Ginger Tomato Chutney

Good with Naan or Pita

How to cook delicious and healthy Asian dishes using tomatoes

Tomatoes

This Fusion recipe illustrates some of the ways Ginger can enhance the flavors of other foods, like the Tomatoes used to make this spread.  It would be good with Naan or Pita bread and can be made Continue reading

Spiced Salt

An Alternative to Table Salt
Good on Fish and Chicken

Using Sichuan pepper, hua jiao, to cook delicious Sichuan dishes

Sichuan Pepper, Hua Jiao

This is a Seasoned Salt that is good as a substitute for Table Salt, and also versatile in cooking.  It works well for cooking Chicken, any Fish Steaks or Fillets.  It can also be used to flavor Rice, Pasta and Vegetables.

The recipe is adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and was served at restaurant Vong in Manhattan in place of ordinary Table Salt. Continue reading

Yellow Lentils / पीली दाल

A Nourishing and Filling Dish
Formula from the Yak and Yeti

How to cook delicious and healthy Asian dishes using tomatoes

Tomatoes

Nepalese dish of the Indian persuasion.  It came from a hostess in Kathmandu, so it can be called Nepalese, but like many dishes of that country, has close affinities with similar dishes in Indian cooking.

The recipe is Continue reading

Nasi Minyak

A Staple at Malayan Weddings
Ghee Meets Saffron and Vanilla

Using garlic to make Nasi Minyak, Savory Rice

Garlic

Nasi Minyak, or Savory Rice, is a version of Rice cooked in or with Ghee, with an addition of spices and is a key dish in Malayan cuisine.

The name Nasi Minyak comes from Malay and literally means “Rice cooked with Oil,” referring to the Ghee which is a key ingredient in this preparation.

Nasi Minyak is commonly served at Malayan wedding banquets. Here is a recipe obtained from one of the Chefs at the legendary Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore. Continue reading

Indian Cuisine

India - Sculpture head, Buddha meditating, India 12th century

Buddha Meditating, India 12th c.

Fish Curry From Bananas
Halva From Meat

“It is possible to eat what you believe to be a fish curry only to learn it was made from unripe bananas, or to taste a sweet halva and find it was made not of fruit or vegetables but meat.” — Attia Hosain and Sita Pasricha

An Ancient People and Cuisine: The Indian civilization is one of the oldest and most important in Continue reading

Indonesian Cuisine

A Nation of Islands
Rijsttafel, Sate, and Sambals

“Indonesia isn’t a country, it’s a happening.” — Christopher Lucas [1]

Garjda, Indonesia 14th cent.

Garuda, Indonesia, 14th cent.

Indonesia stretches from the Asian mainland towards Australia, like a jade necklace across the southern ocean.  The nation contains more than 17,000 islands, and its people represent several hundred ethnic groups, speaking many different languages.

Indonesia is an ancient country and its Continue reading

Malaysian Cuisine

Durian Cake and Zuberbuhler’s Special
Raffles, Maugham and Lord Jim Country

“At the end of the tenth century Canton carried on direct trade with the Malay Peninsula.” —Friedrich Hirt and W. W. Rockhill [1]

Tang Dynasty horse from the Silk Road

Tang Dynasty Camel
From the Silk Road, 8th Century

For centuries the Malay Peninsula has been an important corridor in the southern sea route of the Spice Route.

The Strait of Malacca was an important Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers — III

The Manila Galleon and the Third Route
Tomatoes, Chili Peppers and Beche de Mer

“Tang cookery sounds like modern Japanese cookery — plain food, sometimes raw, with few savory mixtures or interesting sauces.” — Edward Schafer

 

“The best of modern Chinese cooking developed in relatively modern times under the influence of foreign taste and customs, in particular those of India and the lands of the Desert and the Isles.” — Edward Schafer

Malayan on the Silk Road

Curly Haired Man, Malayan
Silk Road, Tang Dynasty

We sometimes forget how many of the foods we associate with Pacific Rim cuisines today were not native to much of the region in the oldest times and have migrated back and forth along the ancient trade routes. Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers – II

The Southern Sea Routes
Before Marco Polo

Jackfruit

Jackfruit

“The Po-Lo-Mi (jackfruit) is the size of a pumpkin, its outer skin covered with nodules like the hair on a Buddha’s head.  Its color is green while growing, and turns yellow when ripe.  The pulp is of extreme sweetness.” — Zhao Rugua“Even in Dunhuang, further out on the camel road, grape wine was an expensive addition to an important celebration, like champagne for our festivals.” — Edward Schafer

 

Edward Schafer researched the movement of men, goods and ideas along the Silk Continue reading

Pho

When the National Dish Is a Soup
That Often Appears at Breakfast

Vietnam's national dish, Pho

Beef Pho

The Vietnamese soup called Pho is often said to be the national dish of Vietnam.  Unusually for a country’s main dish, it is a soup.  The soup can be eaten any time of day and is often thought of as a late-night food and a street food.  But it is also popular at breakfast.

I first came across the Pho soup in Ho Chi Minh City – we called it Saigon then – in the 1960s. Guests at the small hotel where I stayed near the Saigon Central Market often had it at breakfast time. I tried the soup and immediately became a fan.. Continue reading