Indian Cooking Technique Korma قورمه i

A Special Kind of Braising
Heritage of Central Asia

“The northern versions of these curries have different names. Korma is the queen among them.” — Shanthi Rangarao

Korma or Braising is a special technique of Indian cooks for preparing meat or vegetables in which they are braised with a small amount of liquid and spices in a tightly sealed container to produce a rich and tasty dish.

The key to korma cooking is, after searing the main ingredient to seal in its liquids, to cook under carefully controlled conditions in such a way that the liquids of the main ingredient are absorbed back into the food being cooked. It is done with a very small amount of liquid and under very low temperatures. Continue reading

Bento III

Putting It All Together
Building Better Bento Lunches

Bemto Lunch with Burgers and Rice

Bento Lunch with Burgers and Rice

Problems with Bento: Research has shown that some of the more popular items in Japanese Bento lunches are not so delicious by lunch time. Hamburgers get touch, vegetables get soggy, and eggs go limp and greasy.

There are two problems, here both connected with time Continue reading

Bento II

Back to Bento
Problems in the Lunch Box — Some Solutions

Juicy Burgers for Bento

Burgers Bento Style

Research in Japan has shown that hamburgers are the most popular meat today in children’s Bento boxes.  But there are some problems.

Bento are made early in the morning. By the time they are eaten, several hours later, the hamburgers are often tough, hard and flavorless. This problem Continue reading

Bento I — Bento Boxes

Makunouchi to Third Meal
Eki Ben to Artist Palettes

“Tradition-hallowed, honest-to-cherry blossom, real bento provide delightful picnics.” — Nina Froud [1]

Lacuer Bento Box

Lacquer Bento Box

Bento is a characteristic Japanese way of packing up a quick meal to eat on the go.

Technically a Bento box is a container, usually metallic, but often made of lacquer, wood,or Continue reading

Ramen II

Exploring Ramen

Noodle with its Own Movie, Museum, Encyclopedia

Shio Ramen, Tonkotsu type, world's most popular paste

Shio Ramen, Tonkotsu Type

Noodle with Its Own Museum: With so many local varieties of Ramen noodles, it would take a whole museum to display the main kinds of Ramen. In fact, there is a Ramen museum. The Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum in Yokohama has exhibits showing the history and manufacture of the product, including instant Ramen.

“”Tanpopo’s hilarious. That movie’s awesome…like that movie a lot.” — Richie Nakano

The museum also serves samples in nine restaurants on premises, serving local specialties. The museum has a replica of an old downtown Tokyo street when Ramen was rapidly growing in popularity. [1]

Continue reading

Japanese Pepper/Sanshio II

Advanced Know-How
A Shocking Spice

Applying the Research in Your Kitchen: Professor Yumi Miyashita of Tokiyo’s Meiji University Research Institute tested the effects of small amounts of Sansho in various Japanese and Western foods.

Sansho Powder

Sansho Powder

In blindfold tests subjects reported flavor levels that were subjectively “like a hundred times more flavorful” than the usual. Miyashita and her associates confirmed these results with a wide range of foods, including:

Ramen I

The World’s Most Popular Pasta
Marco Polo’s Legacy?

Swung noodles, because of the stretching and the rolling, have a feel and texture cut noodles lack.” — Buwei Yang Chao

Instant Ramen

Ramen, if you count its instant varieties, is far and away the most popular pasta dish on earth

So how did an Asian pasta dish come to surpass its Italian original? We’ll come back to that. 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

Chinese Cooking Method Jian 煎

A Different Kind of Frying
More Oil, Less Salt

“Laying them more-or-less flat against the surface of the wok, a method known in Chinese as jian (pan-fry), rather than chao (stir-fry).” — Fuchsia Dunlop

Over centuries, Chinese cooks have developed so many distinctive cooking methods, many of them unfamiliar to cooks in other cuisines.

There’s wind curing — useful for game birds, even turkey. There’s convection cooking in hot cinders — maybe the best way to roast chestnuts. [1] Continue reading

Rice I

The First Cross-Cultural Food
More Precious than the Ya-Hu Pearl

“What I call a gem is rice.  If there is rice, the people are quiet; if there is no rice, the countryside revolts. Is it not better than the Ya-Hu pearl?” — Shang Wen


Rice - Tsuru Mai Brand

Rice – Tsuru Mai

Rice Basics: For centuries, rice has held an almost mystical significance in a large part of Asia.

Rice is the main staple food of at least 17 Pacific Rim countries. It is also an important food in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Latin American and the Caribbean.

Rice amounts to about one-fifth of all the calories consumed by human being worldwide. Continue reading