words Al Woods
If you’ve just started cooking Asian food or you’re looking for ways to improve your technique, you’ve come to the right place. Asian food is great to serve since it’s healthy and also very delicious.
Plus, it’s a great crowd-pleaser as well. However, it can also be quite intimidating, particularly when you’re not familiar with the terms and techniques that are unique to Asian cooking.
Fortunately, this article will present some tips when cooking authentic Asian cuisine at home:
Learn How To Master A Pad Thai
If there’s only just one Asian food for you to master, that’s definitely making Pad Thai at home. This cuisine has rice, eggs, noodles, vegetables, protein (tofu, chicken, shrimp, or pork), and the right mix of spices and garnish.
The great thing about mastering Pad Thai is that it’s always going to be a crowd-pleaser. It may look complicated at first, but once you’ve mastered it, it’ll be simple and easy to make.
Here’s how you can cook the perfect Pad Thai:
- Start by frying your shrimps or whatever source of protein you have in oil, and add the right amount of spices;
- Add the soaked rice noodles, either bought or fresh homemade noodles, into the wok, then add your vegetables and more seasoning;
- Once these are all well-cooked, add the egg for it to cook like a scrambled egg;
- Season with lime, lemon, roasted peanuts, or any other seasoning you desire.
Understand The Basic Asian Cooking Principles
Before you even start cooking your Asian dishes, be sure that you’ve also given yourself a thorough and profound understanding of the basic Asian cooking principles. The more that you cook, the more you’ll get familiar with these.
Generally, there are three basic principles to apply so your Asian dishes will taste the best and be as authentic as possible:
- Be sure to prepare everything beforehand so cooking will be a breeze. You can even pre-cut or prepare the ingredients the night before. For instance, have the sauces prepared, wash and cut the vegetables to the right proportions, as well as marinate and cut the meat.
- Keep a variety of meat and vegetables in the dish (don’t just focus on one). This way, your dishes end up having a lot of variety and flavor.
- Fresh is best; always use fresh ingredients, whenever possible.
Understand The Different Cooking Methods
There are cooking methods that are quite a common theme with Asian dishes. To come up with the most authentic Asian dishes, you’ve also got to practice and understand these different cooking methods.
As a brief opener, here are five of the most popular cooking methods in Asian cuisine:
- Stir-Frying. Using only a small amount of oil, this cooking method involves cooking or quickly frying ingredients in a wok in a short period.
- Steaming. This type of cooking uses water vapor from your steamer to heat up and cook the food in a very healthy manner.
- Deep Frying. This is the opposite of stir-frying. With deep frying, you’re going to use a lot of oil. You’re going to fry the food, usually pork or fish, on a deep casserole filled with very hot oil so you can come up with crunchy and crispy dishes.
- Braising. This is usually like a one-pot dish, where you add all of your ingredients into the pan with water, and leave it to simmer. Once the meat itself is tender and cooked, cornstarch is often added to the sauce to make it thicker and less droopy.
- Red Stewing. This method of cooking is popular with the Chinese, where the food is cooked over very low heat. This will take time, so if the dish calls for red stewing, you’ve got to start many hours before mealtime for it to be ready on time.
Master How To Stir-Fry Vegetables
Authentic Asian food is filled with a lot of vegetables. So, if the dish calls for vegetables that aren’t steamed or boiled, then it means you’re going to stir-fry it. But since vegetables are soft and delicate, frying them the right way, without overcooking your vegetables, is going to take time.
Mastering how to stir-fry your vegetables is key so dishes that have veggies will have fresh and crunch ones.
- Cook the thickest and toughest vegetables first, as these will take more time;
- If you’re uncertain which to cook first, then stir fry each vegetable separately, and then set it aside. By doing so, you can avoid over or under-cooking your vegetables. When you cook each separately, you’re able to enhance its flavor through the oil and the flavor will get stuck on the wok after frying each vegetable.
As you can see, there are many ways for you to master the art of cooking authentic Asian cuisine, and it doesn’t have to feel like an impossibly heavy task to accomplish. When prepared well, Asian food tastes really good and is filled to the brim with a lot of healthy ingredients. Now, you can be ready to surprise your family with more Asian meals at home.