Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Preserving fruits in spirit

Fruit preserved for a month or more in alcohol makes wonderful, easy-to-make winter desserts. Most fruits are suitable, with the exception of very watery ones such as melons as these dilute the alcohol, which may result in mold growth or fermentation.

For the best results, use ripe, unblemished fruit: berries should be hulled; currants, gooseberries and grapes stripped of their stalks; nectarines, peaches, apricots and plums should be halved and stoned; pineapples should be peeled, cored and sliced or cubed; cherries and kumquats should be pricked and kept whole; apples and pears should be peeled, cored and sliced. Firmer fruit such as peaches, apples and pears are better if they are poached in a sugar syrup first.

Pack the prepared fruit into clean jars, layering it with sugar as you go, then cover with alcohol such as rum, brandy, kirsch, vodka or any flavored liqueur. Cooked fruits are packed with their cooled sugar syrup plus an equal quantity of alcohol. With either raw or cooked fruit, spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise or vanilla can be added for extra flavor. Seal the jars tightly; as long as the fruits are kept covered by the alcohol, they should keep for about a year.

** Asian Recipes **

06:57:20 on 10/26/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Different types of seaweed

Arame has a particularly high calcium content and can be bought already shredded in a dark-green tangle. Very strongly flavored, it is used in Japanese miso soup and a small amount makes an exciting addition to mushroom or seafood risottos as well as Asian rice dishes. It needs a 5-minute soak and then 30 minutes cooking.

Dulse, which is available fresh and dried, is good in soups and in vegetable or grain dishes. You can eat it deep-fried or, after a brief soak to soften it, shred it into salads or their dressings, for example the Asian salad dressing. This can be poured over cooked fish or grilled shrimps, or served as a dipping sauce.

Kombu is valuable in vegetarian stocks. A strip of kombu cooked with dried beans both speeds up their cooking time and contributes flavor - even a strip that has been simmered for 20 minutes in stock.

Nori is one of the most common seaweeds. It is sold in sheets which can be lightly toasted for additional flavor and then used in sushi or crumbled over rice or vegetables. Nori also comes ready-flaked, so it can be either sprinkled, uncooked, over rice dishes, or added to pancake or tempura batters for extra flavor.

** Asian Recipes **

18:03:33 on 10/03/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Difference between seeds and spices

The difference between seeds and spices is a haze one, as many spices are themselves seeds. The distinction seems to be made between those that impart their flavor to other foods (for example, caraway, celery and mustard), which are regarded as spices, and those that retain their own flavor (for example, poppy seeds). All seeds, especially pumpkin, sunflower and sesame, are rich in essential minerals and vitamins, and they are also exceedingly high in kilojoules.

Black seeds, such as poppy seeds, come in useful for adding a color contrast to pale dishes. Both black mustard seeds and black (unhulled) sesame seeds can be bought in India shops, as can small black seeds called kalongi, which have a pleasant, earthy flavor.

** Asian Recipes **

02:56:45 on 10/02/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -