Pickled Green Chilies + Peppers of the Americas

Pickled Green Chilies + Peppers of the Americas

Cut chilies on restaurant tables in Malaysia are a thing like salt and pepper shakers are in American eateries. They are usually accompanied by soy sauce, so you can make a chili soy sauce dip to go with your food. What can I say? We really like chilies. Even those who can't take the heat like chilies. Pickled green chilies are usually not very hot but sweet and sour instead and it's quite common to find a jar sitting next to the other condiments. 

I can't tell you which kind of heat-less green chili we use in Malaysia. Most recipes there will simply list the ingredient as green chili because as far as we're concerned, there are only red and green chilies. But I'll tell you that when I make this here, I use either jalapeno or serrano chilies (below) with a preference for the latter because I like the sharper heat. 

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Step by Step: How to Make Shallot Oil + Crispy Shallots

Step by Step: How to Make Shallot Oil + Crispy Shallots

Shallot oil is the unsung hero in simple Asian cooking, the secret piece to that "I-love-it-but-I-don't-know-what-it-is" puzzle (true story). Simply put, it is oil infused with the aromatic shallot that can easily be made by frying sliced shallots and then preserving the oil.

The fragrant oil can be used in stir-fries in place of normal oil or drizzled over soups. It is in fact a vital flavor in the Malaysian soy sauce noodles known as Kon Loh Mee and really ups the flavor in the minimal Asian-style blanched vegetables

Let's not forget the crispy fried shallots that come out of the simple process of making shallot oil. These tasty crunchy bits are your secret weapon to dressing up fried rice, noodles, soups, vegetable dishes, and even salads. 

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How to Make Vegan "Fish" Sauce: 3 Recipes Tested

How to Make Vegan "Fish" Sauce: 3 Recipes Tested

The first time I wrote about fish sauce was for the Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Yum Woon Sen) recipe. It's difficult to talk about Southeast Asian food without talking about fish sauce. Made with anchovies fermented in salt, fish sauce is a staple condiment in Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Burmese, and Lao cuisines. 

I also mentioned vegan fish sauce in that post and promised that I will explore the subject further. So here we are! I tested three vegan fish sauce recipes, used them to make the same Thai glass noodle salad, and took tasting notes. In the process, I learned a few things about umami ingredients, lessons that are valuable for everyone, vegan or not.

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Step by Step: How to Make Dried Orange Peel

Step by Step: How to Make Dried Orange Peel

The addition of dried orange peels in dishes gives it an inviting citrus aroma. You can buy the dried peels (known as chen pi) from Asian herbal stores but I've decided to make my own from the mandarin oranges I've been gobbling. Peels from different citruses will, of course, give different flavors. I used mandarin because it's in season now and the peel is usually thinner with less of the bitter pith (the white spongy layer between the fruit and the skin). 

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Step by Step: How To Make Tamarind Paste

Step by Step: How To Make Tamarind Paste

Many Southeast Asian dishes just wouldn't be the same without the fruity and citrusy sweet-sour flavor of tamarind, although I've used lime juice as a substitute during desperate times. The tamarind commonly used in cooking comes from the seed pods of the tamarind tree that can usually be found in pod form, as a hard block of pulp, as a concentrate, or in a powder form.

Tamarind concentrate and powder may present themselves as attractively convenient but I find the best results to come from making tamarind paste from the tightly packed pulpy block (preferably seedless), which is usually available at Asian stores and storable in the refrigerator for quite a long time. Based on my experience cooking in Malaysia, online research and trials at home, this is how you can prepare tamarind paste.

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Step by Step: How to Make Rainbow Cauliflower Rice [Video]

Step by Step: How to Make Rainbow Cauliflower Rice [Video]

We can make cauliflower rice. Or we can make RAINBOW cauliflower rice! All we have to do is use the different varieties of cauliflower. There's the classic white that we're most familiar with. Then there's orange cauliflower, which has a higher content of beta carotene and Vitamin A, and there's the purple kind, which gets its unique hue from the antioxidant anthocyanin. There's also the striking green romanesco with its stunning pine cone shape. Talk about getting your colorful nutrients! No wonder we are encouraged to eat the rainbow. 

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