Asian cuisine may appear daunting, but if you are properly prepared, Asian cooking can be fun and simple. The hardest part of creating an authentic Asian dish is probably finding the necessary ingredients. Before you begin planning your meal, be sure to find a grocery store or market that has a majority of ingredients commonly used in Asian cooking such as coconut milk, lemongrass stalks, rice wine, jasmine rice, tofu, curry paste and bok choi.
These are just a few ingredients that you may need to use in Asian cooking along with many more. In addition to ingredients, it also important to have the proper cooking tools. When it comes to Asian cooking, you will be able to get away with having a wok or a pan to do most of your cooking. It is also easy to have a rice cooker as well. If you can, invest in some small dishes or bowls that you can put all of your ingredients in once you have them measured.
Once you have found a store that sells Asian ingredients and have your cooking tools, you are almost ready to get started cooking. One thing to remember before cooking is that you must prepare all of your ingredients before you use them. It is good to make a habit out of setting out all of your ingredients neatly on your counter. Make sure that any items that need to be chopped are chopped and any items that need to be room temperature are room temperature and so on. For example, a recipe might call you to rinse and drain a 4 oz can of bamboo shoots. Be sure to open the can, rinse and drain them before you begin cooking anything. This is true for anything you cook. It seems very simple, but it is just as easy to forget.
Now that you have some tips for Asian cooking, it is time to put them to use with a few simple but classic Asian recipes.
Teriyaki Chicken: Serves 4, Prep time 5 minutes, Cooking time 25 minutes
8 chicken drumsticks (any cut of chicken, meat or tofu will work)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup sake
½ cup mirin*
½ dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
cooked rice and vegetables, to serve
1. Use knife to put slits in the chicken to help cook evenly.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet, add chicken and cook 10 minutes until brown.
3. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet.
4. Add the sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar and boil until sauce is glossy.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook until caramelized in the sauce.
6. Serve the chicken with rice, vegetables, and any extra sauce.
* Mirin is commonly used in Japanese cooking and is similar to sake, a rice wine. The difference between mirin and sake is that mirin has a lower alcohol content level. Look in the Asian section of your supermarket for Kikkoman brand mirin or look for a local Asian market.
Recipe Courtesy of Cooking From Above: Asian, Jody Vassallo