World Cuisine: Asia, Part One

Though our daily training in culinary school is based on classical French techniques, we explore flavor profiles and alternate methods of other world regions as well. And sometimes it’s just plain fun to trade in the potato tournรฉ for some sticky rice.

I traded it in for even more sticky rice than some. On my first go around, I inadvertently let the steamer run out of water. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to experience this phenomenon for yourself, it turns sticky grains into firm pebbles, not at all unlike good old-fashioned chalk. Second time was closer to a charm.

Hot and sour soup with mushrooms and pork struck a fine hot and sour balance, and classic curry chicken soup was a spicy success.

Our two teams’ versions of miso soup- one slightly heavy on the miso, the other needing a bit more- were an overall win. Combining the two would probably have yielded a spot-on soup.

It continues to fascinate me how the same recipe and basic ingredients can be crafted into two quite different but equally successful dishes. This is the case more often than not, and I think it illustrates how much of yourself goes into every dish you create. Incredible really.

Pearl balls are spheres of seasoned ground pork, wrapped in washed rice and steamed until completely cooked through with a tender rice surface. Dipped in a pear soy ginger sauce… a pearl ball home run.

Green tea ice cream with mint brittle and a crisp cookie was an entirely respectable ending to the first half of Asian exploration.

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18 thoughts on “World Cuisine: Asia, Part One

  1. Oh wow! I’m just going to call you Miss Ssigon from here on in! Beautiful as always, I’m not usually a fan of sticky rice but I do like the thought of those gorgeous pork balls there ๐Ÿ™‚ love green tes ice cream anytime Snd I efpecily love the look of the mint crisp. My ultimate question is how do you make a clear toffee without it colouring caramel? Brilliantly executed! Thanks for the food-porn!!!

      • You are hilarious, giaff ๐Ÿ™‚ Your typos entertain me more than you know! And a bouncing bus is a legitimate excuse for sure. As a 5’10” (178cm) pale blue eyed girl, this would be the first time Ive been called Miss Saigon ๐Ÿ˜€ And I LOVE it!
        I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that the clear toffee is a ‘cheater’ glass candy. It’s actually (gulp) corn syrup spread on a silpat lined sheet pan, sprinkled with sugar (with any flavor added such as ground ginger), and baked in a hot oven until bubbly. Just after removing from the oven while it’s still liquid, you can sprinkle with mint chiffonade or just about anything. Once cool, it’s breakable. I’m definitely all for caramelizing sugar traditionally, but for a quick clear glass candy that’s versatile, this is pretty handy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. What is the mint brittle?! That looks fascinatIng. And I love the scallion bows. I once learned to carve a watermelon into a dahlia in Thailand but this looks like a way easier garnish. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Forgive me for ‘copy and paste’, but giaff just asked the same thing… Iโ€™m almost embarrassed to tell you that the mint brittle is a โ€˜cheaterโ€™ glass candy. Itโ€™s actually (gulp) corn syrup spread on a silpat-lined sheet pan, sprinkled with sugar (with any flavor added such as ground ginger), and baked in a hot oven until bubbly. Just after removing from the oven while itโ€™s still liquid, you can sprinkle with mint chiffonade or just about anything. Once cool, itโ€™s breakable. Iโ€™m definitely all for caramelizing sugar traditionally, but for a quick clear glass candy thatโ€™s versatile, this is pretty handy.
      Carving a watermelon into a dahlia sounds like quite a bit of work, but it sounds absolutely gorgeous! I would love to learn how… wonder if I could find a youtube version and save a trip to Thailand? ๐Ÿ™‚ Or maybe a trip is actually in order…

  3. I know where to go when I want to make my mouth water!! Loving the asian dishes! Sticky rice are my favourites! Alright, gonna go get one in a bit now! ๐Ÿ˜€

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