Pantry Staples for Asian Cooking
Keep these essential ingredients in your pantry so you'll be ready any time you get a craving for stir-fry or take-out. Make it yourself!
- Asian hot red chile sauce: This hot sauce is a blend of chiles and vinegar; it's similar to the heat of sriracha, but sriracha has more of a "ketchup" consistancy.
- Peanut oil: Unrefined peanut oil has a more pronounced flavor, but refined is better for frying.
- Fish sauce: This is the primary condiment of Southeast Asia and is made from fermented fish, salt, and aromatics.
- Hoisin sauce: This is a thick condiment made from sweet potatoes, wheat or rice vinegar, some sweetener, and aromatics.
- Preserved black beans: Fermented, salted, and dried black beans are common in many Chinese stir-fries.
- Oyster sauce: This is a molasses-like condiment made with oysters and salt.
- Chinese black vinegar: This is a low-acid vinegar made from fermented rice and is flavored with star anise and other aromatics.
- Rice noodles: Rice noodles are available in thin and thick varieties.
- Rice wine vinegar: Rice wine vinegar is available in seasoned (with added sugar and salt) and unseasoned varieties.
- Sesame oil: This condiment is available in dark and untoasted varieties, but dark sesame oil has a more pronounced flavor.