Go East, young man (and of course, woman)
I have had the good fortune of knowing two people with ties to Asia – a dear friend who spent many years in Taiwan, and an International student from Macao who was an active part of our family for a while (Hi Albert!).

While I’ve always enjoyed “Chinese” restaurants, I have learned that REAL Chinese cooking is very different – and better! The same great flavors, but a much simpler and healthier meal.

It can be daunting the first time you try a recipe – especially for the wallet. While the majority of the primary ingredients are actually quite inexpensive, if you don’t have all the sauces and seasoning, they do add up. Don’t despair! Over time, I have built up what I refer to as my “Asian pantry” – and you can do the same.

Soy sauce (both light and dark), Mirin, Rice Wine vinegar, 5 Spice Powder, Sesame oil, dried mushrooms, Soba and Rice noodles – these are some of the bare essentials. At a few bucks a piece, I can understand your reluctance to get started. Don’t despair - most recipes only use a little of each. If properly stored, they will keep for quite some time. Items like fresh ginger root are cheap; just save the unused portion in the freezer for future access.

Explore what my grocer refers to as the “Ethnic” aisle, and just pick up one or two items that appeal to you every once in a while – and once you’ve had some success, check out your local Asian markets. Soon you’ll be able to make your own, inexpensive Asian wonders, on a whim.

Posted by Linda :
Saturday 21 February 2009 - 20:56:00
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