Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Polenta appears on many menus nowadays, but seems different in each restaurant. Are there several ways to prepare it?

In northern Italy, wet polenta, a savory corn porridge, is served like mashed potato to soak up the juices from a stew. Polenta takes a long time to cook, and needs stirring throughout, but instant polenta, taking about 5 minutes to make, is now widely available.

Wet polenta can be a meal in its own right, flavored with cheese, pepper and a little virgin olive oil. Chopped vegetables, herbs and olives are other good additions.

Polenta is also frequently served in 'cakes', made by allowing wet polenta to cool and set. This is then cut into squares, slices or triangles and grilled or fried. These cakes, while also served with stews, can make delicious snacks topped with grilled red peppers and tomatoes.

For a substantial snack, cut the set polenta into small circles, take two and sandwich with a slice of mozzarella. Coat in egg and breadcrumbs and fry on both sides until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melted in the center.

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10:20:16 on 10/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Are hominy and grits the same, and where do they come from?

Hominy is made from corn kernels in a process whereby the outer hull is removed and the remaining kernel left to dry. The dried kernel is then soaked overnight, or cooked for several hours, before it can be added to slow-cooking meat stews.

Grits are made by grinding dried hominy to provide a finer cereal that then needs no presoaking. They require a shorter cooking time than cornmeal, which is made from the whole grain of corn, but grits have less fiber, flavor and texture. The cereal is used throughout the south of the United States, usually cooked to a mush and served with bacon and eggs for breakfast.

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09:26:48 on 10/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Many people thought that the word corn referred to wheat, but later discovered the word maize. What is the explanation?

In Britain, corn is often used to describe all growing cereals, even wheat, but the term used in the United States (maize) is becoming widespread. In Australia, there are two basic types. Sweetcorn, which is eaten as a vegetable or dried to form the kernels that become popcorn and field corn, used as animal feed or processed to make cornmeal, cornflour and corn oil. Blue cornmeal takes its name from the black and blue kernels of a particular American variety of sweetcorn and is used in tortilla chips.

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08:39:19 on 10/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is there any possibility of coconut milk curdling when you cook it.

Yes, it will curdle if cooked on a high heat or if it is too thick. Never place a block of creamed coconut directly onto a heated surface as it will burn. Always melt it down with enough water to cover, either on the stove or in a microwave oven.

When a recipe calls for coconut milk to be added at the end, it is to prevent it rendering down to oil during prolonged boiling. If a dish does not require more than 30 minutes of simmering, it doesn't matter when you add the milk. But once you have added it, do not stir the dish again until ready to serve.

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07:12:10 on 10/20/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -