Rice (Oryza sativa)
Rice…Its history, culture, uses and other tidbits
Tags: Dish Ingredients
This rice parboiled to remove its surface starch, thus leaving most of the nutrients and vitamins in the grains, unlike other white rice varities. It provides the best of all possible options, since it has the nutritional value of brown rice, without its chewy texture and longer cooking method.
A large round-grained type of rice, its texture makes it ideal for the classic Italian rice dish , risotto.
The whole natural grain of the rice before it has been processed. It needs more water and longer cooking than white rice.
A short-grain strain of polished rice which becomes soft and mushy when cooked. It is usually reserved for cremy puddings.
Despite it’s name, this rice , widely used in Chinese cooking, is completely gluten-free. When boiled it becomes sweet and sticky and is thus used mainly in baking and confectionery; also for making beer. There is black and white varities. The white variety is dehulled in processing.
Grown all over the world, it is the most versatile and popular of all. The grains, which are hulled and polished, remain firm, fluffy and seperate when cooked.
SALTStar Anise (Illicium verum)
Rock salt obtained from underground deposits, it is usually refined and espically treated to prevent caking – magnesium carbonate is added to help make it run more easily.
Crystal Rock Salt
Obtained from underground deposits, this salt is less refined than table salt.
The crystal are obtained by the evaporation of sea water. Sea salt is said by many to be the best salt.
The dried, star-shaped fruit of an evergreen tree native to China. The seeds are contained in the pods.
Several textures of white refined sugar are available. The most common is granulated, used for both the table and in cooking.
Much finer than granulated sugar, caster is used generally for baking – in cakes and pasteries. Because of its texture it disolves quickly and so is popular for use with fruits and cereals, too.
A coarser variety of granulated sugar, used for pickling and making preserves.
Soft Brown Sugar
Another fine-grained sugar. It is used with cereals and coffee and also in fruit and spice cakes. There are other brown sugars on the market which do not contain cane molasses. These consist of white sugar with a vegetable dye added, and this will be stated on the packet.
Soybeans are small and oval in shape, ranging in colour from yellow , green and red to black. They are very high in nutrients, espically protein, and have been an impportant part of Oriental diets for many years. They are used for making bean curd (which is fresh or dried and is known in Japan as tofu) . delicate noodles called harusame and a sweet confectionery paste.
The beans are also fermented ans used to make flavoring pastes and condiments, notably soy sauce (called shoyu in Japan) , tempeh from Indonesia and miso from Japan. More recently, soybeans have become the most important commmerical pulse in the world, used for making a variety of basic Western foodstuffs, as well as industrial purposes such as the manufacture of plastics. They provide an important oil , can be ground to make a flour and are the basis of most meat substitute chunks and granules. Soybeans are also used for their milk.
Soybeans are very hard and need long preparation for cooking, but a pre-cooked variety known as soy splits is also available. The green beans, fresh and dried beancurd and soy flavourings are used in many Chinese dishes. The beans may also be sprouted for their long, crisp shoots, which are best cooked. They havea floury texture and sweetish flavour.
A dark, almost black, thin sauce, the main condiment in China and the Far East, and largely used in place of salt. Typically soy is made from fermented soybeans (Glycine max). For example, in the Japanese fremented shoyu, soybeans flakes are mixed with roasted wheat and inoculated with a yeast mold called Aspergillus oryzae. Salt is added and fermentation continues for up to 1 year. The liquid soy is then filtered from solid residues, pasteurized and bottled. Soy has an unlimited shelf life, has a saltly yet sweetish taste, stews and a wide variety of meat dishes. Soy is one of the main ingredients in hoisin (a sweet chinese sauce)
Tamarind has been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. The most famous usage of tamarind in the western world is as an ingredient of Worcestershire sauce. This pod shaped fruit tastes sweet orsour and finds its usage in many Thai kitchens. The pulp is simply soaked for approximately 15 minutes in warm water and squeezed, which will loosen the meat off the seeds and fibre. The juice is strained off and used as indicated in the recipes.
Much used in the American and British kitchen, there are now many variations of this sauce, but usually the ingredients include tomatoes, vinegar and seasonings. It is used extensively on cooked dishes.
There are two types of water chestnut : Trapa natans has an edible seed and a floury texture and is eaten raw, roasted or boiled in Central Europe and Asia. A related aquatic plant, ling(Trapa bicornis), is grown in China, Korea and Japan. Its seeds are eaten boiled, or preserved in honey and sugar or used for making flour.
The Chinese water chestnut or pi tsi is a tuber which is cultivated in the East Indies, China and Japan. It is used sliced as a vegetable and is usually as a vegetable and is usually bought canned outside Asia.