It’s fun and easy to begin bringing your favorite Asian food dishes home. There are many great Asian food recipes you can begin trying out with the ingredients you already have in your pantry. The versatile nature of Asian cooking means you can experiment with different spices, heat levels, sauces, and more until you find all the recipes you love and add your own personal taste to each one.
Here at Fly By Jing, we believe food brings people together and connects us through generations and regions. That’s why we want to make it as easy and accessible as possible to begin trying our great dishes and why we want to provide the ingredients, recipes, and stories that bring these flavors to life. Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re ready to begin cooking Asian food in your own kitchen.
Overview of Asian Cooking
Asian food tells a story that is millennia old. It speaks to the history of travel, politics, art, and global influence and is always evolving as new ingredients become available, citizens travel around the world, and cultures blend and grow.
Asia is the largest continent in the world, home to 4.5 billion people and dozens of countries, which means many unique and exciting cuisines and the stories surrounding them have had the chance to take root, grow, and become their own unique dishes over time. Despite the many unique approaches and regional ingredients and cooking methods, there are a few commonalities when it comes to Asian cooking.
You’ll find a few ingredients show up time and again across many of the different Asian cuisines, like noodles, rice, seafood, chicken, and soy—soy sauce, soybeans, and soybean paste, most often. From these ingredients, many recipes have evolved, and you can begin bringing them to your own kitchen today.
Tips and Tricks to Cooking Asian Food
When you’re ready to start trying your hand at Asian cooking at home, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you achieve your favorite flavors and textures with ease.
Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry
There are a few pantry staples that will help you cook up all your favorite dishes right at home. The more complete your Asian dish pantry is, the easier it will be to try out great new recipes, upgrade your heat level, and adjust for seasonal ingredients.
When it comes to the pantry essentials, here are a few things you’ll want to pick up: soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, doubanjiang, and spices like cinnamon, ginger, Chinese five-spice, cardamom, and, of course, our chili crisp.
You’ll also want to stock up on oil. Many Asian food dishes employ stir-frying techniques, which require oils with low flashpoints, like canola oil or peanut oil.
Be Specific When Cooking
Asian dishes are a great option for new cooks and professionals alike, because they are versatile and can be adapted easily. You can change out your favorite vegetables and meats with ease, but it’s important to use the right spices and sauces when the recipe calls for it.
For example, there are many different types of soy sauce, and each one gives the recipe a specific flavor, so you don’t want to exchange the essential ingredients without adapting the recipe to match the new additions.
Use the Right Tools
Using the right spices, oils, and sauces is essential to creating your favorite Asian food dishes at home, but so is using the right tools. Most importantly, you’ll want to find the right wok to fit both your stove and cooking needs. There are many different sizes of woks, and some work more efficiently on electric ranges and others on gas stoves. Explore your options and find the best one for the recipes and appliances you’ll be using most often.
All that said, you can use a regular pan if you’re not in a position to purchase a wok yet.
Prepare in Advance
Many Asian food dishes cook quite quickly. For instance, some noodle dishes and stir fry dishes can be wrapped up in just five to ten minutes. That’s why you’ll want to begin by preparing your ingredients in advance. Chop the vegetables, measure out the spices, and mix up your sauces and marinades. All of this will help to keep your dish from overcooking and allow you to add all of the ingredients at the right time to ensure top flavors.
Learn the Basics
There are a few basic cooking techniques that are used most commonly in Asian cuisine and will help you create all of your favorite dishes: stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, stewing, boiling, roasting, and braising. Once you learn these cooking techniques, you’ll be able to recreate your regular orders from the take-out menu and start trying out a lot of new dishes with ease.
Embrace the Marinade
There is a wide range of marinades in Asian cooking, from the basic soy sauce and sesame sauce to more complex and nuanced marinades featuring ginger root, white pepper, and more. Whether you’re using pork, chicken, beef, seafood, or tofu, the marinades make all the difference. Follow the ingredients to get those bold, spicy, and umami flavors you love with every bite.
Strive for Balance
One of the key features of many dishes is balance. Not only are sweet, savory, spicy, and umami flavors balanced against one another to achieve the pinnacles of taste, but the textures balance, as well. That means you’ll get to enjoy crunchy vegetables, springy noodles, and more in every dish. Aim for the balance of flavors and textures, and you can’t go wrong.
Use Fresh Ingredients
Many of the ingredients in Asian cooking are preserved or fermented, but it’s best to use fresh ingredients for the main meats and vegetables. Fresh ingredients help to provide the best flavors, absorb the marinades and sauces more effectively, and also deliver on the balance of textures that each of these dishes calls for.
Add Your Cornstarch Last
Cornstarch is an ingredient used to thicken your sauce and get that rich viscosity that so many delicious Asian food dishes are known for it. It’s important the cornstarch doesn’t make into your sauce until the end, however. If you put cornstarch in too early, it burns easily, which can damage the flavors in the whole dish. On its own, it can also be a very overpowering flavor, as well. If you use it at the very end, it can help to bind the ingredients in your dish without affecting the flavors.
Always Store Your Ingredients Properly
Keeping your pantry well-stocked is essential, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re storing all of your ingredients properly, as well. Some Asian food ingredients should be kept in the fridge, while others can be stored in the pantry. It’s important to make sure they’re kept in the right place to ensure freshness and longevity. If the ingredients begin to change in color or flavor, that’s an indication it’s starting to turn.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
When it comes to Asian cuisine, you can’t go wrong following the recipes. But one of the reasons they’re so well-loved around the world is because they’re versatile and always evolving.
If you feel comfortable trying out new dishes and flavors, think outside the box! You can add different vegetables, try new flavor profiles, or add boosts of heat from our sauces and oils like chili crisp and Zhong sauce. Each new experiment is a chance to find flavors you love and share them with friends and family.
Trying out Asian cuisine in your own kitchen is a chance to bring spices and flavors from around the world to your home. You can try out many unique flavors, adjust the heat levels to fit your preference, and use ingredients that fit well with many different diets. Whether you’re looking to cook with meat, vegetables, or seafood, there’s a flavor profile to fit your needs. These tips and tricks will help you to bring those great flavors home and maintain an Asian ingredient pantry of spices and ingredients that will never steer you wrong.
Fly By Jing is here to help every step of the way. In addition to a wide variety of oils and spices, we also want to share our favorite recipes and their social and cultural value. When you’re ready to begin cooking up stir-fries, finding your own wok, or recreating dumpling, noodles, and rice dishes at home, we have the resources and flavors that can help. Begin trying and sharing your favorite recipes today.