Asian Cooking Tips From This Year's LUCKYRICE Festival

By: Kevin Bender

Last weekend, Cooking Channel joined the LUCKYRICE Festival to celebrate the very best of Asian cooking. With a Culinary Council featuring some of the most respected chefs in the industry, each event covered a different aspect of Asian food and culture.

At Friday evening's chef-studded Grand Feast, fabulous bites were served and paired with signature cocktails. We tasted them all, and picked up a few tips along the way.

Here's a sampling of some of our favorite bites.

Red Roast Duck with Puffed Rice from Clebrity Chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger:

Ming Tsai's Red Roast Duck with puffed rice

Melt-in-your-mouth duck, swimming in sweet hoisin sauce and perfectly balanced by a cripsy rice cake sitting on top.

Szechuan recipe to try at home: Chuck's Szechuan Peppercorn Pancakes.

Pork Dumpling Chaat from Jehangir Mehta of New York's Metaphor:

Pork Dumpling Chaat Metaphor

This fried pork dumpling was infused with aromatic spice and topped with fried noodles, sweet chili sauce, scallion, and light soy.

Dumpling recipe to try at home: Kelsey's Pork Dumplings

Cooking Channel treated attendants to a delicious Curry Dusted Salmon, paired with a  Hawaiian Rose cocktail:

Curry Dusted Salmon Cooking Channel

The seared salmon was served with pickled mushrooms and a port wine ginger sauce. Try your own Hawaiian Rose -- recipe below.

Indian salmon recipe to try at home: Bal's East Meets West Grilled Salmon

Hawaiian Rose Cocktail

Makes 1 cocktail
  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 2 ounces Pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce  Apricot brandy
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon Yuzu juice (substitute fresh lemon juice if yuzu is unavailable)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with 1 cup of ice.

Cover and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve immediately.

If you're interested in cooking authentic Asian cuisines at home, start with the basics: a well-stocked pantry. These Asian shopping lists will get you started.

Pantry Staples for INDIAN COOKING:
  • Cardamom Pods - armoatic and sweet, best used in small quantites
  • Dried Chiles - fiery, slender, red dried chilies can be simmered whole or ground and combined with other spices
  • Coconut Milk - used in various Indian regions for its richness, creaminess and sweetness
  • Coriander Seeds - the seed of the cilantro plant adds a bright flavor to curries, pickles, and chutneys
  • Cumin - buy pale or black whole seeds: both have distinctive warm, musky flavor
  • Ghee - clarified butter adds rich nuttiness to Indian dishes
  • Mustard Seeds - throw into hot oil for nutty flavor
  • Tamarind Paste - leds fruity tartness to any dish
  • Turmeric - responsible for the warm yellow color in many Indian dishes
  • Nutmeg - best grated fresh on a kitchen rasp to impart its warm, tingly flavor

Chef Tip: Buy spices in small quantities and keep them in airtight containers in a cool, dark space. While spices will stay fresh from 3 months to a year, but use ground spices within 3 to 4 months. 

Pantry Staples for KOREAN COOKING:
  • Dried Anchovy - salty and crunchy, these add intense flavor to soups, stocks, and side dishes
  • Dwaen Jang - this pungent Korean miso paste is best is sauces, stews, and soups
  • Fish Sauce - this potent liquid provides savory saltiness
  • Gochu Garu - Korean chili flakes
  • Gochu Jang - feemented red chili pepper paste used to add sweet, spice heat to meats, kimchi and bibimbap
  • Rice Vinegar - weaker and sweeter than other Western vinegars
  • Salted Shrimp - adds a fermented, salty and sour flavor to soups, stir-fries and condiments.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil - this nutty oil keeps best in the refrigerator
  • Sesame Seeds - darker than their Japanese counterparts, these don't needed to be re-toasted
  • Soy Sauce - use light soy for seasoning and darker soy for stews and marinades

Chef Tip: If a Korean specialty market is not readily accessible, other Asian markets might carry comparable ingredients. If not, and of these ingredients can be easily ordered online. 

Pantry Staples for SZECHUAN COOKING:
  • Black Chinese Vinegar - this dark, aged vinegar has a complex flavor
  • Dried Chiles - hot, fried chiles are used with abundance; deseed them to adjust heat level
  • Five-Spice Powder - spice blend of cassia bark, star anise, Szachuan pepper, ginger, and clove
  • Rice Vinegar - can be substituted with half as much cider vinegar
  • Toasted Sesame Oil - use this nutty oil sparingly, as its flavor can easily overwhelm
  • Shaoxing - fermented Chinese rice wine
  • Soy Sauce -  use light soy for seasoning and darker soy for stews and marinades
  • Star Anise - licorice-flavored spice
  • Szechuan Chili Bean Paste - used as a secondary source of salt and lends a rich fermented flavor
  • Sczchuan Peppercorns - this variety of peppercorn lends sharpness and mild numbing quality to many dishes

Chef Tip: Nothing quite replicates the large cooking surface and intense heat from a wok, but if you don't have one, use the largest skillet in your cupboard and make sure to heat it well before cooking. 


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