15 Staple Ingredients You Need for Asian Cooking


There is honestly nothing quite like a home cooked Asian meal. Not only does the satisfaction of executing your own meal taste sweet, but the dish itself will be mouthfuls of savory goodness. Plus, creating your own authentic Asian cuisine is not as hard as one might think; all that you truly need are the right basic ingredients. While heading to an Asian specialty market may seem intimidating, you would be surprised at how many asian influenced ingredients you can find at your local grocer. Read below for the 15 staple ingredients every pantry must have to cook a wide variety of delectable dishes with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai influences.

#1 Tamari

Extremely similar to soy sauce, Tamari is an asian influenced alternative to salt when it comes to seasoning fried rice, soups, dipping sauces, and/or dressings. Not to mention, Tamari is naturally gluten free. However, if you can not find Tamari, just pick up a bottle of soy sauce - they are almost identical seasonings.

Rice Vinegar

#2 Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is a great vinegar for creating marinades, dipping sauces or vinaigrettes because it has a very mild and agreeable flavor.

#3 Fish Sauce

Fish sauce can be found in numerous asian influenced dishes and is a practically indispensable staple. It is popularly utilized in asian cooking sauces, dipping sauces, and dressings. Vietnamese and Thai cuisine call for a heavy utilization of fish sauce.

Oyster Sauce

#4 Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce creates that savory and sweet taste you experience in asian influenced vegetable stir frys. Its umami richness is parallel to none. A great vegetarian alternative to oyster sauce can be concocted with mushroom flavorings in place of the oyster extract.

#5 Chili Sauce

Any bottled chili sauce is a perfect way to spice up an asian dish. For a little heat add the ever popular sriracha sauce, or if you are looking for a more herby flavor with kick add chili garlic sauce.

Chili Sauce

#6 Curry Paste

Curry paste will add depth and spice to any dish. Begin with a traditional Thai curry if you have never utilized it before. They are mouthwatering.

#7 Miso Paste

Miso paste is exceptionally versatile and can be used within a variety of classic asian cuisines like miso soup, or on fish and meat marinades. Several non-Japanese dishes also call for miso paste as it can give any recipe that added oomph it may need.

Toasted Sesame Oil

#8 Toasted Sesame Oil

Known best for its characteristic toasty flavouring, Sesame Oil is a great way to finish off marinades, dressing, and dipping sauces.

#9 Coconut Milk

In order to reap that rich and creamy smooth texture that all enjoy within a curry one must all coconut milk. It is also great in marinades and soups.

#10 Limes

Vietnamese and Thai dishes are very well known for their fresh snippet of lime juice. It is key flavouring element in several dishes.

#11 Cilantro

Most people either love or hate cilantro but irregardless it is an essential herb in countless asian dishes. Give cilantro a chance, you never know if an appetizing asian influenced meal may change your outlook on this controversial herb.

#12 Ginger

To be more specific, fresh ginger, is a great root spice to add into Chinese soups, Korean marinades, and Thai dipping sauces. It matters not whether you cut, mince, or grate the fresh ginger as long as it makes it into your lovely asian influenced dish.

Rice Wine

#13 Noodles

While there are several different styles and types of noodle on today's market, it is honestly only necessary to have about two different types of noodle within your kitchen. Try Udon Japanese noodles or Thai Glass noodles - each offer their only specific texture and thickness. Additionally, do not hesitate in switching out egg noodles for rice noodles within a recipe or visa versa as every dish is your creation and should suit your preferences.

#14 Rice

Like noodles, Rice also has a large varied market full of countless grain lengths, types and styles. And again there is no need whatsoever to have every type of rice in your pantry. Just pick a couple of rice styles you prefer and stock up. If you are in need of ideas, try short-grain brown rice or the traditional Thai Jasmine white rice.

#15 Rice Wine

Rice wine, like sake, is great for adding an extra dimension of flavoring to your asian influenced marinades, soups, and sauces. Keep in mind that a little spoonful will go a long way and it truly adds an exceptional flavor to your dish. Rice Wine is another indispensable staple.