We Love Cooking! + TIME

::The Asian Pantry

As I think I mentioned before I am a HUGE fan of Asian cuisine, so I thought I would write a post about the essential ingredients for your very own Asian pantry.

I have been having a terrible time recently when it comes to cooking Asian inspired dishes because my girlfriend is extremely allergic to soya and nuts. Soya is a staple part of Asian cuisine and in many recipe's hard to avoid. However not one to be beaten I have been adapting some of my favourite dishes without the addition of soya, so I will include some of these here in the future with soya as an option.

On to the reason were here, in the ever shrinking world getting your hands on international ingredients has become ever so easy! I would normally have said just pop down to your local Chinese supermarket as this is what I would do in Dublin, but I was living in the north of Ireland for a couple of months recently and asked where the nearest Chinese supermarket was and the answer to which was laughter. There is a great little shop in Dublin that I visit regularly to stock up and it's nuzzled in the back of a building of Georges St. So if you ever get a chance to visit, do!

You can purchase lots of these ingredients in supermarket's now but I like the having the options of more than one brand to choose from.

  1. Soy Sauce- A fermented sauce made from soy bean, roasted grain, water, and salt. I was a bit of an addict before my recent situation arose, as it really adds a salty sweet taste to dishes.
  2. Chilli Flakes- Made from crushing dried chilli peppers, give a nice spice when added to dishes.
  3. Rice Wine Vinegar- A much milder vinegar than the western variety, can be used in most dishes and sauces.
  4. Fish Sauce- A sauce brownish in colour and salty in taste. Is often substituted for salt in dishes. It is more common in Thai cooking but I use it all the time.
  5. Sesame Oil- Used mainly as a flavour rather than a regular cooking oil as it burns very quickly- has a very distinct nutty flavour.
  6. Ginger- An aromatic root of the ginger plant, has a strong fresh flavour. Can be used in stir Fry's soups and marinades.
  7. Oyster Sauce- It's name alone tends to put people off, but this sauce doesn't have a strong fishy taste due to the fact the oysters are boiled. It's a very rich sauce with a strong savoury flavour.
  8. Lemon Grass- Another strong aromatic flavour here. This herb gives a distinct lemon smell and taste. It can be used in soups and chopped finely into stir fry's.
  9. Chinese 5 Spice powder- A seasoning which combines sweet sour bitter savoury and salty all in one. It consists of cinnamon, star anise, ginger, cassia, and cloves.
  10. Noodles- I always aim to keep a wide selection of noodles in my press, these include different varieties of Egg noodles, Rice noodles and Wheat Noodles. My best advice on this one is to experiment, it's the only way of finding your own taste.

lemon, life, rice, soup, spice, and more:

::The Asian Pantry + TIME