Kit out my Asian-cooking ingredients cupboard please!

(51 Posts)
Posturesorposes Tue 05-Jan-21 19:27:13

Sorry to introduce such trivial topics when the news reel is depressing the life out of us, but upon my recent very successful toast toppings thread I suddenly realised that you lot may help me with kitting out my Asian cooking cupboard section!

Key info -

1. I am totally sorted for the Indian subcontinent (for reasons more than one). Don’t need anything further as have home sources for all things curry ;)

2. What I am after is my top favourite cuisines - Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian largely. Not into Japanese food really.

What do I need in the food cupboard in terms of key spices, powders, tinned vegetables, sauces? I think I might have lots for Chinese even (not sure though) but Thai and Vietnamese are needing to become Deliveroo or spice kits which when I look at them I think I could have those at home!

Currently cooking a spice kit green curry and really wishing I had a larder as well stocked for these cuisines as I have for Indian food... particularly as I like East Asian stuff more anyway!

3. I have already got -

Soy sauce light snd dark
Oyster sauce
Various chillies
Coconut milk

If and when you suggest stuff can you maybe also think if an authentic Vietnamese or Thai paste can be whipped up quickly? Or will it always need to be blue dragon? We have FT jobs and 2 smalls so dinner is usually needing to be a half an affair !

Thank you so smile and once again apologies for such trivial topics amidst such gloom :/

OP’s posts: |
RubyFakeLips Tue 05-Jan-21 19:34:06

Well you will definitely need things like gochujang, fish sauce, lime leaves and mirin.

Dried lemongrass and galangal useful, palm sugar too.

Look at the Sous Chef website for inspiration.

It depends if you have Asian supermarkets near you and if you’re familiar with these ingredients or would prefer to use preface pastes.

Posturesorposes Tue 05-Jan-21 19:36:05

I don’t have an Asian shop near me and the closest are in London where I’d normally pop into for work and leisure but erm.... thanks covid.

Noting the ingredients and will look on Amazon I suppose unless there are speciality online stores .....

OP’s posts: |
RubyFakeLips Tue 05-Jan-21 19:40:03

www.souschef.co.uk/collections/southeast-asia

Posturesorposes Tue 05-Jan-21 19:40:55

Oh my god. That’s my salary spent.

OP’s posts: |
myrtleWilson Tue 05-Jan-21 19:41:49

if you're after Chinese ingredients too then shoaxing wine (but don't buy the diddly bottles in mainstream supermarkets, chinkiang black rice vinegar, chilli oil with sediment, chilli bean paste, fermented vegetables.

Different types of noodles are useful, red and white miso, tamarind paste/concentrate

RubyFakeLips Tue 05-Jan-21 19:42:28

You can find much of it elsewhere for cheaper, but I use it for big spice packs and inspiration. Would recommend them as never had anything arrive in anything but good condition.

Advertisement

Wobblington Tue 05-Jan-21 19:42:32

MSG. I doubt it will get mumsnet approval but my fried rice is now stonking 😀

I also use miso paste regularly - good for beef pies etc as well as stir fries

heartyrebel Tue 05-Jan-21 19:44:02

Fish sauce is essential. Try and find a vietnamese one if you can, its got a much more rounded flavor.

Daisydoesnt Tue 05-Jan-21 19:49:01

can you maybe also think if an authentic Vietnamese or Thai paste can be whipped up quickly?

Whipped up quickly?? - its not a particularly onerous job, but it has an incredibly long list of ingredients (I'm assuming you mean a green/ red curry paste).

My advice would be to carry on using the Blue dragon spice pots but then at the end of cooking season your curry (or whatever you're making) with more lime juice & a really good shake of fish sauce, and finish with some fresh chopped herbs & finely sliced fresh chillies. That's how you'll get the biggest bang for your buck

Posturesorposes Tue 05-Jan-21 20:01:56

This is amazing stuff thank you!!!

OP’s posts: |
OchonAgusOchonO Tue 05-Jan-21 20:02:33

Daisydoesnt

*can you maybe also think if an authentic Vietnamese or Thai paste can be whipped up quickly?*

Whipped up quickly?? - its not a particularly onerous job, but it has an incredibly long list of ingredients (I'm assuming you mean a green/ red curry paste).

My advice would be to carry on using the Blue dragon spice pots but then at the end of cooking season your curry (or whatever you're making) with more lime juice & a really good shake of fish sauce, and finish with some fresh chopped herbs & finely sliced fresh chillies. That's how you'll get the biggest bang for your buck

It's a 5 minute job max to blend a curry paste. The jars are no comparison.

For green curry, I blitz the following:

2 stalks of lemon grass (remove the woody bits and just add the tender stalks
Handful of coriander leaves
teaspoon of dried galangal powder
decent chunk of ginger
zest and juice of a lime
5 or 6 kaffir lime leaves
2 Tbsp soya sauce (I'm veggie use 1 tsp of shrimp paste and 1 tbsp fish sauce if not)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp oil
chillies to taste (depends on how hot you want it)

Daisydoesnt Tue 05-Jan-21 20:05:58

It's a 5 minute job max to blend a curry paste. The jars are no comparison

Yes I agree it's an easy job, but you're using so many dried ingredients... so what's the point?! Dried galangal, turmeric and coriander aren't a patch on fresh.

Daisydoesnt Tue 05-Jan-21 20:09:35

The jars are no comparison
I agree that the jars I have tried are vile - like a slimy, cook-in sauce texture. The Blue Dragon paste pots are not jars - it's a tablespoon of a paste, like a curry paste that you would make.

OchonAgusOchonO Tue 05-Jan-21 20:19:00

Daisydoesnt

*It's a 5 minute job max to blend a curry paste. The jars are no comparison*

Yes I agree it's an easy job, but you're using so many dried ingredients... so what's the point?! Dried galangal, turmeric and coriander aren't a patch on fresh.

The only ingredients I am using dried where fresh would be better are the galangal and turmeric. That is hardly "so many dried ingredients".

I can't source fresh galangal. I use fresh turmeric when I can get it and I never use dried coriander, unless you are referring to the dried, ground seeds? Leaves are always fresh.

Massive difference in taste is the point.

betlynchsearrings Tue 05-Jan-21 20:23:41

I use, ahem, Cock brand (quiet there at the back) Thai curry pastes which are far nicer than the jars and their nam pla. I also always have sesame oil and tamarind paste.

JingsMahBucket Tue 05-Jan-21 22:01:43

Get yourself some Mae Ploy Thai curry pastes. They’re authentic and used all over Asia in regular households. They’re inexpensive but excellent quality. We normally have red and yellow pastes in our house. You can get them lots of places, online or in person. I think Lidl might even carry them.

Kisskiss Tue 05-Jan-21 22:13:07

Sesame oil
Fish sauce
Shaoxing wine (it’s a cooking wine, this makes literally everything taste better)
Kicap manís ( for Indonesian )
Lao Gan Ma brand chilli oil ( there’s a few types and the black bean one is amazing)

Not as basic but used in many recipes :
Chinkiang vinegar
Hoisin sauce
Chilli bean paste ( makes mapo tofu abd a bunch of other things)

Store cupboard items :
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Szechuan peppercorns
Dried chillies
Dried rice noodles /egg noodles
If you like viet summer rolls, you can get the wraps , they’re dried
Raw dried prawn crackers ( you can cook these in the microwave in 60s)

A really good website for recipes is omnivores cookbook, she also has a page on Asian pantry basics...don’t buy that blue elephant stuff, the Asian supermarket brands are way cheaper, and imo, better!

JingsMahBucket Tue 05-Jan-21 23:26:36

Another good site / blog for recipes is Damn Delicious. I swear by her Easy Thai Shrimp Soup recipe damndelicious.net/2015/02/18/easy-thai-shrimp-soup/. It’s easily adaptable to chicken, tofu or both. I usually serve it with rice in the bottom of the bowl then pour the soup over it. I use the Mae Ploy red curry paste in there and it’s excellent.

LudoTrouble Wed 06-Jan-21 01:33:58

From my time in Asia, people didn't tend to make their own pastes at home, they buy them, but the bought pastes would have used fresh galangal and turmeric etc, not dried.

I agree that once you find a good quality jar paste like the one mentioned above, it's fine not to make from scratch.

You definitely need fish sauce in the pantry though!

butterry Wed 06-Jan-21 02:43:13

Vietnamese food uses fish sauce for everything! You also use it to make nuoc cham sauce which you use as a dipping sauce or pour over noodles - a mix of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, garlic and chillies. Have dry noodles like vermicelli to do noodle bowls with a stir fried topping, nuoc cham sauce poured over and served with cucumber, grated carrot (quick pickle with vinegar and sugar) fresh coriander and mint

Nitflux Wed 06-Jan-21 03:10:14

There’s a lovely Vietnamese dip thing you can make which is equal parts salt and pepper with fresh lime juice squeezed in. Excellent for dipping prawns and steak into. I’d also recommend getting a tub of crispy fried onions as they give a nice crunch on top of lots of things, such as fried rice. As PPs have said, definitely fish sauce! My Vietnamese MIL uses it in place of salt and you can also marinate meat in it before cooking.

grassisjeweled Wed 06-Jan-21 03:13:44

Get yourself some cock

(laughing at the back)

Ahem. Sorry!

OP, you know coconut cream can be made into coconut milk? You buy it in blocks

Posturesorposes Wed 06-Jan-21 06:26:00

This thread is a total gem. Thank you so much. I will try to source all the individual items you mention and the pastes mentioned too - I suspect different days and different levels of energy/headspace will call for more/less involved cooking and best to have a wide range of options. Thanks so much!

OP’s posts: |
BarbaraofSeville Wed 06-Jan-21 07:35:45

OP, you know coconut cream can be made into coconut milk? You buy it in blocks

^^ This. Much cheaper than canned coconut milk and you can use as much or as little as you like. Less than a pound a block in Asda.

Also second the Mae Ploy pastes shown above. We usually have the red or green Thai curry and they last for years in the fridge - don't worry about using them by the BBE date, they don't go off.

Many normal supermarkets have a good selection of proper Asian brands these days, ie not Sharwoods or Blue Dragon, but it varies hugely by area.

To my disappointment, I've just discovered that neither the Morrisons or Asda in my town have Mae Ploy pastes, but the Morrisons near my work has a whole aisle of this sort of stuff, but it's in a more metropolitan/studenty area. Only the other day, I was thinking that I need to make stir fries again, haven't really had them in ages, but they're usually quick and healthy and a good way of eating lots of veg, have got out of the habit so thanks for this timely thread smile.

My tip would be to find a large supermarket (Morrisons, Asda or Tesco probably. Waitrose also can have a good selection but it likely be far more expensive as it's aimed towards the aspirational 'I saw Nigella make this' hobby cooks rather than people of Asian heritage wanting to do their normal grocery shopping, which if you have the right supermarket nearby is what Tesco or Asda are trying to capture.

Or look for an independent 'Chinese' supermarket if you have one nearby - many have all sorts of other east Asian ingredients.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in