10 BASIC Asian Ingredients You MUST Have!!
So many of you guys requested and asked me what is the basic Asian ingredients during this quarantine time.
So I decided to share simplified basic Asian ingredients you MUST have to cook my recipes and other Asian recipes out there.
If you want to check out more detailed Asian ingredients, check out my Asian pantry post below.
The first ingredient is soy sauce, but what soy sauce? 🤔
There are like a million different kinds of soy sauce out there!
All you need to remember is, to get a regular/all-purpose soy sauce (sometimes it is labeled as light soy sauce, but not light in sodium, light in color.) Go to Walmart and get Kikkoman that will work.
Any light soy sauce will work, but NOT light sodium. Korean brand, Japanese brand, or Chinese Brand any of those will work. Just make sure you get one large bottle of all-purpose soy sauce and that’s all you need.
Sometimes it is labeled as light soy sauce – light in color, but not light in sodium. If you already have your favorite soy sauce brand go ahead and stick with it.
Number 2, fish sauce
Fish sauce is another essential seasoning sauce to have if you love cooking Asian food, along with soy sauce. Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean cuisine uses a lot of fish sauce to buff up the flavor, so if you love those strong umami flavors – definitely have a fish sauce in your kitchen.
Number 3, miso
So, because I’m Korean I feel like I’m supposed to say doenjang, but I completely understand that miso is a whole lot easier to get in any regular grocery store as well. Also, miso has a more fine texture and not as strong a flavor as doenjang so you can use it in more variety of recipes.
Definitely have either white or red miso up to your taste – white miso is a little lighter & sweet. Red miso is a little more stronger and salty. Or there is actually yellow miso, combined half and half of white and red. But whatever you can find have one miso in you’re refrigerator since it’s a very useful way to season the food, stir fry, dressing, marinating, soup, stewBOMB. You’ve got to have miso.
Number 4, cooking wine
If you cannot find one of these Asian cooking wines, you can get regular cooking wine – white or red that you can find at your regular grocery store at the vinegar section. Those will work too. So, have one in your kitchen, because cooking wine is amazing to get rid of some of the unpleasant smell from meats and it adds a beautiful aroma to the food. I love using cooking wine in my recipes.
But I understand some of you guys do not want to consume any alcohol for your cooking, in that case, this is just not essential to you.
Number 5, stock bouillon
My recommendation will definitely be chicken bouillon because it can be used in all different kinds of cooking without overpowering the original recipe. But if you only have beef bouillon in your pantry, no problem! You can use that too.
I recommended bouillon/stock powder form instead of the liquid form, because that way you can keep it in your pantry longer and it takes up less space, instead is the fraction of the size.
Number 6, rice
You cannot talk about essential ingredients without rice.
Asian dish usually goes better with rice and noodles than bread or potato, that’s just the truth. So whatever rice you prefer I will recommend you to have some in your pantry.
If you can only have one type of rice in the house, it will be jasmine rice. Jasmine rice can be served as hot steamed rice, it’s great for fried rice and also great to make porridge/rice soup. Jasmine rice can be used in multiple different ways, so I highly recommend jasmine rice.
Number 7, dried noodles
If you already have a bunch of pasta in your pantry you don’t have to go out there to buy more Asian noodles.
Any dried noodles will do, have at least one kid in the pantry. If you can have only one kind, I would recommend spaghetti.
YES! for an Asian essential ingredient. I KNOW!
But did you know, the Chinese actually thought the Italians how to make egg noodles, and they made their pasta with it? So…. 🤷🏻♀️
Also having a second option for ramen noodles would be great too.
Number 8, dried chili
To me, dried chili is a MUST because I LOVE spicy food, but obviously, if you do not like spicy food or you just prefer mild, then this is not essential.
I use dried chili to add a slight kick to a soup, sauce, stew, or pound them into flakes and make chili oil. It last longer than fresh chili so definitely a must!
I’m just putting them together because they are more like a set. 😉
Sesame oil always finishes your dish with a beautiful aroma and fragrance. You can use sesame oil as a dipping sauce, salad dressing, marinate, or even drizzling on your noodle soup just elevates the flavor. It’s definitely essential. But it’s not for stir fry, the smoking point is too low to stir fry.
That is it guys, These are my essential Asian ingredients to have in your pantry, next time you guys go to the Asian grocery store, make sure you buy all these 10 essentials!