Whenever I cook for friends and family I’m always asked about the ingredients I use and where to get them. And since visiting an Asian market alone can be a little overwhelming for some, I decided to put a short introduction together for buying my most common ingredients online. If you’d like to see some recipes first, here are a few on Asianliving.me.
Let’s start with a few well-known online shops in North America:
Amazon.com’s grocery section is loaded with Asian food options. If you have Amazon prime you obviously won’t have to worry about the cost of shipping. It’s probably worth visiting Amazon first to see if you can find what you are looking for. For those in select areas, you can try Amazon Fresh which is just like Peapod or FreshDirect.
Asian Food Grocer is a trustworthy shop that provides much of what you expect to find in a standard Asian market. Here are a few products that I commonly use in my cooking:
Lee Kum Kee’s Hoisin Sauce is something I use for a sweet, seafood flavor.
Actually, just about everything in the Asian Food Grocer’s “Quick and Easy Asian Cooking” section is delicious and, as the title implies, very easy to use.
Marukai’s eStore is a Japanese food shop online which serves North America. Some of my recipes have ingredients that you can find at their shop. Check out their amazing variety of fish options for at-home sushi making!
Welcome to the fourth article based on the Xiangsheng Xiangke food chart that I posted in the “Foods that React to Each other“. Today we continue to cover combinations of food that are naturally healthy on their own, but Chinese traditions (and TCM) suggest they react to each other in various ways. Let’s start with a meat and vegetable combination.
+ “Cauliflower has vitamins and minerals, and when eaten with chicken it can make stronger bones. Combined they also improve the detoxing power of your liver and give your immune system a boost. With that you will fight colds much more easily.” Perhaps a little cauliflower in the traditional Chicken Noodle soup recipe would help.
“Dumpling” can mean many things and today I’m going to clear up this issue once ‘n for all! (Hopefully) In East Asian countries, especially China, there are many varieties of the dumpling concept; kind of like Wine. When we ask about wine others naturally ask “white or red”? Dry or sweet? What country? Which vintage? For wine aficionados, like my brother Nick 🙂 , such questions are rudimentary. Same goes for dumplings.
In the world of dumplings, there is simply one requirement; you must wrap some contents (vegetables or meat only) with a flour-based wrap. They generally look the same, like most red wines might. The varieties of dumplings can be based on a few things, including: country of origin, cooking style, and contents.
Dumplings are universal and have many names. The rest of this post is dedicated to showing all of the dumpling varieties I’ve ever encountered in Korea, Japan, and China; including ones that people back home have asked me about (like the mysterious Crab Rangoon!)
饺子 “jiao zi” (Standard Chinese Dumplings) boiled, semi-transparent when cooked. All over china, favored in North. Sometimes enjoyed as the staple in special family meals.
包子 “bao zi” (Meat or Vege Buns) steamed. All over China and 7-11s across Northeast Asia. They are usually bigger than standard dumplings and have a more bread-like texture.
馒头 “man tou” (Plan Buns) steamed. Northern Chinese style, but enjoyed around the country. Man tou is used as a staple by families in the North. It is amazing with spicy lamb dishes and can be eaten as a dessert with sweet dipping sauce.
锅贴 “guo tie” (Pot Stickers) pan-fried. Common in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Eastern China. The picture on the left is the typical style of Pot Stickers. They should be browned on the bottom-side and could contain any combination of meat or vege. Continue reading Understanding the World of Dumplings
Too busy to cook? Don’t like to cook? Don’t really know how to cook?! Well, kiss those days of pop-tart breakfasts and hot-pocket dinners good bye! You are going to get a crash course on how to organize properly prepared meals for yourself and family that are healthy and very reasonably priced. Don’t fret, no one will be stepping foot inside your kitchen. If this sounds good, read on…
A leader in personal outsourcing (or at least collecting these good ideas), Tim Ferris, quoted a reader of his who successfully setup a $5 per meal system. After simply posting his requirements on Craigslist, he could enjoy Indian/Asian vegetarian meals every day! Imagine the time savings involved. No grocery shopping, no setup, no excess clean up. And no one steps foot in his kitchen.
Still not buying it? To understand how costly it might be; simply calculate what you spend on “real meals” everyday (not sandwiches or garden salads). Figure out how much you spend at the grocery store for these meals and divide by the number of real meals you make. Then, decide whether having delicious meals prepared by others is the right choice – from my experience, it always is! The only effort required will be going to your new chef’s home and picking up your meals. Freezing meals for later use is also a great idea.
Simple cooking for myself is never as good as real authentic cooking. But the above method can be used for any variety: Japanese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Spanish, etc. Have fun!
Give it a try and let us know how your experience went!