Cooking should be a creative and fun experience. Once you have the basics down, don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with your own flavours. Just like other things, many dishes have been tried and done before. What makes them unique and original is how you interpret the dishes when you cook them. Of course there is nothing wrong with following recipes, but I think you’d find more joy in cooking if you add an extra pinch of something and the dish turns out BETTER than the recipe.
My tip for you is that each dish is a component of these 5 flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy and it is how you mix them and how you balance these flavours that is the key. Start with what you know and try to mix one Asian ingredient with a western one. For example, I love using Japanese white miso in western sauces and marinades because white miso brings a unique salty taste to the dish as well as a subtle sweetness. I recently had a cooking class and taught a Grilled Fish Taco with White Miso Lime Dressing. Just because it is a “Mexican taco”, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to tomato salsa and guacamole. The dressing is easy to make and goes very well with seafood dishes, such as crab cakes, fish burger and anything deep-fried.
This is just one of many examples of how you can slowly start experimenting with ingredients and flavours in your kitchen. Start out small and you will soon learn that the combinations are endless!
White Miso & Lime Dressing 白麵豉青檸醬
30g white miso paste
juice and zest of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
10ml rice wine vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste
Japanese 7 Spice Powder (optional)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
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