One of the finest cuisines in the world is the oriental palate. The spices, roasted nuts, amazing broths, and incredible noodles are rivals to all European cuisines. It’s quite amazing how such little is known still, even to this day, about what makes oriental cooking so delicious. Just like some things in other cuisines, you have the bases from which to build on. You may not recognize the names of the ingredients but you would know them by flavour.
So we are going to shed some light on the things that you may want to use in your own cooking at home whenever you feel in the mood for a Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Indonesian, etc.
The core sauce
There is a renumber of core causes that many dishes are made from and one of them is the Premium oyster sauce from Lee Kum Kee. made in 1888, it forms the base sauce of many stir-fries. They can be for chicken dishes like kung pao or fish dishes like garlic-chilli fried cod. You can also have this kind of rich sauce just with noodles or in a broth for soups.
Another sauce such as Szechuan sauce is by far one of the most versatile. It’s used for red chili dishes. These are dishes with, obviously, a kind of red chilli that goes into noodles, chicken, beef, brazed, and broth dishes too. The key is to get a thick sauce which can then be fleshed out into a broader dish. This kind of base is very common in oriental cuisine.
Say to an Italian person, that all pasta are the same and you have made a mortal enemy. Say all noodles are the same to someone from an East-Asian culture and you will find yourself in the same position. Not all noodles are the same! You must research the kind of dish you want to make and find the noodles meant for that dish! Some dishes have a thinner broth and you need noodles that can soak up most of it and add to the flavor. Other times you need thinner noodles as the sauce is very thick. Egg noodles and wheat noodles are not the same, neither are starch-based noodles either. Stick noodles from Thailand are not the same as the sticky noodles from Northern China.
Dried spices are a staple in most dishes from Asia. For example, the dried red Thai chili is brilliant for Thai red chili and red monkfish soup. However, it’s not going to be good for Chinese kung pao. So you need to find the right kinds of dried chilies and other spices for your dishes. Prik yuak and prik mun are not the same, they are used in very different dishes. Prik chee fah are mixed chilies, some with a sharper acidic taste and others with a bolder hot spice taste. These go well in tofu and other vegetable dishes such as fried spinach and fish curries.
Once you understand the basics of oriental cuisine and you know how to build a base for your dish, you will be on the road to experimenting with great results. Get cooking!