her sweet baby. Molly is a wonderful cook, and I spent some time perusing her binder full of recipes. Half of them called for ingredients I had never heard of before--fish sauce, lemongrass, shrimp paste, etc. We got to talking about Asian cuisine (did I mention Molly lived in Hong-Kong for a year?) and ended up taking a trip to Molly's local Asian supermarket. So much fun! With her help, I collected some of the vital ingredients for making authentic Asian food.
The spoils are as follows: Sweet rice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, wasabi, coriander seeds, a bamboo mat for rolling sushi (squeel!!!!), roasted seaweed, ground fresh chili paste, pad Thai sauce, and shrimp paste.
Am I the only one that has never cooked with some of these ingredients? Fish sauce? Shrimp paste!?
So, for the benefit of all involved, I've done a tiny bit of research on my new pantry staples.
Fish Sauce: This sauce is essential to most Thai dishes. It is a clear reddish/brown liquid with a very strong fish odor that is a fermented mixture of fish and salt. The ingredients of my new fish sauce are "water, anchovy extract, salt, and sugar." Fish sauce should be stored at room temperature and keeps indefinitely. I will probably utilize fish sauce for the first time in the Thai Fish Curry recipe Molly gave me. :)
Rice Vinegar: This is for making sushi rice! I am SO EXCITED about this. Half of the dates my husband and I go on are sushi dates. Sushi is my main craving when I'm pregnant. I've never made it at home and can't wait to give it a whirl. Here are some basic instructions for making sushi rice.
Ground Fresh Chili Paste: I have a Sambal chili paste--this is used as a condiment in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. At Molly's house, we had it on top of Beef Lettuce Wraps. Yum! It definitely has kick.
Sweet rice (glutenous rice): Molly served us Mango Sticky Rice as our lunchtime dessert. I had never had it before, and it is delightful. Now I have the right kind of rice for making it--I'm pretty sure my husband will be sold on this dish. *excitement*
Add these ingredients to the soy sauce, coconut milk, and curry powder I already have in my pantry, and I'm ready to go. Decomposed shrimp and all.
What about you? Do you have expertise when it comes to authentic ethnic cuisine? Favorite recipes? Maybe I'll tackle authentic Indian food next...
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