Asian cuisine is loved all across the globe. From delicious noodle dishes, to hot and tangy curries, there’s nothing better than indulging in flavour and texture rich dishes. Known for their diverse flavours, Asian cuisine is full of bulk spices and herbs, giving famous dishes the aromas and tastes we love and are so familiar with.
In this week’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at Asian cuisine and the herbs and spices you should be using to create the most authentic Asian dishes in your restaurant.
What is Asian Cuisine?
A cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, usually associated with a specific culture. You could say this is why Asian cuisine is broad and diverse. It includes several major regional cuisines such as: Central Asian, East Asian, North Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and West Asian. Although it is often bracketed under the same title, the specific cooking techniques and traditions differ drastically from region to region.
Asia, being the largest and most populous continent, is home to many cultures, many of which have their own characteristic cuisine. Notable Asian cuisines include:
Asian Cooking Methods and Popular Ingredients
Ingredients common to many cultures in the East and Southeast regions of the continent include rice, sesame seeds, dried onions, soy, tofu and bulk spices like ginger, garlic and chilies. Stir frying, steaming, and deep frying are also common cooking methods.
Whilst rice is popular across all Asian cuisines, various varieties are specific to certain regions. Basmati rice is used most in the Indian subcontinent, Jasmine rice is often found across Southeast Asia, whilst long-grain rice is popular in China and short-grain in Japan and Korea.
Curry dishes have roots in the Indian subcontinent and are common plates in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Did you know that Northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan prefer using a yoghurt base, whilst those in Southern India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia generally use coconut milk as their foundation for curry.
Notable Spices and Flavours Used
Chinese Cuisine: Includes the increasingly popular Sichuan cuisine, which is influenced by chilli, peppercorns and a lot of heat! Stir fried noodles, meat and vegetables are a firm favourite too. Other spices such as star anise, five spice powder, cinnamon and turmeric are also popular in Chinese dishes.
Indian Cuisine: Tends to use the most bulk spices and seasonings in Asian cuisine. Popular choices include asafetida, saffron, cinnamon and garam masala.
Korean Cuisine: Greatly revolves around the preparation of steamed rice, vegetables and meat. The use of kimchi, or fermented vegetables, is very popular in Korean cuisine and is served with most meals. Herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and sesame are widely used in dishes here.
Japanese Cuisine: Incorporates a large amount of rice and many ingredients that are not as popular in Western cooking, such as bamboo shoots, seaweed and lotus root. Mustard seed, pepper, coriander and chilli flakes are great spices to add to the collection.
Vietnamese Cuisine: Rice noodles and fresh seafood are staples when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine! Spices that are essential with Vietnamese dishes include clove, cardamom, star anise, ginger, garlic and turmeric.
As you can see, bulk spice blends are incredibly important to authentic tasting Asian cuisine. Intense flavours are created using these as a base, bringing aromatic, savoury and sweet taste to our plate, depending on the region of course!
Condiments play a huge part in successful and authentic Asian cuisine. Chutneys, sambals, tamarind paste, fish sauce and hot sauces are all firm favourites. In fact, Asian chefs treat spicy sauce the way the western world tend to treat ketchup! Each region has a preferred hot sauce and some of the most common are sriracha, chili garlic and sambal trassi.
Preparation and Presentation
Asian meal preparation and presentation drastically differs from western cuisine. Western plates usually consist of grains, meat, potatoes, pasta and vegetables, with a sweet dessert for afterwards. Meat often takes on the main role of a dish, whereas in Asian food, it’s typically an accompaniment, with elements like rice or seasoned noodles becoming the star of show. In Asian cuisine, it’s all about the blending of tastes and textures within a meal, including combining savoury and sweet flavours.
Often Asian cuisine endeavours to create six tastes in each meal; bitter, salty, sour, spicy, sweet sour and sweet. Dishes are sophisticated and flavour creations well thought out.
Our Top Ten Asian Spices
If you’re looking to create authentic, traditional Asian cuisine in your restaurant, you’ll need these wholesale spices and herbs to hand:
- Star Anise
Get in Touch
At World of Spice, we understand the importance of traditional tasting cuisine. Bulk spices are the key to Asian authenticity. Our service is cost-effective and fully reliable; we go above and beyond for each of our customers to ensure that you get the produce you need for business.
From bespoke blends to a choice of packaging, complete with custom private labelling, our comprehensive service can help you achieve your culinary goals. If you’re looking for a bespoke spice supplier, let us help you! For more information about our services for trade and retail and what we can offer your business, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call our team on 01277 633303. We look forward to hearing from you.