How To Find Your Way in an Asian Grocer

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When I became a chef, the power and allure of the food market and grocery stores was so strong that my mum would need to visit them everyday. It was always a great thing that mum bought home - fruits and vegetables, sweet cake and candy and meat or fish. 

How To Find Your Way in an Asian Grocer

If you go to an Asian store in your neighbourhood of Melbourne and Sydney - they have the same format. First, you might walk through a fresh produce session where you can find all sort of leafy green, salads, ginger, garlic, spring onion, sprouts and exotic mushroom.

The next thing you will see is the meat with pork belly, pork mince, duck, chicken, beef and lamb. The good thing is you can ask the butcher to cut whatever size you like your meats or poultry.

There is the seafood session with fresh fish in the tanks, crabs in the basket and even a few still alive. You can buy the whole unit and the shop assistant will clean them for you. Except those lobster or crab as they will keep them as fresh as possible when they are alive.

Then you will visit the frozen session with ready to eat or cook items such as soy products, bamboo, spring rolls pastry and other frozen desserts from durian to Asian icecream - look for frozen seafood such as prawn or scallop.

Next, you will see the refrigerated aisle with rice cakes, tofu, and fresh noodles in every Asian grocery store. 

You will pass into dry goods aisles of hot chilli sauces, pickled vegetables, soy sauces, vinegar, cooking wines, oils, spices, dried seaweed, dried mushroom and dry fungi, dried noodles, and all sorts of junk food you can think off.

The bigger store will also sell small equipment such as knife and wok or frying pan sometimes these guys also stock household items.

These days, Asian grocery stores are increasingly common and are even frequented by a lot more non-Asian people, who are often drawn by the cheaper produce and meat. If there’s one near you, it’s a great place to get inspired and stock up your pantry.

If you’re just getting to know Asian cooking, here are a few items that you’ll want to pick up–a selection of the basic, bread and butter pantry items that are essential to any cook’s stockpile.

  • Soy sauce 
  • Fish sauce
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Black vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • White pepper
  • Shaoxing cooking wine
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chilli
  • Rice

 

 

Experiences

5 Lesser-known Benefits of Group Cooking Classes

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1.   Being exposed to new cuisines and recipes

One of the great things about joining a cooking class is that you’ll be exposed to new cuisines and recipes you might never have tried before. This will give you valuable experience with different cultures and cooking styles so that you can become a more well-rounded chef.

Take what you’ve learnt and start applying it at home – you’ll begin to introduce even more people to the cuisines and recipes you’ve discovered. The sharing of cultural information is one of the most significant benefits of cooking in general, so it’s always good to expand your knowledge any way you can.

2.   Meeting new people and making friends

One of the most talked-about benefits of attending cooking classes is all the friendships that form as a result of the shared love of cooking. Just like school or university, when you are in a class with other like-minded people, it’s easy to start bonding and swap stories, to help each other out, and to work together towards a common goal.

Some people have even found their future husband or wife after meeting them in a cooking class. After all, sharing a love of good food is one of the keys to a happy marriage!

3.   Fighting loneliness and isolation

Another great benefit of attending cooking classes is that you have an excuse to get out of the house and attend a social event with other people. This will help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is particularly beneficial for people who are living alone, or who live with flatmates they are not very close with.

When you know how to cook, you can invite people over with the promise of a home-cooked meal from you – and in the meantime you will be able to socialise at your cooking classes.

4.   Getting physical exercise

While a cooking class isn’t the same as jogging on a treadmill for 30 minutes, it is still an activity that can require a fair amount of physical exertion. Depending on what you are cooking, you could be doing as much exercise as a small gym session (for example, using a rolling pin to make pizza bases is going to work out your arms and shoulders).

Make sure you don’t discount the physical benefits of getting out and participating in a cooking class!

5.   You will be a font of knowledge for others

When you start attending a cooking class, you can give cooking tips and tricks to people who know even less than you do. Eventually, you’ll be one of the most knowledgeable about cooking in many of your social circles, and it feels good when people turn to you for an authoritative opinion on something you’ve dedicated your time to studying.

There you have it; five of the lesser-known benefits of participating in group cooking classes.

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Last Minute Melbourne Experience Booking

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Explore most amazing food culture experiences, from the dumplings to Indian curries. Gorgeous ideas to take friends and family to have social cooking time, enjoy delicious foods and learn tips and trick.

Plus we do the dishes so no mess at home so join in the classes. We offer more classes in the week than ever so plenty for you to choose. The class include meals, cooking, entertainment and wine - there has never been a better time to cook. Otao Kitchen has the best kitchen studio, so get ready to cook?

 

Taste of Balinese Foods

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THE FOOD OF BALI INDONESIA

 

Balinese food celebrate Balinese people from the volcanic island of Bali using spices blending with the fresh vegetables, meat and seafood. Balinese food sometime refers to special regional Indonesian cuisine. It demonstrates indigenous traditions and other Indonesian regional cuisine, Chinese and Indian. Bali's culinary traditions are somewhat distinct with the rest of Indonesia. The people Bali celebrate their foods with festivals and celebrations.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

Spices such as Kaempferia galanga galangal, shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and Kaffir lime are used in Balinese foods. For example popular Balinese 8-spice is made with white and black pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, nutmeg, sesame seed, and candlenut. Other ingredients such as palm sugar, fish paste, and basa gede spice paste are used in everyday dishes.

Many tropical foods are rambutan, mangoes, mangosteen, bananas, jackfruit, rambutan, passion fruit, nangka, pineapple, salak snake fruit, duku, kelengkeng, wani white mango or Mangifera caesia, papaya, longan, melon, oranges, custard-apple, coconut and durian.

Steamed rice is commonly consumed in every meal everyday. Pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables are widely consumed. Because many Balinese follow Hindu tradition so they never or rarely consume beef.

How to buy on a budget the best kitchen knife?

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A special step in becoming a good home cook is to have a good set of kitchen knives and learn to sharpen your kitchen knives at your own home.

You might be curious to know what is included in a basic kitchen knife set. There are four styles of chef’s knives and how we would tell you to determine which kitchen chef’s knife is right for you.  Because out of all of your kitchen knives, your kitchen chef’s knife will be your most used tool in your home. 

Even though the market is filled with various styles of kitchen knives, it all comes down to finding a chef kitchen knife that fits your own hand – for it will be the kitchen knife that will take your cooking to much higher levels.

If you are a home cook or a chef, it can be overwhelming knowing what to look for in a kitchen knife with shapes, handles, blades, knife set, sizes, steels and finishes. Choosing a kitchen knife is not as hard you might think, it just seems like it because of all the choices available. The cost and the fear of getting it wrong can be stressful but don't worry, we're here to help you figure it all out and get you a knife so sharp your onions will cry in fear.

Let's cover one the biggest fears first - a good knife can cost a lot of money and it's sometimes scary hovering over at the kitchen store or online. When you buy a kitchen knife in Australia, you're buying something you should be able to use for the rest of your life if you look after it. When a chef decides to buy knives they look for something to use daily and for his and his cooking career because they learn how they can look after their kitchen knives.

It's not the most efficient way to use your knife on a tomato, capsicum or eggplant.  It's a great demonstration of the sharpness of kitchen knives. If your current knife can't manage this, it might be time for you to think about sharpen your kitchen knives or upgrade to something better.

We often get asked for a recommendation and we nearly always give the same answer if a customer doesn't have a specific style in mind or they're after a general use chef knife and that's to buy something from the range. They have it all - beauty, sharpness, a quality edge and hard wearing carbon steel and an excellent price tag. 

If you're after a little more then we recommend heading to the homepage and browsing all our ranges where we've written about and reviewed each knife and and there's a good selection to choose from to cater to all tastes and budgets. 

It's worth bearing in mind that because nearly all of the knives on the site are handmade in small forges by one or two blacksmiths and as such supply is not guaranteed and when a knife has sold out it can sometimes take months to restock. 

If you're keen on a particular knife don't leave it too long to buy it because it might be gone and in the case of some ranges for several months or more.

Read more here as we will guide 7 steps for you how to choose the best kitchen knife for your home. 

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The Best and Easiest Way to Peel Ginger

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and it is one of the core ingredients in a lot of Asian recipes. But have you ever struggled trying to peel a ginger root with all of its bumps and lumps?

Ginger can be expensive, so you don’t want to waste any of the flesh. Knives and peelers can’t get into the lumps and bumps of a ginger root without you cutting some of the flesh away. But fear not! There is a super easy way to peel ginger. In this video you’ll see how the best and easiest way to peel ginger is with a spoon!

So how easy was that! Now that you know the best and easiest way to peel ginger, we are confident you’ll be the ginger peeling champion of your household.

Want to learn more cooking tips and tricks?

Come along to one of our hands on cooking classes where Chef Ha provides expert advice and cooking techniques. With his guidance you’ll learn how to make a range of Asian dishes that you can recreate at home and you’ll get to enjoy all the spoils of your creation during the class.

 

Our cooking classes are a wonderful activity to enjoy with your friends and family, and we hope to see you soon!

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Simple. Add lemon juice, bit of vinegar, honey, oil and bit of garlic or shallot in a jar. Put the lid on and shake it well. It taste much better than the jar you bought and cheaper too.

Visit https://www.otaokitchen.com.au/recipes/

Alternatively you can whisk them.

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Store Your Spice Like No Other

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Cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cardamom, black beans, red chilli flakes, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper and ginger. These are just a few of the spices that are used. Storage for my heaps of spices has been a challenge in the kitchen as often they are in little bags, jars and this drifts on to the shelves and cupboards. I thought I could share with you some practical ways that keeps my spices fresh and neat. 

Remember to make sure your spices are fresh.

Remember to place the frequent used spices in the front and the less frequent used spices in the back.

How do you store your spices? Do you keep them in the cupboard, or in a drawer? 

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