At home, I am the cook of our family. I love to make meals, and… let's be honest, I really just love food in general. I also do all the grocery shopping. Typically, I’ll take one big shopping day at the grocery store during the week and maybe a couple short trips if I need specific items. But, whenever I announce I’m taking a trip to the Asian market, my entire family eagerly jumps in the car with me.
If you're not in the habit of shopping at your Asian grocery store, 1) you’re missing out on an entire hemisphere of goods, 2) it’ll open a new world of food and sundries that’ll keep you coming back, and 3) food, kitchen supplies – everything – is extremely affordable.
In short, tons of flavor. Great value. Win. Win.
We would never want to actually judge this competition, but if you were to pit all the mass market hot sauces against each other in a taste test, the classic green nozzled sriracha sauce with the rooster on the label might very well come out on top. It's extremely versatile stuff, and offers heaps of complexity and flavors other than heat and vinegar tang.
Fried rice is a comfort food in almost every Eastern culture where rice is a staple, and the styles vary widely among traditions cultures. But if you ask me, one cuisine has nailed it above all the others; and its version isn't just a way to use up leftover rice. It's a reason to make a huge pot of rice in the first place.
For some people, fall comfort food is a warm pot of chili. Others love an ooey gooey mac and cheese, and many dig on a Sunday dinner-style roast chicken with all the fixings. And, me too. But my ideal version of what to eat on a chilly fall evening or a rainy Saturday looks a whole lot like the photo above.
They're a go-to lunch for people everywhere: office workers, college students, older children looking for something to fuel their growth spurts. And...I'll admit it - they're delicious. I love just-add-water noodle packs, particularly the Southeastern Asian brands that supply Indonesian or Korean flavors. Add a bit of frozen veg, some fresh herbs, some leftovers or a broth-poached egg, and you've got a legit meal.
Last week, I got a half-bushel box of peaches from a local farm. They were quite ripe, and some a little banged up, so they didn't feel comfortable selling them, as they needed used that day. I gladly accepted, and after eating at least ten from my hand, set about finding ways to preserve them.
Though they're not something you want to eat everyday, instant Asian noodles are a pretty helpful thing to have on hand. Whether you're working on a project late into the night and realize it's 10:00 p.m. and you haven't had anything to eat all day, or if you need to keep something in your bottom desk at work for when you forget to pack, or if you simply don't feel cooking, it's nice to have something small and inexpensive. Just add some actual nutrients with some frozen vegetables, a fried egg or leftover roast chicken, and some fresh herbs and sauces to make it sing.
Thai cuisine is all about the balance of four essential taste experiences: salty, sweet, sour, and piquancy (spicy heat). (Some would also add bitter to the list). This is well-represented by the most well-known Thai dish in the U.S. - Pad Thai (its name refers to its identity as a national dish of Thailand, with the pad coming from it's being cooked in wok - literally, stir-fried Thai-style).
Over the last few years, I've become fascinated with fermentation. I love the idea that you can purposefully use little microbes to make food taste awesome, and that many foodstuffs are actually only possible by can actually encouraging bacteria and yeasts to grow in your food.
Nothing represents naturally fermented foods like kimchi, the family of fermented vegetable pickles from Korea. The most familiar is napa cabbage kimchi, or baechu, which is quite easy to make at home using mostly supermarket ingredients and a few Asian specialities. It's loads of fun, requires no canning equipment or special yeasts, and can be made easily in your home kitchen. If you've got a batch of kimchi in the fridge, you've got dinner.
Wanna make some? Let's!