Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

How to avoid tough marinated foods?

Go easy on the acid in the marinade, which can toughen the proteins in food. Tender meats such as chicken breast will toughen fairly quickly in an overly acidic marinade. For beef, pork, or chicken, use no more than an equal part of acid to oil to make about half cup marinade per pound of meat.

To avoid tough seafood, use a marinade with little or no acidic ingredients (lemon juice, vinegar, and wine are common acidic ingredients). The acid virtually "cooks" the raw seafood. If acid is used, add no more than 2 tablespoons per quarter cup in the marinade. To marinate fish or seafood without using acid, use a non-acidic liquid such as a herb-infused oil, or use a spice rub instead. You can always add an acid for flavor once the fish is cooked.

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14:58:57 on 10/26/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

About Kiwifruit, a nutritious fruit

Kiwi is an ideal fruit to pack: juicy, not bulky, and nutritious. In fact, kiwi is often regarded as one of the most nutritious fruits, followed by papaya, mango, and orange. Two kiwis contain more potassium than a banana, as much fiber as a grapefruit, and twice as much vitamin C as an orange.

To peel kiwifruit, simply cut a slice from both ends of the kiwi and remove the peel in strips running from end to end, using a small knife or vegetable peeler. Or, after cutting off the ends, hold the kiwi in your hand and insert a dinnerware tablespoon into one end of the kiwi, right next to the skin. Rotate the spoon around the fruit just under the skin. The fruit will pop right out of its skin.

To ripen Kiwifruit faster, place the kiwi in a brown bag with an apple or a banana. Seal and let stand at room temperature overnight. Ethylene gas emitted by apples and bananas helps other fruits ripen more quickly.

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10:22:18 on 07/25/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Using Honey or Nectar

A thick, luscious sweetener, honey is the product of bees, made from the nectar they collect as they travel among various flowers.

Choosing honey
The flavor and color of honey is determined by the type of blossom from which the nectar is collected. Generally, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. Commercial honey producers usually blend different varieties of honeys for a consistent color and flavor. Wildflower honeys are not blended but are made when beekeepers position their hives so that the bees collect nectar from just a single variety of flower. These honeys tend to have the most pronounced flavors.

Storing honey
Store honey in an airtight container at room temperature. When stored at too cold a temperature, honey may crystallize.

To substitute honey for sugar
For general cooking, substitute 1 cup honey for 1 1/4 cups sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup. For baking, use the same ratios, but replace no more than half the amount of sugar in the recipe. Also, add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients if the recipe has no baking soda, baking powder, or other acid (such as citrus, yogurt, or sour cream). Reduce the oven temperature by 25F to prevent over-browning. For jams, jellies, or candies, use the same ratios as for general cooking, but slightly increase the cooking temperature to allow the extra liquid to evaporate.

To prevent honey from crystallizing
Store the honey in a dark, dry place at room temperature. However, if it has crystallized, you can liquefy it by putting the container in a pot of hot water until the crystals dissolve. Or microwave the honey container on medium power for 5 seconds if cloudy or 10 seconds if crystallized solid. Make sure that the container doesn't have any metal parts, and loosen or remove the top to allow steam to escape.

To prevent honey from sticking to a measuring cup or spoon
Coat the utensil with cooking spray or dip it in oil before measuring. Likewise, to avoid sticky lids on honey jars, wipe the lid and rim of the jar clean with a hot, damp cloth. Then spray some cooking spray on both the lid threads and the jar rim.

Fascinating facts about honey
To make a pound of honey, worker bees must forage nectar from millions of flowers. To communicate the location of nectar sources the bees perform several different and distinct dances.

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11:49:04 on 07/07/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -


Also known as filberts, hazelnuts have a distinctively sweet, nutty flavor. The nickname "filbert" comes from the feast day of Saint Philibert (August 22), the day on which filberts are said to be ready for picking from the hedgerows where they grow in England.

To roast and peel hazelnuts, place them on a baking sheet and toast at 350F until golden beneath the skin, about 12 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. While the nuts are still hot, place them on a clean towel or cloth and rub to remove the skin (it's okay if some bits of skin remain). Another way to remove the skins is to boil the nuts before you toast them. Combine 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons baking soda in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and boil 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water. The water will end up a murky mess, but the skins will vanish. Pat the skinned nuts dry, then toast them at 350F until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

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15:14:52 on 07/04/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Solving Problems with Gravy

To darken gravy
Cook the skinned drippings in the pan over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes before adding liquid. You can also add browning liquid (available in most grocery stores). Or, roast some carrots, onions, and celery in the pan in which the meat is roasting. Add the vegetables 1 hour before the meat is scheduled to be done. Remove and serve the vegetables. They will leave behind rich, brown, crusty bits in the pan that will boost the color and flavor of gravy made from pan drippings.

To thicken gravy
First, try cooking it down over medium heat to evaporate excess liquid. Or, if you don't want to reduce the volume, thicken the gravy with cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot. Use 1.5 tablespoons flour for each cup of liquid. If you're using cornstarch or arrowroot, dissolve 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot in 1 tablespoon cold water (and 2 tablespoons dry white wine, if desired). Stir into 1 cup of hot broth at the end of cooking time, and cook until thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, cook 1 minute more. These proportions will make about 1 cup of medium-thick gravy.

To minimize lumps when thickening gravy
Dissolve the thickener in a small amount of cold water before adding to the gravy.

To remove lumps from gravy
Beat vigorously with whisk. Or pour the gravy through a mesh sieve, pressing out the lumps. You can also dip an immersion blender into the gravy to make it smooth, or run the gravy through a food processor.

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10:04:27 on 06/21/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Making gravy out of the roasting pan

Some cooks find it awkward to make gravy the traditional way in a roasting pan with a wide surface area. Alternatively: Start the gravy while the roast is cooking. In a heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 tablespoon flour and stir over medium heat until the flour starts to brown, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups broth (chicken or beef, depending on desired flavor), and simmer 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. When the roast is done, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board. Skim the fat from the surface of the drippings and add another 1/2 cup broth (or wine) to the drippings in the roasting pan. Stir all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the liquid and pour it all into the sauce you have made. Heat to a simmer and stir to mix.

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06:34:28 on 06/20/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

How to skim fat from pan drippings

Pour them into a fat separator. The fat will rise to the surface and the drippings can be poured out from the bottom spout. Or, for small amounts of fat, sop them up with a piece of soft, absorbent bread or strips of paper towels. Or instead, place a few ice cubes in a slotted spoon and drag it across the surface. The ice will act as a magnet, attracting the fat. Then, throw the ice cubes away.

If you are using a baster, avoid trying to extract the thin layer of fat on top. Instead, position the baster tip at the bottom of the pan and extract the drippings, leaving the fat in the pan. Use the drippings to flavor grave or sauce.

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12:01:00 on 06/18/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Making Gravy

Surely one of the best loved of all sauces, gravy is made from the juices left in the pan after roasting meat, chicken, or fish. It may be thickened with flour or cornstarch or simply skimmed of fat and seasoned.

Choosing the right pan to make gravy
When planning to make gravy, use a roasting pan that encourages sticking. The browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan add intense flavor to the sauce. Avoid nonstick pans.

Making gravy in the roasting pan
Transfer the roasted meat from the pan to a serving platter. Traditionally the pan is tipped so that all the fat and drippings collect in the corner; then, all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat is spooned out and discarded, while the browned bits in the bottom of the pan are retained.

Alternatively, pour all the pan juices into a large measuring cup, then spoon off some of the fat from the surface and return it to the pan. Pour off and discard the remaining fat, and reserve the juices. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk a little flour into the fat, scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan as you whisk. Then cook until a smooth paste forms and the flour begins to smell toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the reserved pan juices and/or other hot liquids, such as stock or canned broth, or cider, beer, wine, or other spirits. Simmer the gravy until it has thickened and no longer tastes floury, about 10 minutes. Strain the gravy, season with salt, pepper and/or herbs, and keep warm until ready to serve.

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01:52:29 on 06/16/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Cooking with Goose

Though it is entirely dark meat, rich, moist goose is not the least bit gamy tasting. The bird is quite fatty, though, releasing a quart or more of fat into the pan as it cooks. One consolation: The fat is concentrated in the skin, while the meat itself is quite lean.

Choosing a goose
There is a great deal of skin, fat, and bones in proportion to meat on these birds, so always buy the largest goose you can find. When preparing, run your fingers between the fat and the meat before cooking. Also, prick the skin all over with a sharp-tined fork. This helps excess fat melt better and drain away during cooking.

To roast a goose
Cook the bird in a 375F oven for 45 minutes. Then, increase the temperature to 400F and continue cooking until the juices run clear and the thigh meat registers 175F to 180F on an instant-read thermometer (for a whole goose) or the center is still slightly pink (for the breast), about 12 to 15 minutes per pound. Put a little water in the bottom of the roasting pan. This helps draw the fat out of the bird and creates steam, which keeps the skin from browning too quickly.

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15:41:35 on 06/03/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

More tips on using ginger

When storing ginger in liquid
Peel pieces or slices of ginger, place them in a glass jar, and fill with dry sherry or vodka. Secure the lid and refrigerate for 4 to 6 weeks. The sherry (or vodka) and ginger will exchange flavors during storage. You can use ginger-kissed sherry in stir-fry sauces or marinades.

To juice ginger
When you want the pure essence of ginger without the fibers, make ginger juice. A tablespoon or two is great in sauces or marinades for chicken breast strips or shrimp. The easiest method is to keep a chunk of ginger in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, thaw it, then press out the juices with a garlic press. You can also peel fresh ginger, cut it into chunks, and shred it on a cheese grater or puree it in a food processor. Then, wrap the shredded or pureed ginger in a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.

To use ground ginger
Avoid using ground ginger to replace fresh ginger. It's made from the same rhizome as fresh ginger but it has a very different flavor. Ground ginger works best in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and other baked goods, as well as in curries with other Indian spices.

To use candied ginger
Crystallized, or candied, ginger is usually made from slices of fresh ginger that have been softened in a sugar syrup and coated with crystallized sugar. Store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Chop or snip with scissors and add freely to cookie doughs, muffins, scones, or ice cream. Crystallized ginger also makes an elegant addition to glazes for roasted poultry or braised root vegetables.

To use Japanese pickled pink ginger
When tender young spring and fall ginger is sliced paper-thin and pickled, it turns a lovely pink color. Eat pickled ginger with sushi and sashimi, or add to relish-like condiments, marinades,m and mayonnaise.

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10:51:19 on 05/24/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

How to tame the bite of raw garlic

In order to tame the bite of raw garlic, saute it briefly in a little oil, just to soften but not color. This is a good technique before making recipes that usually begin with raw garlic. You can also drop unpeeled garlic cloves in boiling water for 1 minute. The peels will slip off easily and the garlic flavor will have mellowed. Or you can toast unpeeled cloves in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Peel and use as desired.

Garlic also provides flavor to mashed potatoes quite well. When making a pot of mashed potatoes, add 1 to 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves to the cooking water with the potatoes. After draining, mash as usual, garlic cloves included. The cooked garlic will add a mellow garlic flavor.

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11:36:34 on 05/08/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Flavor Essences

These are concentrated flavorings made by distilling fruit or other ingredients with the same process used to distill perfume. Flavor essences are much stronger and purer than flavor extracts such as vanilla extract, and a little goes a long way. In fact, if you use too much, the flavor can be intensely unpleasant. For example, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon flavor essence would be enough to flavor 1 quart of fruit sorbet. You can buy flavor essences in large supermarkets and specialty shops and through catalogs.

To boost the flavor of strawberries
When sweetening 1 or 2 pints of strawberries, reserve the best ones whole or halved, then mash the remaining ones with sugar to taste, and add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon wild strawberry essence (and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, if desired).

To mix or match flavor essences
Dozens of flavor essences are available: strawberry, raspberry, peach, pineapple, pistachio, chocolate, caramel, and coffee, to name just a few. They always work well when matching, say, fresh pineapple with pineapple essence, but you can experiment and add caramel along with the pineapple essence to create a great flavoring.

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12:35:35 on 05/01/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Flavor as the sense of taste

The complex quality of food that affects our sense of taste is known as flavor. Most people can distinguish four basic flavors: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. But studies have revealed that at least four more flavors exist.

To layer flavors, add a little bit more of the herbs, seasonings, or wine that was added at the start of cooking. This technique works best in dishes that simmer, stew, or braise for a long time, such as hot soup, stew, pot roast, or spaghetti sauce. Add the second layer of flavor 20 to 30 minutes before the cooking is complete.

To create big flavors, use multiple forms of the same ingredient. For example, you could use fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, and ground ginger to boost flavor in gingerbread. Or, in a sauce, use fresh or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes. Combined lemon juice and lemon zest for bigger lemon flavor. Combine dried and fresh mushrooms for deeper mushroom flavor. Each form of an ingredient has its own flavor, but when combined, two or three forms create a bolder, more exciting flavor.

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10:41:52 on 04/26/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Food Garnishes

"The eyes are the first to feast" is an old saying that contains more than a grain of truth. Garnishes can be as simple as a sprig of parsley or as elaborate as exotically carved vegetables and ice sculptures. To garnish food, make sure that the garnish complements the dish. For example, if a chicken dish is seasoned with basil, tuck a few leaves of fresh basil under the chicken as garnish. Or use lemon twist on seafood. Always garnish a plate just before serving. Garnishes that sit on a plate for too long, even if refrigerated, are likely to fade and look less than fresh by the time they get to the table.

To make a simple citrus twist, cut a thin slice from a lemon, lime, or orange. Cut the slice from the center to one edge. Twist and stretch to form an S shape.

01:07:08 on 04/03/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -

Salting zucchini before cooking

Salt draws out water from moist vegetables, a process known as disgorging. Left to grow, zucchinis would become marrows, and therefore be very wet indeed, but picked young they are merely juicy.

The best zucchini are those up to 10 cm long, which do not need disgorging. There is no point in salting zucchini if you are then going to cook them using a moist method such as steaming, poaching, braising or stir-frying. Rather than salting larger zucchini, you can help to reduce the moisture content by choosing a dry cooking method.

14:13:23 on 03/07/09 by Webmaster - Quick Cooking Tips -