01 of 08
More Asian Ingredients to Explore
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... consider adding to your pantry:Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
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... 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:Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
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... 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:Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Shrimp Paste or 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... 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:Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
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... 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:Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Sa Cha Sauce
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:Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
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... to vegetarian dishes, though the stems are usually hard and need to be discarded.
Here are some recipes that include dried shiitake mushrooms:Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
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... around and use them in everything because I think their light texture is preferable.
Here are some recipes that include panko: