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Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: davester
Date: April 12, 2012 10:47PM
Every now and then I like to delve deep into a cookbook and cook something unusual. Oftentimes that involves some type of asian dish, requiring me to buy all sorts of exotic (to me) ingredients. I use them once, then I forget what dish I used them for. I just went through my fridge and cupboard and I have the following:

hoisin sauce
thai fish sauce
thai red curry paste
sweet and sour dipping sauce
oyster sauce
mirin
sesame chili oil
tamarind paste
teriyaki sauce
peanut sauce
dried cloud ear fungus
dried yunam chili
dried shiitake mushrooms

I also have some zaatar, which seems to have arabic writing on it.

This stuff ranges from a couple of months to a couple of years old. I hate to waste this stuff, but it just sits there because I don't really know what dishes to use it for. Can anyone give me some ideas regarding a group of dishes that I could use it in, particularly fairly simple and delicious dishes.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2012 10:49PM by davester.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: BernDog
Date: April 12, 2012 11:30PM
When I was a kid in scouts, sometimes we'd make hobo stew. Everyone brought a can of something, we dumped it into a big pot, heated it up and ate it.







Don't ever invite me over to your house for hobo stew.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: April 12, 2012 11:33PM
For most of it, I have no idea... However, for the thai fish sauce, you can use it in a variety of Classical Roman period recipe's in place of Roman Fish Sauce... (aka Garum or Liquamen ). Apparently, the method of manufacture and end result is virtually identical ( and for most people, I suggest not examining that process too closely if you ever want to eat fish sauce again...).

I can recommend "the Classical Cookbook" by Dalby and Grainger.
I'd post a recipe, but I've loaned my copy and I've only had it three weeks, and haven't even had a chance to try any myself. smiling smiley



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

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Eureka, CA
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: April 12, 2012 11:34PM
Oh... The dried Shitake's I'd just rehydrate in chicken stock and add to a simple stir fry...



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: davester
Date: April 12, 2012 11:43PM
Thanks Paul. I assume that you don't have any comments like "throw out the 2 year old stuff".



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: M>B>
Date: April 13, 2012 12:54AM
Those are often used in these cuisines...

[www.recipesource.com]

Wonereful site, the worlds bigest recipe aricve!
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 13, 2012 01:01AM
the first 2/3rd of that list is pretty mundane stuff I would just use based on smell. If it smells like it might work, use it. Hoisin Sauce is basically Chinese BBQ sauce. Mirin is Japanese rice wine vinegar IIRC.

Cook and season with your nose. You usually won't be wrong. (unless your idiot room mate used Clorox to neutralize a battery acid spill and you scarred your lungs 2 decades ago..... I can't prove it, but I think that's where my asthma came from)
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: April 13, 2012 02:14AM
The cloud ear fungus might be similar to or the same as wood ear fungus, the ingredient that makes Moo Shu more than just hot cabbage and green onions with some meat and eggs thrown in.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: haikuman
Date: April 13, 2012 03:00AM
I see these ingredients as being part of, Hot and Sour Soup, Asian Stir Fry dishes, Green Papaya Salad
and of course Beef, Pork and Chicken you grill. It would be very interesting to make a thick sauce from peanut butter and coconut milk add some of your aforementioned stock, marinade and grill basting with the same thick sauce.

Rudie *(:>*



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: guitarist
Date: April 13, 2012 03:50AM
I just cooked with fish sauce!

BBQ season is coming, this might be handy.

I got this right off the cover of the current Food & Wine Magazine this month.

Salty sweet spicy grilled chicken

4 whole chicken legs,

Marinate the legs for about 20 minutes in fish sauce, ground white pepper, and shopped cilantro.

Then toss on the grill.

That's a short easy version.

If you have more time, and can get some tamarind concentrate (and limes, etc.) this version is worth the effort.

Optional dipping sauce:

few tablespoons of fish sauce
few tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
dash of sugar
Tbs. of concentrated tamarind paste, diluted with one Tbs. water
sliced chilis (thai chilis not easy to find here, i substituted red and green jalapeño, and habanero)
chopped garlic
chopped cilantro

Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, then finish baking it in the oven.

Then serve with the dipping sauce, adding the fresh chopped cilantro to the sauce just before serving (for most potent cilantro flavor, otherwise the salt and lime seems to neutralize the bright fresh taste)

I made this a second time, because my wife asked for it. I think I'll do it again lots of times this summer.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Winston
Date: April 13, 2012 05:10AM
Thai red curry paste is the base for a thai stew. The one I've had was vegetarian, based on eggplant. Really good. You saute the curry paste first in a cast-iron (or other deep skillet) to bring out the flavors, then add the other ingredients. I found several recipes with a Google for "Thai red curry".

Teriyaki sauce makes a nice BBQ marinade. Try it on chicken or pork, then grill.


Good cooking.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: dmann
Date: April 13, 2012 05:27AM
As mentioned, your ingredients are pretty basic. Sesame chili oil can be used for everything from seasoning chicken, tofu, fish to tossing with noodles. I like to toss it with some udon noodles (you can even use regular spaghetti), and flash cooked peppers and eggplant. I have a salad dressing recipe around here somewhere that is fabulous. It can burn quickly so I used it for seasoning or a quick marinade rather than a base oil for cooking. Depending on the brand and the storage method, it can go bad so taste it before you throw it into a dish.

Another common use for the curry paste is to mix it with coconut milk. Makes a fabulous sauce or soup base.

Personally, I don't like sweet and sour sauce but an obvious choice is dipping for egg rolls, crab rangoon, wontons, and the like. All of these can be home made or bought in the freezer section of your favorite grocery store.

For the fish sauce, a little goes a LONG way, so start small and add small amounts.

DM
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: 3d
Date: April 13, 2012 06:18AM
Many of those things on the list are condiments and sauces akin to ketchup, mustard, worcestershire, etc. The cloud ear and shiitake can be rehydrated until soft, chopped and used in soups or omelettes.

Nothing in there is gonna kill you. Just taste it.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 13, 2012 07:37AM
mix them all together then see how it tastes smiling smiley
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 13, 2012 09:05AM
I should be working but I love talking about food and cooking, so here I am.

The key thing to remember with Thai cooking (and the ingredients, as well) is that some form of sugar is typically utilized to balance the sour and astringent tastes. In fact, I'm sure that the added sweetness is why Thai food is so popular, but it's also delicious. However, the sugar is the secret ingredient, whether it's jaggery or tamarind or plain ol' Domino sugar.

When you use fish sauce, you will always (with *rare* exceptions) use some form of sweetener to balance it out.

For curries, as Winston suggests, and as all "soffritos" typically begin, you heat the curry paste in some vegetable oil and then add coconut milk and fish sauce and sugar. the proportions vary depending upon the curry and I'm not sure how strong your red curry is. BTW, that red curry will keep for years. Recipesource (aka SOAR) is a great resource but there are Thai-only recipe sites on the web that are better.

Good luck and let us know what happened!
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: btfc
Date: April 13, 2012 09:30AM
[www.thaikitchen.com]


Try a search for one of your spices.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: andypie48
Date: April 13, 2012 09:33AM
Zaatar is Thyme.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: davester
Date: April 13, 2012 09:33AM
Thanks folks, especially mrbigstuff's general discussion of Thai cookery. I see some Thai dishes in our future.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: freeradical
Date: April 13, 2012 10:58AM
Quote
dmann

For the fish sauce, a little goes a LONG way, so start small and add small amounts.

DM


Agreed. I can't imagine marinating something in it alone.

Thai food is interesting because it upends the normal order of sensual experience. With most cuisines, you see the food first, but since Thai food is so intensely aromatic, you smell it first.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: April 13, 2012 01:42PM
Use Google. Just put in a couple ingredients, with commas between them, like so:
hoisin sauce, tamarind paste
and it'll pull up recipes that use them. It's a special recipe interface. It'll let you check off other ingredients you may or may not have on hand to narrow the search down. You can choose from recipes under 15 minutes or over 30 minutes or whatever, too.

Zaatar may be thyme, or another herb, but more often it's a mixture of dried herbs, and salt, and sometimes sesame seeds.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: particleman
Date: April 13, 2012 01:48PM
Quote
andypie48
Zaatar is Thyme.

Not just thyme though. It is very good on a pita that has been brushed with olive oil and then toasted in an oven. I section the crispy pita and use the pieces to scoop up some hummus or baba-ganoush.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: A-Polly
Date: April 13, 2012 02:37PM
If you ever eat ramen, a few drops of the sesame chili oil stirred into the bowl will enhance the flavor nicely, and perhaps make even the really cheap stuff more palatable.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 13, 2012 04:10PM
several of the ramen flavors have a tiny toasted sesame oil packet these days.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: guitarist
Date: April 13, 2012 06:00PM
Quote
freeradical
Quote
dmann

For the fish sauce, a little goes a LONG way, so start small and add small amounts.

DM


Agreed. I can't imagine marinating something in it alone.

Thai food is interesting because it upends the normal order of sensual experience. With most cuisines, you see the food first, but since Thai food is so intensely aromatic, you smell it first.

Actually, you can. It's just salty, so you marinate it for 20 minutes, not 4 hours.

I tried the recipe described above, it called for 1/4 cup of fish sauce! (with cilantro, and white pepper) and that's not much different than marinating it in fish sauce alone. I'd say, being sparing with fish sauce matters if you're consuming it directly. If it's just marinade (disposed of before grilling and serving) you can marinate in it, alone. Without overdoing anything.

The second time I did it, I adjusted (reduced) the amount. Not to decrease intensity, but to preserve my stash! Not waste fish sauce. And because the amount of chicken was smaller than the recipe called for.

To marinate longer, just like with other types of store-bought salty marinades, just dilute it with water.
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Re: Mystery asian cooking ingredients
Posted by: Janit
Date: April 13, 2012 06:06PM
Quote

Za'atar is a generic name for a family of related Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum (Oregano), Calamintha (Basil thyme), Thymus (typically Thymus vulgaris, i.e., Thyme), and Satureja (Savory).[1] It is also the name for a condiment made from the dried herb(s), mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices. Used in Arab cuisine, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East.

[en.wikipedia.org]

The mixture is great sprinkled on top of a cream-cheesed bagel.
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