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Old 06-05-2022, 10:31 AM   #1
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Leaving the ethnic cooking to the ethnics

I have tried cooking many ethnic dishes over the years and can count on the successful ones on probably 3 fingers. If I want ethnic food I will go to an ethnic restaurant. Anyone else come to that same conclusion?

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Old 06-05-2022, 10:51 AM   #2
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It can be discouraging. Ethnic dishes often include unfamiliar techniques and ingredients. Restaurants also have equipment available that you do not. For example, Chinese restaurants have wok burners that produce 50,000 BTU to produce the flavors you enjoy.

That said, I have come up with a recipe or two from several ethnic cuisines that I think are pretty good. As long as I don't eat them side by side with a restaurant version, I enjoy it.

Keep trying. Try different recipes for the same dish until you come up with a good one.
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Old 06-05-2022, 12:36 PM   #3
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+1 on Andy's input. It can take some time, but the process is part of the fun too. Or can be!

Here in the PNW, we don't have a lot of authentic ethnic restaurants. I complained about the local Chinese restaurants and he told me of a visit he and his family made to one. He is from Viet Nam. When they went to a nearby Chinese place, the hostess actually told him, "You don't want to eat here." He told her that they did. She told him no. She said, "This is Chinese food for Americans." But he insisted and was very sorry he did.

Same thing with Mexican places around here. Mexican food for Gringos! You'll find better stuff in the frozen food section of your local grocer!

When we moved here from CA, I had to learn to make those dishes we missed from the big city. It has been fun! I can make Mexican food to rival any restaurant from the big city. And, Chinese, German, Thai (although we do have good Thai restaurants here). Maybe not any/all of their dishes, but the ones that we like and miss, I've learned to make.
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Old 06-05-2022, 02:00 PM   #4
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Where do we draw the line on ethnic cooking? Is Italian ethnic? Is Danish ethnic?

I enjoy learning how other cuisines are cooked and the interesting ingredients. I can't be bothered to try making everything myself, but a lot of it is accessible and tasty and can have an interesting influence on "everyday cooking".
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Old 06-05-2022, 02:21 PM   #5
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We all come from some ethnic background. I have a slovenian, german background, we also have cooks that are polish and italian in the family. My taste buds are happy to have most of those ethnic foods and I also enjoy trying new ethnic specialties. I like chinese and japanese and if the sweet savory peanut sauce is thai, then I like thai too.
If I had to eat no ethnic type flavors, it would be kind of boring to me.


And french fries are not french, french dressing (in the US) is really a type of italian dressing, italian dressing (in the US) isn't really italian, frenched green beans are just a type of cut, .........and the list goes on.
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Old 06-05-2022, 02:42 PM   #6
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I think the primary point her is that we cook because we enjoy cooking. We can all go to a restaurant and get a good meal but making a dish at home feeds you and gives you a sense of satisfaction that you've accomplished something good.
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Old 06-05-2022, 03:13 PM   #7
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I think it depends on where you live, the ingredients you have access to, what your friends eat, the quality of local restaurants, recipes, and your own motivation to cook the best food you're able.

And as was said above, where do you draw the line? I cook what I like to eat, and it's usually what you'd call 'ethnic'.
Luckily, I live on the West Coast in Vancouver, BC, where we have arguably the best Asian & southeast Asian (inc. Indian) restaurants anywhere. Mexican, though, not so much.

If no one cooked 'ethnic' food, the Italians wouldn't have picked up the idea of noodles from China, Britain wouldn't have curries, Americans wouldn't have Chop Suey! (it's very difficult to find US-style Chinese food around here in Vancouver, by the way).



As you can tell, I'm a big fan of cooking and eating a diverse range of cuisines, even though I can get pretty much anything at any restaurant round here.



Stir fries -- my new range has 3700 BTU, and The Wok by Kenji Lopez-Alt details how to get excellent stir fries from even a regular range (though a separate burner helps a lot). It's all about the wok, technique, ingredients.
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:13 PM   #8
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Trace the history of ethnic cooking - all cuisine is fusion cooking.

The majority of global ethnic cooking use ingredients not indigenous to the region.

Italians had pasta before Marco Polo's return from China. They learned pasta making from the North Africans.

USA cuisine is influenced by the historical African slave trade.

Louisiana cuisine is influenced by Louisiana Creole cuisine.

Italian cuisine is a misused term. In Italy there is only regional cuisine. Travel 10 kilometres to the next town, the cuisine is entirely different taste and style of cooking. The mass migration after WW2 resulted in the styles of cooking being adapted to the settled region.

Asians use ingredients originally from Africa and South American.

Asian restaurant cuisine is adapted for the Westerner taste buds.

Italian restaurant regional cuisine is adapted for the non-Italian taste buds. The same for other ethnic restaurant cuisine.

The common denominator in all regional cuisine is the use of condiments blended to suit the regional tastebuds. Master the art of regional condiments, you master regional cuisine.

The internet contains thousands of "Ethnic" recipes. The majority are just someone's opinions. To find authentic "Ethnic" recipes you need pre-1900's cook books. Unfortunately the vegetable ingredients used are heritage varieties no longer in commercial production. Using modern vegetable ingredients in heritage recipes will result in failure as the heritage varieties were relied on to produce the taste.
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:26 PM   #9
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There are a relative few recipes that we can say have been seen and tracked from the first.

Most regional recipes develop over centuries in thousands of households in a region. Every home cook made their own version of a recipe. You cannot legitimately point to a single recipe for goulash (gulyas) or Boeuf Bourguignon as the only authentic version.

On the other hand, some foods like cabbage rolls and dumplings seem to pop up everywhere.
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:35 PM   #10
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Muoi Khuntilanont Thai Food Recipes

Download, bottom of the page: Zipped files of the Colonel's Posts- Thanks to George Nelson and the ChileHead Lists
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:50 PM   #11
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When I go to a restaurant , whether it be Indian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, I use that as my standard as far as what I expect the cuisine to taste like. I've eaten at many restaurants , and aside from some regional differences, Indian food here in NY taste similar to that in Cleveland, Montana, Virginia ... I have not really travelled abroad, so I cant compare to the actual region of origin. So, when I cook Ethnic food, I use these restaurants (and their dishes ) as an example / goal of what Im tying to create.

With all that said, I often have trouble duplicating a particular taste, probably for multiple reasons ( some mentioned in previous posts).

I cant get my wok up to the temps the restaurants can, so just the physics alone prevent me from cooking things the same way.

I may use the same ingredients on paper, but even different brands of certain ingredients can change the final outcome of aa dish.

Many times, a recipe is written down for the sake of having int written down, but a lot is based on tasting as you go along, since, for example, some tomatoes are sweeter, some more acidic, some juicier ... So just cause you're using the same ingredient as written, it likely has subtle differences , that the person of origin can modify as cooking , compared to the person just following a recipe cant.

In my situation, Im trying to make a healthier version, so I may reduce the amount of oil, salt ... where a restaurant (in many cases) is more concerned that it tastes great, rather than if it could clog your arteries or spike your blood pressure.

When I cook an Indian dish, you definitely know its Indian by the herbs, spices and flavor profile, but in most cases , tastes like its missing something , that would push it up to the next level ( restaurant quality). Same goes with Chinese and other cuisines.

Not that it tastes bad, just can't duplicate it.

I love to cook and experiment , so I will never stop cooking ethnic dishes, cuisines... I find it challenging ( in a good way). Allows me to find and experience new ingredients. And even culturally, its like traveling around the world without leaving the kitchen.
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
some tomatoes are sweeter, some more acidic, some juicier ...
If using canned tomatoes, add one teaspoon of sugar to the tomatoes. It will neutralise the acid.
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:13 PM   #13
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https://www.cafdserg.gq/ProductDetai...86223&pr=67.88

Asians cook outside when using a gas bottle wok burner. The heat and flames are too dangerous to cook inside a home.
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Old 06-12-2022, 01:33 PM   #14
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One thing I have seen is that what we see on media as ethnic cooking is a much exaggerated version of the actual cooking.
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Old 06-13-2022, 06:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasStax View Post
https://www.cafdserg.gq/ProductDetai...86223&pr=67.88

Asians cook outside when using a gas bottle wok burner. The heat and flames are too dangerous to cook inside a home.
I'm inclined to believe that it is not so much the danger as it is the space/fumes and probably most due to the heat it would create in a small area in what can be an extrememely hot climate.
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Old 06-13-2022, 07:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasStax View Post
If using canned tomatoes, add one teaspoon of sugar to the tomatoes. It will neutralise the acid.

Sugar doesn’t neutralize acid — as in changing its pH — but it makes the acid less perceptible to the palate.
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Old 06-13-2022, 08:46 AM   #17
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I am a fan of "ethnic cooking." I have always made Italian dishes, French (is that ethnic?) dishes, and since moving to Texas, Mexican dishes. I had a foray into Tex-Mex and found it a bit off-putting, but true Mexican cuisine is very good.
Georgevan, we don't have the option of going to an ethnic restaurant here. I envy you! My dishes may not be strictly according to ethnic rules, but I haven't heard any complaints yet.
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Old 06-13-2022, 08:55 AM   #18
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It’s interesting that some of the world’s foremost authorities on particular “ethnic” cuisines are themselves not of that ethnicity.

David Thompson is Australian but probably the world’s leading authority on Thai food.

Rick Bayless is American and Diana Kennedy is English but they are experts in Mexican Cuisine.

Fuschia Dunlop is also English but is a leading authority on the regional cuisines of China.

Americans Julia Child did French and Penelope Cassas did Spanish.
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Old 06-13-2022, 09:51 AM   #19
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For those of us (meaning mostly me, I guess) who cook dishes other than what we grew up with, it could be called ethnic cooking.
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Old 06-13-2022, 12:27 PM   #20
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If you prefer savory, rather than realy sweet tomato preperations, a pinh of baking soda wiĺl neutralise the acid. The acid also removes the strong alkyli taste of the baking soda, giving you a well ballanced flavor.

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