Possibly the Best Eggplant Dish? / 燉茄子

Singapore Braised Eggplant
Good with Curries and Western Meat Dishes

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

Eggplant has an image problem with Western cooks.  This results from the fact that they usually cook it the wrong Continue reading

Can Walnuts Stop Cancer?

Ellagic Acid Helps Combat Cancer
Benefits to Kidneys, Urinary Functions

Walnuts can certainly play a role in a healthy diet that helps prevent and even control the condition.

Walnuts are high in Continue reading

Ginger I

Tamil Time-Traveler
As Fundamental as Onions

“Fresh ginger is as fundamental to the Asian kitchen as onion is to European cuisine.” — Molly O’Neill

Ginger Flower

Ginger, like Rice, was an ancient Tamil time traveler around the Pacific Rim.  Ginger, which grows underground and has beautiful red and yellow flowers above ground, is one of the most important foods in Asian kitchens.  And it is healthy, too!

Continue reading

Sea Cucumbers/Beche-de-Mer/Namako/海鼠

Sea Grub or Sea Mice?
Solomon Islands Currency

beche de mer or sea cucumbers

Beche de Mer
Frozen, Chinese Origin

You see them in Asian markets.  They do look like cucumbers, and are typically about six inches long in the fresh state.  Sometimes they are sold dried.  The dried form is usually black and rock-hard, and only a few inches long.Despite the name, they are not a vegetable and are not related to cucumbers.  They are a kind of seafood.

A common name is Sea Cucumbers, from their shape, also Trepang, or Bêche de Mer, from the French word for “sea grub.” Continue reading

Japanese Pepper/Sansho — I

The Basics of Japanese Pepper
A Spice with Uncanny Properties

It’s a light brown powder that comes in a small glass bottle with a green label.  It appears on the table in Japanese restaurants where grilled eel is served.

Sansho Powder

Sansho Powder

Sansho, 山椒  translated as Japanese Pepper, is used by some people to sprinkle on top of Japanese style grilled chicken or eel, and that’s about it.  A strictly limited niche spice. Continue reading

Wheat Gluten/Fu 麩

“It is a little lower in calories and a little higher in protein content than wheat germ, inexpensive and rather good tasting.” — Joan Itoh

 

cooking with wheat gluten

Kao Fu, Chinese Canned Wheat Gluten

Wheat Gluten, called Fu 麩   in Japanese and Mian Jin     in Chinese, is a protein made from wheat germ that is used a lot in several Asian cuisines. It often appears in vegetarian dishes. [1]

Fu is eaten commonly in Japan, often as a garnish in soups. Sometimes it looks like a white flower, floating on the top of the soup. When you bite into it, it has a rather bland taste and a chewy texture Continue reading