Ever wondered what makes your favourite oriental Dishes cuisines so tasty? What’s the distinctive taste and flavour which differentiates it from other cuisines? Take a moment and think about the distinctive taste in your favourite sushi or Manchurian. This flavour cannot be just described as salty, sweet or tangy, it is something beyond that. This flavour is what defines Asian cuisines nad makes it so delectable.
You must have tried to recreate the magic of your favorite Oriental Dishes and Asian cuisine in your own kitchen, but failed to get the right flavour notes. Your dish might look authentic but the traditional flavour may go missing somewhere. Not able to decide what exactly you are doing wrong? Let’s put an end to all these questions and get some “Umami” on those plates.
What is Umami?
Umami is one of the five basic flavors that describe the earthy and roasted flowers found in fermented meats, grains, tomatoes, and asparagus. Though it is used in a lot of western cuisines, it is the main feature of Asain cuisine. This is what imparts the distinctive flavor to the various Asian and oriental cuisines.
You can enjoy the ‘umami’ flavour in your dishes using specific Asian seasonings and condiments. These seasoning and condiments will enhance the flavour of your favourite cuisine.
The following are the best Asian condiments and sauces:
Tamari sauce is a different version of the traditional soy sauce. It is a gluten-free soy sauce. The authentic tamari sauce is 100% soy. As compared to the other soy sauces it is less sweet, darker and has a rich and strong flavor. Though Tamari and other wheat-containing soy sauces are prepared from fermented soybeans, tamari has a more balanced taste. It is used in all the Asian and oriental cuisines to add a savory flavor to the dishes. This sauce can be used in anything from marinades and stews to noodles and vegetables. Since it is a gluten-free soy sauce, the product is a healthy option for people who are allergic to gluten.
Chilli sauce is an essential part of Asian and almost all the cuisines boast a variety of chili sauces. One of the most widely used chilli sauce around the world is the Heinz chili sauce. Apart from the basic concept of grinding chilies into pastes, there are three most popular variants of chili sauce, including Sriracha, chili garlic oil, and sambal.
Sriracha is used almost throughout the world in cuisines ranging from Italian to Chinese. It is also used as a bread spread. Sriracha is made using fresh red chilies, distilled vinegar, garlic, and salt. Sometimes sugar is also added to it to tone down the heat and give a sweet flavor to the sauce.
Chilli Garlic Oil
Chilli garlic oil is made with roasted garlic, fresh or dried chilies, white vinegar, shallots, sugar, and sesame oil. The texture is thin compared to other sauces and the mild garlicky taste is what sets it apart from other chili sauces.
Sambal is made by grinding red chilies with a bit of salt using a mortar and pestle. It has a rustic feel to it and is the purest form of chili sauce.
Chili sauces like the Heinz chili sauce can be used in any cuisine. Just add a few spoons to enhance the overall taste of the dish.
Fish sauce plays a significant role in enhancing the flavors of oriental cuisine. It is popularly called the ‘liquid umami’. The sauce is brown in color and has a pungent and strong smell. Fish sauce is made by fermenting fish or squid in sea salt and water. The fermented mixture is then pressed and the strained liquid is what you call fish sauce. Due to its strong smell, it is advised that you use a few drops of it. It adds a special salty and fishy taste to your dish and enhances the overall taste of your cuisine. If you are a fan of seafood then this sauce will add a flavor of seafood to any other dish that you are preparing.
Rice vinegar sauce
Rice vinegar sauce is a yellow sauce that has originated in Japan. It is essential for the preparation of sushi. The sweet taste and low acidity levels are what makes it different from other kinds of vinegar. It is so mild that it is used as a dipping sauce for vegetables and sushi. Rice vinegar sauce is commonly used in stir-fries or fresh green salads. This sauce is also available in red and black variants that are stronger and have a more smoky flavor.
Mirin is a rice wine that is sweet and has low alcohol content as compared to other rice wines. It has a thick texture and a light golden color. Mirin is one of the most commonly used condiments used in Asain cuisines. Due to its sweet flavor, it can be mixed and combined with other sauces like tamari or soy to create a different flavor and taste. Mirin sauce can also be used with meat, fish, vegetables and tofu.
Miso is made from fermented soybeans and rice grains. Miso comes in two different forms. The white one is sweet and has a fruity flavor and the red one is with a more salty and earthy flavor. The red one is also used in the preparation of BBQ sauce.
The traditional process of making the oyster sauce is expensive and not viable. Commercially oyster sauce is prepared by adding oyster sauce concentrate to salt, sugar, and cornstarch Oriental Dishes. It has a thick and consistent texter due to the starch content. Adding a few spoons of it can add a sweet-salty taste to your dish. You can add it to your dish when it is almost ready. You can use it in stir-fried dishes to give it a thick texture.
Now with the help of the above condiments, you can recreate the magic of Asian cuisines in your own kitchen.