What do you do when you want to make something with 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.
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. I was surprised to see how incredibly useful this table has been to adjust tastes when I want to.
Table excerpted from Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook Page 48 © 2021
A way to get to know these varied combinations is to start with simple ingredients. Decide on the flavor blend you want to use and then select simple ingredients such as chicken breasts, shrimp, or flank steak. Add a vegetable or two, combine with seasoning and serve with white or brown rice. It’s a simple dinner that changes with the spices you use and a great way to learn how different combinations taste.
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.
I love your cookbook; I use it all the time. You did a great job. Not only the recipes, but the design and layout too. It’s a beautiful book.
Le Kitchen Cookbook
Everything you need to know to be a good cook.
by Adeline M. Olmer
Your comments really help others make confident decisions
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