what products do you buy from the asian market...
First off I'm 1st generation born asian american.
Salt cured duck eggs
whole, head on fish
taro root (gabi)
Sugar cane vinegar
tapioca flour, rice flour
All those small, salted, dried fish in 1# bags
Salted shrimp paste
Pork- the selection in non asian markets is usually limited to chops and loin
blue crabs (live)
the snack isle is my favo
on and on and on...
all kinds of noodles(Japanese flat noodles are great for chicken noodle soup)
sauces - soy, tonkatsu, black pepper, soup bases, yakiniku, korean BBQ
cold tea - green, buckwheat
baby bok choy
red bean ice cream
tea bags - much cheaper than in the regular markets
yogurt based drinks like Calpis
those wonderful fruit/jello cups, so much better than those in the regular markets
Japanese appliances like rice cookers
Japanese rice candy from Fugetsu-do
Mochi ice cream
Actually, I just give it to my gardener. But ever since using fish guts, my peaches, apricots and lemons have been bigger, juicier and sweeter.
Biggest problem to fertilizing this way is keeping out the cats and possum that like to feed on the guts ... but a litter cat litter around the trees usu. does the trick.
Japanese curry packets for making Japanese style curry rice. Some Japanese supermarkets have prepackaged cuts of meat for this purpose.
Nori for home made sushi rolls. Most Chinese supermarkets will have this (roasted nori sheets). Korean supermarkets tend to have versions that a a bit salted, better to eat with hot rice or congee than for sushi.
Frozen unagi from China, if on sale this is quick and easy food for dinner. Ditto with various kinds of fermented soybean (natto) which is nice once in a while.
I've had the original Yakult lactobacilli drink for years, this is great stuff. My local Chinese supermarket now carries this too.
Chinese white pepper (the kind I get is a small round container with a green top, imported from Taiwan). A key ingredient for practically everything. Makes all food taste better.
Dumpling/gyoza skin when I have time to make my own dumplings
Chinese noodles and ho fun which can be used for stir fry or in soup
Pork neck bone for Chinese soup
thinly sliced black pork belly (Korean supermarkets) for tons of good dishes
Chinese vegetables - A choy, Taiwan cabbage, zen choy, cantonese bak choy, yam leaf, gai lan, yau choy
ginko nuts - fantastic with congee or stir fry
shimeji, abalaone/oyster and enoki mushrooms - even Chinese supermarkets have these now
organic soy milk (nijiya market version is tops)
fresh tofu (organic silken or regular)
organic miso paste (for soup or marinating fish for grilling)
I lived in Japan for several years. This is where I primarily learned to cook, so most everything I know how to cook is Japanese/a staple in Japanese households.
Also, it helps that my husband is Japanese and while he enjoys all food, it's nice to be able to make foods he grew up with for him.
That said, I buy most of my condiments/dried foods at the Asian market, (or did when they were readily available, when I lived in Southern California.)
I rarely buy meat/veggies there though, unless I need something specific. I go to the regular groceries or Whole Foods for those.
Maybe I'm a novice asian cook, but I stick to basics:
soup base -- I use this with either soba or udon noodles to make soup (dilute with water)
black bean sauce
prepackaged udon noodles (when I say this, I mean they are like fresh pasta, as opposed to dry)
frozen potstickers (gyoza)
sesame seeds -- always cheaper at the asian market
Sao bing is a flat bread, slightly pre-split and sold in packages of six. You can eat it alone, or stuff it with anything to your liking (e.g. meat, vegetables).
Soy infused eggs are just that -- whole eggs, in their shell, saturated in soy sauce and other spices/ingredients for a long time. My grandmother used to make hers with tea (tsa yie dan). Cooking them at home results in the eggs inside their cracked shells; those at markets are already peeled and bare, but infused with the good savory taste.
Taro root - we like to simply bake it and eat it raw - it's sweet, like yams. I've also had it with fried rice (along with meat and other vegetables). I'm thinking of using it to make my own ice cream, after being inspired by Fosselman's ice cream.
Gobo (burdock root) from the Japanese market. I use it to make kimpira, and I also add it to ganmodoki (fried egg/tofu patties with stuff mixed in). You have to remove the woodl=ky outer skin, then sliver it finely into shreds, then soak them for 20 minutes before using.
when i was at the mitsuwa in chicago, i noticed that the gobo from taiwan sold for condiderably less than that nihongo gobo (almost like unagi). why is that? assurance of quality?
Could you explain a little bit more about ganmodoki...all i know is that it is sometimes used for oden. tia, akatonbo.
I never saw gobo from Taiwan at Mitsuwa! I'll have to check it out. I wonder if it's cheaper to import from Taiwan?
The ganmodoki I make are done this way: I drain 1 block (are they 12 oz?) of firm tofu and put it in a tea towel. I then wring it and squeeze it until I can't get any more water out of it. I put the tofu (now dry and crumbly) in the food processor with 1 egg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp sugar. I blend it, then put it into a bowl and add 1 small grated carrot (peel it and use the big holes on your cheese grater) and a like amount of the slivered, soaked gobo (sometimes, if I have them, I substitute thinly sliced shiitakes for the gobo). Heat oil in a wok. Oil your hands and form a patty of the tofu mix that is about 1/4" thick and 2" in diameter. Drop into the hot oil and fry, turning it once or twice, until both sides are golden. Drain on a wire rack. Do them all that way, oiling your hands as required.
To get your gobo slivers thin enough to use this way, peel the gobo, then score it down its length with a sharp knife, making long incisions at a close spacing all around its circumference. Then use a vegetable peeler to peel away long, thin slices. They should be paper thin and very narrow.
I eat the ganmodoki heated in a broth (wash them under hot running water to get the oil off, before adding them to the broth). The broth is a bottled Japanese soup base to which I add a little soy sauce and mirin. Serve them in a bowl with a little of the soup broth. Umai!