The weekend is just around the corner and what better way to spend time social distancing at home than to learn how to cook new cuisine? Asian cuisine has long captured the imagination of the world and influenced cuisines in different regions as well. Asian fusion has also become a popular restaurant trend. This weekend, try social distancing at home while learning how to cook Asian cuisine. But to cook Asian food at home, you will need some specific kitchen tools. Before diving into the kitchen essentials you need to whip up a delicious Asian meal, here are some tips on how to cook Asian cuisine right in the comfort of your home, via The Spruce Eats.
- One of the most basic foundations of cooking is using fresh ingredients. Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients. Keep organized in the kitchen by having everything prepared before you begin the cooking process. Meats, vegetables, and other ingredients must be washed and cut ahead of time.
- Invest in a good wok. It’s an essential piece of cooking equipment if you are to whip up Asian cuisine, especially Chinese food, for long term.
- When stir-frying vegetables, make sure to cook the harder, tougher, and thicker vegetables first and for a longer period of time than softer, leafier vegetables.
- When cooking meat and fish, make sure to marinate it first. It’s best to cut beef across the grain, as it contributes to it making it more tender. Cut meat into similar sized pieces so it will cook evenly.
- When frying, make sure that oil is very hot before placing any food in it to fry. When placing oil into the wok, drizzle it in, do not pour to ensure better wok coverage.
- When seasoning Asian cuisine, make sure to use fresh ginger. Veer away from seasonings with MSG and go for natural-based ingredients and herbs and spices instead.
Kitchen Essentials for Cooking Asian Cuisine
1. Kasian House Cast Iron Wok with Wooden Handle and Lid
A stunning piece of cookware that not only spruces up your kitchen but also whips up amazing Asian cuisine, Kasian House’s Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok with Wooden Handle lasts a lifetime and beyond. This durable, elegant wok is a versatile piece that also makes for a great gift. It features a flat bottom that makes it easy to cook on multiple surfaces, including indoor or gas or electric stoves and in the oven. The cookware effectively retains heat while cooking and features a large convenient wooden handle and wooden lid that makes it easy to maneuver. This cast iron wok is pre-seasoned and measures 12-inches in diameter. Customers love its heat distribution, thickness, durability, and the fact that it’s easy to clean. It has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “I’m glad I wok-ed this way! I could tell this was a great investment. The wok is made of thick high quality iron. I love the included lid and that the handle is removable (convenient for storing in smaller spaces). I used it last night to make some vegetable steak stir-fry for my grandma, who is an amazing cook, and even she was impressed. The wok maintained the heat I needed and seared the steak to perfection, giving it a nice dark, tasty crust. Being pre-seasoned and non-stick, clean up was fast and easy. The handle even has a little metal eye on the end, so you can hang it up on a hook. Not sure how this wok could get any better!” Jay Le
2. Spatula & Ladle Wok Tool Set
Asian cuisine and stir fries require a lot of tossing and mixing. This spatula and ladle wok tool set is a great compliment to any standard carbon or cast iron wok. It includes a 15-inch length shovel and a 14.2-inch length ladle, hand forged from a single piece of heavy duty stainless steel body with a wooden handle to insulate from heat. Customers appreciate that it’s easy to clean, sturdy, and durable. It has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “These tools are a perfect length for wok cooking, and have not come loose from the handle. The edges are a lil sharp, but nothing that has damaged my carbon steel/cast iron pans. The quality is satisfactory, and I just use a little oil to keep the wooden handles from getting dried out, and to make the metal shine.” Kianna
3. Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Stainless Steel 7-Inch Steel Strainer Basket
Safely scoop up food from boiling liquid with this 7-inch steel strainer basket from Helen Chen. Whip up delicious Asian cuisine with this strainer basket, which resists staining, discoloration, and rust, and won’t react with foods or impart a metallic taste. It features a natural bamboo handle that stays cool to the touch even during use and won’t transfer heat to hands. Food also sits securely in the shallow mesh basket. It is lightweight yet durable and perfect for frying, cooking, and more. Customers commend its quality of material, durability, ease of use, sturdiness, and versatility. It has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Great quality for the price. Works excellent as a ramen basket. The hook to keep it upright in your pot is an excellent feature.” ChuckDB
4. BirdRock Home 10-Inch Bamboo Steamer
Prepare dumplings with ease using the BirdRock Home Bamboo Steamer, which is perfect for steaming dumplings, vegetables, rice, beef, chicken, fish, and more. Steaming offers a healthier alternative to enjoying food, enabling it to keep its nutrients and provide better taste. This steamer is made of 100% bamboo that’s safe to use. Features two tiers that lets you cook meat separate from vegetables and rice. It has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Great for steaming homemade shumi, or just about anything. I use raw napa cabbage as a liner instead of parchment paper. Adds flavor and you can eat it afterwards!” Ed Sakabu
5. AntTech Marble Mortar and Pestle Set
To create delectable dishes, you’ll need fresh ingredients. This mortar and pestle set allows you to easily extract oils from herbs and spices. It is made of natural textured stone that does not absorb any liquid. It is great for grinding, crushing and pounding spices and herbs to make pastes, seasoning, dressings and pesto. Its natural texture stoneware is easy to clean and comes in a dark tone that blends well in any kitchen. It has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Just the right size for making chimichurri and Asian spice blends of fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro and other herbs. Holds maybe 1-1/2 cups volume. Heavy, solid, well made. Polished exterior, unpolished bowl and pestle end. What a deal I got price-wise.” Book Junkie
Asian Cuisine Recipes to Try for the Weekend
Red Roasted Asian Beef Stew
Recipe by Monkeymom, photo by James Ransom
A hearty dish that’s commonly found in Chinese households, the Asian beef stew is crafted when meat is braised with soy sauce, wine, and vinegar. Traditional ingredients such as star anise and rock sugar are also used to give a rich flavor. Perfect for weekend dinners. Get the recipe at Food52.
Asian-Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Slaw
Recipe by Kendra Vaculin, photo by Alpha Smoot
Those who enjoy vinaigrette dressings rather than cream dressings will love this Asian-inspired chicken lettuce wrap recipe. It uses all the Asian ingredients that you might already have in your pantry, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Grab the recipe at Food52.
Spicy Sesame Pork Soup with Noodles
Recipe by Gingerroot, photo by James Ransom
Perfect for Fall, this hearty pork soup will require some work. Creating the stock will need to simmer, skim, and strain some bones. It features soul-satisfying soup that’s smoky, spicy, and utterly delicious. Get the recipe at Food52.
Chicken Tofu Laksa
Recipe by Snafu06, photo by James Ransom
A tangy and spicy Southeast Asian soup, laksa is a crowd-pleaser that will surely impress at the dinner table. It features an easy to make soup and a satisfying dish altogether. It also features some protein-packed tofu. Grab the recipe at Food52.
Oyster Sauce Glazed Asparagus and Mushrooms
Recipe by Monkeymom, photo by James Ransom
This comforting dish is great for weekday dinners or weekend lunches, or practically any dish of the week. It’s satisfyingly filling and healthy, with loads of tasty asparagus and mushrooms. Get the recipe at Food52.
Asian Cuisine Essentials: Ingredients You Must Have in Your Pantry
1. Frontier Five Spice Powder, 1.92-Ounce Bottle
Featuring a classic Chinese-inspired spice, the Frontier Five Spice Powder is a must-have when making any Asian dish. It features all five tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and hot or pungent/spicy, with a slightly sweet, aromatic, and pungent yet well-rounded flavor delivered right to your Chinese dishes and grills. It’s perfect on stir-fries, meats, sauces, or even to season peanuts or your favorite mixed nuts. A truly versatile addition to your global kitchen! This product contains cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and white pepper. It is an all-natural product that is Non-GMO Verified, Kosher, and Non-Irradiated. This top rated product has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Although a tad pricey, this spice mix is very high quality, fresh, and finely ground. This means you need to use far less than you would of cheaper, coarser blends. Just a little sprinkle brings most dishes to life at the table. In recipes, again you will find yourself using far less. That means this jar will last far longer than a cheaper, less quality jar of the same size will. It’s a worthwhile purchase, IMHO, and a good value. Will be buying again. I use it on almost everything.” Todd W.
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Spring Rolls🥕 Carrots, mushrooms and bamboo shoots make for a light and refreshing spring flavor in these mouthwatering fried wraps. But feel free to substitute any ingredients you like. Eat together with soy sauce, mustard or your favorite condiment! ⏳30 min+ 🍴291 kcal 🧂0.6g sodium (1 serving) Check the link in our profile (@kikkoman_global) for the recipe!🥢 #KikkomanLife #kikkoman #キッコーマン #soysauce #recipes #レシピ #springrolls #春巻き #rollitup #fried #揚げ物 #munchies #delish #おいしい #gingerrecipes #生姜 #healthychoices #foodies #食べスタグラム #foodstagram
2. Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce, 9.40 Oz
Another Asian kitchen staple comes is hoisin sauce, a five-spice infused Asian barbecue sauce. It’s perfect for both marinating and stir-frying. This instant and super easy to use marinade features traditional Chinese five spice, which is mellowed out by other Asian seasonings. Best used on meats and chicken and goes perfectly with Chinese-style barbecue ribs. Also great for grilling, broiling, or dipping. This product has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon Fresh.
Promising review: “One of the best condiments to have for summer grilling! Cooks Illustrated ranked this brand as the best!” Kindle Customer
3. Eden Foods Mirin Rice Cooking Wine, 10.1 oz/300ml
Mirin or rice cooking wine is another Asian kitchen staple. It is an essential ingredient in noodle broth, marinades, sushi rice, and more. The Eden Mirin Rice Cooking Wine is traditionally made in Japan using U.S. Lundberg™ organic short grain brown rice. It is made by washing and steaming the California grown Lundberg™ Family Farm organic brown rice for several rice before cooling and mixing with some rice koji Aspergillus oryzae called seed koji. It is then left to blend for three days while stirring to ensure the proper growth of koji enzymes. This is then mixed with more steamed rice and water, which is then called “moromi.” This moromi is left to ferment for two months before seasoning with sea salt. Another 3-month fermentation occurs before the final mirin product is produced. This contains about 10% alcohol, which quickly evaporates during cooking. This product has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “This is really good. I like to make udon noodle soup base with this along with mentsuyu soup base and so much more in Japanese cooking. This mirin/sake is also really high quality. This means no high fructose corn syrup or MSG unlike the more popular brands!” T.V.
4. Kadoya Sesame Oil, 22.1 Fl Oz
Sesame oil is a staple whether it’s for stir-frying, adding flavor in marinades, or tossing Asian salads. It features a distinctive nutty aroma and taste and is often used as a flavor-enhancer, especially in Asian cuisine. The Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil is crafted from carefully selected sesame seeds that are expertly roasted and pressed for producing a special rich aroma like no other. This well-loved product of Japan has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Kadoya is great sesame oil – nice flavor, dark and bold, really a great addition to almost any Chinese or similar dish. I use it as a cooking oil, and it’s fine in that role because it has a high smoke point, although I mix it around 25/75 with Canola (1/4 Kadoya, 3/4 Canola) to tamp down the strong flavor and save some $$. It can also be used just to drizzle some on at the end of the cooking process, which I think is how most people use it.” Cynesige
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5. Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce, 23.66 fl oz
A liquid condiment with multiple uses, fish sauce is a versatile Asian kitchen staple that’s great to add in marinades, stir-fries, and even salad dressing. It effectively boosts the salty flavor in both meat or vegetable dishes. Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce is made with premium-quality salted anchovies that are fresh pressed after its first fermentation, resulting in an intense flavor that is essential in traditional Asian cooking. This specific fish sauce is made up of only four essential ingredients and made with no MSG. It is also gluten-free. Customers recommend the Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce for its value for money, thickness, and flavor. This product has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Fantastic, ‘un-fishy’ fish sauce that provides a salty, umami flavor to all types of dishes. I recently used this fish sauce to a delicate seafood chowder with a tomato/coconut base. I was attempting to follow a recipe but felt that the dish was lacking depth of flavor. I added a tablespoon of the sauce and the chowder was immediately transformed from tasting flat and lifeless to tasting complex, well rounded and delicious.” Flo Skerratt
Cooking Lessons to Check out Online
Cooking Asian Delicacies Made Easy
Class by Amirul Hafiz, available at Udemy
Features 30 minutes on-demand video, 5 articles, and full lifetime access on mobile and TV.
Introduction to Chinese Cooking Fundamentals
Available at Udemy
Features 1.5 hours on-demand video, 1 downloadable resource, and full lifetime access on mobile and TV.
Vietnamese Cooking Made Simple
Class by Kim Tuyen Huynh, available at Udemy
Features 1.5 hours on-demand video, 4 downloadable resources, and full time access on mobile and TV.
Asianfusion Cooking Class
Class by Jie Page, available at Udemy
Features 1 hour on-demand video, 9 downloadable resources, and full lifetime access on mobile and TV.
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