Last week I talked about RPA (Read, Prepare, Adjust) and how to adjust the flavors of the foods you are cooking to your liking.
But what do you do when you want to make something with more exotic flavors? Mexican to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, or Chinese, maybe Indian, or a little Middle Eastern or Thai to change up your routine.
For years, I searched for recipes that would give me those great flavors I was craving. It certainly was a creative solution but when I was writing Le kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook, I decided instead to make a chart that listed the predominant herbs and spices used by those cultures to create their distinctive flavors.
©Excerpt from Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook (pages 49–50)
Start with simple ingredients such as chicken breasts, shrimp, or flank steak. Add a vegetable or two and serve with white or brown rice. It’s a simple dinner that changes with the spices you use.
Here is an example if you want to create a little Chinese flavor:
Ingredients Garlic, chopped fine Ginger, peeled and chopped fine Sichuan pepper, ground Soy sauce Broth
Directions If the sauce needs to be thickened, use a cornstarch slurry: Use 2 tablespoons of cold water; add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch on top, do not stir, wait until the cornstarch is completely absorbed before stirring.
Cut a boneless chicken breast into one-inch pieces.
In a sauté pan heat the oil, sauté garlic, add the grated ginger and Sichuan pepper, cooking just enough to release the flavor.
Add more oil if needed, sauté the chicken, add a splash of soy sauce and a little chicken broth.
Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through.
Taste and adjust the flavors.
Add a little cornstarch slurry to the pan and stir over heat to thicken the sauce.
Serve over rice.
For a little variety try: Adding a little creaminess by adding sour cream or a little yogurt to the sauce. Depending on the spices, you can add a chopped tomato to add great flavor. I realize I am not giving you a recipe to follow. But that is the best way to learn. Jump right in and taste what you are cooking.
Don’t forget, if you want to repeat what you made, you are going to need to write down how you made it.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy the process.
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Adrisse Brandt May 12, 2021
This is brilliant. Thank you. —Adrisse