Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Solving problems with ginger

Avoiding problems with using ginger and gelatin
Heat ginger before adding it to a gelatin mixture. Ginger contains an enzyme that prevents gelatin from setting properly. Heat destroys the enzyme. The microwave oven makes this a quick fix: Heat the ginger on medium power until heated through, 20 seconds.

Chopping candied ginger without sticking
Chop in a mini food processor with a bit of granulated sugar (if the recipe you're making includes sugar, use some of the sugar to chop the ginger, then add the sugar to the recipe). Or, if chopping small amounts with a knife, spray the knife blade with cooking spray or dip the blade into flour. You can also use scissors. Or, for convenience, you may want to keep prechopped crystallized ginger on hand in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature.

To quickly peel ginger
Scrape the skin with the side of a teaspoon, following the curves and bumps of the root. You can also use a vegetable peeler, but it tends to take a bit of flesh with it. The flesh just beneath the skin layer is often the most flavorful.

To avoid peeling ginger
If you are slicing ginger to flavor a marinade or tea, or if it will be grated, there is no need to peel it.

To quickly chop or mince ginger
For large amounts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place in a mini food processor and mince in 2- to 3- seconds pulses to desired fineness. For small amounts, cut into small chunks and place in a good-quality garlic press. Press over a small bowl or directly into the food. This will yield mostly ginger juice, so scrape off the garlic press to get the flesh as well.

To avoid chopping or mincing ginger
Use preminced or prechopped ginger, a widely available product. If you frequently use ginger and garlic together, look for ginger-garlic paste in Asian markets.

Grating ginger
Grating ginger is much easier and faster than mincing it. Simply peel away the skin from one of the knobs, hold the entire unpeeled root with your free hand, and grate the peeled section on a cheese grater or rasp. If you're frustrated by the tiny fibers of fresh ginger than can clog graters and rasps, look for a special ginger grater at an Asian market. Made from strips of bamboo or a solid porcelain plate, ginger graters have small teeth that crush the flesh of the ginger but leave the hairs attached to the stub of ungrated ginger.

** Asian Recipes **

14:14:30 on 05/25/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Cooking with Ginger

This tropical rhizome (an underground stem) is one of the essential flavors of Asian cuisine. Its pleasantly pungent flavor comes from naturally occurring chemical irritants that also create a warm sensation on the tongue. When choosing fresh ginger, choose the hardest, smoothest pieces you can find. The longer ginger sits around, the more wrinkled it gets. Avoid any pieces that show signs of mold. To test for freshness, break off one of the knobs. If the ginger if fresh it will break with a clean snap.

To store fresh ginger
Keep it at room temperature for up to a week, or wrap it in a paper towel, seal it in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 weeks. Or, keep unpeeled ginger in a pot or container of horticultural sand. Cover with well-pierced foil to provide ventilation, and store in a cool, dark place.

To freeze ginger
Place whole, unpeeled knobs of ginger in a zipper-lock freezer bag for up to 3 months. Slice or break off what you need and return the rest to the freezer. Freezing ruptures its cells and changes its texture, but the flavor remains intact. Avoid freezing fresh ginger after it is peeled and chopped.

** Asian Recipes **

13:53:37 on 05/23/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

How to save time when cooking with garlic

To save chopping time when cooking with garlic, use a garlic press. Don't bother peeling the garlic. Just place the unpeeled clove in the chamber of the press, close it with gentle pressure, and scrape off the emerging garlic paste with a knife. In the event if the holes of the garlic press got clog, you can actually unclog it without a cleaning attachment. Just use a toothpick. Or scrub out stubborn shards of garlic with a toothbrush.

You can also make ready-to-use garlic cloves to save time. Cover peeled cloves with olive oil and store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The oil will keep air away from the garlic, and when the garlic is used up, you will be left with garlic-infused oil that is wonderful on salads, whipped into mashed potatoes, drizzled over pasta, or blotted by bread.

** Asian Recipes **

05:54:00 on 05/06/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Solving problems with garlic

To prevent sticking when mincing garlic, sprinkle the garlic with salt, using about 1/8 teaspoon for 3 cloves. The salt will help absorb the liquid in garlic, making it less sticky. Adjust the salt in your recipe as necessary. Burning could be avoided when sauteing by chopping the garlic fine. Large pieces of garlic are more likely to burn than small ones. Also, avoid adding garlic to hot oil. Add the garlic and oil to the pan at the same time. Then proceed to heat.

Removing garlic odors from the hands after handling is not hard. Rub your fingers over a stainless steel spoon under running water. Any stainless steel surface will work. This trick also works with onions, leeks, and other onionlike vegetables in the allium family. You can also rub your hands with lemon juice and salt (provided you have not cuts on your hands). Or, keep a bowl of coffee grounds near the sink. Dip your hands in to get rid of garlic odors. To remove garlic odors from a cutting board, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water.

Having meetings after a garlic meal could be embarrassing, and to remedy the garlic breath, chew on fresh parsley leaves, on chlorophyll tables, or on fennel seeds. Or drink some lemon juice (tempered with a little honey, if desired). you can also eat some lemon or lime sherbet.

** Asian Recipes **

00:02:00 on 05/05/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Preparing Garlic

When peeling garlic, place the flat side of a large chef's knife or Asian cleaver over the garlic and smack it assertively, but not too hard, with the heel of your hand or your fist. The jolt will crack the peel, making it easy to remove. Pound more forcefully, and you will separate the peel and crush the clove at the same time, which will give your a head start on chopping or mincing. you can also lay a garlic clove on the counter and roll it back and forth with your palm. This loosens the skin, making it easier to peel. Or, drop the cloves into a pot of boiling water for 45 seconds. Drain and cool briefly, then pinch the cloves, and the peel will pop right off. This blanching works well when you have pasta water boiling anyway.

For best results when chopping garlic, use a large chef's knife instead of a tiny paring knife. Turn the clove up on its ridge, then cut lengthwise into thin slices. Turn the clove on its flat side and slice lengthwise again to make short sticks. Now, turn the clove and cut crosswise to mince. The garlic may spread across the board as you chop. Use your knife to scrape it back to the pile and continue chopping with a back-and-forth, rocking motion until the garlic is chopped very fine.

To mash garlic to a paste, use a garlic press. Or cover the cloves with parchment and mash with a meat pounder. You can also smash garlic cloves with a heavy object, then sprinkle with a little salt. Mash with the flat side of a heavy knife.

00:01:00 on 05/04/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Cooking with Garlic

A relative of onion, garlic has an assertive flavor that is an essential ingredient in many of the world's great cuisines, including those of France, China, Mexico, Italy, and South-east Asia. Keep in mind that heating garlic mellows its flavor, while chopping it intensifies the taste. Whole bulbs of roasted garlic have the mildest flavor, and raw, minced garlic has the most intense garlic taste. Also, oversize bulbs of elephant garlic have a very timid flavor that is likely to disappoint true garlic fans.

When choosing garlic, look for firm bulbs that are heavy for their size and show no signs of mold or sprouting. Keep garlic in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation. Avoid refrigerating garlic, which promotes rot. When loosening cloves from the garlic bulb, set the bulb upside down on your work surface and press down hard on the root with the palm of your hand.

The cloves will break free. You can also microwave 1 heat of garlic for 1 minute on high power, turning halfway through cooking. Let stand until cool enough to handle. The skins will slip right off. Use immediately, or simmer leftover garlic in oil to cover for 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

** Asian Recipes **

07:29:40 on 05/03/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Preserving food by freezing

Few methods of preserving food are as easy as freezing. But while cold temperatures slow the deterioration of foods, they do not stop the process entirely. Freezing can also damage the cells of many foods. The ideal temperature is about 0F. At this temperature, foods freeze quickly. Freezers that are too warm (between 25 and 31F) take too long to freeze food, causing large ice crystals to form on the food and give frozen food a poor texture.

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04:04:08 on 05/02/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -