All The Chinese You Need To Know

Spice-up your life

Oct 15 2014

It's the combination of classic herbs and spices that gives Asian cuisine its distinctive taste and aroma. Luckily, it's easy to create these delicious flavours at home with a few store cupboard staples. Use the following Oriental ingredients to season meat, fish or vegetable dishes or add to sauces, side dishes and marinades to spice up your evening meals.


Liquorice Root
When ground this has a distinctive sweet flavour, which is very similar to aniseed, and works well when paired with white fish or dark meat. Add to beef or venison casserole for a hearty winter dish.
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The Wasabia Japonica plant grows naturally alongside Japanese mountain rivers. The root is grated to form a paste which has an intense hot flavour and is traditionally paired with sushi or added to miso soup. Add an Asian twist to your potatoes or creamy sauces with a small dollop of wasabi paste which will beautiful compliment fish dishes flavoured with soy and ginger.
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Kaffir Lime Leaves
The kaffir lime tree is native to Indonesia, Its leaves are extremely aromatic and add an elegant flavour to stir-fries, curries or salads. They can be used fresh of dried depending on the dish; use whole when poaching in soups and curries, and shred for use in fish cakes or similar dishes.


Five-Spice Powder
A combination of star anise, fennel seed, Szechuan pepper, cinnamon and cloves, it is possible to make your own five-spice powder by mixing all of the ingredients in equal amounts. Five-spice goes particularly well with pork and will add lots of flavours to any marinade.
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Whilst galangal looks similar to ginger and is prepared in much the same way, its taste is much more peppery. Galangal must be peeled and adds an authentic Thai flavour to many soups, curries and stir fried dishes. If you are using dried galangal it must be soaked in hot water before using.


Palm Sugar
Palm sugar is ubiquitous in South East Asian dishes. It's a healthy alternative to refined sugar as it has a lower glycemic index. Add to red or green Thai curries for a rich caramel flavour, or use instead of white sugar for a guilt free (and tasty!) dessert.
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This peppery condiment is used in many Japanese dishes instead of salt and pepper. Is it made from seven seasonings, including red chilli flakes, ash tree berries (sansho), white sesame seeds, nori flakes, and dried mandarin orange. It can be combined with other seasonings or used just on its own to add an interesting flavour to a simple dish.
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Do you know the difference between a herb and a spice?


A SPICE can be the dried fruit seed, bark or stem of a plant, whereas only the dried leaves of a plant are referred to as HERBS.

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