More Asian Ingredients to Explore

  • 01 of 08

    More Asian Ingredients to Explore

    Asian Ingredients in Pantry
    Asian Ingredients in Pantry. Rikki Snyder for The New York Times

    So you’ve stocked up on soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and miso paste. You’re happily stir-frying and making Asian-inspired soups, fried rice, dumplings, and your family is giving you a big thumbs up. And now you want to expand your pantry with the next level of Asian ingredients. Most of these are available in the Asian aisle of well-stocked supermarkets, though some may need to be ordered online (and there are links to help you find them).  Here are some great Asian ingredients to...MORE consider adding to your pantry:


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  • 02 of 08

    Ponzu Sauce

    Yuzu Ponzu Premium Soy Dressing with Yuzu Citrus

    Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce used often in Japanese cooking. It is salty and tangy, made from vinegar, mirin (a low alcohol rice wine), seaweed and fish flakes (please, don’t be turned off) and it has just a wonderful flavor. The citrus most commonly added is that of the tart yuzu, which is a fruit that originated in China and then migrated through East Asia.  Its flavor is comparable to grapefruit with hints of orange.  Sudachi is another popular citrus juice added to ponzu. The overall flavor...MORE is a lovely balance of soy sauce and tartness.  

    This is a great sauce to finish a stir fry, broiled or grilled seafood or fish, or a dipping sauce for meat or dumplings.   

    Here are some recipes that include Ponzu:​

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  • 03 of 08

    Curry Paste

    Roland Green Curry Paste

    A product of Singapore, this green semi-thick mixture of herbs and richly pounded spices has heat from chilies. It's ready to use for grilling, baking, and marinading.

    Curry pastes can ​be made to anchor either East Asian or Indian curries (“wet” curries vs. “dry” curries, which are anchored with dry spices, not pastes) and other dishes. They vary widely in color (brownish-red, red, green and yellow, for instance) and in seasonings. They contain a number of herbs, spices, and usually some...MORE sort of chili pepper to provide heat, though that heat can be mild, and when used in small amounts, or tempered with coconut milk, such as in Thai cooking, the resulting flavoring to the dish can be subtle. All in all, making your own curry paste blends calls for having lots of ingredients on hand, while reaching for a jar of curry paste is an easy way to bring the flavors of the East into your cooking.

    Here are some recipes that include curry paste:

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  • 04 of 08

    Shrimp Paste or Sauce

    Lee Kum Kee Shrimp Sauce

    This thick and purplish paste is a pungent blend of fermented shrimp and salt (to us Westerners, the descriptions of the ingredients sometimes sound funky, but once you taste any of these condiments in a dish, you will not be so skeptical!). In Southern China and Southeast Asia, a small amount is blended into various dishes, such as curries and sauces, to add a distinctly savory taste.  If you think of Pad Thai, and that deep almost elusive, umami flavor, that’s typically partially due to dried...MORE shrimp or shrimp paste. Shrimp paste or sauce is easier to use than dried shrimp, which usually need to be crushed or ground before using in recipes.

    Here are some recipes that include shrimp sauce or paste:

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  • 05 of 08

    XO Sauce

    Lee Kum Kee XO Sauce

    You may have seen this sauce named on a menu and wondered what it was. This enigmatically named sauce is a spicy seafood sauce, usually containing dried scallops and shrimp, chili peppers, garlic, and some cured pork product.  It originally came from Hong Kong, and it can be used as a condiment for main dishes or added during cooking to bring flavor to tofu, noodles, or fried rice. The name XO sauce comes from fine XO (extra-old) cognac, which is considered to be a prestigious, high-end liquor...MORE in Hong Kong and in other Chinese cities.  While it is more expensive than other Asian condiments, a little goes a long way, and it adds a wonderful deep flavor to all kinds of dishes.

    Here are some recipes that include XO sauce:

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  • 06 of 08

    Sa Cha Sauce

    Lee Kum Kee Sa Cha Sauce
    Lee Kum Kee Sa Cha Sauce. Lee Kum Kee

    Also known as shacha sauce, this condiment is popular in various regions of China. It's savory and slightly spicy, with an aromatic seafood flavor from ingredients like dried fish and shrimp paste. It's great for dipping, seasonings hot pots or stir-fries, or providing a finishing touch to barbecued meats. It’s sometimes called Chinese satay sauce, or Chinese barbecue sauce. It contains garlic, shallots, dried fish and seafood and chilies. 

    Here are some recipes that include Sa Cha Sauce:

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  • 07 of 08

    Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

    Roland Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

    While there are many different types of dried mushrooms used in Asian cuisines, Shiitakes are very popular, especially in Chinese cooking, and some of the most readily available, not to mention economical. These mushrooms are fragrant and chewy with a meaty flavor, a flavor even more intense than the fresh version. They have to be soaked in warm water for 30 to 45 minutes, then rinsed and drained, before they are used for cooking. The caps can be used whole or chopped, and they add great texture...MORE to vegetarian dishes, though the stems are usually hard and need to be discarded.

    Here are some recipes that include dried shiitake mushrooms:

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  • 08 of 08


    Roland Panko Bread Crumbs

    Panko is the name for Japanese bread crumbs, which are coarser and lighter than ordinary bread crumbs with more surface area. When used to coat foods and make a crust they turn golden brown with a crisp, airy texture.They are very often used with fried seafood, and they can also be used to help build structure in meatballs or crab cakes, for instance, in place of “regular” breadcrumbs. They have become very readily available in most supermarkets.  I pretty much only keep Panko dried bread crumbs...MORE around and use them in everything because I think their light texture is preferable.

    Here are some recipes that include panko: