When I found myself ordering a lot of takeout, 9 times out of 10 I was grabbing Asian food. Why you ask? Aside from the delicious taste, Asian food was something I didn’t feel confident making myself! I didn’t know where to start, especially when my pantry had never seen an item from Asia. After plenty of research, some experimenting, help from my friend Rachel, and a trip to my local Asian supermarket, I can finally make my favourite dishes at home! It’s intimidating to venture out and try new things but the kitchen is the perfect place to do it.
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Here are 5 Asian pantry staples
Sesame oil, especially toasted sesame oil, really gives a dish that traditional Asian flavour (it’s used often in Chinese cuisine). Be careful not to use too much or it will overpower the meal (trust me, I may have made this mistake).
You can either buy white or dark miso paste and it can be used in anything from marinades to sauces and dressings! Miso eggplant is out of this world and super easy to make.
Looking to make an awesome marinade or dressing? Don’t skip out on the rice vinegar-especially if you have sesame oil because they pair perfectly.
This is probably the ingredient I felt the most confident using in recipes when I first began cooking Asian food as it was familiar. You can use either light or dark soy sauce, depending on the dish.
Shaoxing Cooking Wine
Shaoxing cooking wine is a type of rice wine that comes from the Shaoxing region. It is similar to a Sherry cooking wine and used in plenty of dishes to add flavour. You can’t make Mapo Tofu without it so it’s definitely a staple in my kitchen!