Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Best way to cook pumpkins and squashes

This large family of vegetables has both summer and winter varieties. Summer squashes such as zucchinis, marrows and the small patty pan squashes generally have thin green or yellow skins and moist, subtly flavored white flesh. They need only light steaming, grilling or stir-frying and a sprinkling of salt, pepper and fresh herbs.

Winter varieties, which include both small and large pumpkins, have dense yellow or orange flesh within their hard skins. They respond well to vigorous flavors. Add to a casserole, or use in well-spiced thick winter soups.

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13:19:09 on 08/16/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Difference between sweet potato and yam

Sweet potatoes and yams are members of two different botanical families. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatus) come from the tropical areas of the Americas and have a distinctive sweetness, particularly the pink-skinned, orange-fleshed variety, also known as kumara. There are also some sweeter white or yellow-fleshed varieties grown in the tropics.

Though sweet potatoes are native to tropical America, they also found their way to New Zealand and Asia, and hot baked sweet potatoes are sold in winter on the streets of many Chinese and Japanese cities. The Yam (Dioscorea),is a large, brown-skinned starchy root that can weigh over 5 kg. Its bland yellow or white flesh is a perfect partner for spicy stews in the parts of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean where yams are a staple ingredient.

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10:42:32 on 08/13/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Mashed potatoes with no lumpy bits

Is there is secret of a perfect mash without the lumpy bits? No, unfortunately all electric tools seem to produce mashed potatoes with the gluey texture of wallpaper paste. The easiest way to a lump-free mash is some hard work with a potato masher, or to put the potatoes through a food mill. Additions such as olive oil, cream, butter and milk should be added while the potatoes are warm, along with seasonings of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Vigorous beating is what lightens the mash and at the final stage you could possibly use an electric beater set on a slow speed.

As an alternative to mashing, try riced potatoes, positively lump-free. A potato ricer, available from catering shops and good kitchenware departments, looks rather like a giant garlic press and crushes whole, cooked potatoes, extruding them in a light snow. Rice the potatoes directly into the serving bowl, adding butter and seasonings to the layers as you go. Riced potatoes can be reheated in their bowl, but stirring will sacrifice their lightness.

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00:42:37 on 08/12/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Baking potatoes in a microwave oven

It is not possible to truly bake a potato in a microwave oven. When a potato is properly baked, the heat of the oven reaches the skin first, drying it and sealing in the potato's natural moisture so that the flesh steams as the skin crisps. This delicious contrast of textures cannot be achieved in a microwave oven, which merely cooks the potato.

You can bake small-sized baking potatoes relatively quickly, in about 30 minutes, in a hot oven; they will cook even quicker if you push a metal skewer through them. Alternatively, if you own a convection microwave, compromise and use the combination facility. For best results and to achieve a delicious contrast between crisp skin and soft interior, rub the potato skins with sea salt while they are still damp from washing. Baked potatoes are done when you can press them and feel that the flesh inside is soft and yielding.

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14:39:18 on 08/09/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Waxy and floury potato

Alas, there is not way we can tell by looking at a potato whether it will be waxy or floury. But retailers are increasingly offering advice as to the suitability of potatoes for various cooking methods. The new baby chats or first early Coliban or Sebago varieties available is spring and summer are waxy and good for boiling to eat hot or in salads. Winter maincrop potatoes tend to be floury and good for mashing, but the red-skinned Desiree and Pontiac varieties and Tasmanian Pink-Eye with its red skin and yellow flesh, are firmer and are better for boiling. Good waxy potatoes to look for in winter are Bintje and Kipfler, both which have a fine flavor. New potatoes are reliably waxy and are good for salads. Waxy and floury varieties of potato all cook very successfully in the microwave oven.

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01:18:42 on 08/07/08 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -