Cooking Asian food fast starts with a well-stocked pantry. There are different staples depending on which cuisine you lean towards, but these are our recommendations for ingredients that will help you build a versatile storecupboard. All of these can either be found at large supermarkets, Asian supermarkets or grocers, and should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. Stock up, and a wide array of dishes await. Buy a small bottle — it's quite strong in flavour, and doesn't improve with age. Our brand of choice is Megachef Premium.
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We are, as former prime minister Paul Keating never tired of reminding us, part of Asia. We have adopted the flavours and dishes of Asia as our own. We love dumplings as much as we love ravioli, we value Peking duck in a pancake as highly as a roast chicken dinner on our table, and we are as happy with peanuts ground into a satay sauce as we are with peanut butter in our sandwiches, while spring rolls and sweet chilli sauce are as loved today as sausage rolls and tomato sauce. While we love the flavours of Asia when we eat or snack out, sometimes we overlook their flexibility when cooking at home outside the usual fried rice or stir fry splashed with soy sauce and sesame oil. Here are half-a-dozen Asian ingredients that are excellent partners to help you spark up your cooking, many of which are now available in your supermarket rather than requiring an adventure to an Asian grocery.
Asian Ingredients for the Pantry
The basics of the pan-Asian pantry are condiments and starches: sauces and pastes that amplify flavors and rice and noodles to absorb them. Chile sauce There are seemingly infinite varieties of these fiery sauces and pastes. They add a piquant note to sauces and marinades, or use as a condiment for whatever you cook.
These are some of my favorite ingredients, ones that I always have on hand. This anchovy extract is commonly used in Southeast Asia as a cooking sauce to add a salty, savory taste to dishes. With its intense flavor, a little bit of fish sauce goes a long way.