Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

The delicious seaweed

Seaweed is quite delicious, with a pleasant fresh saltiness reminiscent of the sea. Vegetarians have always recognized the importance of sea vegetables, which are a valuable, and inexpensive, source of concentrated essential vitamins and minerals. They also rely on carrageen or agar-agar, seaweed used for thickening and gelling, instead of animal-derived gelatine.

Asian have always been more ready to eat sea vegetables than Westerners, and seaweed is particularly popular in Japan with its long jagged coastline. The proliferation of Japanese restaurants all over the world has spurred interest in sea vegetables, and there is a wide variety of dried marine vegetation now on sale in Asian food stores and health food shops.

Seaweeds are eaten as vegetables, are used as garnishes and in dressings, and add a distinctive salty flavor to soups and snacks such as crispy rice crackers.

** Asian Recipes **

13:32:22 on 09/30/08 by Webmaster - General -

Different types of scallops

Scallops, classified by their shell size, range from 7.5 to 10 cm up to the great scallops available in the northern hemisphere, which can grow as large as 15 cm. The coral, or roe (eggs), is prized for its sweet creamy taste and striking color. Scallops can be sliced in half horizontally if large but Australia scallops are generally left whole. They need only very brief cooking. 1-2 minutes deep-fried, grilled or poached; 2-3 minutes sauteed. Heat the coral for a few seconds at the end of the cooking time.

** Asian Recipes **

16:20:21 on 09/29/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Sauces that does not use meat stock or dairy products

Sauces made with vegetable stock can be made more lively by the addition of strong flavorings such as chili, garlic, ginger, plenty of fresh herbs or a splash of wine, and thickened if you wish with pureed vegetables. The versatile vegan tomato sauce is one of the most popular sauces. It is full of flavor, easy to make and delicious whether hot or cold. Serve it with rice, polenta or any grain dish, or with stuffed, grilled, or boiled vegetables.

** Asian Recipes **

05:38:07 on 09/28/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Making sauce in advance

Most sauces can be made ahead and kept warm in a bain-marie for up to an hour. When you need the sauce, raise the heat, stir it until heated through and smooth, then simmer for a minute. Sauces can also be reheated in a microwave oven set on Medium-High; whisk the sauce every minute until well heated, thick and smooth.

Sauces can be chilled for several days, or frozen for one to two months, and then reheated. However, by the time you have thawed, reconstituted and stirred a frozen sauce back to the right texture, you could have made it from scratch. Egg-based sauces, such as custard, should not be frozen because they usually curdle after thawing.

** Asian Recipes **

03:19:55 on 09/27/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Making peanut sauce or satay sauce

The peanut sauce, also called satay sauce, is widely available but making your own is more satisfying and will taste more authentic. Most commercial brands of satay sauce leave out shrimp paste, a fundamental ingredient, because it does not have a long shelf life. Ready-made satay sauce tends to be very thick as the ground nuts absorb some of the liquid over time. You can thin it by adding a little water or coconut milk, heating the sauce until lukewarm, and then stirring to make it smooth. When making satay sauce, it is better to buy unsalted peanuts that have been shelled and roasted and then grind them yourself at home. The simplest way to crush peanuts is to put them into freezer bags, one inside the other, and pound them with a rolling pin until fine.

** Asian Recipes **

23:40:01 on 09/26/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Is it possible to make fish or seafood satay?

Yes, but only a few fish stand up to being skewered in this way. Use fish with firm flesh, such as ling and jewfish. These can be cut up in the same way as meat and poultry, but the pieces should be slightly larger so that they do not fall apart when threaded onto the skewer. Shrimps should be shelled and left whole. Thread one jumbo or two medium green shrimps onto each stick. Scallops can be used while, while green lobster should be cut into medallions about 2 cm thick and then threaded onto the skewer.

** Shrimp Satay Recipe **

05:58:20 on 09/25/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Preparing satay ahead of time

Satay can be prepared one day ahead. Marinating for longer results in even more succulence and a richer flavor than meat not treated in this way. The satay can also be grilled or barbecued in the morning to serve in the evening, but should then be covered with plastic wrap to prevent the meat drying out.

To reheat, put the satay in a shallow baking dish without crowding or overlapping, and warm through in an oven that has been preheated to 150C. The satay is ready when the oil has taken on a sheen.

** Chicken Satay Recipe **

03:16:19 on 09/24/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

What is samphire?

Samphire is a native Australian plant that grows in marshes, at the back of mangrove swamps, also in the outback in low-lying areas affected by salt. There are a number of species, related to, but different from, the European variety. Gather some yourself, for it is delicious. Its soft, salty flavor goes well with fish in white sauce, and also makes a fine first course, served like asparagus with melted butter. It needs rigorous washing to get rid of any sand, but samphire should be cooked for only about 1 minute. It is done when you can suck the flesh away from the fiber in the middle of the stem.

** Australian Food **

13:04:47 on 09/23/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What to do when putting too much salt in a dish?

It depends on the dish. In the case of a semi-liquid dish like a soup or stew, you can add a couple of peeled and sliced potatoes to soak up the salt: cook them until tender, then discard before serving. Alternatively, you may add a couple of spoonfuls of rice or pasta pieces, but these will have to stay in the dish after cooking. Other thick, bland foods, such as cream or yogurt, can be added to help reduce the saltiness. The damage is harder to counteract in dishes which have a thicker consistency. The only solution is to cook a second batch of half the quantity of the recipe without salt, and then to combine it with the oversalted lot.

** Asian Recipes **

13:03:37 on 09/22/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Difference between ordinary salt and sea salt. Which is better for cooking?

Most ordinary salt is rock salt, the residue of ancient oceans mined from underground, which comes finely ground or in large crystals. Some cooks prefer to use coarse rock or sea salt (which has been evaporated from sea water, or from salt marshes), as these do not need the anti-caking additives used in many brands of finely ground salt. Sea salt is a good choice for both cooking and the table. One of the finest is Maldon salt from Essex, in England, with large soft flakes that can be crushed by the fingers.

** Asian Recipes **

09:48:06 on 09/21/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Difference between ordinary salt and sea salt. Which is better for cooking?

Most ordinary salt is rock salt, the residue of ancient oceans mined from underground, which comes finely ground or in large crystals. Some cooks prefer to use coarse rock or sea salt (which has been evaporated from sea water, or from salt marshes), as these do not need the anti-caking additives used in many brands of finely ground salt. Sea salt is a good choice for both cooking and the table. One of the finest is Maldon salt from Essex, in England, with large soft flakes that can be crushed by the fingers.

** Asian Recipes **

09:47:05 on 09/21/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Improvised fish kettle for cooking salmon

If you do not want to go to the expense of buying a fish kettle that will be used only rarely, you can hire fish kettles from some catering suppliers and large hotels for a special occasion. It is also possible to use a baking dish instead. Alternatively, you can bake the fish on a large baking tray in the oven. Preheat the oven to 160C. Brush a large piece of strong foil with oil or melted butter and put it on a baking tray. Put the gutted and cleaned fish in the center (if it is too big the head and tail can be cut off), season it inside with salt, pepper, slices of lemon or herbs if you want to, and wrap it loosely in the foil, folding over the edges to seal the parcel.

If the salmon is to be served hot, cook it for 30 minutes per kg. Remove the fish from the oven and leave it to set, still wrapped in the foil, for 5 minutes. If the fish is to be served cold, cook it for 20 minutes per kg, then remove it from the oven. Keep the fish wrapped in the foil until it has cooled down completely.

** Asian Cooking **

10:59:44 on 09/20/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

How to calculate the cooking time when poaching whole salmon?

A whole poached salmon can be served either hot or cold, and the cooking method varies accordingly. This accounts for the wide variation in cooking times given for whole salmon in recipe books. For a salmon that is to be served cold, put the fish into cold water or court bouillon, cover and then bring it to the boil, skimming off any scum that forms. Turn off the heat as soon as it reaches the boil and leave the salmon in the liquid to cool completely before dressing it with your chosen garnishes. It is not necessary to set the trimmings in an aspic glaze. If preferred, fresh herbs can simply be arranged decoratively on top.

For a salmon that is to be served hot, pour enough court bouillon or water to cover the fish into a fish kettle, but do not add the salmon. Bring the liquid to the boil, and then add the fish. Return it to simmering point and poach the salmon gently, allowing 10 minutes per kg. Remove the fish from the liquid, then cover and leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

To accompany the salmon, serve tiny new potatoes, freshly made mayonnaise, and a cucumber salad made with fresh dill or mint, thick natural yogurt and black pepper.

** Asian Cooking **

07:04:49 on 09/19/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is saffron added directly to dishes, or do we have to prepare it first?

Saffron, which comes from a flower of the crocus family, is sold either as whole strands or in powdered form. Strands should be toasted briefly, just for a few seconds, in a dry frying pan over a gentle heat, then pounded in a mortar and steeped in a little hot liquid, stock, milk or water, in order to disseminate their flavor and color more freely. Powdered saffron can be added directly to dishes.

** Asian Recipes **

08:01:51 on 09/18/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Electrical fire in the kitchen

If there is an electrical fire in your kitchen, firstly turn off the power and pull out the plug, if possible. A small fire will probably go out once the power is cut. If it persists, it is best to use a dry-powder fire extinguisher on a small electrical fire: conveniently sized extinguishers of dry chemical powder marked 'for kitchen use' are sold by hardware shops. Never use water on an electrical fire.

If the source of a fire is in the socket rather than the appliance, it may indicate a fault in the wiring. In the event of a socket fire, do not attempt to fight it yourself. Close the doors and windows, leave the room and call the fire brigade.

** Kitchen Safety **

07:55:02 on 09/17/08 by Webmaster - General -

What to do when oil catches fire in a deep-fryer or saucepan?

Never throw water on an oil fire as it will cause an explosion of hot fat. Turn off the heat but do not move the pan as the flames could blow towards you. To deprive the flames of oxygen, cover the pan with a fire blanket, or use a damp towel or a metal lid or tray. When approaching the burning pan, keep the cloth or lid between you and the flames.

Leave the pan covered for at least 30 minutes; do not uncover it sooner as it could reignite. To minimize the risk of an oil fire, never fill a pan more than half full of oil. If you feel unable to cope with fire, shut the doors and windows to contain the flames, leave the room and call the fire brigade. Do not go back into the room.

** Kitchen Safety **

00:18:10 on 09/16/08 by Webmaster - General -

Coping with gas leaks in the kitchen

If you smell gas, extinguish any naked flames immediately, but do not turn any electrical switches on or off. Open the door and windows to let the gas disperse. Turn off the gas supply to the stove and any other gas appliances such as a gas fire, either at the tap that supplies it, or if it does not have one, at the main tap next to the meter. Usually when the lever is parallel with the pipe the gas is on, when it is at right angles to the pipe the gas is off.

If you cannot turn off the supply, or the smell continues after the gas has been turned off, ring your area's gas supplier immediately. Their 24-hour emergency service number should be listed in the phone book.

** Asian Kitchen **

13:19:19 on 09/15/08 by Webmaster - General -

Best first aid action when got burnt in the kitchen

Never apply butter, lotion or ointment to a burn, as these trap the heat and intensify the problem. Instead, run cold water over the affected area for at least 10 minutes. Remove any rings, watches or tight clothing before any swelling starts, then cover the burn with a sterile dressing or any other clean, non-fluffy covering.

If the burn is large, or the skin looks charred and grey, or there is clothing stuck to the burnt area, the injury may be serious. Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag to prevent infection and reduce dehydration of the area, and cool the burn by running cold water over the film or bag. Do not touch the affected area, burst any blisters or remove anything sticking to the burn. Seek immediate medical help for any burn larger than a 10 cent coin.

** Kitchen Safety **

04:31:54 on 09/14/08 by Webmaster - General -

What is rosewater?

Rosewater is a clear liquid with a delicate flavoring derived from scented rose petals. When made for its scent, to freshen pillows and sheets for instance, it is made from plain water, but for cooking purposes it is made from the distilled essence of rose petals. Rosewater is used a great deal in Middle Eastern dishes and Balkan confectionery, and in some Indian cooking. It can be added to sweet syrups for poaching fruit, serving with fritters or pouring over sponge cakes to moisten them, or mixed into icings, milk puddings, cream, ice creams and cold souffles. Some savory rice dishes, such as pilau, also contain rosewater.

The other commercially available flower water is orange flower water, which is made from the flowers of the bitter Seville orange. It is used in cooking in the same way as rosewater. Commercial rosewater and orange flower water are both distilled, so it is not possible to make your own at home.

** Asian Recipes **

00:46:34 on 09/13/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Advantage of barding and larding over basting

Very lean meats, such as veal and game birds, and very small joints of any meat, need extra fat when they are roasted or they become dry and tough. Continual basting is time consuming, and opening the oven door lowers the temperatures. The answer is to make a roast 'self-basting', by barding or larding it.

Barding involves covering the joint with a layer of fat, which melts over the meat as it cooks. Pork back fat is the most suitable as it does not have a strong flavor, but some game birds are barded with streaky bacon, tied into place.

Larding involves threading strips of pork back fat through the meat with a larding needle. It is particularly suitable for large joints which need a long cooking time as the fat slowly dissolves, basting the meat internally and adding extra richness to the meat juices.

** Asian Recipes **

12:01:02 on 09/12/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Ensuring a successful roast

Roasting should be trouble-free, but here are some general rules:

  • Weigh the meat to calculate cooking time, but remember that cooking times
    are meant only as a general guide, and a long, thin piece of meat will take
    less time to cook than a thick round one of the same weight.

  • Before putting the meat on to cook, allow time to preheat the oven to the
    required temperature and this may take 15 minutes or more.

  • Put the meat on a wire rack or trivet in a baking dish. This keeps the
    meat off the bottom of the tin where the melting fat accumulates, and allows
    the heat to penetrate the meat more evenly as it circulates around it.

  • Beef and lamb should be cooked at 230C for 20 minutes first, to brown
    them. The temperature is then reduced and roasting completed according to the
    recipe. Roast pork does not need this initial browning as it is cooked at a
    higher temperature to ensure crisp crackling.

  • Halfway through the cooking time, check the meat. If it is well browned on
    top, turn it over and baste it with the melted fat and juices in the bottom of
    the pan.

  • Lamb and beef must reach an internal temperature of 60C to be rare, 70C to
    be medium pink and 80C to be well done. Pork and chicken must reach 85C. A
    meat thermometer inserted directly into the center of the meat eliminates
    guesswork. It should be positioned when the roasting is almost complete, and
    should not touch any bones or the baking dish as both of these conduct heat.

  • When the cooking time is up, stand the roast on a warm serving platter in
    a warm place to relax and firm up, or leave it to rest in the turned-off oven
    with the door ajar while you make the gravy.

** Asian Recipes **

04:50:58 on 09/11/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Roasting small joints

Joints of meat and poultry that weigh under 1.5 kg are now commonly available, reflecting the growing number of small households. These joints need extra care to be successfully roasted. Although small, they still need time to cook through, and as there is not enough fat and juices to keep the meat moist, they could become dry and tough. The answer is to barb them, and baste often.

Making gravy from small joints is another problem, because they will not provide enough of the vital sticky juices. But you can create the basis of a good gravy by roasting the meat on a bed of sliced onion and carrot and pouring 150 ml of stock, wine or water into the baking dish at the start.

** Asian Recipes **

02:51:32 on 09/10/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Resting meat and poultry after roasting. Why and how long?

Resting meat after roasting allows the fibers of the meat to relax. The juices, which expand during roasting, shrink as the meat cools so the joint deflates and the fibers consolidate. The meat is then firmer and easier to carve. If you try to carve it straight from the oven, the slices will be ragged and steam from the hot juices can cause scalding.

Large joints weighing more than 2 kg should be covered in foil and rested for 20-30 minutes. Small roasts need 10-15 minutes and can be rested uncovered.

** Asian Recipes **

03:24:03 on 09/09/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the difference between roasting and spit-roasting?

Roasting is a method of cooking food, usually meat, in the oven with no liquid other than fat. The food is regularly basted to prevent the upper part of the meat drying out, and to enhance the flavor. In spit-roasting, meat is skewered onto a rod and cooked in front of or above an open fire, being turned regularly to ensure cooking throughout and to run the fat and meat juices over the surface. Nowadays some ovens or grills have electrically operated spits, known as rotisseries, built into them.

** Asian Recipes **

03:15:07 on 09/08/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

My rice puddings tend to be a bit thin. How to rectify this?

Too much milk can make the pudding thin and runny. You may also be using the wrong rice. Short-grain rice, also known as pearl, round or pudding rice, contains more starch than long- or medium-grain rice so that it absorbs a large quantity of liquid and becomes quite sticky and very soft.

To enrich the mixture, replace some of the milk with the same quantity of fresh cream, and dot 2 teaspoons of butter over the top before baking. You will also achieve a creamier result if you stir in the skin 30 minutes into the cooking time, and again about two-thirds of the way through.

** Asian Recipes **

03:04:13 on 09/07/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is there a quick way to cook a smooth rice pudding?

Not really. Rice pudding is always best cooked slowly, so that the rice will absorb all the milk and soften. It is normally baked at a low temperature for a couple of hours, but may also be simmered on the hotplate in a covered saucepan, as long as the heat is kept low and the mixture is stirred frequently.

The only way to speed up the process is to use a microwave oven but it will still take about an hour, and care must be taken as milky puddings have a tendency to boil over in the microwave.

** Asian Recipes **

02:49:17 on 09/06/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What makes wild rice different from ordinary rice?

Wild rice is actually not a rice at all. It is an aquatic grass with thin black grains that is indigenous to Canada and the northern United States. Wild rice absorbs four times its volume of liquid during cooking and takes much longer to cook than ordinary rice; anything from 35-60 minutes. It has an intriguing nutty flavor and is extremely nutritious as it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Wild rice is also a good source of fiber, is gluten free and low in kilojoules and cholesterol.

** Asian Recipes **

11:30:06 on 09/05/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Should we allow the same amount of rice per person for different dishes, or does it vary?

As an accompaniment to a curry or a stew, 60-90 g of uncooked rice per person is the accepted norm. A rice salad for two people will require a greater quantity of rice, as much as 125 g per person. For a risotto or a paella, where the rice makes up the greatest part of the dish with extra meat, fish and vegetables added, the quantity of rice required could also be as much as 125 g per person. In Spain the rice traditionally used for paella is a creamy variety from Valencia. It is not easy to find outside the region, although some quality supermarkets and specialist food stores stock it. You can use arborio rice instead.

** Food and Culture **

13:33:36 on 09/04/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Keeping rice warm and reheating leftover rice

One of the best ways to keep rice warm is to put it in a large heat-proof dish or platter, fork it through well, cover it with a tent of foil and keep it warm in a preheated oven at 140C until ready to serve. Leftover rice can be steamed in a muslin-lined steamer for 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly until it is heated through, or put into a large pan of boiling water, brought back to the boil and drained immediately. Alternatively, stir-fry the rice for a few minutes or heat it in a microwave just before serving.

** Asian Recipes **

06:59:34 on 09/03/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Are pilau and risotto the same dish with different names?

No, there is very little similarity between risotto and pilau dishes, although both are savory and often combined with a mixture of meat or fish, spices and vegetables. The Italian risotto is authentically made with a long, large-grained Italian rice called superfino, a variety that includes the arborio and canaroli rices, though a fino rice called vialone, a long and tapering grain, is also used. These can be found in well-stocked delicatessens and some supermarkets.

Risottos are cooked in a heavy-based pan to which simmering stock is added a little at a time. The rice is stirred continually as it cooks so that it absorbs the liquid, becoming creamier and stickier as the starch in the grain is released. The risotto is cooked when the rice grains have swollen to about three times their original size and are still slightly crunchy in the center.

Pilau is Indian in origin although many Middle Eastern and North African countries cook pilaf, which is similar. The rice (usually basmati) for a pilau or pilaf should be washed and then left to soak in plenty of cold water for an hour or so before cooking to remove the excess starch and soften the grains, so that they do not stick together. The rice is first fried in butter or oil, then as soon as the liquid is added the rice is left undisturbed until the grains are cooked through.

Pilaf can be cooked either in a pan on top of the stove, or in a casserole dish in the oven, with the ingredients arranged in layers so that they cook evenly. In either case, use a pan with a tight-fitting lid.

** Asian Recipes **

04:43:34 on 09/02/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can we stir the rice while it is cooking?

Stirring rice while it is cooking makes it more sticky as the action releases the starch in the grain. You should only stir rice once, at the beginning of cooking, to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. However, when you cook a risotto, which needs to be sticky, it is important to stir the grains continually, which releases the starch as the rice cooks and absorbs the liquid in which it is cooking.

** Asian Cooking **

06:40:47 on 09/01/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -