How to use Asian sauces and dressings in dishes here

Every time you pass that oriental supermarket, you look inside with a mixture of fear and curiosity. Finally, you decide to enter. The first thing you notice is the smell, a smell that you do not know if it repels or attracts you, but you continue: you would enter only to slap between that huge amount of sauces, vegetables, cans and noodles, many noodles.

Between the indications of the dependent and your sixth sense to guide you through lost places you find the ingredient you need. You buy the cheapest package and you leave, but not before taking an envelope of instant noodles, as if the Japanese prepared food had to be better than here.

Following the recipe carefully, you prepare a ramen like a real son from the country of the rising sun. You use only two tablespoons of the package you have purchased and store it in the closet. And now that? You don't know what else to do with him. But do not worry, here comes the Comidista to play Marie Kondo, empty your closet and give you some ideas to incorporate the most exotic ingredients in your day to day. In a time when soy sauce or curry are already part of our list of essential ingredients in the pantry, why not gradually incorporate other products?


What is it? Despite its name, this sauce is usually made with anchovies that heal between layers of salt. It is a sauce with a very powerful flavor that is part of the daily cuisine of many Southeast Asian homes.

Ideal for: It reminds us a little of the Italian anchovy colatura or what could have been the Roman garum, so it has a very strong Umami flavor that is better used in moderation. It is spectacular as a pasta dish enhancer, like great spaghetti with mussels and capers. Although it can also be used in a vinaigrette or to enhance a gazpacho or cold cream.


What is it? Miso is probably the best known ingredient of those we bring to you today. It is a paste made from fermented soybeans and there are different types that are identified by their color and intensity.

Ideal for: The most common way to use it is diluted in boiling water to prepare a quick soup, although this solubility also allows us to add it to all types of sauces in a few moments. It goes very well to glaze meats like chicken, to accompany with a quick sauce some steamed vegetables or even to make a very original pesto. Mixed with mayonnaise is also an excellent dressing for fish, and with butter it is directly addictive.


What is it? Katsuobushi is a typical product of Japan, which consists of beautiful drying with a traditional process, which is then flaked with a tool similar to that of carpenters. It is highly appreciated for its umami flavor and is used in a variety of traditional recipes, from dashi, takoyaki or okonomiyaki. As a curiosity, in the Pontevedra town of O 'Porriño we find a producer of these flakes with beautiful Cantabrian Sea.

Ideal for: It is perfect to use as a dressing in recipes with eggs, reinforce a fumet that has become somewhat loose or to give an extra flavor to vegetable creams. It also serves to roast a pizza sprinkling it on top and letting it melt slowly with the cheese: considering that more than fish is a dressing, not even the Italians would stick to this option (as they do with anchovies).


What is it? Its name leaves no doubt: it is a paste based on these very unctuous nuts that is used from Indonesian cuisine to Sichuan cuisine and that, with a little patience and a good blender, it is possible to prepare even in House.

Ideal for: Apart from the usual use in the dan noodles or to accompany the satay chicken, it is very easy to prepare a sauce with a little garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and chili flakes that accompanies very well all Grilled dishes, whether meat such as chicken or vegetables such as artichokes. Another interesting use is to accompany vegan burgers for example of lentils and chickpeas.


What is it? Sesame oil - as its name suggests, again - is an oil made from roasted sesame seeds. It is used throughout the Asian continent, either for cooking or for flavoring: it is raw when it demonstrates its virtues best.

Ideal for: It is characterized by its intensity and its toasted fragrance, therefore, only with a few drops will it add a lot of flavor to our dishes. Traditionally it is used to top a wok, so it combines very well with soy sauce to add it to the end of a mushroom or vegetable stir fry. And if you put it raw on top of a scalded or roasted vegetables it will give them depth.


What is it? Hoisin sauce is one of those ingredients that quickly becomes a regular in our pantry. Many of us have tried it in Asian restaurants - it's that of the famous Peking duck-, but we don't name it. It is made with soy beans, fennel seeds, five spices, garlic, vinegar, chillies ... and it is delicious.

Ideal for: Having a sweet taste is ideal for meats, from pork to beef, you can make from a pulled pork very special up to steak tartare different. It also works perfectly with a vegetable tempura.


What is it? Gochujang sauce is the spicy sauce par excellence from Korea. It is made from the fermentation of hot peppers, glutinous rice and soy beans. The best thing is that it exists with different degrees of spicy, for all tastes and tolerances.

Ideal for: Being sweet and spicy it goes very well to balance and refresh all the powerful dishes or with a little fat, it can be added to a mayonnaise to spread a squid sandwich or accompany fried fish. For the same reason, it will give a special touch to fried eggs or a vegetable stew.


What is it? It is a simple sauce with a complex flavor, made with chili peppers, soy sauce and a lot of garlic. It is a condiment that you will find in all the tables of southern China.

Ideal for: Beyond spicy is really tasty, so we can easily use it for some bravas or a mojo picón. It also combines very well with melted cheese, so it will enrich any sandwich (from a mixed in all its versions to a tenderloin with cheese). For desserts, you will be surprised how good it is with chocolate: try putting a few drops on top of some truffles and you will see.


What is it? It is a type of seaweed very famous in Japan, although it is also grown on the Galician coast. We all associate this wonderful seaweed with sushi of all kinds, and for this reason, it is very easy to find it in most supermarkets, at a very affordable price.

Ideal for: The nori is pure umami, so it will enhance the flavor of all the dishes to which it is added; before using it you can toast it to intensify its fragrance. Cut into thin strips is a highly recommended dressing for a soup or a salad. For the reluctant to its texture, you can buy it in flakes or powder to add it to all kinds of stews, soups, even purees or stir-fry. Finally, it is important to remember that with the nori seaweed we can roll up anything imaginable (and not just rice and fish).


What is it? We already told you about the wonders of this base of the famous Korean dish. It is nothing more than a preparation based on chillies, garlic, ginger, spices and some type of fish or dried prawn that will provide spicy, and above all, intensity in our preparations.

Ideal for: Apart from preparing kimchi once in a lifetime, with this base you can dress all the aliñable, from salads to soups or creams. In addition, it is super good as a sauce for some fritters or some false bravas. Also ideal for marinating chicken and pork meat, and diluted with lime juice, it is used to improvise a shrimp ceviche in a pispás (dried fish and chili from the base will add intensity to tiger's milk without having to do the complete preparation ). Mixed with a bit of mayonnaise it serves from dipping potatoes to preparing a spectacular Russian salad.


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