Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cooking inspired by the Chinese New Year

I admit, I do not normally celebrate the Chinese New Year, but I was inspired by a newspaper article recommending recipes for Chinese cooking. The celebration of the Chinese New Year starts February 3 this year, and lasts for 15 days. I like the idea of cultivating an inspiration for a meal (such as taking a stab at Mexican cuisine and homemade margaritas on Cinco de Mayo) so celebrating Chinese cuisine this week sounds like a fun challenge! My husband loves Chinese food and in order to save us $$$, calories, and the risk of consuming unknown ingredients of unknown quality, I've become increasingly more experimental in making my own "Chinese food" at home. Call it a take-out fake-out.

I've learned through my kitchen experiments, if you want to make Asian cuisine you need some key staples in the pantry that you will use time and time again. Thus far, these ingredients for me have included soy sauce, hot chili sauce, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, brown sugar, sesame seeds, corn starch, and rice. There's other pre-made sauces you can purchase such as teryaki, sweet & sour, or you can be adventurous and make them from scratch (keep an eye out for my homemade sweet & sour sauce recipe - so easy!). Now, I do not, by any means, claim to be anything near an expert on authentic Asian food, but as a newlywed/new cook, I strive for delicious food that reflects the themes and tastes of the cuisine.

Over the next week, I'll post my favorite Asian cooking experiments so far. And I need to get into the kitchen and try a few more!

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