Is Soy Sauce Gluten Free?

is soy sauce gluten free

Is soy sauce gluten free? If you love the savoury depth that soy sauce adds to dishes but are also mindful of gluten in your diet, then this may be something that you need to consider. In this article, we will take a look at how traditional soy sauce is made and why it may actually contain gluten. Then, we will examine tamari soy sauce and why it is an excellent substitute for traditional soy sauce in your gluten free diet.

What is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a condiment that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It’s traditionally made through a process of fermentation using soybeans, wheat, salt, and a specific type of mould called Aspergillus. This mixture is left to ferment for several months, which results in the rich, umami flavour that’s characteristic of soy sauce. This is then pressed to extract the liquid, which is pasteurized and bottled ready for use.

Is traditional soy sauce gluten free?

So no, traditional soy sauce is not gluten free. The inclusion of wheat as a primary ingredient in the fermentation process means that traditional soy sauce contains gluten. While the end product is often filtered, the gluten proteins from the wheat remain in the sauce. Therefore, individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid traditional soy sauce.

Does all soy sauce contain gluten?

Fortunately, not all soy sauce contains gluten. There are gluten free alternatives available, and one such option is Tamari. Tamari is a Japanese version of soy sauce, typically made without wheat, making it a suitable option for those following a gluten free diet. Another alternative is soy sauces labelled as gluten free. These products are made with rice instead of wheat, ensuring they are safe for individuals with gluten intolerance. Always remember to check labels carefully to ensure you’re choosing a gluten free soy sauce.

What is Tamari Sauce?

Tamari sauce originated in Japan during the 7th century and is a byproduct of the process of making miso paste. Historically, it was collected from the liquid that seeped out of the casks containing fermenting miso. Its name comes from the Japanese verb ‘tamaru’ which means ‘to accumulate’. While Tamari is commonly known as a type of soy sauce, it’s important to note that its flavour profile is slightly different. As it is typically made without wheat, it has also found popularity among the gluten free community.

How is tamari sauce made?

Tamari sauce is made by fermenting soybeans, salt, and sometimes a small amount of rice. The process begins with soaking the soybeans in water and then cooking until soft. Next, they’re mixed with a mold called Aspergillus oryzae and allowed to ferment for about three days. This creates a mixture called koji, which is then combined with salt and water to create what’s known as a moromi mixture. The moromi is left to ferment for several months, during which enzymes from the koji break down the soybeans’ proteins, fats, and starches into flavour components.

After fermentation, the mixture is pressed to separate the solids from the liquid, which results in Tamari sauce. The sauce is then pasteurized to kill any remaining bacteria and extend shelf life, after which it’s ready to be bottled and sold.

What’s the difference between tamari and soy sauce?

Despite their similar appearances, Tamari and soy sauce are actually quite distinct. The primary difference lies in their ingredients and production process. Traditional soy sauce is made with a nearly equal ratio of soybeans to wheat which results in a thinner, slightly saltier sauce. Tamari, on the other hand, is made mostly, if not entirely, from soybeans. This yields a sauce that is thicker, less salty, and richer in flavour. In addition, Tamari tends to have a darker colour and a more balanced, less harsh taste compared to soy sauce.

Is tamari gluten free?

Yes, as it is made without wheat, most tamari can be considered gluten free. It is however always wise to check the label.

Is tamari better for you than soy?

Tamari could be considered healthier than soy sauce for some individuals, particularly those who are sensitive to gluten. In terms of sodium, tamari and soy sauce are quite similar, although some might find tamari to be slightly less salty. Additionally, due to the higher concentration of soybeans, tamari may have a richer nutrient profile than soy sauce.

What does tamari soy sauce taste like?

Tamari is often described as smoother, richer, and less salty compared to traditional Chinese soy sauce.

Can I substitute soy sauce with tamari?

Yes, you can substitute soy sauce with tamari. Tamari, being less salty and smoother in taste, can be an excellent alternative to soy sauce. As we have seen, it is particularly useful for those looking to reduce their gluten intake, as it’s typically gluten free.

However, it’s important to remember that because of the differences in flavour profile, the end result of the dish might taste slightly different. In recipes where soy sauce is a minor ingredient, this change will likely be subtle. For dishes where soy sauce is a key component, you may notice a richer, less salty taste with tamari.

Our tamari soy sauce is 100% organic and gluten free

Using Tamari Soy Sauce to Enhance Your Cooking

We have already seen that tamari is an excellent gluten free alternative to soy sauce and that unless you are looking for a very specific flavour profile (such as in an authentic traditional dish) it can be used instead of soy sauce in most instances.

Tamari sauce can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Use it as a marinade for your proteins to infuse them with a deep, umami flavour, add a dash to your stir-fries for an instant flavour boost, or drizzle it on your sushi and sashimi just like you would with soy sauce. Tamari’s less salty, richer flavour profile also makes it an excellent dipping sauce, offering a smooth, savoury experience for your taste buds. Remember, a little goes a long way with tamari sauce, so use sparingly to start!

If you are just starting out on your gluten free diet you may find our guide to gluten free food useful.

Explore our range of gluten free groceries.


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Gluten Free Grocery Suppliers”.
See original article:- Is Soy Sauce Gluten Free?

The Art of Flavour: An Introduction to Miso Paste

Miso Paste Ideal Ingredient

Miso paste is a cornerstone ingredient of traditional Japanese cuisine, yet its versatility goes way beyond just Japanese food. Now popular across the world, miso paste is known for its powerful umami punch, and a seemingly magical ability to add depth and complexity to your cooking.

But, exactly what is miso paste? Whether you are new to this must-have ingredient or are perhaps already familiar with it yet want to know more, read on to discover more about its unique flavour, nutritional benefits, and how to incorporate it into your cooking.

What is Miso Paste?

Miso paste is a fermented food made primarily from soybeans, grains (rice or barley), salt, and a type of fungus known as koji. Although it is a staple ingredient in many Asian cuisines, it has its origins in Japan, where it has been used for over a thousand years.

The age-old process of making miso involves a slow fermentation process which can last for a few weeks up to several years, depending on the desired flavour and texture. The distinct umami taste, often described as savoury, meaty, rich, and full-bodied, comes from this fermentation process.

The different types of miso paste

Although there are several thousand different kinds of miso paste in Japan we can categorise them into a few basic types, each with its own distinct flavour profile. Most of these are made with grains (most often rice) but there are varieties made without.

White miso (known as genmai shiro) is the mildest type, with a sweet, subtly salty flavour ideal for dressings, marinades, and light soups.

Red miso is fermented for a longer period than white miso, resulting in a more potent, salty flavour that is more suited to robust soups and stews.

Mixed miso is a blend of red and white miso, that strikes a balance between the two in terms of flavour.

Lastly, there’s the less common barley miso, which is made by fermenting barley along with soybeans and koji for a particularly distinctive taste.

The Flavour Profile of Miso Paste

The flavour profile of miso paste is complex and multi-layered, lending a unique depth to any dish. It has a deep, savoury flavour that is at once salty, sweet, and slightly tangy. The taste can also range from the mildly earthy delicate sweetness of white miso to the bold and hearty pronounced saltiness of red miso. This wide spectrum of flavours is what gives makes miso paste such versatility; an ingredient capable of elevating a simple dish to an extraordinary one.

The unique umami taste

Using miso paste to its full potential in your cooking requires a certain understanding of the concept that is umami.

The umami taste of miso paste is one of its defining attributes. Umami is now known to be the fifth taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty; a sensation which is the result of the glutamate produced during the fermentation process. Interestingly, the term is actually Japanese and means “pleasant savoury taste”.

Umami is characterized by a deep, rich, satisfying flavour that lingers on the palate. It contributes to not just the depth of flavour of a dish but a richness in the mouth known as body. It’s this umami taste that gives miso paste its unique depth of flavour, adding complexity to dishes with its savoury, slightly sweet, and full-bodied character.

Sweetness in white miso

The sweetness of white miso sets it apart from the darker, more robust varieties of miso paste. Because of its shorter fermentation time, this type of miso is lighter in colour and has a milder flavour. Less salty, it allows for the natural sweetness from the fermented rice to shine through more prominently. This inherent sweetness, combined with a subtle umami undertone, gives it a well-rounded flavour profile that enhances dishes without overpowering them.

White miso imparts a gentle sweetness that harmoniously blends with other ingredients, creating a beautifully balanced dish.

Our white miso is made with only organic ingredients and is naturally fermented

The salty punch of red miso

Red miso has a bold, pronounced saltiness, that delivers a punch of flavour. A longer fermentation process gives it a darker colour and a robust taste. The salty punch of red miso doesn’t just add saltiness to a dish though, but a rich complexity and layers of flavour.

Made with rich, bold red miso, our authentic Japanese instant miso soup is a quick way to reach full umami flavour.

The balanced blend of mixed miso

Mixed miso strikes a perfect balance between the gentle sweetness of white miso and the bold depth of red miso. The perfect blend of these two varieties results in a complex, harmonious flavour profile that offers deeply satisfying flavour whilst retaining some sweetness and subtle nuances.

Blending miso is an art in itself, and can result in a multitude of different flavour profiles.

The distinctive taste of barley miso

Barley miso, unlike the more common varieties of miso that are made with rice, involves a unique fermentation process using barley. It undergoes a longer fermentation period, which gives it its characteristic strong, rich, and slightly sweet flavour with a hint of malted barley.

The Nutritional Benefits of Miso Paste

Miso paste is celebrated not only for its unique, umami-rich flavour but also for its impressive nutritional profile. It’s packed with essential nutrients that contribute to a well-rounded, balanced diet.

One of the essential benefits of miso is its rich protein content. As a soy-based product, miso is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a valuable ingredient for vegetarians and vegans. I

Furthermore, miso is a fermented food, which means it’s a source of probiotics – beneficial bacteria that support gut health. The fermentation process also assists in breaking down the nutrients in miso, making them more easily absorbed by the body.

All varieties of miso are rich in several vitamins and minerals. These include B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production and cognitive function, and minerals like zinc, manganese and copper, all of which play a role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Miso is also an excellent source of vitamin K.

However, it’s important to note that miso is high in sodium, so it should be used in moderation, especially for those monitoring their salt intake.

Using Miso Paste in Cooking

Miso paste can bring a little magic to any number of dishes. While it’s traditionally known for its role in Japanese miso soup, its umami richness can elevate many other recipes, infusing them with a deep, savoury character.

  1. Miso Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favourite veggies in a mixture of miso, a little olive oil, and herbs before roasting for a savoury side dish.
  2. Miso Glazed Salmon: Brush salmon fillets with a glaze of miso, soy sauce, and a touch of honey before baking or grilling.
  3. Miso Salad Dressing: Combine miso with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a bit of ginger to make a flavorful dressing for salads.
  4. Miso Ramen: Use miso paste as the base for a comforting bowl of ramen, adding noodles, veggies, and your protein of choice.
  5. Miso Stir-fry: Add a spoonful of miso to your stir-fry sauce for an umami-rich depth of flavour.
  6. Miso Marinade: Use miso, sake, and mirin to marinate tofu, chicken, or beef before grilling.
  7. Miso Butter Pasta: Melt miso into butter to make a rich, savoury sauce for pasta.
  8. Miso Soup: Of course, miso is a key ingredient in the traditional Japanese soup, often served with seaweed and tofu.
  9. Miso Baked Eggs: Swirl a bit of miso into a tomato sauce, crack in some eggs, and bake for a unique breakfast dish.
  10. Miso Hummus: Blend miso into your standard hummus recipe for an unexpected twist on the classic.

As you experiment with miso in your cooking, remember that its flavour is potent, so a little goes a long way. Also, due to its high sodium content, you may need to adjust the amount of additional salt used in your recipes. A great way to experiment with miso is to use it in place of salt so why not give it a go and see what you can come up with?

How to Store Your Miso Paste

Once opened, miso paste should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it will keep its quality for up to a year. Remember, the paste tends to darken over time, but this doesn’t indicate spoilage. As long as it’s kept cool and tightly sealed, miso paste can be a long-lasting and versatile ingredient in your kitchen.

So, are you ready to explore the endless possibilities of miso paste?

As we have seen, the exceptional versatility and rich flavour profile of miso paste make it a really useful ingredient in any kitchen. From soups and stews to sauces and dressings, miso paste gives your food a unique depth of flavour that belies its simplicity. Way more than just a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine, this remarkable ingredient can transform your cooking. With its impressive shelf-life and endless possibilities, it could just become your go-to ingredient.

Enjoyed this article? Read more about the health benefits of fermented foods.

Have you tried our organic kombucha yet?


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Your Asian Organics Grocery Suppliers”.
See original article:- The Art of Flavour: An Introduction to Miso Paste

How to Make Honey Soy Sauce

honey soy chicken wings

Honey soy sauce is having a bit of a moment. Used to make deliciously sticky honey soy chicken, yet it also has many other uses. Here’s how to make honey soy sauce, and some ideas on what to do with it.

What is honey soy sauce?

More Western than authentically Asian, honey soy sauce is a sweet savoury sauce that can be used as a dipping sauce, as a marinade, or as a cooking sauce. Reduced down a little it makes an excellent glaze for brushing and it can also be thickened up to make a serving sauce.

Ways to use honey soy sauce

Honey soy sauce goes especially well with chicken thighs or wings and salmon fillets, but can also be used with pork. Think ribs, or sticky belly pork. Enhance the inherent sweetness of vegetables by using as a stir fry sauce, a dipping sauce for simple vegetable tempura or spring rolls, or as a glaze for grilling.

How to make honey soy sauce.

Essentially it begins life as a marinade. A simple, non-thickened blend of soy, honey and garlic. Apart from the addition of honey, it  is a lot like teriyaki sauce.

(btw, if teriyaki is more your style, check out our guide to making great teriyaki chicken.)

You could use this very simple sauce as a dipping sauce, but it is through cooking and the alchemy of honey, soy, and garlic, that it really comes into its own.

The point of the sauce is the honey. Yes, its sweetness and powers of caramelisation, but also its flavour. So use the best honey that you can. Also this is not honey added to soy; it is soy added to honey. The honey is the greater part.

Garlic seems to be non-negotiable. But you do need to be careful with garlic. In the oven it will cook down to a beautiful sweetness. On the grill it can burn and leave an unmistakeably acrid taste. So we add a greater quantity of whole cloves and let those infuse, rather than chopped garlic.

Although the quintessential trio of soy, honey and garlic works well, you can boost it a bit from there according to taste. We added…

  1. Rice vinegar for a little acidity.
  2. Sesame oil for toasted warmth.
  3. Chili (flakes or fresh) for a back end bite.
  4. Shaoxing wine for a more rounded depth.
  5. Slices of fresh ginger for more complexity.

Basic recipe for honey soy sauce

Use this as a marinade for grilling or as a bake in sauce. For a dipping sauce, let the flavours infuse for several hours before serving.

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup shaoxing wine or water

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

4 whole cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed

2 slices fresh ginger

Sliced fresh chili (as desired)

  1. Peel the whole garlic cloves. To lightly smash, use the flat of a knife and smash down with the heel of your hand. The clove should remain whole, yet split to release its flavour.
  2. Stir all of the ingredients together and add the ginger, garlic, chilli. The longer you leave this before using, the more intense the flavours will become.

To create a glaze, add the above sauce into a small pan and simmer gently to reduce by about one third.

To create a thicker serving sauce, add the above sauce into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Whisk in a heaped teaspoon of cornflour, mixed with a little water to form a paste. Whisk for a few minutes until thickened.

Recipe for baked honey soy chicken thighs

1 quantity of honey soy sauce (see above)

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in

6 spring onions, in 1 inch pieces

To garnish

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 spring onions, chopped

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the chicken thighs in an ovenproof dish or roasting tin and add the spring onion pieces.
  3. Pour over the sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for about an hour, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is sticky.
  5. Scatter with the chopped spring onion and sesame seeds before serving with some plain rice or noodles.

Why not try using the sauce as a simple marinade for chicken wings before grilling. Or if you thicken the sauce slightly to create a glaze, you can brush it over salmon fillets or vegetables whilst they cook.

Our guide on the food and ingredients of South East Asia is an excellent overview of this massive topic. Or why not explore our range of authentic Asian sauces.


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Asian Organic Foods Suppliers”.
See original article:- How to Make Honey Soy Sauce

All About Thai Curry Pastes

thai-curry-paste

Thai curry pastes form the basis of all Thai curries. But what exactly is a curry paste, and how do you use it? In this article we look at why curry pastes are an essential ingredient of so many curries, before taking a more detailed look at some classic Thai curries.

Introduction to curry pastes

Curry pastes vary from cuisine to cuisine and not just in flavour but in the way that they are used. A curry paste is simply an aromatic paste made up of wet spices, possibly with the addition of herbs and dried spices. Wet spices are fresh spices such as ginger, galangal, garlic, chili, lemongrass, tamarind, and shallots. They lend fresh, sharp, aromatic flavours to the curry, and also add body to a sauce.

How curry paste is made.

Curry paste is made by blending together a combination of wet and dry spices, possibly with the addition of fresh herbs, and helped along with a little oil and salt. The traditional way is in a large coarse bowl with a coarse stick (known as a mortar and pestle) but a processor or blender could also be used.

Can you curry paste instead of curry powder?

The quick answer here is no. Yes, there are ways around everything; if you only had dry spices available, for example, then you could certainly recreate some of the flavours. But wet spices and dry spices are two very different things, that serve completely different purposes.

The difference also lies within the cuisines themselves. In Indian curries, the wet spices are cooked first to form the base and then dry spices are added at various stages to layer the flavours throughout the dish. Commercial spice pastes may be used by the home cook for convenience, yet these differ from curry pastes in that they are mostly dry spices mixed with oil. In Thai curries, the curry paste contains all of the aromatic ingredients, wet and dry, and is cooked into the liquid. Usually coconut milk.

Does curry paste need to be cooked?

Curry paste needs to be cooked to release the aromatic flavours, and allow all of the flavours of the dish come together. The fibres within the wet spices also need time and heat in order to soften.

When to use curry paste.

Curry paste is used at the beginning of the dish. Added first to the hot pan, with a little extra oil, it is cooked out for several minutes before adding subsequent ingredients.

How much curry paste to use.

Whereas a spice paste is a highly concentrated blend of dry spices and oil that is used maybe a tablespoon at a time, curry paste is not so concentrated and is designed to form the entire base of the dish.

Recipes, and individual tastes, vary wildly but as a general rule of thumb use 5 to 6 tablespoons (around 120g) of paste to each 400ml tin of coconut milk.

Thai curry pastes

Thai curries have become immensely popular for their super fragrant heat. For the home cook, they are are also quick and easy to make. There are three basic Thai curry pastes; red, green and yellow. There is another Thai curry that has become immensely popular so worth a mention, and that is Massaman curry.

Massaman curry paste.

Massaman curry is closer in flavour to Indian curries than your usual fragrant Thai curry profile, due to its Indian and Malay roots. Made most often with beef, alongside potatoes in a rich spicy peanut sauce, it has a signature smoky feel that comes from toasting all the ingredients from which the curry paste is made.

Massaman curry paste is made with galangal, garlic, shallots, and dried red chillies as well as toasted cumin, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander. Black cardamom has a lovely smoky richness all of its own.

Red curry paste.

Red Thai curry, contrary to popular belief, is milder than Thai green curry. It is the ‘medium’ of the three major coconut curry styles. It is made with red chillies as well as shallots, galangal, garlic and lemongrass. From there, depending on the (often secret) recipe other spices may be added.

Try our organic Thai red curry paste

Thai green curry paste.

Thai green curry is the hottest of the Thai standard curries. Alongside the usual shallots, ginger/galangal, lemongrass and garlic combo, it uses green chillies, plenty of Thai basil, and also kaffir lime leaf, to create a fiery yet fragrant curry.

Thai yellow curry paste.

Thai yellow curry is considered to be the mildest of the Thai curries. The yellow colour comes from plenty of turmeric, which is a grounding earthy spice that rounds out flavour. It usually features a little cumin too, as well as the ubiquitous fragrant wet spices.

Try our organic Thai yellow curry paste

Explore more exciting flavours in our in-depth guide to Southeast Asian cuisines and ingredients.

Our authentic range of organic Asian sauces and spices is sourced from small-scale producers throughout Australasia.


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Asian Grocery wholesaler”.
See original article:- All About Thai Curry Pastes

Our guide to Korean fried chicken (with recipe)

korean fried chicken

Korean fried chicken is essentially crispy fried chicken in a sweet chilli sauce. There are actually several variations of this popular snack yet outside of Korea we tend to focus on the sticky sweet/spicy version.

What is the difference between Korean fried chicken and regular fried chicken?

Korean fried chicken is known for its light and crunchy crust with soft tender meat and moreish seasoning. It is the polar opposite of the thick (often greasy) crust and heavy handed approach of its southern counterpart. Everything about Korean fried chicken has a lighter touch, right down to its side serving of pickled radish and cold frosted beer.

So, what makes Korean fried chicken so different?

Korean fried chicken is best made with small chickens, for soft tender meat. The whole bird is used, cut into small pieces that are left on the bone. The best place to get chicken like this is actually your local halal butcher; ask for whole baby chicken, skin on, in pieces.

Any marinade is kept to a minimum, and the chicken is dipped in a thin batter then double fried at a relatively low temperature. Any bits of batter and bubbles in the crust are shaken off, for a smooth crackly crust.

Although it can be served plain, there are sauced varieties. The sauce is brushed, like a thin glaze, onto the hot crust. Think subtle seasoning as opposed to soaking.

Considered a snack, rather than a meal (karaoke and chicken lounge, anyone?) Korean fried chicken is a thing of glorious contrasts. Served with cold beer and crisp cubes of pickled radish, it is both hot and cold, sharp and sweet, crunchy yet soft. Salty and spicy, it really is finger licking good.

How Korean fried chicken is made

Outside of Korean communities, when we talk about Korean fried chicken we generally mean the sticky sweet chilli version known as ‘yangnyeom’. We’ve tried dozens of the best recipes (each one of them different) and come up with what we feel is the definitive Korean fried chicken recipe.

The chicken

The best and most authentic way of cooking, as we saw earlier, is with a small chicken cut into pieces of no bigger than a few inches. This is not however the most accessible route so most people stick with wings. Skin is non-negotiable, and breast is pretty much a no-no unless it part of the whole bird approach that remains on the bone. Wings work well because they have the bone inside that helps them cook, and a complete covering of skin. If only wings had a slightly larger ratio of meat. You could also use chicken thigh with the skin intact but the bone removed.

The marinade

Simple is the way forward here. Subtle enhancement if you will. You don’t want the whole buttermilk/entire spice rack combo that southern fried chicken demands. Some recipes go for a dry seasoning, whilst others prefer a wet marinade. In Korea, they may brine the whole chicken for a couple of days first. The common denominator is ginger. Salt and pepper. Possibly a touch of rice wine, or a little vinegar.

Our favourite was a dry (ish) rub of fresh ginger, salt and pepper. However, rubbing the grated ginger from the chicken after the marinade time was up was a bit of a chore to say the least. We decided to use our organic ginger powder instead. You don’t get the sharp citrus bite of fresh ginger, yet it plays its part in the recipe well.

The crust

Then there’s the coating. Many recipes use a wet marinade followed by a dry coat of seasoned flour. In Korea they use a wet batter, which needs a very fine dry coat first in order to stick. This approach naturally lends itself to a dry seasoning. The sweet spot for the batter seems to be a mix of cornflour and plain wheat flour, with a touch of baking powder. Some like to add a touch of garlic powder, but we prefer to leave this out.

The fry

It goes without saying that deep frying requires several inches of oil in a large sturdy pan. A good quality wok is ideal. Groundnut oil is ideal for deep frying, or corn oil works well. Vegetable oil is fine.

The general consensus is an initial fry, then a final fry, with the latter at a slightly higher temperature. Feel free to ‘wing’ it but a thermometer or guage for accuracy is preferable. Temperatures varied widely, but a 15C difference between the two was standard. We think that 170C for the initial fry, increased to 185C for the second fry is ideal.

In between cook A and cook B, put the wings in a sieve or fryer basket and give them a vigorous shake. This gets rid of unwanted gnarly bits and gives that all important smooth glass-like shatter on the crust.

The sauce

Again, variation abounds. Chilli paste is the defining factor. Gochujang is a Korean fermented chilli paste but you can use an alternative. Ketchup featured heavily in many of the recipes, largely for its sharp sweet flavour profile that we feel can be best achieved in other ways. Soy sauce is a must. As are sugar and honey (brown sugar for its caramel, almost bitter, depth and honey for its nuances). Garlic also appears in every recipe we tried. The aim is a balance of sweet, sour, hot and savoury. A touch of sesame oil seems like an excellent addition.

For our sauce we use a few simple ingredients from our Asian organics range.

Recipe for Korean fried chicken

Serves 4

1 small chicken (as described) or 1kg of wings

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tsp organic dried ginger

For the batter (and dredge)

1/2 cup cornflour

1 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

For the sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp organic chilli paste

3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

  1. Rub the chicken with the salt, pepper and ginger powder. Leave to marinade overnight.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients for the batter together and set aside half. Mix the remaining half with the water to make a thin batter.
  3. Pat the chicken dry and toss in the dry mix, shaking well to remove any excess.
  4. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a small pan and heat gently to combine.
  5. Heat the oil to 170C.
  6. Working in small batches, dip the chicken in the batter and fry for 6 mins. Remove from the oil, transfer to a wire sieve, and shake vigorously to smooth away any lumps and bumps. Place on a wire rack. Make sure the oil reaches 170C before moving on to the next batch.
  7. Once all of the chicken is fried, increase the temperature to 185C and fry again for 5 mins. Again, work in small batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
  8. Place all of the chicken on a wire rack to cool slightly, brushing lightly with the sauce to serve.

Explore our range of Asian groceries, available to buy in bulk at wholesale prices…

 


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Asian Sauces suppliers”.
See original article:- Our guide to Korean fried chicken (with recipe)

 

 

Simple Japanese kani salad recipe

kani salad

The latest Japanese dish to dominate our Insta-feeds is kani salad.

Super quick and easy to make, it is the ideal starter or side dish. Sandwiched within a crisp baguette, in a sort of banh-mi fusion mash up stylie, it will transport you to lunchtime heaven.

What is kani salad?

Kani salad is a Japanese shredded crab salad. You can use fresh crab meat (kani in Japanese) but there are times when imitation crab sticks (kanikama) are way better than the real deal. Surimi may not have the flavour of fresh crab meat but its ability to shred into strips is a textural joy.

At its simplest, and we think possibly best, kani salad has just three ingredients. Shredded cucumber, shredded crabsticks, and Japanese style mayonnaise. But you can add other crisp shredded vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, or radish. Asian slaw anyone? Mango is not unheard of, and many restaurants like to add a little flourish with fish roe or even panko breadcrumbs.

Kani salad dressing

Japanese mayonnaise is more similar to homemade mayonnaise. It is made with egg yolks, mustard, rice vinegar and oil. Rice vinegar is ideal for making mayonnaise, with its subtle sweetness and lack of harsh acidity. If you can’t get Japanese mayo, use the best shop bought you can find.

A few drops of sriracha sauce added to the mayonnaise excites the palate with a little moreish heat. You can find out more about sriracha sauce in this article. Other subtle flavour additions such as lime juice and soy sauce enhance the flavour of the dish without overpowering its innate simplicity.

How to cut cucumber for kani salad

Cucumber is the star of the show in kani salad. Cool and refreshing, it is the perfect pairing for those shredded strips of surimi. Yet for such a simple ingredient, cucumber can be deceptively hard to work with. The high water content means it soon loses that crisp texture and it can leak out into a soggy mess. The skin is often bitter and indigestible. To combat this, peel the cucumber using a speed peeler. Then, slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the centre bit with the seeds.

Chop into lengths the size of the crabsticks. Slice lengthwise into 3mm slices, then slice the slices into 3mm strips.

Here are a few tips for getting the best from your kani salad.

  1. Use cold cucumber and shred as close to serving as possible. It won’t sit well.
  2. Same with the crabsticks.
  3. Mix your dressing ahead of time so the flavours combine.
  4. Toss the ingredients and dress the salad immediately before serving.

Japanese kani salad recipe

Serves 2, as a side or sandwich filling

6 crabsticks, shredded

1/2 large cucumber, shredded

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tbsp rice vinegar

A squeeze of fresh lime

1 tsp Japanese soy sauce

1 tsp sriracha

  1. Shred the ingredients and toss together.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients.
  3. Mix together and serve immediately.

Try a kani crab salad sandwich

Try adding kani crab salad to a warm crisp baguette with shredded cabbage, carrot, and radish, plus fresh coriander, mint and parsley.

Explore our range of organic Asian groceries or head straight to our selection of Asian sauces.


This article was reproduced on this site with permission from operafoods.com.au the “Online Asian Wholesale Grocer”.
See original article:- Super Simple Japanese kani salad recipe

How to make teriyaki chicken like a Japanese restaurant

japanese teriyaki sauce

If you have ever had teriyaki chicken in a Japanese restaurant then you will know it is a far cry from the over-seasoned, over-thickened sauces of the supermarket and the all-you-can-eat international buffet.

Whilst there is nothing actually wrong with these commercial staples (there is a time and a place for everything, after all) the real deal teriyaki is a subtle surprise. Flavour and texture in perfect harmony; as most Japanese food is.

 

What is teriyaki?

Said to be a centuries old Japanese cooking technique, although there are many who would argue that fact, teriyaki is a grilled dish with a glossy sauce. In Japan it usually features fish, but the favoured version in the West is chicken. Closely followed by salmon. The root of the word is ‘-yaki’ meaning grilled, whilst the prefix ‘teri-‘ denotes the shine created by the sugar in the sauce.

What is teriyaki sauce?

Teriyaki sauce, known as ‘tare’ in Japanese, does not need to be thick to be glossy. Teriyaki chicken in a Japanese restaurant is more of a shimmering glaze that barely clings to the meat. It manages to be ethereally subtle whilst still packing a umami punch. Something which appears to be the secret to all Japanese food.

The ‘tare’ is not confined to teriyaki. As a marinade it forms the base flavours of Japanese fried chicken. Yakitori, the ubiquitous grilled skewer, also features the flavours found in teriyaki. ‘yaki’, as we have seen, means grilled. ‘tori’ means bird, usually chicken when used in a culinary sense. Yakitori is always chicken, always on skewers, and always grilled over an open flame. The skewers are grilled, dipped in sauce or brushed, and grilled some more. This is repeated until the chicken is cooked and coated in a gloriously caramelised coating. Same but different.

Teriyaki sauce is a simple blend of equal parts Japanese soy sauce and sake or mirin. Sugar is added in equal parts if using sake; much less is needed with the thicker, sweeter, mirin. Ginger, although not always used, adds another subtle layer of flavour.

How long do you marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce?

Actually you don’t. Both teriyaki and yakitori are cooked in sauce but not marinated. Marinating the chicken would affect the texture and therefore the way that it cooks. The entire crucial balance of the dish would be knocked out of whack.

How to make teriyaki chicken

Chicken thigh is the only way to make teriyaki chicken like a Japanese restaurant. If you want to use chicken breast then you are best making teriyaki chicken stir fry, which is another thing entirely. Why? Because chicken teriyaki is all about the skin. In fact it is all about soft soft meat, with crispy crispy skin. Which is a job that chicken thighs do really really well.

Despite ‘yaki’ meaning grilled, the best way to make teriyaki chicken is in a frying pan. One that has a lid, or at least something you can cover it with. Briefly. The aim is to render the fats out of the skin, making it really crisp, and then keep the meat soft with a shot of savoury steam. Makes sense, right?

Ideally, you want boneless thigh of a decent size, with the skin intact. It is easier that way, and they also tend to flatten it out a bit when sold this way. It may cost a little more. Or, you buy whole chicken thighs and get comfortable with prepping them. If you buy skinless boneless thighs then you clearly haven’t heard a word we have said. To prepare a chicken thigh you need to turn it over, skin side down, and carefully remove the bone by cutting the flesh around it. You can trim off the bit of excess skin. For best results, you should open the thigh out to make it flatter; a process known as butterflying. But as long as you can get the bone out, you are doing just fine.

Lay your now bone-free chicken thighs skin side up and poke several holes in them with a skewer.

Making the sauce

You could make up a teriyaki sauce with 1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce, 1/4 cup mirin, and a tablespoon sugar. Heat it together in a small saucepan so that the sugar dissolves and it reduces just a little. Grate 1 inch fresh ginger, and squeeze only the juice into the sauce. Or, you could just use our organic Japanese teriyaki sauce to make life much easier.

Cooking the chicken

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the thighs, one at a time, skin side down. Pressing each one with your fingers for a minute or so helps to keep them flat and prevents bunching up. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Once all the thighs are in the pan, cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for a few minutes more. The skin should be golden brown and crispy, with all the fat rendered into the pan. Pour this fat away, turn the thighs over, and add the sauce. It should cover the base of the pan, with the chicken meat immersed, but not the skin. Put the lid on, or cover the pan, and allow to steam through for one minute.

Remove the lid and let the sauce simmer for a few more minutes until it has reduced enough to cling softly to the chicken. Turn the thighs once, so the skin gets coated in sauce. The sauce should only be thick enough that it can cling. No thicker. Like thin gravy.

Set the chicken aside to rest for a few minutes and slice. Pour over the remaining sauce to serve.

Teriyaki chicken bowl

There are a few ways you could serve your teriyaki chicken. One is with a pile of crisp refreshing Japanese slaw, like this one. Or you could serve it with sticky rice and crisp green veg such as lightly steamed broccoli and asparagus spears. Or what about some Asian greens?

If you pile the rice in a bowl, top with the chicken, pour over the remaining sauce and add the vegetables, then what you have is teriyaki chicken don. That’s teriyaki chicken over rice in a bowl, and it is a really pleasing way to eat it. The sauce should be super thin; just enough to wet the rice a little. You could add a few pickles, like the ones in this post about Asian slaw and salads, or a simple flourish of spring onion. This is comfort food. Asian style. Good for your body as well as your soul.

 

We have plenty more organic Asian sauces to inspire you, and all of our South East Asian spices and condiments are available to buy in bulk.

 


This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from our parent co. operafoods.com.au the “Gourmet Online Wholesale Grocer”. See original article:- How to Make Teriyaki Chicken like a Japanese Restaurant

 

Galangal vs ginger…and turmeric too!

galangal vs ginger

Galangal vs ginger may be an obvious comparison but did you know that turmeric is related to both? Here’s how to get the best from all three and use them to maximum effect in your cooking.

A trio of rhizomes

Galangal, ginger and turmeric all belong to the ginger family. The part of the plant that we use for cooking is known as a rhizome. Although botanically speaking it is different, you can just think of it as a root. Hence the name root ginger, for fresh ginger.

What is galangal?

Let’s begin with the least well known of our trio. There are several varieties of galangal but greater galangal, also known as Thai ginger, is native to Java and used primarily in South East Asian cooking. Particularly associated with Thai food, galangal is also used in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

The fresh rhizomes are often sold alongside ginger and turmeric. It looks pretty similar to ginger but has a thinner skin with noticeable striped rings.

Turmeric and ginger

Ginger, in both its fresh and dried forms, is probably the most familiar. Found all over the world, it is used in a wide range of dishes both savoury and sweet. The fresh root is slightly larger than the other two, and is sold in chunky branches known as a hand. The skin is light brown and thicker than that of galangal and turmeric.

Unless you were aware that turmeric is a root related to ginger you would probably never guess, as we are most familiar with it in its dried form. Turmeric is the smallest and sold as individual fingers rather than branching hands. The skin is also light brown, but the orange beneath is easily discernible. Like galangal, it is noticeably striped. Fresh turmeric is used in the same way as ginger or galangal.

Galangal vs ginger

The difference between ginger and galangal is subtle yet important. The two are not interchangeable and are in fact sometimes used together.

We use ginger, galangal and turmeric together in our South East Asian spice blend and they all play a different role.

What does galangal taste like?

Galangal has an overall lighter aspect than ginger. Sharp on the tongue it is more citrussy and has a hot clean taste.

Ginger can also be citrussy but is sweeter than galangal, with more peppery notes. It is deep, pungent and tangy.

Turmeric is nothing like the other two. It is earthy and bitter, with only a slightly spicy undertone.

Fresh ginger vs dried

The dried forms of all three of these spices, are completely different to the fresh roots. Yet what they lose in terms of bright citrussy top notes they gain in depth of flavour. Most cuisines use both fresh and dried, for different purposes, and they are considered simply different not inferior.

How to use dried galangal

As already noted, dried galangal is not really a fresh galangal substitute but is used in South East Asian food for different purposes. That said, a high quality product such as our organic galangal powder has a surprisingly fresh flavour. Stored well and used wisely you will find a happy compromise.

We use galangal powder in this quick and easy hot and sour soup. The same post features dried ginger in a recipe for quick and easy Singapore black pepper chicken.

Galangal powder is found in many spice blends, including Rendang curry powder and Laksa spice mixes. It is of particular use in seafood dishes where it neutralises those over-fishy flavours. Use in soups, curries and stir fries.

Ginger powder goes surprisingly well with vegetables, in particular squash, pumpkin or carrots. You can also use it to tenderise meat before grilling. Try mixing our organic ginger powder with just salt and pepper before using as a dry rub; make the ginger the star of the show. Ginger is found in most curry powder blends, as well as BBQ rubs and jerk spice.

Turmeric powder is an amalgamating spice which means that not only does it pretty much go with everything but it also brings the other spices together in harmony. A sprinkle of organic turmeric powder over cauliflower before roasting is really good. Turmeric finds its way into so many spice blends because of this harmonising quality.

It is worth noting that turmeric is nothing like saffron. Yes, it can be used to colour things orange but any similarity stops there. You can make delicious yellow rice with turmeric that has lovely earthy tones.

A bonus recipe for fragrant yellow rice

Add to the pan of boiling water, in with the rice, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods and a bay leaf. Drain when cooked and pick out the whole spices before serving.

Discover more about Asian cuisine and ingredients in our guide

Take a look at our range of organic Asian spices. All of our Asian sauces and condiments are available to buy in bulk.


This article was reproduced on this site only with permission from our parent co. operafoods.com.au the “Gourmet Online Wholesale Grocer”. See original article:- Galangal vs ginger…and turmeric

Are soba noodles gluten free and what are they made from?

are soba noodles gluten free

They are traditional Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. But are soba noodles gluten free and what are they actually made from?

With their robust flavour, soba noodles are perfect with aromatic Asian sauces but are they good for your health? Let’s find out.

What are soba noodles?

Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat. Soba noodles have been around in Japan since the 17th century, when the aristocracy discovered they had health benefits over white rice and could cure beriberi. Thiamine was not identified until 1897, but we know now that the thiamine content of buckwheat was likely responsible for this. Soba making was a specialist art, confined to those who could afford it, and served in eating houses.

Nowadays everyone eats soba noodles and they are the traditional noodle of Tokyo. Available throughout the world as dried noodles, in Japan or Japanese restaurants they may be fresh and handmade.

Soba noodles are a long thin spaghetti like noodle with a beige brown colour and a slippery texture when cooked. It is considered correct to slurp your noodles as it enhances the flavour as well as cools them down. The flavour is nutty with a pleasing sourness like sourdough bread.

What are soba noodles made from?

what are soba noodles

Although soba noodles are made with buckwheat, they often contain wheat flour too. The usual percentage is 80% buckwheat to 20% wheat flour. Buckwheat noodles can be fragile and bitter so wheat flour is added to create a better texture. Some soba noodles may contain very little actual buckwheat so it is always best to read the label. They should contain nothing else other than flour and water.

Are soba noodles gluten free?

Because of the added wheat, not all soba noodles are gluten free. The most traditional variety of soba noodle, called juwari soba, are made from 100% buckwheat and are therefore gluten free. The texture is different to standard soba noodles. They are slightly grainy and very fragile, and are also more expensive.

If you tolerate gluten, go for a variety that contain the 80/20 ratio as the texture really is preferable.

Are soba noodles wholegrain?

Buckwheat is not strictly a wholegrain as it is a pseudo-grain not a cereal grain. Nutritionally speaking though, buckwheat is classed as a wholegrain and has all the benefits that go with it.

Are soba noodles healthier than pasta?

In comparison to wholegrain pasta, soba noodles are pretty similar. But who eats wholegrain pasta, right? Compared to dried pasta, made with refined white flour and no egg, soba noodles are certainly the healthy choice. With a lower GI, buckwheat can help to improve blood sugar control. It is also a good source of manganese and Vitamin B1 (thiamine). Full of fibre and also resistant starch, soba noodles can aid digestive health. Easily digestible, they provide a small amount of high quality protein that is rich in the amino acid lysine.

How to cook soba noodles

Cooking times for soba noodles will vary, as the thickness varies. So always follow the manufacturers instructions. Dropped in lightly salted boiling water they take about 3 to 5 minutes. Give them plenty of space and move them around often. Drain and serve hot, or run under cold water until cooled and serve cold.

Soba noodles are great with many of our Asian sauces, and are also particularly good served in broth.

For a great noodle dish, hot or cold, toss noodles in our Japanese dressing and scatter with finely chopped spring onions.

 

Choose from our range of organic Asian sauces, or head on over to our online bulk food store.

Quick and easy Asian pork meatballs. Maximum flavour for minimum effort.

Asian pork meatballs

Meatballs. Praise to the gods of comfort food. Add in a few Asian spices with a hint of Eastern flair and you’ve got a double dose of heaven. We have a few ideas for Asian pork meatballs. Quick and easy to make, using some store cupboard short cuts. And super tasty.

But first, a few meatball basics.

 

How to make meatballs

From Italy to China, through Sweden and over to Vietnam, most countries of the world have a traditional meatball recipe. A way of stretching meat, they are relatively quick, easy and cost effective to make. Some use egg, some use breadcrumbs, and many use both. Many cover them in sauce whilst others dip them. Some like them completely naked. Others come in the guise of meatloaf or they are often impaled on a stick. All of them spring from one basic recipe. One simple technique.

One thing all these nations can agree on is that a good meatball is soft and tender. If you can arrange for it to be a little juicy in the middle too, then its all good in the hood.

Meatballs are softer when made with lamb and beef, due to a high proportion of fat and a more open textured flesh. Turkey and chicken are leaner and more compact so tend to dry out easily. Pork, if you use a fattier cut like shoulder or belly is ideal. Most of us use shop bought mince to make our meatballs, and standard pork mince sits at around 10 to 20 percent fat. This makes for a rich, soft meatball that takes on Asian flavours particularly well.

What makes meatballs stick together?

Strictly speaking you don’t need a binder as meat, when mixed really well, will stick to itself. The best way to achieve this is by mixing in a food processor to break down the meat fibres. Turkish kofte, for example is made in this way. The usual binder is egg; an egg yolk in your meatball mix will act as a binder and add extra richness.

Breadcrumbs are more of a filler than a binder. They add texture to the meat, and absorb fat, juices and flavour. Often soaked in milk beforehand, breadcrumbs do make a meatball softer and round out the flavours. You can leave them out, but take care not to overcook your meatballs.

A meatball can be as simple as ground meat mixed together with salt and pepper, shaped into balls and cooked. Spices and herbs may be added. As may the aforementioned egg and crumb. They are best mixed gently by hand so as not to overwork the mixture which will make it tough. Pork is quite robust and has a higher fat content so there is a more of a margin for error.

How to cook meatballs

Asian meatballs

Meatballs can be fried, or baked, or both. They can be cooked and served without sauce or with a dipping sauce. Frying seems to make for a softer meatball, with a browned crust and a juicy tender middle. They can also be finished in a sauce, or a glaze, either in a pan or in the oven.

The best way to cook meatballs is to fry them. Stick to balls of about 1 inch diameter, which is roughly a generous tablespoon of mix. Shallow fry them in a little oil for about 15 minutes, turning regularly. They are ready when the meat is no longer pink in the middle and the juices run clear. They should still feel soft to the touch. If you want to bake the meatballs they will take about 25 minutes at 180C.

If you want to add a glaze, such as teriyaki sauce, add a few tablespoons to the frying pan with the meatballs and cook over a moderately high heat until it has reduced. To finish them in a sauce, fry them for about 10 minutes and before they are completely cooked drop them into a saucepan with the sauce. Heat through for a further 5 minutes or until fully cooked. This keeps the meatballs nice and soft.

If you want to bake meatballs in a sauce in the oven we recommend browning them first. You can then bake them in the sauce at 180C for about 25 minutes or until fully cooked.

Basic meatball recipe

Serves 4

500g minced pork (at least 10% fat)

50g fresh, soft breadcrumbs

3 tbsp milk

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, including the wet breadcrumbs, and knead together with your hands until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Divide the mixture into tablespoons and roll into balls. Dipping your hands in water occasionally will help to prevent the mixture sticking.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. Add the meatballs and fry gently for about 15 minutes, turning regularly. You may need to do this in batches as they need at least 2 inches space between them.
  6. Serve with a simple dip such as sweet chilli sauce.

Asian pork meatballs with sweet and sour

Try finishing off the basic meatball mix with a generous glaze of sweet and sour sauce.

Thai meatballs

Add a few teaspoons of our South East Asian spice blend to your meatball mix, with a handful of chopped fresh coriander. Take it one step further and finish in a fragrant sauce of red curry paste and a can of coconut milk.

Chinese meatballs

Try using 1 tsp of grated ginger, 1/2 cup chopped spring onions, and 3 tbsp of soy sauce in your mix. After browning in the frying pan, cover and turn the heat low. Let them steam through for about 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Vietnamese pork meatballs

Mix in a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, a tablespoon of fish sauce, and plenty of chopped fresh coriander and mint. Serve in lettuce wraps, or even in baguette with lots of crisp vegetables as a twist on the classic Banh Mi.

 

Hopefully you are inspired to try some different styles of Asian meatballs. Why not see what you can come up with using our organic Asian sauces and spices? There is also wholesale organic food at our online store.