Cook Your Favorite Asian Dishes Like a Pro Chef
By Corey Walker, published on 7/21/21
Have you ever wondered what goes into making those yummy Thai curries or Japanese ramen noodles? With just a little bit of knowledge you too can make delicious Asian dishes that will impress everyone! In this article, we’ll teach you the basic ingredients and techniques that go into these dishes so the next time you’re in the grocery store all of this information is fresh on your mind. For the purpose of length, we’ll focus on Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine, although we know there are many other wonderful Asian cuisines to try!
Let’s get started with some staple ingredients in Chinese cuisine:
- Soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Cooking sake
- Japanese chili powder
- Ponzu sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Miso soybean paste
- Wasabi Shoyu soy sauce
- Red and green chilis
- Thai basil
These specific ingredients help add an instant flavor boost, and give the dish that distinct flavor found in the region where that dish is from.
Choosing a Dish to Cook
Asian food covers a vast array of dishes (and countries), so how do you choose what to make?
Here are some ideas:
- Replicate one of your favorite meals from a restaurant
- Try a family recipe from a relative
- Choose something easier if you are a beginner, such as a quick stir fry
- Decide if you want a dish that focuses more on meat, veggies, rice, noodles, or all of the above
- Pick a country you’d like to visit one day and explore popular dishes from there
Unless you have a friend or family member with a recipe collection you’d like to try, the Internet abounds with recipes! Once you’ve found the name of the recipe, a simple Google search should yield many options for you. One of Chef Mayumi’s favorite Asian food blogs is Maangchi.
Asian food often cooks quickly—but that’s because the ingredients have often been sliced into small pieces, which can be time-consuming to prep. There isn’t really a quick way around this, but having a very sharp cleaver helps!
To aid in your progress:
- Wash all of your produce first and lay it out on your counter
- Get out a large cutting board (more than one if you are cutting meat/poultry) and a sharp knife
- Get out several bowls to toss in finished chopped items
- Have a large trash bowl to toss in cut off ends you aren’t using
A popular way to cut carrots for Chinese recipes is called the “roll-cut”. Peel the carrot, then lay it on the cutting board. Place the cleaver at a diagonal angle, and chop. Then roll the carrot slightly and cut on the diagonal again. Work through the entire carrot this way. This type of cut not only looks nice, it helps the carrot cook faster!
The most common cooking techniques for Asian food include:
- Wok or stir-frying – place a swirl of oil in the bottom of the pan, and quickly fry ingredients over high heat.
- Deep frying – fill a wok with a shallow amount of oil on high heat and place ingredients in the oil until they brown. Often used for egg rolls, spring rolls, and won tons.
- Grilling – cooking food on a rack over a heat source, usually a charcoal fire or ceramic briquettes heated by gas flames.
- Simmering – place ingredients in liquid with low heat so that the liquid will develop richness and flavor while the meat becomes tender.
- Braising – a slow-cooking method where meat is first browned in fat than cooked in a small amount of liquid.
Many Asian dishes are served with a brothy soup starter (miso, egg drop, etc.). White or brown sticky rice is also often served as a base for sauces and main dishes. Some popular sauces used for dipping items like egg rolls, sushi, or spring rolls include:
- Honey Sesame Sauce
- Spicy Soy Sauce
- Savory Peanut Sauce
- Sweet Chili Sauce
Recipes for all of these sauces are easily found online, or you may be able to find them pre-made at your grocery store, or Asian market.
If you’ve never cooked Asian food before, it can seem intimidating, but once you’ve created a dish you can see it’s not that hard! However, if you’d rather have someone cook an array of Asian dishes for you, Foodom has many to choose from!
To find our Asian dishes, go to https://www.myfoodom.com/product-category/dishes/, click Cuisine under the Filter, then choose the region of your choice.