Basic Chinese Pantry. Coconut Milk and Coriander, Chinese Parsley or Cilantro

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Coconut-Milk_2cBy the article "Basic Chinese Pantry. Bean Curd" we began a series of articles about Chinese Pantry. Here is the next text on this topic. It's about such products as Coconut Milk (widely used throughout Asia) and Coriander, Chinese Parsley or Cilantro (one of the relatively few herbs used in Chinese cookery).


Coconut Milk

Widely used throughout Asia, coconut milk is more important than cow's milk in the cooking of the region. It has some of the properties Coconut-Milk_cof cow's milk: the cream rises to the top when it is left to stand; it must be stirred as it comes to the boil; and the fat is chemically closer to butterfat than to vegetable fat. Coconut milk is not the liquid inside the coconut but the liquid 'wrung' from the grated and soaked flesh. It can be bought frozen or in tins. Both are of good quality and perfect for quick and easy cooking.

I recommend the tinned coconut milk which I have found quite acceptable and which certainly involves much less work than preparing your own. Look for the brands from Thailand or Malaysia: you can find these at Asian grocers', usually sold in 14 or 15 fl oz (380 or 400 ml) tins. Be sure to shake the tin well before opening.

Place any left-over coconut milk in a covered glass jar and store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for a week.

Coriander, Chinese parsley or cilantro

cilantro2_c Fresh coriander is one of the relatively few herbs used in Chinese cookery. It is popular throughout southern China. It looks like flat parsley but its pungent, musky, Citrus-like flavour gives it a distinctive character which is unmistakable. The feathery leaves are often used as a garnish; or the herb is chopped and mixed into sauces and stuffings. You can obtain it in many supermarkets now. When buying fresh coriander, look for deep green, fresh-looking leaves. Yellow and limp leaves indicate age and should be avoided. To store coriander, wash it in cold water, drain it thoroughly or spin dry in a salad spinner and put it in a clean plastic bag with a couple of sheets of moist kitchen paper. It works wonderfully. Stored in the salad compartment of your refrigerator, it will keep for several days.



Read also:

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