Asian Recipes

Asian Recipes Blog

The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

Why do some people say that it is not advisable to cook basil?

Basil is a fragile herb which suffers some loss of flavor when subjected to heat or drying. In most recipes, you can minimize the loss of flavor by adding basil near the end of the cooking time. However, it is most flavorful when used fresh, or as a garnish added after cooking, as in the recipe for Grilled Vegetable Salad below. The salad is served at room temperature, and is delicious as a starter with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

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12:05:49 on 03/31/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Do the seeds of cilantro (coriander) give the same flavor as the fresh leaf?

Absolutely not. Their flavors are totally different, and they cannot be used as substitutes for each other. Cilantro (coriander) seeds have a gentle, citrus-like aroma, while the leaves are somewhat bitter. The seeds survive long heating well, but the fresh leaves should be added near the end of cooking or sprinkled over the finished dish. To enjoy the full spicy flavor of the fresh herb, try the following recipe below. Its clear, sharp flavor goes well with grilled mixed vegetables, chicken, fish or shellfish.

Cilantro Salad Recipe
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, unskinned, cut into quarters
1 bunch scallions (spring onions), thinly sliced
1-2 red chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Put the quartered tomatoes in a food processor and mix until they are reduced to a lumpy texture. Turn the mixture out into a bowl and stir in all the other ingredients. Taste the salad; if it seems too spicy, add another chopped tomato. Serve cool but not chilled.

** Asian Recipes **

10:14:00 on 03/30/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Can herbs be frozen?

All the tender herbs, such as basil, chervil and tarragon, freeze well, with the exception of parsley which turns to slush when defrosted. The tougher woody herbs, such as bay, rosemary, sage and thyme, tend to splinter, so it is better to dry these. To freeze herbs, wrap them in foil or small plastic bags and seal well. It is useful to label the parcels if you cannot see inside them. Basil used to be preserved in olive oil instead of being dried before people actually owned freezers, but then, freezing is much more effective.

** Asian Recipes **

17:27:03 on 03/29/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Does washing grapes make them rot more quickly?

Grapes should be washed, but only just before they are served or eaten. The pressure grapes put on each other when in bunches can cause bruising which creates moisture, encouraging the fruit to spoil. If they are washed before storing, water is likely to remain between the grapes and can accelerate rotting which will create soft spots.

It is best to buy grapes in small quantities, checking to make sure they are not bruised. Store them, unwashed, in a colander in the refrigerator, which allows the air to circulate and keeps them dry. Use within two to three days.

** Asian Recipes **

14:58:24 on 03/25/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to remove a glued label from a new metal pot thoroughly and easily?

If you have been boiling only water inside your kettle, the hard deposit layer is mainly alkali compounds and minerals. Acid can dissolve such deposits. Fill the teakettle with a mixture of one part vinegar to six parts water, and let it stand overnight. The next day thoroughly wash out the kettle. If necessary, you can repeat the process.

In contrast, stains caused by acids like tea or coffee are best removed with an alkali such as baking soda.

** Making Coffee **

07:34:07 on 03/20/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why is flour so difficult to remove from pots and utensils?

Flour is a starch and therefore can be quite sticky when exposed to water. Adhesive makers know this principle well: Starch is the basic material for many of their products. Always rinse or soak a flour-coated pan or implement immediately after you use it. Use lukewarm water rather than hot, because temperatures higher than 140F tend to cook flour, thereby increasing the adhesiveness of a flour paste.

** Asian Recipes **

11:29:27 on 03/19/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What is the best way to treat a burn?

Ninety-nine percent of burns that occur in the kitchen are first-degree burns and usually require only home treatment. A first-degree burn is slightly red or discolored and causes only mild swelling and pain. If the burn is more severe that this, or if it covers an extensive area of the body, call a doctor or emergency medical center.

The best way to treat a first-degree burn is to cool the burned area quickly by lightly pressing an ice cube against it. This step minimizes the extent of cellular damage. Next, place several ice cubes in a clean plastic storage bag and gently apply it to the burned skin. As soon as the ice begins to feel unbearably cold, remove the bag. If the pain returns, place the ice-cube bag over the burned area. Keep repeating until the pain subsides (but not to the point where you risk frostbite).

If the burn covers a wide or hard-to-reach area soak the part affected in a suitable-size vessel or sink of water with plenty of ice cubes. The ice-cube treatment is superior to the old-fashioned rub-with-butter method because ice cubes numb the pain. Moreover, butter can foster infection.

** Kitchen Tips **

13:13:50 on 03/17/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is umami the fifth taste?

Some taste physiologists argue that the basic-four list of tastes (sweet, sour, salty and bitter) should be expanded to include umami (a Japanese term pronounced oo-mom-ee). Some laboratory research supports their view. Other experts demur, believing that the jury is still out. They say that the umami taste may not be a basic taste. It could be, for instance, a side effect of a chemical reaction triggered by glutamate, an amino acid (a building block of protein). When glutamate is in its free form (that is, not combined with other amino acids), it could chemically modify the performance of the sweet, sour, salty, or bitter taste receptors, creating the illusion of a new basic taste.

Whether umami is a basic taste of not, it is real and has an identifiable flavor profile, though it is difficult to characterize in words. It has been variously described as "savory", "brothy", and "meaty". These terms cover too broad a taste spectrum to communicate adequately the umami taste profile to anyone who does not already know it. Fortunately, monosodium glutamate is a salt form of glutamate and does produce an umami taste.

** Asian Recipes **

13:13:31 on 03/16/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Does smell play a more dominant role than taste in taste perception?

Very much so. Over 75 percent of what we discern as taste is really smell. Think about how food "taste" bland when you have a cold. The chief reason it does is that mucus blocks many of the food odors from reaching the olfactory receptors in your nasal chamber. The odor molecules reach your olfactory receptors through a hidden passageway (located behind your palate) that connects your oral and nasal cavities.

Another way to demonstrate how taste buds receive more credit than they are due is to close your eyes, hold your nose, and let a friend give you unidentified samples of familiar foods such as raw apples and onions, as well as various flavoring agents and cooked meats. Chances are you will instantly recognize few, if any, of the foods that you thought you could "identify blindfolded".

** Asian Recipes **

14:44:04 on 03/15/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why does sugar cause tooth decay?

Sugar is food for plaque-residing bacteria colonies. They convert the sugar into acid that corrodes tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. The degree of decay is dependent more on how long the sugar remains in contact with the bacteria colonies than on the amount of sugar consumed. For this reason, a pure caramel candy usually does less damage than a sugary cookie made with starch. The latter substance helps bind the sugar to the tooth.

** Healthy Recipes **

12:11:34 on 03/04/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

If the word sugar is absent from the ingredients list on a label, can the food still contain sugar?

Keep an eye out for the suffix "-ose". Dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose, for instance, are all forms of sugar. Sugars are used as sweetening and sometimes preserving agents. There is little nutritional difference among the various types of sugar - all provide empty calories. While artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and saccharin have few, if any, calories, they also have no nutrients.

** Asian Recipes **

06:37:35 on 03/03/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Why are manufactured vitamins no different from natural vitamins as far as the body is concerned?

Most vitamins are actually surprisingly simple configurations of basic elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, and they can be flawlessly duplicated in the laboratory. Your body cannot discern any difference between, for instance, ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C) and rose hips (natural vitamin C) because the two have an identical chemical makeup. The argument for natural vitamin supplements is faulty - although lucrative. If you shop around for vitamins or vitamin-fortified foods, you will notice that the natural vitamins usually cost considerably more than the synthetic.

However, any vitamin supplement, whether natural or synthetic, is no substitute for a balanced diet. Scientists may be able to manufacture the vitamins that have so far been identified, but they have neither the knowledge nor technology to manufacture all the subtle components of a complete diet.

** Healthy Recipes **

03:08:52 on 03/02/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What are some of the major food-borne bacterial poisonings?

Salmonella bacteria are found in many foods, including raw meat, unpasteurized milk, and uncooked eggs. The disease-producing agent is the bacterium itself and not the toxins generated. E. coli bacteria thrive in animal fecal matter on farms and can be transferred to cut-up meat in a processing plant. Shingella bacteria can also come from fecally contaminated food.

** Asian Recipes **

01:29:31 on 03/01/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -