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ALL ABOUT ASIAN CUISINE

The various cultures of Asia developed their own ethnic cuisines throughout their history. Some culinary historians have identified three main Asian cuisines and they are Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast food styles. The Southwest is the first known Asian diet. The Southwest style includes cuisines from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Nan (flat bread), mutton, and kebabs has become widespread as foods that are eaten. Cows are used for milk, but not for meat. Rice, chapatic (bread), and beans are the staples of the Southwest Asian cuisine. The Southwest dishes emphasize the freshness and tenderness of meat also. The next main Asian cuisine is the Northeast style, which includes, China, Korea, and Japan. This cooking style uses fats, oils, and sauces with their foods. The foods, spices, and seasonings are also used as medicines to promote a healthy life. The third main Asian cuisine is the Southeast style, which includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei. The preparing of these dishes use quick stir- frying, steaming, and/or boiling. When looking at all three styles of Asian cuisines, curries are used in the Southwest and Southeast regions. Southwest curries are generally based with yogurt, whereas the curries of Southeast are generally based with coconut milk. The word curry is an anglicised version of the Tamil, which means "gravy" or "sauce". Curry is a generic description for a variety of Asian side dishes that can be eaten along a main dish like rice or bread. Among all three cuisine styles, rice is the main starch staple that is eaten in the Asian culture. In the Southwest cuisine there is a variety of leavened and unleavened breads that can be used as a main dish. While Southeast and Northeast cuisines add noodles to their dishes. With all the Asian food that is made and consumed by individuals, there has to be a food pyramid that generalizes how to maintain a healthy diet. Asian Diet Pyramid Summary Meat - eaten on a monthly basis Sweets, eggs, and poultry- eaten on a weekly basis Vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, rice, noodles, bread, whole grains, and vegetable oil- eaten or used on a daily basis Water or tea- on a daily basis

Asian food uses common Asian vegetables in the cuisines. The vegetables that are listed below are used make Asian foods, which makes the food unique and interesting.

Asian Vegetables Chinese White Cabbage- Fleshy white stems with leaf ribs and green flat leaves. Has a mustard taste. Chinese Broccoli- Smooth round stems that sprouts large dark green leaves. Bamboo Shoot- Has a crunchy texture. Usually found canned or bottled. Black Fungus- Crunchy in texture and available in dried form. Looks like black pepper.

Beansprout- Crunchy and tender, Found in most supermarkets. Daikon- Has taste and texture of a radish. Is grated and added to stewed dishes. Thai Eggplant- Are round white or green in color and about a size of a golf ball. They are cooked in curry sauces. Cherry Eggplant- Grows in clusters and looks like large peas. Yard- Long Beans- Can grow up to 60 cm long. Eaten fresh or cooked. Use in Thai papaya salad or Som Tum. Water Chestnuts- Available fresh or canned. Chinese Dried Mushrooms- A drying process brings out the smoky taste.

Now, a good Asian cuisine has to have herbs to intensify the flavoring of Asian food. Like with any other cuisine, you have to have the herbs and seasonings to make the great dish. Below are some common cooking herbs that are used in Asian food. Asian Herbs Anise Basil- Used in Southeast Asia. Bai- toey- Herb that has leaves about 4 inches in diameter. Betel Leaf- A leaf that is used as a wrap up beef or it can be chewed like gum. Catnip- Herb that is part of the mint family. Edible herb for humans. Used in tea for relaxation. Chile Leaf- This herb is used in cooking different dishes. Chinese Chives- Flat leaves that have a garlic flavor to it. Dill- Used in Asian food. Holy Basil- It has jagged leaves and fairly pungent. Laksa Leaf- A minty and peppery flavor. Used in soups. Lemon Basil- A lemony flavor. Used in soups, salads, and noodle dishes. Red Reishi- A mushroom shaped herb that can be used in soups. Rice Paddy Herbs- A herb used in soups and curry dishes. Screw Pine Leaf- A sword shape leaf that ia about 2 feet long. Sesame Leaf- Comes from the same plant that gives us sesame seeds. The leaf is used as a wrap for meat. Sweet Marjoram- Belongs to the mint family. Add to broiled fish dishes, egg salad, chili, or pizza. Also can be used in teas to relieve cramps, colds, cough, and headaches. Tia To- A leaf that has one side purple color and the other green. Has a peppery and cinnamon flavor.

Just like the American condiments, there are some great condiments for Asian foods and cuisines. These are a little different from ketchup and mustard, but they do give Asian food that incredible added taste. Check out some Asian condiments listed below. Asian Condiments Asian BBQ Sauce- A combination of soy sauce, oil, and seasonings. Bean Paste- Salty brown sauce made from fermented soybeans. Black Bean Sauce- Made from fermented black beans.

Chee Hon Sauce- A braising sauce made from soybeans, garlic, and ginger. Chili Bean Paste- Mixture of soybeans and hot chilies. Chinese Mustard- A hot mustard. Coconut Egg Jam- A jam that is spread on toast. Dwen Jang- Korean bean paste. Duck Sauce- Combination of peaches or apricots and vinegar to make a dipping sauce. Fish Gravy- A Filipino fish sauce. Hoisin Sauce- A Dipping sauce. Kecap Manis- A dark sauce in the Indonesian ketchup family. Mam Tom- Shrimp sauce. Oyster Sauce- A sauce that is sweet and salty. Plum Sauce- A gooey, sweet, and sour taste that is used for a dipping sauce. Red Sweet Bean Paste- Use to fill buns and dumplings. Sambal Manis- Indonesian sauce. Soy Sauce- Made from soybeans that have been fermented and then salted. Sriracha- Thai and Vietnamese hot sauce. Sweet and Sour Sauce- Dipping sauce for fish and meat. Sweet Bean Sauce- Marinade or condiment for meats.

In preparing some Asian food, cooking tools are used in making Asian cuisine. A wok is very important in Southeast Asia and China. The rounded bottom of the wok provides a range of cooking temperatures in one pan, which is important in stirfrying. If you are using the wok to cook, then you need the wok tools, which is a long handled shovel with a shaved scoop used to stir- fry Asian food; a ladle is used to transfer liquids to and from the wok; strainer with a brass or steel basket to remove food from the hot oil; a bamboo whisk brush for cleaning; and a rack that sits on the side of the wok for draining fried foods. Clay pots come in handy for cooking and baking Asian food. The clays pots are glazed on the inside, but not on the outside. The clay pots comes in a range of sizes. A oriental cleaver is a versatile instrument that performs all the functions of various knifes within the American kitchen. Light cleaver is used for chopping, slicing, and carving. The heavier and thicker cleavers are used for chopping through bones. And last.... is the rice cooker to make a lot of rice. This is very important because rice is the main starch staple in Asian food. Asian cuisines are divided into three main food styles and these styles have made there way to the United States. Asian food was introduced in the mid- 1800's due to many immigrants coming to the United Stated and settling in California. They brought their cuisines and cooking traditions with them. During the time, the Asian cuisine was eaten in the Chinese community. The Chinese settled in their own Chinatown in the major U.S. cities, where they opened Chow Chow eateries. After WW II, the Asian food peaked the interest of Americans. So, then Asian restaurants wanted to broaden their customer base by inventing new ethnic foods that would appeal more to the American taste. That moved lead to the Americanized Asian foods such as chop suey, egg rolls, fortune cookies, and much more. Food is a well known aspect of Asian and Asian American culture. There are many unique types of cuisines that comes from the numerous ethnic cultures. As the modern Asian American population continues to evolve, the transformation of Asian cuisine blends into traditional and contemporary creations. If you are wanting to make an

Asian cuisine, click on free mini e- Cookbooks to download a Asian Cuisine e-Cookbook.

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