If you’re reading this, chances are you might be craving or about to cook some Asian food at home. Just like you, many are said to believe that not only are Asian food generally unique, they’re delicious, too. However, finding the proper information, ample time, and right utensils and ingredients to make them by yourself in your home’s kitchen can be challenging.
The first thing you should know, though, is that most Asian cuisine is all about balancing different elements. The dish’s ingredients, flavor, texture, and cooking style all play a key role in keeping harmony between one another. It’s a delicate and complex art that’s believed to take years of dedicated practice to perfect.
However, you don’t need to be a professionally trained chef to enjoy the goodness of a self-prepared Asian food dish. There are tips for cooking them right in your own kitchen with only minimal effort needed. They’ll let you enjoy all of your favorites without any fuss and you can save money from frequent take-outs too.
Master Asian Dishes With These Tips
For those who aren’t Asian cuisine experts but would like to make some in the comforts of their own homes, here are helpful cooking tips one can use to master cooking them at home.
1. Use The Right Ingredients
Are you confused on Pad See Ew vs. Pad Thai? Although these two Asian dishes might sound similar, using the wrong ingredient can make each entirely different from what it should be.
Pad Thai is probably the most popular type of stir-fry noodle that you’ll find on menus in Thai restaurants. They’re usually tossed with eggs or tofu, fried shallots or onions (sometimes both), crushed peanuts and topped with crushed chili flakes.
On the other hand, Pad See Ew is another popular dish similar to Pad Thai. However, their noodles are thicker and topped with soy sauce, instead of tamarind juice. Though they seem very similar, remember that substituting their ingredients is sure to change their taste.
Therefore, it’s always good to do some research to know what goes into the dish and how the ingredients work together to produce specific tastes and textures. For starters, the best way to learn the basics is by reading, watching tutorials, and practicing. The Internet is a host to vast resources readily available to those who seek them. You may also buy noodles online or purchase a wok or two to get you started. Who knows, you might turn into a pro in no time.
2. Know Your Cookware Well
As with any cooking, knowing how and when to use your tools is essential in getting the best results. This is particularly true in Asian dishes, as stirring can often prove difficult. It requires an even motion that’s not too fast or too slow. If not done appropriately, the food will not cook evenly and you’ll likely end up with some burnt patches. With this in mind, it’s essential to know what kind of utensils work best for different dishes.
First, you may consider investing in a rice cooker as it’s a vital tool for making perfectly cooked rice. Asian dishes often have rice as an ingredient, even if it’s cooking pot congee, Indonesian Nasi Tim Ayam, Japanese Tekka don, or Korean Boribap. Thus, it may be helpful to have this cookware handy at all times.
Also, a wok is an essential part of Asian cuisine, so it’s vital to have and handle it properly. You may start by heating it with oil for food to cook evenly and quickly. Next, add ingredients once they’re ready. A tip to know: when it comes time to breaking down ground pork or stirring chicken, a wooden spatula is recommended as stainless-steel utensils are believed to scratch or destroy the wok’s surface.
Cooking with a wok is an art form that may take some practice, but it can be your go-to pan for all Asian dishes once mastered.
3. Be Aware Of Ingredient Measurements
You might have the right ingredients, but knowing how much is needed is also deemed necessary. Also, although some Asian dishes talk about balance, not everything’s fixed and immutable because spices may be added while cooking.
So, while it may be tough to get an exact measurement in some cases—whether it’s making hand-ripped noodles, onigiri, or sambal—there’s a good workaround for this. You can measure out your spices beforehand and then add more as needed. This way of measuring will prevent adding too much or too few ingredients while cooking.
If you’re new to cooking Asian dishes, it may be a good idea to do some research online to gather the right information needed. This includes how the more common ingredients are measured before beginning your recipe.
4. Try Different Types Of Sauces
Soy sauce is one of the most common ingredients in Asian dishes. It goes well with just about everything, but if you’re looking for a savorier taste, try oyster sauce or fish sauce.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a sweeter flavor, try using honey or hoisin sauce. Hoisin is also used in many popular chicken dishes and it has a sweet taste that goes well with fried foods, like egg rolls or wontons.
The type of sauce you choose for your dish will depend on what flavor you want to achieve. With so many different sauces to choose from, you may use plenty of combinations to get the Asian taste you wanted. Visit your local community Asian store to know about the options available to you. You may also ask the attending storekeeper to give you suggestions.
5. Get Creative
Since Asian dishes are generally believed to play with different ingredients and techniques of preparation, being creative also helps. Don’t be afraid to explore other alternatives to traditional items and methods.
Chicken stock is the most common ingredient in Asian recipes so look for low-salt versions. You may also substitute egg noodles with rice noodles for a gluten-free option, or use brown rice instead of white to make it healthier. You can swap out ground beef for turkey, which is leaner and lower in calories. Also, experiment with new combinations of spices and herbs until you find something that suits your taste buds best.
With all these tips, there’s a very high likelihood that your dishes won’t go wrong. Try them out now!