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Asian Ingredients



Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia, including P. yezoensis and P. tenera.


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This is often vigorously stirred (use a hand-held mixer) to ensure the liquid whey is reincorporated with the curds; this is referred to as whipped yogurt. Some Indian dishes call for a solid yogurt called hung yogurt. The thicker curd is desired for its firm texture. You can obtain this by simply pouring off the liquid whey if it has already separated, or by placing it in a muslin cloth or paper-lined coffee filter and setting it over a jar or hanging it over the kitchen sink. The whey, or liquid, will drop out and leave behind the yogurt solids.


yuzu orange

Oranges with a unique fragrance-reminiscent of lemons, mandarin oranges and limes-which give ponzu sauce its distinctive flavor. The essence of yuzu is sold in little bottles. Substitutes a very fresh lemon.



A smoked salted ham used mainly as a seasoning. It is sold in tins.



The pink buds of wild ginger plants, also known as torch ginger of bunga kanta in Malaysia and Singapore. They are highly aromatic and lend a subtle but distinct fragrance to dishes of Malay and Nonya origin.


Also known as white woodears, it has a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It is sold dried and must be soaked in water before using. White fungus is prized for its textured as well as its health-giving properties.



A nutritious leafy vegetable also known as morning glory, water convolvulus or kangkung. The leaves and tender tips are often stir-fried. Bok choy or spinachmake a goodsubtitutes.



Small scorn-shaped roots with a brown leathery skin on the outside and crisp, juicy-sweet flesh inside. Their crisp texture and sweet flavor make them ideal in salads, stir-fried vegetable dishes and disserts. Fresh water chestnuts can be found packed in water in the refrigerator sections of some supermarkets. Chunks of fresh jicama are a good substitute, although canned water chestnuts are also widely available.



Wasabi is a pungent root similar in taste to ginger and hot mustard. It is sold fresh, as a prepared paste, or in dried powdered from. Fresh wasabi root should be peeled and grated from the stem top down and should be used within 1-2 days of cutting before it loses its freshness and pungency. The powdered variety may be cheaper, but it actually powdered horseradish colored green with mustard added. Wasabi paste can be made from the powder or the root. Real wasabi is more expensive but has a more potent flavor.



Black, red and white Chinese vinegars are all made from rice, and as flavor differs, be sure to use the type specified. Red vinegar has a distinctive tang. Black Chinese Vinegar is made from rice, wheat and millet or sorghum. The best black vinegars are well-aged and have a complex, smoky flavor similar to balsamic, wich may be substituted. Chinese cooks add black vinegar sparingly to sauces, dips and when braising meats. Balsamic vinegar is a good substitute. Japanese rice vinegar is fermented from rice and is less acidic than malt or wine vinegars. It has a mild and pleasant fragrance. Slightly diluted cider vinegar or a good quality Chinese rice vinegar, slightly diluted, can be used as subtitutes. White vinegar is made from glutinous rice and has a mild, sweet flavor. It is colorless and is one of the definitive ingredients used in sweet and sour auce. Subtitute Japanese rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.