The most common misconception about hot and spicy food is that there is a single ingredient that makes the dish extremely hot. Hot and spicy meals are so much more that one element, and they vary in flavor as they do in color.
It is the combination of the ingredients, the herbs and spices as well as the meat and vegetables, that creates the taste sensations. Nothing embodes the mysteries to cooking quite like the herbs and spices used.
They are as versatile as they are special and they are as varied as they dialects of the world. When it comes to taste, spices provide on endless variety of possibility. Originally, spices were used as a preservative and for the medicinal properties. Today they are used mainly for flavoring and to make food more attractive by providing color.
Turmeric which makes food yellow, is used to color rice and white vegetables such as cauliflower and potato. Coriander leaves and green chilies define. Thailand's famous green curries, while red spices give dishes a vivid color and a sharp, pungent flavor.
In a largo bowl, combine 1⁄3 cup olive oil. ginger, garlic, lemon-grass, chili, lime juice and ..
Soak noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry win paper towels. Preheat..
In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until softened..
Saute onion until lightly brown-ed. Add meat and ginger and saute until meat changes color..
Place mushrooms in a small bowl, add boiling water to cover and let stand until softened..
In a wok or large skillet heat oils over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, garlic, ginger..
In a bowl, combine fish, curry paste, cilantro and salt and mix well. Shape teaspoons of ..
In a wok or large saucepan over high heat, combine coconut cream, coconut milk..
In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon ghee. Add onion and ginger and cook until onion is soft..
Cook bananas in a covered steamer over rapidy simmering water until skin begins to..
Cut chicken fillets into quarters. In a glass or ceramic bowl combine chicken..
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process to a thick paste. Scrape..
For the peoples of Asia, noodles and dumplings rival bread and rice as sources of energy, starch, and dietary fiber. From China to Indonesia, dishes are made with noodles or dumplings as their starting point. On Asian streets, noodles and dumplings dispensed from small carts, hole in the wall counters, and restaurants sustain millions of locals daily, from sunrise to well into the night.
Noodle types vary across the Asian continent. Those from northern China are tougher, made from wheat or barley and water; farther south, wheat noodles become more pliant with the use of egg; and in the wetter climes of Southeast Asia, the soft textured rice noodle is more common. The Vietnamese and Cambodians have perfected the gorgeously soft and sensuous rice noodle; the Japanese are experts with soba and udon; and the Koreans have the unique dang myun, a translucent cellophane vermicelli made with vegetable starch, and a more textured version of the soba, naeng myun. In Malaysia and Singapore, where noodles were introduced by the Chinese, wheat, egg, and rice noodles weave their way into everything from soups to stir fries.
In China, noodles are served on birthdays symbolizing long life, they are considered as important as birthday cakes. Usually the e-fu, or long life noodle, is used, and the noodles are never cut, because this would suggest shortening one's life. Another noodle, from China's Shandong province, is the la mian, or dragon's whisker. A work of art in itself, this noodle is hand-drawn and hand thrown from a length of dough by specially trained master chefs. Within the Taoist tradition of yin-yang, flavors and textures come together to create perfect harmony and balance cold with hot, crunchy with soft, wet with dry, smooth with crisp. Noodles, whether steamed, boiled, braised, deep-fried, or stir fried, make a vital contribution. When many dishes are to be shared at the table, the cook needs special knowledge of all the ingredients and skill in their assembly to achieve a true balance of yin and yang.
Dim sum and dumplings Dumplings have a slightly different role in the lives of Asians. The ritual of taking dim sum, traditionally served with jasmine tea, is practiced in the late morning and lunchtime in Chinese restaurants all over the world. Minuscule dumplings and pastry pillows are paraded before the customer ingenious morsels with delicious centers, created daily by an army of cooks, and devoured within seconds. Vying for attention are deep fried or boiled egg rolls or wontons, melt in the mouth fried taro pastries called wu gok, and steamed har gau translucent pastries with luscious shrimp, pork, or scallop centers. There are steamed siu mai, with their ground pork, shrimp, and water chestnut filling; jai gau, glutinous rice wrappers stuffed with green leafy vegetables and ginger; and wondrous pot sticker dumplings, Chinese jiaozi, or Japanese gyoza, consisting of a special dough made with boiling water and usually filled with ground pork. Other components are the sublime duck pancakes; wafer thin sheets cooked in a hot pan, steamed, and wrapped around crisp Peking duck, cucumber sticks, and green onions, seasoned with a hoisin or plum sauce. The Vietnamese make an egg roll using rice-paper sheets for a light, crisp texture. The same rice paper sheets are used to make cold rolls filled with shrimp, crab, pork, or vegetables, with fresh rice vermicelli usually added to enhance the soft textures. Malaysia has given us the popiah, another version of the fresh roll in which the pastry sheets are made paper thin, in the same way as you would a crêpe, then filled with vegetables or ground pork and chili. Dumplings can be made from glutinous rice flour, potato or water chestnut flour, eggs, wheat flour, duck fat, lard, rice paper, mung beans, or even green vegetable leaves, like screw pine or banana.
Whatever the wrapper or pastry used to encase the filling, it should be paper thin, with the texture and consistency of a floating cloud. It is important to consider the ratio of wrapper to filling, since the wrapper is there simply to hold the filling in place and shape, not to dominate the finished dumpling.
The most common misconception about hot and spicy Asian food is that there is a single ingredient that makes the dish extremely hot. Hot and spicy meals are so much more than one element, and they vary in flavor as they do in color, it is the combination of the ingredients, the herbs and spices as well as the meat and vegetates, that creates the taste sensations.
Cold water is the most authentic beverage to drink with a hot and spicy meal, because many fizzy or carbonated drinks, including beer, tend to exaggerate the burning sensation of a hot spice. Surprising, so does iced water. Lovers of hot and spicy foods will bi impressed with the drinks and desserts we've included to help cool the f ire in the belly during and after a meal.