Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Saving Time with Fast Grilling

To light the charcoal quickly, use a chimney starter. These tall, metal canisters with handles are inexpensive and available in cookware stores. Place the chimney starter in the center of your grilling pit. Put a piece of crumpled newspaper in the bottom and fill the rest of the chimney with charcoal. Light the newspaper. The upward draft created by the chimney will make the charcoal grill-ready within 7 to 8 minutes. Just pick up the chimney and spread the charcoal into an even layer. You can add more charcoal at this point if necessary.

To improvise a chimney starter, cut both ends off a large, empty coffee can. When the coals are ready, grasp the lip of the hot can with pliers and lift it to free the hot coals. If you do not have a chimney starter, place sheets of newspaper on the grate of your grill pit and cover with a tall pyramid of coals, layering newspaper twice through the pyramid. Light the layers of newspaper and wait until the coals are red-hot, about 20 to 30 minutes, before spreading them out.

To grill faster, give the grilled foods a head start in a microwave oven. This is especially helpful with tough or fibrous foods that required long grilling times, such as chicken, ribs, and potatoes. Also, leave at least 1 inch of space between the pieces of food on the grill. Or when grilling ingredients on a skewer, leave foods such as chicken or ribs, which require thorough cooking, brown the food on all sides over a medium-hot fire, then adjust the heat to medium-low and cover with a disposable aluminum pan or a sheet of foil to speed up the cooking. You can also baste meats with room-temperature or warm sauce. Avoid basting with cold sauce, which will slow down the grilling.

Slashing or butterflying also speeds grilling and ensures even cooking of thick pieces of meat, poultry, or fish, such as turkey breast, leg of lamb, or whole salmon. To butterfly a turkey breast or leg of lamb, remove the meat from the bone (butcher will do this for you). Make a deep cut into, but not through, the thickest part of the meat, then open it up like a book. If the thickest part is now 2 inches thick or less, it is ready to grill. If it is thicker, repeat the slash-and-open method until the thickest section is 2 inches or less. To slash a whole fish for grilling, make diagonal cuts about 2 inches apart through the thickest part of the fillet on both sides of the fish, cutting all the way to, but not through, the bone. Season and rub with oil, then grill.

** Asian Cooking **

21:14:57 on 06/23/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -

Grilling and Barbecuing

Preparing food outdoors over a live flame is one of the oldest and most enjoyable methods of cooking. And for good reasons: Flavor and convenience. A hot fire caramelizes the natural sugars in foods, coaxing out incredible flavors. And charcoal or hardwood lends a wonderful smoky taste. Plus, there are no pans to clean up. Technically, grilling is defined as cooking relatively tender foods quickly over high heat, while barbecue refers to fairly tough meats cooked slowly over low heat. But in the real world, the term grilling is used to describe just about anything cooked on a grill.

How to choose a grill
There are many styles of grills ranging from tabletop hibachis to expensive, elaborately designed models that will take over your backyard. They're all essentially fire containers, so choosing among them is a matter of deciding what appeals most to you, to your pocketbook, and to your backyard. Consider the options. First, consider getting a cover for your grill. It will give you more control over the fire and allow you to do some low-heat barbecuing as well as high-heat grilling. Second, keep in mind that a large grilling surface can be helpful. It not only lets you prepare more food at once but also allows you to move food from hotter to cooler parts of the grill, a great help when you dinner starts looking charred before it has cooked through. Finally, consider your fuel options. Charcoal takes longer to light and is more finicky when it comes to heat control, but it imparts incredibly smoky flavors. Propane is ultra-convenient, minus the smoky flavor. You can also get a gas/charcoal grill, which gives you both flavor and convenience.

To control the temperature of a charcoal fire
To make the fire hotter, open all the grill vents, push the coals together, and tap the coals to loosen the insulating cover of ash. To make it cooler, partially close the vents or spread the coals apart.

To season a grill to keep foods from sticking
Heat the grill rack over a hot fire. Wearing mitts, remove from the fire and coat with cooking spray, or rub oil in with a kitchen towel. Place the rack back over the fire.

To clean a grill
On a charcoal grill, just let the fire burn as hot as possible. On a gas grill, close the cover, if the grill has one. If it doesn't, cover the rack with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Then, crank up the heat to high and cook the empty grill until any debris clinging to the rack carbonizes. Scrape off the remaining stubborn particles with a wire brush or a crumpled piece of foil.

** Asian Cooking **

21:58:20 on 06/22/09 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -