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Old 01-18-2014, 07:37 PM   #1
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Buying Asian sauces/spices/ingredients tips ?

I thought that I would ask if there are some tips for Asian ingredient ?
Recently I bought Coconut Milk and when I got home I read it has some Guar Gum in it, so reading a bit I found few pointers to buy Coconut Milk from Arroy-D and others that has only pure coconut milk without any emulsifiers and preservatives.

Now when I get into my Asian supermarket there are hundreds of sauces, oils, ingredients.
I'm curious if you have some tips on what to look out for when buying things like soy, sesame, oyster, etc sauces ?

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Old 01-18-2014, 07:43 PM   #2
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When I buy oriental sauces, marinades, etc., I find that the most important ingredientt for me is sodium content. Many of these are extremely high.

I like to use a teriyake marinade, Veri Veri Teriyaki, but it is so very high in sodium, that I add pineapple juice to thin it down. I like this one, because it tastes exactly as the one I make from scratch, but which is often difficult to recreate exactly.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:39 PM   #3
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You're starting at the wrong end of the process. Find a recipe for a dish that sounds good and buy the ingredients to make it.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:59 AM   #4
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You're starting at the wrong end of the process. Find a recipe for a dish that sounds good and buy the ingredients to make it.
+1. I have several ingredients acquired by doing this.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
You're starting at the wrong end of the process. Find a recipe for a dish that sounds good and buy the ingredients to make it.
But the OP wrote "ingredients".

I find many Chinese recipes have ingredients like oyster sauce, black bean sauce, soy sauce,...

I have no idea what to look for in in oyster sauce. I just look at the list of ingredients and choose the one with no MSG, and no, or the fewest, weird chemicals. There might be other tips.

I used to find coconut milk in cans that was just coconut milk. I noticed that recently lots of brands have started adding guar gum.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:18 AM   #6
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It can get pretty confusing. I don't pay much attention to ingredients. I just limit the use of these pre made sauces and try and make my own. I know recipe dish is going to be too harmful. There are probably a lot worse things we can do.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:27 AM   #7
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I know recipe dish is going to be too harmful.
Say what?
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:41 AM   #8
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Well I have pretty much all the staple sauces for Asian cooking already in my home, I love to try to cook everything, from Italian to Asian, and I'm Polish :)
But the more I need certain ingredients for what I'm cooking the more I find out that given sauce, milk, etc is the wrong variation of it.
That's why I though I would ask, the more someone writes here, the less I have to research each and every ingredient.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:46 AM   #9
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Say what?
Maybe those ingredients I am consuming cause brain farts? I ended up deleting parts of it and didn't proof read before pressing send. I think I meant to say " I don't think a tablespoon of these ingredients in a dish is going to be too harmful"
Your guess is as good as mine
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:50 AM   #10
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This thread gave a lot of good info:

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ves-85635.html
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by toyopl View Post
Well I have pretty much all the staple sauces for Asian cooking already in my home, I love to try to cook everything, from Italian to Asian, and I'm Polish :)
But the more I need certain ingredients for what I'm cooking the more I find out that given sauce, milk, etc is the wrong variation of it.
That's why I though I would ask, the more someone writes here, the less I have to research each and every ingredient.
Perhaps if you could explain what "wrong variation" of a given sauce means to you?

Do you mean too many "unhealthy" ingredients? Or too expensive? Or not the brand name given in a recipe?

If a recipe gives a particular brand name----- then it might mean that's the absolute only brand to use and any other brand would result in a disaster. OR it could mean that the writer of that recipe is paid by the manufacturers of that brand..

Maybe a little more explanation of what you mean would help us help you. We're willing to try.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:00 PM   #12
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I mean unhealthy and also the right kind.
Two examples from yesterday for me were:
-coconut milk, I found out the one I have has emulsifiers like guar gum, learned to buy specific ones for more healthy
-specific fish sauce for specific region, learned reading yesterday about pad see ew, that you use different fish sauces for thai/japanese/chinese etc.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by toyopl View Post
I mean unhealthy and also the right kind.
Two examples from yesterday for me were:
-coconut milk, I found out the one I have has emulsifiers like guar gum, learned to buy specific ones for more healthy
-specific fish sauce for specific region, learned reading yesterday about pad see ew, that you use different fish sauces for thai/japanese/chinese etc.
Concerning fish sauce ...

It's a southeast Asian condiment.

I have never seen Chinese or Japanese varieties.

Thai or Vietnamese, only.

Choose a good brand like 3crabs, squid or healthy boy and you're good to go. Most humans cannot discern a huge difference between the good brands.

And there are no legitimate recipes that require a specific brand of fish sauce.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:32 PM   #14
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I doubt guar gum is less healthy for you than fermented anchovies!

http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/o...anguargums.htm
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:46 PM   #15
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I doubt guar gum is less healthy for you than fermented anchovies!

How to Use Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum in Gluten-Free Recipes
I don't in principal object to guar gum. It is sort of food. I just resent them changing the texture of stuff with it. It is often used instead of a better ingredient, i.e., less real cream in ice cream.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:13 PM   #16
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I don't in principal object to guar gum. It is sort of food. I just resent them changing the texture of stuff with it. It is often used instead of a better ingredient, i.e., less real cream in ice cream.
It's a ground seed - it's food, no different from ground wheat or corn. If you want to avoid it for whatever reasons, go ahead. I was responding to the OP. The point here is that it's not unhealthy.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
But the OP wrote "ingredients".

I find many Chinese recipes have ingredients like oyster sauce, black bean sauce, soy sauce,...

I have no idea what to look for in in oyster sauce. I just look at the list of ingredients and choose the one with no MSG, and no, or the fewest, weird chemicals. There might be other tips.

I used to find coconut milk in cans that was just coconut milk. I noticed that recently lots of brands have started adding guar gum.
I found ONE coconut milk brand in the "whole foods" type store that did not have guar gum. It was called Natures Value.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:22 PM   #18
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My problem with guar gum is it increases the carbohydrate count in foods. I don't need/want artificially increased carbs...
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:50 PM   #19
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I'm curious if you have some tips on what to look out for when buying things like soy, sesame, oyster, etc sauces ?
When I go to an Asian market to buy something I'm unfamiliar with, what I usually look for is someone who works there and knows the products. Then I tell them what I'm making and ask what they recommend. If that's not an option (some mom and pop markets seem to be staffed by kids), I've also been known to strike up a casual conversation with complete strangers who appear to know what they are doing. Sometimes I get blank stares, but most people are very helpful.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:52 PM   #20
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My problem with guar gum is it increases the carbohydrate count in foods. I don't need/want artificially increased carbs...
That's true, and since I don't have a problem with carbs myself, I tend to forget about that. Thanks.
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