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is among the most commonly used in Asian cooking. (this is wheaten corn
flour, a misnomer which refers to the fine starch extracted from wheat). The resulting
is almost pure starch and contains no gluten, hence its lump-free thickening properties. A
small amount of cornflour
is mixed with a little cold water to make a smooth paste. It should be stirred again
immediately prior to adding it to the cooking pot as it does not stay in suspension long.
The mixture will look milky at first, but when the dish is properly prepared, the corn
flour turns clear and shiny as it thickens the sauce. To prepare, mix two parts liquid to
one part corn flour before adding to a sauce.
part of a marinade, corn
flour helps to coat food properly and to give dishes a velvety texture. Cornflour
also protects food during deep-frying by helping to seal in the juices, producing a
crisper coating than does wheat flour. It can also be used as a binder for minced
Rice Flour is also known as sweet rice flour or sweet rice powder, this flour is made
from short-grain rice that becomes moist, firm and sticky when cooked, a result of its
higher proportion of waxy starch molecules. Because of its chewy texture, glutinous
rice flour is a favorite base for dumplings, buns and pastries. Sweets made with glutinous
rice flour are popular and widely available throughout Southeast Asia. Useful Hints,
regular rice flour cannot be substituted in recipes that call for glutinous or sweet rice
Rice flour, sometimes called rice powder, is made from finely milled white raw rice and is
used to make fresh rice noodles, pastries and sweets. Rice flour is a staple food item
throughout Southeast Asia.
Usually used in the making of a batter or dusting food before frying, this starch is less
commonly used as a binder. It is more glutinous in texture than corn flour [US
cornstarch]. Potato Starch makes for a very crispy batter and holds better than corn flour
Wheat Starch is the fine, flour-like white powder left after the protein is removed from
wheat flour. Although it is sometimes used to thicken sauces, it is more commonly made
into a wrapping for dim sum dumpling in China. When steamed, this ingredient lends a soft,
translucent, opaque sheen to the delicate pastry wrapping.
Thread Noodles or Mung Bean Vermicelli are not made from a grain flour but from ground
mung beans. Once they are soaked they become soft and slippery, springy and translucent.
Variously called "silver bean thread noodle" or "Woon Sen",
theyre flavorless and take on the taste of their accompanying sauce or broth. They
should be soaked in warm water for about 7 minutes before use.
Rice noodles or rice sticks are very popular in Thailand. These noodle come in various
shapes and widths , and are widely known as "sen lek", "sen chan or
chantaboon", "sen mee"noodles. Sen lek and sen chan are thin, flat (small
to medium size) noodles often called "rice sticks". Sen mee or rice vermicelli
is very thin and brittle. Sen mee or rice vermicelli should be softened before cooking, or
else deep-fried right from the package in which, they will puff up and become delicately
and crisp. The crispy rice vermicelli is used in the appetizer "Mee Krob".
Useful hints: Dried rice noodles are very easy to use. Just soak them in warm water for 15
minutes, until they are soft. Drain them in a colander or sieve, and they are ready to
use, for example, in soups or stir-fries. Dried rice noodle is a perfect ingredient for
Khanom Chine is a very authentic Thai style noodle. They're made from rice flour and
served with a curry sauce, such as "Nam Ya", "Nam Prik" or even green
curry, condiments and thinly sliced fresh vegetables. In Thailand, they are made and sold
fresh daily. We substitute Japanese Somen noodles or angel hair pasta in America.
Egg Noodles made from wheat flour and egg, a bit like Italian pasta. Most common type is
thin, round strand that is sold both fresh and dry. They tend to be yellowish in color.
Egg noodles are used in stir-fried dishes, as well as in soups and available both fresh
and dried. For storage, fresh noodles will keep in the bottom part of your refrigerator
for at least 2 or 3 days. Dried noodle keep indefinitely.
Sesame Oil. This dark amber, very aromatic oil is pressed from toasted white sesame seeds
and has strong, rich nutty flavor. It is used as a flavoring in many Asian dishes and is
not used for frying. Store in cool dark place, but not in the refrigerator where it will
The tiny, oval, oil-rich seeds of an annual herb, sesame seeds are used throughout Asia
for their flavor and their high protein content.
White sesame seeds are the most common. Toasted and crushed, they are an essential
ingredient in Asian foods. Whole seeds are used as a garnish for both savory and sweet
dishes and breads.
Black Sesame Seeds have a more earthy taste. They are used in sesame and seaweed sprinkle,
Japanese condiment and in some Chinese desserts.
Spring roll wrapper. Made from a mixture of rice flour, water, and salt these are rolled
out by machine to paper thinness and then dried on bamboo mats in the sun, which gives
then their beautiful cross-hatch imprint or pattern. Rice papers are used extensively for
wrapping Vietnamese spring rolls of pork and seafood, which are then fried and wrapped
with crispy fresh lettuce and herbs and finally dipped in a sweet, sour hot sauce. Useful
Hints: Rice paper must be softened before use. Simply immerse them, one or two sheet at a
time, in a warm water. Soak them until they are soft, approximately 1 or 2 minutes. Handle
them carefully as the sheets are brittle. Drain them on a linen towel before rolling.
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