Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Is it safe to eat mayonnaise considering the egg yolk is raw?

It is quite safe as long as strict rules of hygiene and safety are observed. Always use fresh, undamaged eggs from a reputable source, store them well before their 'use by' date (so finished mayonnaise can then be stored for up to three days). Bring them up to room temperature by taking them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using.

While eating mayonnaise is safe for most people, raw egg products are not recommended for vulnerable people such as babies, the elderly, pregnant women or anyone who is severely unwell.

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07:04:46 on 04/29/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Different types of marinades

There are three main types: raw, cooked and dry. Raw marinades of oils and vinegar, or yogurt, are used for relatively tender foods such as chicken or fish that only require a short marination time. An uncooked marinade composed of wine, brandy, vegetables and/or herbs can be used for large joints, game and poultry. Cooked marinades, such as those using red or white wine, are used to give food a fairly strong flavor. They should be properly cooled before being poured over the meat, which is then covered and refrigerated until you are ready to cook it.

The term dry marinades is a slight misnomer, as a little oil and vinegar (or lemon juice or wine) is included. But the spices and other flavorings mixed with the liquid are firstly rubbed into the dry meat and not used as a bath in which the meat is immersed. Dry marinades are more economical, as very little oil or vinegar is used, and the marinade, plus any juices that run from the meat, is frequently used in the final dish. The function of the dry marinade is simply to flavor the meat through prolonged contact.

Whatever method you choose, turn the food frequently while it is marinating for even absorption.

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09:26:35 on 04/28/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

What is a marinade?

A marinade is a mixture of ingredients in which food is soaked before cooking. It can include fruit juice, herbs, oil, spices, vinegar, wine, yogurt and other seasonings. Marinades for meat should not contain salt as this draws out too much of the natural juice and color.

Originally used as a way of preserving meat for a few days, before domestic fridges were common, marinades are now used only to heighten the flavor of food, help to prevent it from drying out and also to have a tenderizing effect. The choice of ingredients depends on the food and the type of dish, and how it will be cooked. When grilling, for instance, the marinade is either basted on the food during cooking or reduced and thickened separately to make a sauce.

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03:47:51 on 04/27/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Anything we can do with mangoes other than in desserts?

Mangoes are more versatile than some other exotic fruits and can be used in many dishes, both sweet and savory. Diced mangoes can be added to a salad made with rice or vegetables. They also make tasty salsas and cooked chutneys. Ripe mangoes, sliced or cut into chunks, dressed with a squeeze of lime, or fried until slightly caramelized, go well with smoked meats, chicken and turkey. They can be blended with yogurt, honey and a squeeze of lemon or lime for a revitalizing drink. The luxurious shrimp salad is another original way to use a luscious ripe mango. Serve it as a special dinner party starter.

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07:46:03 on 04/24/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to tell if a mango is ripe and ready to eat?

The color of a mango is no guide to ripeness as the skins vary from one variety to another. A green mango can be as ripe as one that is bright red. You test for ripeness by touch: they should yield when gently pressed. Mangoes that are to travel a long way are picked unripe and can be encouraged to ripen by leaving them out in a warm room or by putting them in a bowl with other fruit: fully ripe bananas are especially effective.

Mangoes can vary considerably in flavor, sweetness, aroma and texture. There are hundreds of varieties, and they are not always labeled, but if they are, one of the most popular mangoes is Kensington Pride, also known as Bowen Special. Others to look for are Kent, Keitt, Palmer R2E2, Nam Dok Mai and Sensation, all of which are rich and melting. The Tommy Atkins variety, which is tougher and more fibrous, is best used for chutney.

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05:04:28 on 04/23/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Any way to lower the fat content of dishes usually made with full-fat ingredients?

Reduced-fat products such as low-fat cheeses and creams may be used to replace full-fat varieties in some recipes. Even more surprisingly, you can reduce the fat, kilojoule and cholesterol contents of some cakes and biscuits by replacing part or all of the butter or margarine with a puree of dried fruit, such as apricot or prune. This will add flavor and texture, as well as reducing the fat.

To make 300g of puree, place 250g dried apricots or 250g prunes in a food processor or blender with 90ml water. Blend until smooth, then use in place of the butter or margarine in the recipe. With many recipes you can replace all the fat with the fruit puree, using the same number of grams of puree. But with other recipes you may find it works better to have half fat and half fruit puree. And note that the puree is not suitable for replacing fat in pastry.

06:27:57 on 04/22/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Making tasty and low-fat sandwich fillings

You can cut kilojoules and reduce the fat content of sandwiches by using a low-fat spread and, if you include well-flavored ingredients, still make a filling that is satisfying and appealing. You may also find that wholewheat bread sandwiches have not only more flavor but more staying power.

For example, you can use a low-fat spread on brown bread, top it with cottage cheese, scatter chopped sliced canned pineapple over the cheese and then sprinkle it with chopped chives or scallions. Add a final generous seasoning of sea salt and black pepper. Another successful combination is flaked cooked or canned salmon and chopped watercress, bound with 2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise, garnished with a sliced tomato and sprinkled with lemon juice to finish. You can also use canned tuna or crabmeat with a handful of freshly chopped herbs and use finely shredded lettuce instead of watercress. Chopped red pepper or canned corn kernels add a crunchy texture.

Instead of sliced bread use muffins, lightly toasted focaccia, a walnut or tomato bread or halved French sticks. To give reduced-fat mayonnaise more zest, stir in a teaspoon or two of good strong mustard. And the addition of fresh herbs, such as basil, coriander or flat-leafed parsley, will help to make sandwiches much more attractive and tempting.

Pungently flavored foods in unusual combinations can be so interesting and delicious that no one will ever miss the fat.

09:10:21 on 04/21/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Will reduced-fat Cheddar cheese behave and taste differently when we cook with it?

Modern manufacturing techniques for reduced-fat cheeses are increasingly sophisticated, nevertheless in some situations the performance of these cheeses in cooking is not the same as their full-fat equivalents. A reduced-fat, Cheddar-style hard cheese will melt under the grill, but it will not brown properly. If you want a crusty topping for a baked dish, add breadcrumbs to these reduced-fat hard cheeses.

But in most dishes in which reduced-fat hard cheese is used (such as pastry), you can expect it to perform in much the same way as its full-fat equivalent. When making cheese sauces with reduced-fat cheese, make sure you remove the pan from the heat first, and stir the cheese through at the last minute so it doesn't over-heat. And when using a reduced-fat cheese for sauces, you may also find it necessary to add a little mustard or some herbs to boost the flavor, as it is usually less rich.

09:01:04 on 04/20/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Can all low-fat spreads be used successfully in cooking?

All low-fat or reduced-fat spreads contain less fat than butter or standard block margarine and a great deal more water. This means that while they can be used like butter or margarine as a spread on bread and so forth, they are not always suitable for cooking. They can be used successfully for all-in-one sauces and cakes, for choux pastry and, if mixed with full-fat butter or block margarine, can sometimes be used for other pastry. To make a cheesecake base, normally done by mixing butter with biscuit crumbs, melt the low-fat spread carefully over a low heat and then add the crumbs.

Low-fat spreads are generally not suitable for shallow or deep-fat frying because they contain too much water. However, they can be used in a nonstick saucepan to fry foods such as onions or mushrooms, as long as it is gently done over a low heat. They are also unsuitable for traditional biscuits and cakes, and preserves such as lemon curd, because they do not set firm.

Very low-fat spreads, which have an even higher proportion of water and contain less than 25 percent fat, are quite unsuitable for frying or sauteing because they will spit and are liable to burn very easily.

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14:07:09 on 04/19/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

Can we use reduced-fat soft cheese for making desserts?

You can, but be wary as they will work only in some dishes. While hard cheeses made with vegetable oil can be used in cooking like their fattier equivalents, reduced fat soft cheeses tend to perform poorly in cooking. In particularly, they should not be used for icings or dips as the process of stirring will break down the texture of the cheese and the finished produce will be disappointingly runny.

Reduced-fat soft cheeses can however, be used in recipes such as cheesecakes and mousses which contain several other ingredients, but remember to check the flavor level carefully as these cheeses have a less assertive flavor than their full-fat equivalents.

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14:04:06 on 04/18/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Which cheeses have the lowest natural fat content?

In general, softer cheeses have a lower fat content than hard cheeses because they have a higher percentage of water. Cream cheeses and cheeses labeled double and triple cream are the exceptions as they are particularly high in fat, containing about 47 percent fat. Hard cheeses made from goat's and ewe's milk are likely to be higher in fat than similar cheeses made from cow's milk, as both goat's and ewe's milk have a naturally higher fat content.

If you are aiming to cut down on your fat intake, it is best to stay with cottage cheese or soft, fresh cheeses such as ricotta and feta. Of the harder cheeses, Edam is a better low-fat choice than Cheddar. Some cheese varieties can be found in reduced-fat versions. These include Edam, Swiss, Cheddar, cream and mozzarella.

Some supermarkets stock a selection of lower-fat alternatives to full-fat cheese in which the saturated butter fat has been removed and replaced with polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These cheeses are particularly useful for those people who want to reduce their saturated fat intake. The nutritional information supplied by manufacturers can be misleading. The fat content is often expressed as 'fat in dry matter', which means the fat content of the cheese solids after the water has been removed. An ordinary Brie which is labeled a '60 percent' Brie is not as rich as it sounds because it actually contains half the fat of a regular cream cheese.

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13:01:14 on 04/17/08 by Webmaster - Food, Health and Fitness -

How to serve precooked lobster in a hot dish?

To serve hot, ideally a fresh live lobster is killed by splitting it open, then it is simply grilled or baked in olive oil or butter and herbs. But most home cooks would flinch from chopping up live shellfish and prefer to buy a cooked lobster. Many of the rich classical treatments, such as Lobster Thermidor, use precooked lobster meat that is cut up when cold and then reheated. A sauce is built around the flesh, which is then returned to its shell for a final blaze under a very hot grill to brown the top.

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11:20:51 on 04/16/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why do some recipes recommend to soak liver in milk before cooking?

In the past, liver often had a stronger taste than it does now and it was soaked to soften the flavor. Modern breeding produces liver that has a milder flavor, and lamb's or calf's liver does not need soaking. Whether to soak stronger-tasting pig's and ox liver is a matter of personal taste.

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13:20:56 on 04/15/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Washing leeks

Sometimes we wash leeks under the tap but there always seems to be some grit remaining. So how should we wash them to get rid of it all?

Supermarket leeks usually come trimmed but homegrown ones can be difficult to clean properly. Remove most of the green tops and make slits in the outer layers to enable us to flush out any grit under the cold tap. If more cleaning seems necessary after we have sliced the leeks, rinse them thoroughly under a running tap or stand them in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes.

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14:03:53 on 04/14/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Leeks - An Autumnal Treat

What can we do with the young slim leeks that are sometimes sold in the shops in early winter?

As they are young and tender, they can be quickly steamed or boiled for a salad dressed with a vinaigrette. This is a good entree served at room temperature with warm bread, or an interesting side salad served lukewarm with poached white fish. You can also cut young leeks into short lengths and add them to mixed vegetable soups, vegetarian casseroles or Asian stir-fries.

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12:32:10 on 04/13/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

On Your Honor

What is a guard of honor and how to prepare it?

Guard of honor is one of the most impressive ways to cook new season's tender lamb and it allows you to cut any excess fat off the joint before roasting. Do not overcook the lamb, as it should be served slightly pink. Garnish with a selection of vegetables roasted with the lamb for extra flavor.

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16:17:03 on 04/12/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it necessary to soak kidneys before cooking them?

In the past, kidneys were often stronger in flavor and soaked to soften their taste. Modern breeding and husbandry methods mean that it is unnecessary to soak calf's or lamb's kidneys. Whether or not you soak the stronger-tasting pig's kidneys is a matter of personal choice. Many people prefer to soak ox kidneys in milk, generally for at least an hour, especially if they are a prominent ingredient in a recipe.

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09:19:28 on 04/11/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Kidneys, From Grill to Pie

Are all types of kidney equally suitable for grilling and frying, or for using in steak and kidney pie?

Lamb's and pig's kidneys are both tender and after preparation, can be grilled, fried, casseroled or used in pies. Lamb's kidney has the more subtle flavor; pig's kidney is somewhat stronger. Large, multilobed veal kidneys are lightly colored and delicately flavored but expensive. They are best quickly grilled or fried in order to optimize their tenderness.

Ox kidneys from mature animals are strongly flavored and best cooked slowly with other ingredients in casseroles and pies. Many people consider them the first choice for a steak and kidney pie. The flavor of kidneys combines well with herbs, mushrooms, mustard, olives, peppers, tomatoes and strongly flavored wines.

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06:22:39 on 04/10/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Healthier Jelly

Packet jelly always seems to taste artificial. Is there any easy way I could use fresh fruit to make a healthier, more natural jelly? The answer is yes because fresh oranges, lemons and all berries can be easily converted into jelly and the result has a flavor much nicer than any you make from a packet. Children who resist eating fresh fruit often love jelly and making your own helps to ensure that some vitamins are retained. Fresh fruit jellies should be eaten on the day they are made.

Jellies made with boysenberry, raspberry, strawberry or black-berry will still contain a few seeds even after the puree has been sieved. If this coarser texture is not to your liking, you can remove all the seeds by straining the puree through a muslin cloth. Try making fruit jellies with as little sugar as you can so they are really healthy, and the taste of the fruit comes through.

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11:20:00 on 04/09/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Japanese Cooking

Japanese food looks exquisite but appears to be difficult to prepare. Is there anything quick and easy that could be made at home?

Yes, there is. Sushi is made from rice flavored with mirin, or sweetened rice wine, and formed into finger-sized mounds topped with raw seafood or pickled vegetables. It is an art form in Japan, but the basic technique is simple. Sushi rice can also be rolled around a filling and wrapped in sheets of seaweed called nori, then cut into bite-sized pieces - but the moulded sushi are easier to make. The seafood toppings are raw and must be absolutely fresh. For the most authentic taste and texture, use Japanese sticky rice.

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14:35:36 on 04/08/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

What is the distinctive about the style of Japanese food?

Japanese food covers a much wider spectrum than most people realize. The raw fish, called sashimi, do not dominate the menu. Japanese cuisine is characterized more by methods of cooking than by particular flavors. There are soups, steamed dishes, raw salads, dishes cooked at the table, deep-fried and quick-fried foods as well as boiled and pickled dishes. There are some complicated recipes and also artful blends of seasonings, but the Japanese generally prefer a stylized minimalist presentation.

The Japanese respect and value freshness above all, so the integrity of each ingredient is enhanced by very few strong condiments or spices, on a little soy sauce, perhaps some grated mooli (white radish) and subtle seasonings such as bonito flakes and some delicate herbs. The strongest condiment used regularly is wasabi.

In the 16th century the Portuguese introduced beef-eating to Japan and this became sukiyaki: finely sliced grilled or barbecued beef served with piquant dips. Japanese foods fried in batter are called tempura and are also of Portuguese origin. Noodles are one of the many dishes of Chinese origin, adopted by the Japanese in the 7th century.

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11:19:08 on 04/07/08 by Webmaster - Articles -

Mysterious Lassi

Lassi, a traditional Indian drink, used to be made from buttermilk poured into earthenware crocks, with salt added to combat dehydration in the hot climate. It is now made from thin yogurt, with salt or sugar. To make your own, dilute natural yogurt with water or milk, add salt or sugar to taste, then blend vigorously with crushed ice.

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14:08:34 on 04/06/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Is there a low-fat way of cooking poppadoms so that they are crisp?

The microwave is a blessing for the greaseless cooking of cracker-like poppadoms. Place them one at a time on the turntable of the microwave and cook for 40-60 seconds on High until puffed and crisp. They will not be as fluffy as those that are traditionally fried in oil, but they are considerably healthier.

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09:35:51 on 04/05/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Which are the best herbs to use when making herbal teas?

The most popular herbs to infuse are camomile, hibiscus and peppermint. A mixture of mint and lime flower is very common in France, as is lemon verbena. An unusual tea can be made with fresh sage. Simply put a handful of freshly gathered sage leaves in a small teapot and pour over about 500 ml of nearly boiling water. Then let it stand, covered, for 4-5 minutes, before pouring into cups. Sage tea is reputed to act as a digestive aid, an antiseptic and a slight stimulant.

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14:02:00 on 04/04/08 by Webmaster - Herbs for Health -

Which herbs go well with chicken?

Rosemary is as good with roast chicken as it is with lamb. Simply tuck a few branches between the wings and the body of the bird, and baste well with oil while roasting. Cook in a fairly hot oven so that the chicken browns well. Serve with roast potatoes and a crisp green salad, sprinkling on a few more rosemary leaves.

Other herbs that go well with chicken are lemon balm, sage, tarragon and thyme. They can either be cooked with the meat or added to a sauce served with it.

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09:06:01 on 04/03/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Which herbs go best with fish?

Fennel is served with fish in France, and cilantro in Thailand, while curly parsley is also popular. The Scandinavians usually pair fish with dill, for instance in simple butter sauces or a mustard sauce such as the one below. This usually accompanies cured salmon (gravlax), but is also delicious with any cured or cooked fish, with chicken, and even cold boiled beef.

Dill and mustard sauce recipe
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 12 minutes
Cooking Time: None

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
125 ml yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons chopped dill

Put the mustard in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil drop by drop, as if making mayonnaise. When all the oil is amalgamated, gradually stir in the yogurt. Add lemon juice to taste, sprinkle on the chopped dill and mix well.

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14:42:45 on 04/02/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to choose which herbs to put with vegetables?

All herbs go well with vegetables. It is the nature of the dish, rather than the ingredients, that determines which herb to use. For example, a robust herb such as thyme is a good choice in oily-type stews or casseroles of mixed vegetables. Dill will add freshness to boiled or steamed carrots, lovage is excellent in hearty vegetable soups, while rosemary goes well with roast potatoes. Basil is the obvious choice for tomatoes and oregano is traditional with mixed Greek salads.

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08:34:34 on 04/01/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -