Asian recipes can be quite intimidating; which could include ingredients that you may or may not be accustomed to, like medicinal herbs grown by blind Buddhist monks on the foothills of the Himalayas, baby tiger shark pancreas, unicorn tears and good ‘ol thinleaf milkwort root. In reality, most Asian pantries (more particularaly Chinese pantries) consist of a handful of staple ingredients that when used in different combinations with each other, make up the backbone of most of your favourite Chinese recipes. To help you narrow down the items that are versatile that are guaranteed to be used more than once, here’s my list of essential Asian pantry items for common Chinese recipes
asian grocery store
A friend of mine once asked me for a fried rice recipe and I gave them my trusty chicken fried rice with gai lan recipe. I followed up with them the next day to see how it went and they said it was good, but something was different. They asked me what “gai lan” was and I explained to them that it was Chinese broccoli. They said that they weren’t able to find it at their local grocery store and used regular fleurette broccoli and that by using soy sauce, would rationalize it as being “Chinese“. After I stopped pounding my head against the wall, I tried to figure out if the problem was my friends or the fact that I didn’t specify where to get the ingredients… especially after I found out that their pantry soy sauce was the kosher-gluten-free variety.