Basic Chinese Pantry. Shallots and Soy Sauces

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shallots_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 Shallots (mild-flavoured members of the onion family. They have a distinctive onion taste without being as strong or overpowering as ordinary onions) and Soy Sauces (essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is made from a mixture of soya beans, flour and water which is then naturally fermented and aged for some months).

Shallots

shallots_cShallots are mild-flavoured members of the onion family. They are small -about the size of pickling onions - with copper-red skins and should be peeled before use just like onions. They have a distinctive onion taste without being as strong or overpowering as ordinary onions, and I think they are an excellent substitute for Chinese shallots which can sometimes be bought from Chinese grocers'. Buy shallots at supermarkets and keep them in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator).


Soy Sauces

Soy sauce is an essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is made from a mixture of soya beans, flour and water which is then naturally Soy-Sauces_cfermented and aged for some months. The distilled liquid is soy sauce. New versions containing less salt are now available. There are two main types:

Light soy sauce As the name implies, this is light in соlour, but it is full of flavour and is the best one to use for cooking. It is saltier than dark soy sauce. It is known in Chinese grocers' shops as Superior Soy.

Dark soy sauce This sauce is aged for much longer than light soy sauce, hence its darker, almost black colour. It is slightly thicker and stronger than light soy sauce and is more suitable for stews. I prefer it to light soy as a dipping sauce. It is known in Chinese grocers' shops as Soy Superior Sauce, and although used less frequently it is nevertheless important to have on hand.



Read also:

Basic Chinese Pantry. Black Beans and Chinese White Cabbage

Basic Chinese Pantry. Bean Curd

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Basic Chinese Pantry. Five-spice Powder and Garlic

Basic Chinese Pantry. Cornflour and Curry Paste

Basic Chinese Pantry. Ginger and Mange-tout

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Basic Chinese Pantry. Noodles/Pasta

Basic Chinese Pantry. Oils

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Basic Chinese Pantry. Chinese Rice Wine and Thick Sauces and Pastes

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