish. Crushing garlic also releases acrid-tasting chemicals. This is not a problem if the garlic is to be heated, as it is mellowed by cooking, but garlic to be eaten raw has a more refined flavor if it is carefully minced by hand.

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11:19:35 on 12/14/06 by Webmaster - Recipes -

What is the best utensil to use when frying fragile type of food?

When using tongs to turn fish cakes or meat patties, they tend to crack and split open. What is the best utensil to use when frying this type of food?

Tongs are a handy utensil for turning some fried foods, such as bacon rashers, chops or cutlets which have a firm texture. However, the best utensil to use when frying soft-textured food, such as fish fillets, or coated food such as fish cakes or meat rissoles, is ideally a combination of two egg slices (also called fish slices). These are good for loosening, lifting, moving and turning over the frying food without damaging its shape or breaking the coating. Alternatively, you can use two palette knives or use one egg slice in conjunction with a palette knife.

Never use a fork when frying food as this breaks the seal and allows the fat to penetrate the food.

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01:15:00 on 12/11/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is there any advantage in using a nonstick frying pan instead of regular pan?

It is a very good practice to use a nonstick pan for a healthy low-fat diet. The fat content in most traditional recipes, which start with frying the ingredients - such as onions or meat for a saute or casserole - may be at least halved if you use a nonstick pan. For some recipes, all you need to do is brush the base of the pan with a little oil or spray the base with some olive oil or canola oil spray.

It is important to take care of nonstick pans by always cooking over a medium heat and by never overheating the pan when it is empty. Use non-metal tools when turning food and stirring, so that the surface is not scratched.

Clean the nonstick interior with a sponge, hot water and liquid detergent and never use wire wool, scouring pads or scouring powder as these materials can cause damage to the nonstick coating.

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02:30:00 on 12/10/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why do some recipes use a mixture of olive oil and butter?

Butter gives a delicious, rich flavor to food, but has a lower burning temperature than olive oil. When the two are heated together, the butter can reach the higher temperature necessary for frying and sealing certain foods, which helps preserve and develop good flavor.

01:46:00 on 12/10/06 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

What exactly is dry-frying?

What exactly is dry-frying? Surely food will stick if there is no fat in the pan to keep it loose.

In these health-conscious times, dry-frying has become a popular way of cooking fish and meat, especially bacon rashers. First heat a frying pan with a heavy bottom on a high flame until it is hot. Meanwhile, prepare the meat or fish. If it has little fat of its own, drizzle a small amount of oil over the surface and rub it in. However, if the meat has natural fat or the fish is oily, simply season with freshly ground black pepper.

When the pan is hot, add the meat or fish and then leave it. Do not be tempted to move the food around in the pan until a crust has formed. You will then be able to slide an egg slice or palette knife underneath and turn to cook on the other side.

Dry-frying is also used to extract and bring out the flavor of whole spices, seeds or nuts. Fry them without fat in a heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat, shaking the pan from time to time. Continue cooking, watching carefully to avoid burning, until they give off a distinct aroma, and then tip them onto a cold plate.

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01:15:00 on 12/09/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

When a recipe mentions the term deglazing, what does it mean?

Deglazing is a term for loosening the browned juices stuck on the bottom of a pan after frying meat. Tip off the fat, add a few tablespoons of liquid such as cream, stock, water or wine, and bring to the boil, stirring and scraping to dissolve the sediment. The liquid will be full of flavor and can be poured over meat, added to a sauce or stirred into a casserole.

01:25:00 on 12/08/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best way to season a new frying pan?

Seasoning, or proving a pan gives a relatively nonstick surface to pans that do not have a nonstick coating. The easiest method is to wash and dry the pan thoroughly and then put it on a high heat with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat it until the oil is smoking, then wipe the pan clean with a large wad of crumpled kitchen paper towels, using any remaining salt as an abrasive. When the pan is clean, it is seasoned.

A wok is greatly improved by this treatment and may need to be seasoned again if food begins to stick. If possible, use an omelette pan only for omelettes, a crepe pan only for crepes and pancakes, and you should season the pans everytime you use them.

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01:15:00 on 12/07/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What can be done to prevent food from becoming soggy?

Use a wide, uncovered pan because a lid traps the steam so that the food stews or steams instead of frying crisply. Preheat the fat so that the food forms a crisp seal immediately and does not absorb the fat and become greasy. Fry only a little food at a time, and cook meat quickly so that the outside browns all over. Then lower the heat to medium and continue cooking. Some food with a soft texture, such as fish cakes and croquettes, is coated with egg and breadcrumbs to stop it becoming soggy. To keep fried food crisp, drain well on kitchen paper towels and always serve as soon as you possibly can after it has been cooked.

01:15:00 on 12/06/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the difference between shallow frying and sauteing?

They are both ways of frying food in a little oil over a medium-high heat. In shallow frying, the food is turned with a palette knife or egg slice; in sauteing, the pan - which is sometimes covered - is shaken so the food 'jumps' (the French verb sauter means to leap). Both are quick cooking methods suitable for small, tender pieces of meat and other foods.

Bacon and eggs, steak, sausages and veal and chicken schnitzel are all shallow fried, for example. However, a mixture of diced vegetables is sauteed in a covered pan to develop flavor in the first stage of making a vegetable soup, while chicken breast can be sauteed with onions in a special saute pan, then wine, stock and cream are added and simmered to produce chicken saute.

The fat you use for frying or sauteing food is important, as its flavor will affect the taste. Olive oil, butter, lard and beef or bacon dripping all add their particular flavor to fried foods; canola, corn, peanut, safflower and most other vegetable oils have relatively little flavor. When choosing a fat, remember that some of them can be heated to much higher temperatures than others before they start to break down and burn. For example, dripping and lard can withstand more heat than butter or margarine, while clarified butter can be heated to a higher temperature than untreated butter. Copha, which is solidified coconut oil, must be melted very slowly on a low heat to avoid breaking down and burning.

All fats tend to break down if they are heated too long, causing them to smoke and give an unpleasant flavor to any food that is fried in them.

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06:17:28 on 12/05/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Christmas Cordial

Makes: 750 ml
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

750 g prepared fruit, such as blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants
125 - 250 g (0.5 - 1 cup) caster sugar

Put all the fruits into a heatproof bowl. If you are using blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, raspberries or strawberries, add 90 ml of cold water; if using redcurrants, add 200 ml of water; and if using blackcurrants, add 600 ml of water. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat for some 20-30 minutes until the juice flows freely. Occasionally crush the fruit with a potato masher to help to extract the juice. When the fruit is very soft, take the bowl off the heat. Scald a nylon or stainless-steel sieve, a large bowl and a large square of muslin with boiling water; drain the bowl and sieve and sring out the muslin. Place the sieve over the bowl and line it with the muslin.

Pour the pulped fruit and syrup into the sieve and leave it to drain for about 20 minutes until almost all of the juice has dripped through the sieve into the bowl. Take two opposite sides of the muslin and fold them over the fruit so that it forms a secure parcel. Twist the ends of the muslin tightly in opposite directions to squeze out all the remaining juice. Once the juice has been extracted, discard the pips and dry pulp remaining in the muslin. This method produces a clear, smooth syrup. For a grainier, more textured juice, you can use a nylon sieve without the muslin.

Pour the fruit juice into a clean, stailess-steel or enamel saucepan. Add the sugar gradually, a tablespoon at a time, until sweetened to taste - sweet fruits such as boysenberries, raspberries and strawberries will need about 125 g (1/2 cup) while the other fruits will require more. Place the saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, but do not allow the syrup to become too hot. Pour into clean and preferably sterilized bottles, seal with a tight-fitting lid and store refrigerated for up to three months.

To serve, pour the syrup onto ice and dilute to taste, using about one part syrup to two or three parts mineral, soda, tonic or drinking water.

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05:18:36 on 12/05/06 by Webmaster - Recipes -

Vegetarian Fruit Mince Recipe

Makes: about 2.5 kg
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus
Maturing time of at least 4 weeks
Cooking: none

350 g (2 cups) seedless raisins
350 g (2 cups) sultanas
250 g (1.5 cups) currants
175 g (1 cup) chopped mixed peel
500 g cooking apples (peeled, cored and coarsely grated)
250 g butter, melted
350 g (2 cups) dark brown sugar
50 g (1/3 cup) blanched almonds, chopped, optional
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
3 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
150 ml brandy

Pick over the dried fruits and remove any stalks; wash and dry only if necessary. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. Put the mixture into clean, sterilized jars then cover, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator. Allow the fruit mince to stand for only four weeks before it is used as this gives it time to mature.

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05:00:42 on 12/05/06 by Webmaster - Recipes -

Could we make fruit mince without suet for a vegetarian dish?

It is possible to make fruit mince by omitting the traditional shredded suet and replacing it with cool melted butter. It must, however, be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for up to four weeks. There are also vegetarian fruit mince recipes that contain no suet or sugar and simply combine dried fruits, nuts, fresh fruit or vegetables. Sugar-less fruit mince will not keep well unless it has a little spirit added. It should then be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week. It makes a good topping for ice cream or yogurt.

15:58:24 on 12/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it worth buying fresh fruit and juicing them at home?

Fresh fruit juices are not difficult to make with the help of an electric juicer, blender or food processor. They are superior to those you can buy, both in flavor and nutritionally, because you need not add any sugar and can avoid artificial preservatives, colors and flavors.

The flesh of mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, and strawberries in different combinations make good drinks pureed in the blender, either alone or with added crushed ice. Dilute the juice to taste with mineral, soda or tonic water; use it for milkshakes; or add it to sparkling white wine or champagne.

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13:47:09 on 12/04/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Keeping orange juice

If we squeeze oranges to make our own fresh juices, how long can we keep it in the refrigerator?

For maximum nutritional benefit, it is best to drink the juice as soon as possible. Orange juice can be kept for up to two days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. But however, the amount of vitamin C will declines.

13:21:56 on 12/04/06 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Japanese Curry

Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It contains many kinds of spices, vegetables and fruit essences. Japanese curry is usually thicker than curry found in other cuisines. It is served in different forms, for example rice and udon. It's healthier too because there is no coconut milk used when making Japanese curry.

Japanese curry is like stew or gravy, and is served with rice which is appropriately called curry-rice. The ingredients usually consist of potatoes, onions, carrots and any type of meat.

Some curry sauces are made from over 20 varieties of spices and vegetables with no coconut milk used. Vegetables such as onions and carrots are cooked well until disintergrated into the sauce, making a thick and nutritious gravy. It is tasty and well-balance meal that is Japan's favorite and is very popular among people of all ages.

Today, a poll taken in Japan indicates that 95 out of 100 people name curry as their favorite food. It is also the number one favorite home cooked dish in Japanese households. Japanese curry (cumin spice) is believed to help fight brain diseases by enhancing an enzyme that protects brain cells from oxidative damage.

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18:31:02 on 12/03/06 by Webmaster - Articles -

Does adding brandy to a fruit cake help it to keep longer?

Adding brandy or other spirits to a rich fruit cake does help it to keep, and gives it a moist texture and mellow flavor. When the cake is cool, skewer the top in several places and spoon or brush the spirit over. Wrap in greaseproof paper and foil, then store at a dry, even temperature. If you can, make the cake at least three months ahead, adding more spirit every month.

14:30:51 on 12/03/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why does the fruit sometimes sink to the bottom of a fruit cake?

Dried fruits are heavy and will sink if a cake mixture is too soft and wet. If the fruit has been washed, spread it out to dry well on a cloth before adding it to the cake mixture. Glace cherries are particularly heavy and covered in sticky syrup, so always wash, dry and quarter the cherries to make them lighter.

If you find the fruit still goes to the bottom of the tin, toss it first in a little flour or ground almonds. This technique should help to spread the fruit evenly throughout the cake.

01:41:40 on 12/02/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Tropical Fruit Salad Recipe

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: none

60 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 passionfruits
1 large, ripe mango
1 large, ripe pawpaw
750 g pineapple
250 g fresh dates
12 lychees or rambutans
4 tablespoons rum
To decorate: a few cape gooseberries, optional

Put the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom into a small bowl and mix together well. Cut the passionfruit in half and scoop the pulp out into a bowl. Peel and slice the mango and the pawpaw. Skin, quarter and core the pineapple then dice the flesh. Halve and stone the dates, peel and stone the lychees or rambutans.

Put all of the prepared fruits into the bowl with the passionfruit pulp, sprinkle in the spiced sugar, pour in the rum and gently mix together. Cover and macerate the fruits in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Just before serving, transfer the fruits and the flavored juices to a serving bowl and decorate with the cape gooseberries, which should have their leaves pulled back. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

09:30:22 on 12/01/06 by Webmaster - Recipes -

Green Fruit Salad Recipe

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

60 g (1/4 cup) white sugar
3 limes, well scrubbed under warm, running water
2 green dessert apples, washed
2 ripe, firm pears, washed
750 g green-fleshed galia or honeydrew melon
3 kiwifruit
250 g seedless green grapes, washed
To decorate: sprigs of fresh lemon balm, optional

Pour 500 ml of cold water into a small stainless steel or enamel saucepan and add the sugar. Pare the rind from the limes using a zester or peeler and add it to the pan. Stir over a moderate heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring the sugar syrup to the boil and simmer it for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Squeeze the juice from the pared limes, stir it into the sugar syrup and then pour the flavored syrup into a large serving bowl. Working quickly, quarter and core the apples and slice them directly into the hot lime syrup. Then peel, quarter and core the pears and slice them into the syrup as well.

Cut the melon in half, remove the seeds and then either scoop out the flesh with a melon baller or cut it into cubes. Add the melon and any remaining juice to the bowl. Peel and slice the kiwifruit and add them to the fruit salad with the grapes. Stir the fruits together gently, cover the bowl and leave to chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Serve the salad at room temperature or slightly chilled, decorated with lemon balm, if using.

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09:03:09 on 12/01/06 by Webmaster - Recipes -