Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Why do some people say that it is not advisable to cook basil?

Basil is a fragile herb which suffers some loss of flavor when subjected to heat or drying. In most recipes, you can minimize the loss of flavor by adding basil near the end of the cooking time. However, it is most flavorful when used fresh, or as a garnish added after cooking, as in the recipe for Grilled Vegetable Salad below. The salad is served at room temperature, and is delicious as a starter with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

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12:05:49 on 03/31/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Do the seeds of cilantro (coriander) give the same flavor as the fresh leaf?

Absolutely not. Their flavors are totally different, and they cannot be used as substitutes for each other. Cilantro (coriander) seeds have a gentle, citrus-like aroma, while the leaves are somewhat bitter. The seeds survive long heating well, but the fresh leaves should be added near the end of cooking or sprinkled over the finished dish. To enjoy the full spicy flavor of the fresh herb, try the following recipe below. Its clear, sharp flavor goes well with grilled mixed vegetables, chicken, fish or shellfish.

Cilantro Salad Recipe
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, unskinned, cut into quarters
1 bunch scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
1-2 red chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Put the quartered tomatoes in a food processor and mix until they are reduced to a lumpy texture. Turn the mixture out into a bowl and stir in all the other ingredients. Taste the salad; if it seems too spicy, add another chopped tomato. Serve cool but not chilled.

** Asian Recipes **

10:14:00 on 03/30/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can herbs be frozen?

All the tender herbs, such as basil, chervil and tarragon, freeze well, with the exception of parsley which turns to slush when defrosted. The tougher woody herbs, such as bay, rosemary, sage and thyme, tend to splinter, so it is better to dry these. To freeze herbs, wrap them in foil or small plastic bags and seal well. It is useful to label the parcels if you cannot see inside them. Basil used to be preserved in olive oil instead of being dried before people actually owned freezers, but then, freezing is much more effective.

** Asian Recipes **

17:27:03 on 03/29/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Using leftover baked hams

Parsley is a good match for baked ham. Try flavoring aspic or a light jellied stock with parsley and white wine, then pour into a terrine which you have filled with rugged pieces of baked ham. Leave to set in the refrigerator for a few hours, turn out, then slice and serve cold with a green salad. You could also stir some pieces of leftover ham into a German-style casserole of sausage, beans, cabbage and onion for a hearty winter lunch or dinner.

** Food and Culture **

14:31:24 on 03/28/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Creating those wonderful brown charred lines as those seen on restaurant food.

The brown charred lines on restaurant food are created either by cooking the food on a chargrill or by placing very hot skewers on the cooked food in a trellis pattern. Charcoal-fuelled chargrills, similar to indoor barbecues, are available for home use from some manufacturers of high quality ovens. These slot into the kitchen bench alongside the stove top. Portable electric 'chargrills' are also available from department stores.

A similar effect can be created by using a ridged griddle or pan. Chicken portions, fish, steaks, as well as eggplants, zucchinis and peppers are delicious cooked in this way.

** Asian Recipes **

11:30:20 on 03/27/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Removing the pips from grapes are tedious, so should we just use the seedless varieties?

Seedless grapes are wonderful for eating but are not always what you need for cooking. Some recipes require a sharper tasting grape to counterbalance a rich sauce. You can remove the seeds by cutting the grapes in half, lengthways, and removing with a small sharp knife. To remove grape skins, prick each end, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 45 seconds. Plunge the grapes into cold water to cool, then peel and cut in half.

** Asian Recipes **

11:32:57 on 03/26/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Does washing grapes make them rot more quickly?

Grapes should be washed, but only just before they are served or eaten. The pressure grapes put on each other when in bunches can cause bruising which creates moisture, encouraging the fruit to spoil. If they are washed before storing, water is likely to remain between the grapes and can accelerate rotting which will create soft spots.

It is best to buy grapes in small quantities, checking to make sure they are not bruised. Store them, unwashed, in a colander in the refrigerator, which allows the air to circulate and keeps them dry. Use within two to three days.

** Asian Recipes **

14:58:24 on 03/25/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are some foods sleep inducers?

Nearly everyone is familiar with the family holiday dinner syndrome. After eating your way through generous helpings of every dish gracing the table, you adjourn to the living room and sink into a comfortable chair, possibly to watch the televised football game. Long before the official gun marks the end of the first half you are already in dreamland.

Your drowsiness is caused by more than the sheer bulk of food you consumed or the dullness of the game or its commentator. Certain of the foods you are likely to eat on such occasions are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, a biochemical that has a soporific effect on man and other animals. Foods known to have high levels of tryptophan include turkey, beef, pork, and lamb - all traditional specialties for festive affairs.

Because carbohydrates also help produce serotonin, the gargantuan portions of starchy potatoes, yams, and bread you ate allowed the sandman to perform his miracle in a wink. The type of food affects how long you will be sleepy. Your body digests fats more slowly than it does carbohydrates and proteins, so the higher your meal's fat content, the longer your doze.

Alcohol compounds the dozing problem. It anesthetizes brain cells that normally would keep you alert. Naturally, if your food and alcohol intake is too much or too rich, your peaceful slumber may be short-lived when a nightmare or upset stomach gives you a rude awakening.

** Asian Recipes **

15:31:16 on 03/24/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Is the rule that stirring a mixture clockwise is nonsensical?

Some mixtures can be blended more quickly, easily, and uniformly if the cook stirs in only one direction. However, save for the negligible influences of human physiology and geodynamics, it doesn't make a hoot of difference whether you stir clockwise or counter-clockwise (unless you believe in that old superstition that stirring counterclockwise brings bad luck).

Human physiology? Because of the anatomical design of the arm and hand (as well as force of habit), the vast majority of right-handers can stir more adroitly in a clockwise direction. The opposite is true for left-handers. Because right-handed chefs and recipe writers outnumber their southpaw colleagues by about nine to one, one can understand why the "stir clockwise" commandment became engraved in many cookbooks.

Believe it or not, geodynamic factor called the Coriolis force affects the ease of stirring - but again, to a minuscule degree. The rotation of the earth as it pirouettes through space creates an interesting phenomenon: Vortexes such as kitchen sink whirlpools and tropical storms generally spin counterclockwise north of the Equator and clockwise on the lower half of the planet (unless the body of liquid or gas has strong counter-currents that could give the incipient vortex sufficient momentum to start swirling the wrong way). Ergo, a counterclockwise circular force - albeit minute - is exerted on the fluid food in a bowl in a Northern Hemisphere city like Cleveland or Copenhagen. This bonus power imperceptibly increases the velocity of the whirling mass if the Northern Hemispherean is stirring counterclockwise. Conversely, one who follows the "stir clockwise" superstition has to expend more energy - perhaps the equivalent of one calorie per century.

** Food and Culture **

14:32:19 on 03/23/08 by Webmaster - Articles -

How to separate stuck-together glasses?

The two glasses should part if you contract the inner glass and expand the outer glass by subjecting them to cold and hot temperatures, respectively. Pour cold water into the inner glass, or use ice. Immediately immerse the outside glass in hot, but not boiling, water and carefully pull the two apart.

** Asian Recipes **

12:28:48 on 03/22/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

How to remove a glued label from a new metal pot thoroughly and easily?

The soak-in-water method doesn't work well on most modern label glues. Solution: Glue-removing products are formulated to loosen chemically the bonds between the glue and the metal pot. You have another option if the label is on the outside of the pot - use heat. Fill the pot with boiling water and let it stand. In most cases, the heat will loosen the glue's hold on the metal. Be patient. Don't try to peel a label off the pot prematurely lest hard-to-remove remnants of the glue remain bonded to the metal instead of the label.

** Asian Recipes **

12:12:53 on 03/21/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

How to remove a glued label from a new metal pot thoroughly and easily?

If you have been boiling only water inside your kettle, the hard deposit layer is mainly alkali compounds and minerals. Acid can dissolve such deposits. Fill the teakettle with a mixture of one part vinegar to six parts water, and let it stand overnight. The next day thoroughly wash out the kettle. If necessary, you can repeat the process.

In contrast, stains caused by acids like tea or coffee are best removed with an alkali such as baking soda.

** Making Coffee **

07:34:07 on 03/20/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why is flour so difficult to remove from pots and utensils?

Flour is a starch and therefore can be quite sticky when exposed to water. Adhesive makers know this principle well: Starch is the basic material for many of their products. Always rinse or soak a flour-coated pan or implement immediately after you use it. Use lukewarm water rather than hot, because temperatures higher than 140F tend to cook flour, thereby increasing the adhesiveness of a flour paste.

** Asian Recipes **

11:29:27 on 03/19/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why is hot water a better dish-cleaning medium than cold water?

Not only does hot water make oil and other food substances more fluid and therefore easier to dislodge, but it also has a lower surface tension than cold water. The hot water therefore better penetrates the food, and just as important, the soap or detergent can more readily form an oil-and-water emulsion. When cleaning a dish smeared with a raw or cooked flour paste, however, do not make the water too hot, lest the flour become instant glue.

** Asian Recipes **

12:09:53 on 03/18/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

What is the best way to treat a burn?

Ninety-nine percent of burns that occur in the kitchen are first-degree burns and usually require only home treatment. A first-degree burn is slightly red or discolored and causes only mild swelling and pain. If the burn is more severe that this, or if it covers an extensive area of the body, call a doctor or emergency medical center.

The best way to treat a first-degree burn is to cool the burned area quickly by lightly pressing an ice cube against it. This step minimizes the extent of cellular damage. Next, place several ice cubes in a clean plastic storage bag and gently apply it to the burned skin. As soon as the ice begins to feel unbearably cold, remove the bag. If the pain returns, place the ice-cube bag over the burned area. Keep repeating until the pain subsides (but not to the point where you risk frostbite).

If the burn covers a wide or hard-to-reach area soak the part affected in a suitable-size vessel or sink of water with plenty of ice cubes. The ice-cube treatment is superior to the old-fashioned rub-with-butter method because ice cubes numb the pain. Moreover, butter can foster infection.

** Kitchen Tips **

13:13:50 on 03/17/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is umami the fifth taste?

Some taste physiologists argue that the basic-four list of tastes (sweet, sour, salty and bitter) should be expanded to include umami (a Japanese term pronounced oo-mom-ee). Some laboratory research supports their view. Other experts demur, believing that the jury is still out. They say that the umami taste may not be a basic taste. It could be, for instance, a side effect of a chemical reaction triggered by glutamate, an amino acid (a building block of protein). When glutamate is in its free form (that is, not combined with other amino acids), it could chemically modify the performance of the sweet, sour, salty, or bitter taste receptors, creating the illusion of a new basic taste.

Whether umami is a basic taste of not, it is real and has an identifiable flavor profile, though it is difficult to characterize in words. It has been variously described as "savory", "brothy", and "meaty". These terms cover too broad a taste spectrum to communicate adequately the umami taste profile to anyone who does not already know it. Fortunately, monosodium glutamate is a salt form of glutamate and does produce an umami taste.

** Asian Recipes **

13:13:31 on 03/16/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Does smell play a more dominant role than taste in taste perception?

Very much so. Over 75 percent of what we discern as taste is really smell. Think about how food "taste" bland when you have a cold. The chief reason it does is that mucus blocks many of the food odors from reaching the olfactory receptors in your nasal chamber. The odor molecules reach your olfactory receptors through a hidden passageway (located behind your palate) that connects your oral and nasal cavities.

Another way to demonstrate how taste buds receive more credit than they are due is to close your eyes, hold your nose, and let a friend give you unidentified samples of familiar foods such as raw apples and onions, as well as various flavoring agents and cooked meats. Chances are you will instantly recognize few, if any, of the foods that you thought you could "identify blindfolded".

** Asian Recipes **

14:44:04 on 03/15/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Should the elderly eat less than they did during their prime?

Suppose a person weighed and exercised the same at 65 as he did at 25, his body would require 10 percent fewer calories than he did in his youth, partially because his fat-to-muscle ratio decreased as he grew older. Body fat requires less energy than protein-rich muscle.

A senior citizen also needs fewer calories because his basal metabolic rate has decreased. He burns fewer calories. The need for vitamins and other essential nutrients does not decline as much as an older person's caloric requirements. Consequently, the aged have little room in their diets for the empty-calorie foods, such as sugar and alcohol, that they may have enjoyed in their earlier years. For health's sake, they must make every calorie count.

** Healthy Diet **

13:30:00 on 03/14/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Why should weight watchers eat slowly?

When we eat, our blood glucose levels rise temporarily. Our blood glucose receptors perceive this change and signal the brain that the body has consumed enough food. It takes about 20 minutes for this signal to reach the brain. Therefore, it's easy to pass the point of satiation without realizing it.

This problem is especially acute for fast eaters. Within the 20-minute duration, they can consume a lot of food, many more calories than they really need, leaving them with an uncomfortable, bloated feeling. If they had chewed and eaten slowly, they wouldn't have ingested as much food by the time the brain transmitted the "full" signal.

** Health Recipes **

14:50:42 on 03/13/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Is it easy for vegetarians to consume all the eight essential amino acids?

Fortunately for vegans and traditional vegetarians, one does not have to eat meat or dairy products to obtain all the amino acids the body cannot produce. They can instead plan a meal consisting of foods that collectively contain the essential eight. Whole cereal grains and legumes are the most famous of such complementary foods whose proteins add up to form a complete source. There is one salient condition, however. The two must usually be eaten at the same meal. Thus, the traditional peasant dish of rice and beans or the American Indian mixture of lima beans and corn (succotash) are good sources of protein.

Lacto and lacto-ovo vegetarians need not be as concerned about consuming their required share of complete protein because dairy products and eggs contain all eight essential amino acids.

** Vegetarian Recipes **

12:35:06 on 03/12/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Do fat people need more calories than thin people to maintain their weight?

A 300-pound fat person burns more calories than does a 150-pound thin person because he requires more energy to move his body weight around, pump blood, and perform other functions. Don't conclude, however, that this fat person needs twice as many calories. On a pound-per-pound basis, the average fat person burns fewer calories than the average thin person, for three reasons.

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13:08:16 on 03/11/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

How many calories do we need?

The average man burns roughly 1,700 calories per day for basal metabolism, the average woman roughly 1,325 calories. These are the calories the body burns for basic life-support processes, including breathing, digesting, thinking, circulating blood, replacing cells, and maintaining body temperature. These basal metabolic functions take place even if one is sitting perfectly still.

In addition, your body needs calories for physical activity. For instance, the typical per hour calorie expenditure rate beyond the basal metabolic rate is practically zero for watching TV, 300 for casual walking, 400 for leisurely cycling, 500 for unhurried swimming, and 600 for moderate-paced jogging. Children, in addition, need extra calories for growing. Calories you consume beyond the basal metabolic, physical activity, and growing requirements are converted to body fat.

** Healthy Food **

18:15:29 on 03/10/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

How are food calories measured?

When food scientist say an apple has 100 calories, they are specifying the potential energy (heat) that the apple can generate as it passes through the body. Each food calorie is equal to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram (1 liter or 2.2 pounds) of water by 1C at 1 atmospheric pressure. This calculation is based on a kilogram rather than a gram, so a food calorie is 1,000 times greater than the normal calorie, the one commonly used in physics and chemistry.

Scientists calculate the food-calorie value with devices such as the bomb calorimeter, a sealed compartment in which a specific weight of food is completed burned. Sensitive instruments measure the amount of energy generated by the burning food.

** Asian Recipes **

16:05:11 on 03/09/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

What are the chances of regaining the pounds you lose on a diet?

Unfortunately, the news isn't encouraging. Most people seeking to lose 10 or more pounds on a weight-loss diet will regain most or all of the lost weight within a year or two. And some of these people will eventually end up weighing more than they did when they started their diets. The consensus of leading independent weight-loss authorities boils down the secrets of success into three simple caveats: Don't eat more calories than your body burns, exercise regularly, and learn to make healthy food choices.

** Healthy Food **

13:05:21 on 03/08/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Why are fast eaters more prone to stomachaches?

Food gobblers increase their chances of heartburn in two ways. First, they swallow a lot of air. Belching typically follows. The rising air sends acidic digestive juices flying up to the esophagus. Second, since wolfers don't have time to chew their food into easily digestible pieces, their stomachs are forced to release extra acidic digestive juices to break down the abnormally large pieces. This added acid can cause heartburn.

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11:52:27 on 03/07/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

What is the theory behind eating a varied diet?

Science has identified over 40 different essential nutrients - and no one food ingredient offers them all. Moreover, our body probably needs some nutrients that food scientists know nothing or little about. A diet rich in variety therefore stands a better chance of providing all the necessary nutrients. A varied diet also lessens the possibility of consuming an unhealthy amount of any single nutrient. Likewise, such a diet reduces the magnitude of exposure to unwholesome substances such as toxins and pathogenic microorganisms that any single food might harbor.

** Asian Recipes **

13:04:38 on 03/06/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Why do we need fiber in our diet?

Fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, refers to the undigestible carbohydrates found in whole cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes and nuts. These indigestible substances facilitate digestion and elimination by carrying other waste products along with them as they leave the digestive tract and by absorbing fluids that make wastes soft enough for easy passage.

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05:14:54 on 03/05/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Why does sugar cause tooth decay?

Sugar is food for plaque-residing bacteria colonies. They convert the sugar into acid that corrodes tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. The degree of decay is dependent more on how long the sugar remains in contact with the bacteria colonies than on the amount of sugar consumed. For this reason, a pure caramel candy usually does less damage than a sugary cookie made with starch. The latter substance helps bind the sugar to the tooth.

** Healthy Recipes **

12:11:34 on 03/04/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

If the word sugar is absent from the ingredients list on a label, can the food still contain sugar?

Keep an eye out for the suffix "-ose". Dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose, for instance, are all forms of sugar. Sugars are used as sweetening and sometimes preserving agents. There is little nutritional difference among the various types of sugar - all provide empty calories. While artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and saccharin have few, if any, calories, they also have no nutrients.

** Asian Recipes **

06:37:35 on 03/03/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why are manufactured vitamins no different from natural vitamins as far as the body is concerned?

Most vitamins are actually surprisingly simple configurations of basic elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, and they can be flawlessly duplicated in the laboratory. Your body cannot discern any difference between, for instance, ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C) and rose hips (natural vitamin C) because the two have an identical chemical makeup. The argument for natural vitamin supplements is faulty - although lucrative. If you shop around for vitamins or vitamin-fortified foods, you will notice that the natural vitamins usually cost considerably more than the synthetic.

However, any vitamin supplement, whether natural or synthetic, is no substitute for a balanced diet. Scientists may be able to manufacture the vitamins that have so far been identified, but they have neither the knowledge nor technology to manufacture all the subtle components of a complete diet.

** Healthy Recipes **

03:08:52 on 03/02/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What are some of the major food-borne bacterial poisonings?

Salmonella bacteria are found in many foods, including raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and uncooked eggs. The disease-producing agent is the bacterium itself and not the toxins generated. E. coli bacteria thrive in animal fecal matter on farms and can be transferred to cut-up meat in a processing plant. Shingella bacteria can also come from fecally contaminated food.

** Asian Recipes **

01:29:31 on 03/01/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -