Every night the big question comes up again: what should we eat tonight? There are so many possibilities and yet the inspiration for a good, and above all tasty, meal often seems to be missing. You also don’t feel like having to cook after a long day of work. Recognizable, right? Fortunately for you, we have already done some preliminary work to provide you with inspiration.
What are we eating tonight? How about a delicious Asian dish? When you think of Asian dishes, you might quickly think of rice and/or bami dishes, curries or noodles. But Asian cuisine consists of many more types of dishes. Asian cuisine is often divided by country or region; you are probably familiar with Indian, Thai or Indonesian cuisine. But in many dishes the same or similar ingredients are used. These seven products are indispensable in the kitchen for cooking Asian dishes.
Product 1 – Rice
It may seem a bit stereotypical, but we’ll start with anyway rice. There are many different types of rice that you can also prepare in a huge number of ways. For example, you can already find brown rice, pandan rice, basmati rice and sushi rice in the usual supermarkets. Each type of rice has its own properties or characteristics and is therefore more suitable for one dish than another. For example, do you want to make delicious sushi? Then it is best to go for the sushi rice. This rice grain is quite round and becomes sticky after cooking. This is favorable for sushi because other vegetables, meat or fish are also involved. Do you want to make a tasty Thai curry? Then it is best to choose pandan rice, also known as jasmine rice. These rice grains are a bit longer and have a nutty smell and taste. Do you want to make a typical Indian dish? Then basmati rice is the perfect choice. Finally, you can of course stir-fry the rice so that you can eat a nice plate of fried rice.
Product 2 – Noodles
Not only rice is a versatile and frequently used element in Asian cuisine, this also applies to noodles. Noodles is the species collective name, but there are so many different types. Ramen is mainly used for Japanese noodle soups. This is a type of noodle that is made from wheat and is often somewhat yellowish in color. Mihoen, on the other hand, is made from rice and is also a lot thinner. This form can often be found in spring rolls, wok dishes and various salads. We know Mie in the Netherlands as bami. This variety is made from wheat and has already gone through a whole process of stretching and folding before we start cooking with it ourselves. Mie is often a bit thicker and nice and long, but these proportions depend on how often they are stretched and folded.
Product 3 – Vegetables
Vegetables are very popular in many Asian countries. There are often many different combinations of vegetables in the dishes. Fortunately, it is not that difficult for us to find the right vegetables. It sometimes contains less used vegetables such as bok choy or long beans, but you also often see spinach, green beans, broccoli or mushrooms. It is often about the combination of vegetables, herbs and sauces that make the dish so delicious.
Product 4 – Coconut
You will find coconut in many Asian kitchens. You can also use coconut in all kinds of forms in your dishes. For example, you can use coconut milk in curry, soups, sauces to add just a little more flavor. In some dishes you can even find the perfect one rate add coconut milk so that you just can’t taste it, but the dish does stand out. You may also be surprised to learn that your favorite Asian dishes also contain coconut.
Product 5 – Soy sauce
In addition to your usual products, it is important in Asian cuisine that you also use a lot of different herbs, sauces and flavor enhancers. Ketjap, or kecap in Indonesian, is perhaps one of the most famous soy sauces. You can get this sauce in many different flavors. You have (less) sweet, salty, syrupy and ‘combination’ sweet soy sauce. Most people use the very sweet version: Ketjap Manis. You can use the soy sauce to stir-fry your vegetables and rice or noodles, but you can also use it to smear chicken, for example.
Product 6 – Sambal
This sixth product may not be to everyone’s taste: sambal. Many Dutch people like some spiciness, but as soon as it becomes really sharp, they prefer not to eat it anymore. However, you can also use sambal to improve or strengthen the taste. As with the rest of the products mentioned, you can also find sambal in hundreds of different flavors. It ranges from very sweet to extra spicy. Often everyone has their own preference of taste and spiciness, so try a few. Your standard supermarkets often already have a fairly large selection.
Product 7 – Herbs
Finally, we must not forget the spices. You have probably heard someone say that Dutch cuisine is rather tasteless compared to other world cuisines. We in the Netherlands are also not used to adding all kinds of herbs and spices to our food; many people are already satisfied with salt and pepper. But adding herbs and spices to your food will really open a big door for you. For example, try adding chili pepper, cumin, rosemary, curry or paprika powder. Another little secret of many Asian dishes is to add a little sweetness like sugar or sweetener. Sometimes you feel something is missing in the taste and sweetness can sometimes surprise you.