Cooking By Feel: Asian Flavor Combinations

We have been talking about cooking without recipes, which is one of the things many of you said you wanted to learn during the Cure. One thing that makes cooking by instinct and feel more simple is a basic understanding of classic flavor combinations. We're going to take a look at flavors from some of the world's great cuisines this week.

First up: Asian and Far Eastern cooking.

Now, let's just be straight up and say that we are in no way trying to represent all of Asian cooking. There is a wide, wide variety of flavors and ingredients from Malaysia to Indonesia to Japan and Korea. Thai, Vietnamese, and the big place that is China all have their own regional specialties and huge diversity of flavors.

But here are a few classic ingredients that show up in a lot of Asian and Eastern cooking. Feel free to add more!

Most of these flavors work very well when combined in groupings of two, three, or more.

Flavors
Ginger
Galangal
• Garlic
• Scallions
• Shallots
Lemongrass
• Thai basil
• Cilantro
• Soy flavorings: miso paste, fermented soybeans, and soy sauce
• Fish flavorings: fish sauce and shrimp paste
• Coconut
Sesame seeds and sesame oil
• Rice vinegar

Meal Basics
• Rice
• Rice noodles
• Tofu
• Pork and beef for stir-fries and curries

Recipes and tips based on these flavors
Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia
Technique: How to Peel Ginger
DIY Miso Soup
Soy Sauce: To Refrigerate or Not
Spicy Broccoli Tofu Stir-Fry
Ma Po Tofu
Ceramic Ginger Grater
Pork Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
Malaysian Beef Curry
Steamed Pork Dumplings
Recipe Review: Coconut Fish Stew with Basil, But No Lemon Grass

(Image: Faith Hopler)