Author Topic: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?  (Read 8432 times)

2ndTimer

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What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« on: September 27, 2014, 12:07:14 PM »
I just mastered good flatbread.  The secret is to buy roti flour at the Indian shop.  Then you just add water and a little oil, knead a bit, roll it out and cook it in a frying pan with no oil.  Mine is not perfectly round yet but you can't have everything.

What ethnic foods have you managed to make well enough so that you no longer have to go out for them and what secrets can you share? 

Abe

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2014, 01:02:31 PM »
I learned how to hard-boil eggs. Turns out you heat them up as the water starts boiling, and only have to have it boiled for a minute. This will still kill bacteria without over-cooking it. Now to buy chickens to provide me eggs...

GardenFun

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2014, 02:17:43 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

highcountry

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2014, 02:29:34 PM »
The cook book 660 curries is amazing for Indian food. It goes into how to do the spices in depth. Every recipe we have done from that book has come out restaurant quality.

Gerard

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 02:42:54 PM »
Thai-style chicken soups. Turns out recipes that say "makrut leaves (optional)" are over-stating the "optional" part.

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Beric01

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 08:44:20 PM »
Japanese curry rice. So easy to make and oh SO good!

Doesn't mean I won't go to an authentic place if I'm in Japan again though. Katsu curry is not so easy.

gomike

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 10:30:58 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

The secret is to use mushroom soy sauce.  That adds flavor without all the saltiness of regular soy sauce.  Good Luck!

mxt0133

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 10:34:25 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

You need to put some onions and garlic.  Also you have to make them in small batches and high heat, this gives you the smokey flavor.

Beric01

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 10:37:17 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

You need to put some onions and garlic.  Also you have to make them in small batches and high heat, this gives you the smokey flavor.

And this is why it's really hard to make good fried rice at home. All of my Asian co-workers (Korean, Japanese/Malaysian/Vietnamese) who do cook at home say making good fried rice is a LOT of work, and it's just not worth it - best to get it in a restaurant.

GardenFun

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 07:16:03 AM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

The secret is to use mushroom soy sauce.  That adds flavor without all the saltiness of regular soy sauce.  Good Luck!

I will try that.  Thanks for the info!

GardenFun

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2014, 07:16:57 AM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

You need to put some onions and garlic.  Also you have to make them in small batches and high heat, this gives you the smokey flavor.

Makes sense.  I currently add both but my batch size may be too big.  I will try that too next time.  Thanks!

tracylayton

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2014, 07:33:58 AM »
Just made spinach enchiladas with sour cream and green chile sauce...easy and a huge success.

SnackDog

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2014, 07:53:33 AM »
What do you mean by ethnic?

2ndTimer

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2014, 08:32:21 AM »
What do you mean by ethnic?

Anything that you didn't grow up making.  I grew up using yeast or baking powder in my breads so non yeast breads like scones, pita and tortillas are ethnic for me.  Scones properly made with baking soda still frustrate me.  If I put enough soda in to make them rise  they taste bitter.  So I cheat with baking powder.

swick

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2014, 11:37:45 AM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

The secret is to use mushroom soy sauce.  That adds flavor without all the saltiness of regular soy sauce.  Good Luck!

I will try that.  Thanks for the info!

I have no idea if it is authentic, but I have come up with a fried rice dish that we love, makes a ton and we eat at least once a week.
I make a pot of Basmati rice in the morning and leave it to cool (with the lid on but a paper towel in between to absorb any moisture.

When it is time to make the rice: Make sure you have everything ready to go, it happens quick

Stiryfry some chopped garlic in a wok with a generous glug of oil Until just starting to change color. I usually use 4-5 cloves

Add egg mixture - I usually add a few eggs beaten with a  splash of soy sauce, sesame oil, Sauce (oyster, mushroom, hoison whatever you like) and whatever you like for heat, Sriracha, Sambal, hot sauce.  Stirfry this until it is mostly set and starting to separate into it's little clumps of egg.

Add rice - As much as you can fit comfortable in the wok and still stir it easily.

Add in flavor - I use a bit of chopped meat - beef, chicken, whatever happens to be left over and some frozen peas right out of the freezer and some chopped green onion.

Mix and heat through and serve with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Once the rice is made, or you have left over rice, it comes together in all of about 10 minutes.

bwall

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2014, 12:00:39 PM »
The cook book 660 curries is amazing for Indian food. It goes into how to do the spices in depth. Every recipe we have done from that book has come out restaurant quality.

+1

I bought this book over two years ago and we still use it almost daily. We've tried over 250 curries already and as the OP mentions, every recipe is restaurant quality. Now I don't enjoy Indian restaurants as I think that I can make it cheaper and better at home. I'd encourage everyone to buy this book and use it. You will not be disappointed!

http://www.amazon.com/660-Curries-Raghavan-Iyer/dp/0761137874/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411926298&sr=8-1&keywords=660+curries+iyer

Full disclosure: No relation

Edge of Reason

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2014, 01:56:40 PM »
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls.  These were ridiculously easy, super tasty and so much cheaper than a restaurant order. 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vietnamese-fresh-spring-rolls/

Lately I've used cooking to keep my kids hands occupied and their mouths and ears engaged in family conversations (otherwise they are mute and glued to the "clickerbox" or their ipods).  Now they have a much more "worldly" appetite than I would have had at their age and we are all learning skills that will be useful throughout their lives. 

What I find that works is challenging them to find a restaurant copy cat recipe and we've been pleasantly surprised by our outcomes.   Allrecipies.com and Pinterest are goldmines.  Next up....Chipolte's Burritos! 

deborah

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2014, 03:09:44 PM »
dim sim type things.

sheepstache

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2014, 03:34:14 PM »
I certainly haven't mastered it, but curry has been an achievement for me as well. (You could argue that our modern idea of curry was invented by the British and therefore within my ethnic group, but certainly very different from the food I grew up with which it looks like is what you meant.)

This is the recipe that finally worked for me:
http://norecipes.com/green-bean-curry-recipe/
I've been able to play with it by switching out green beans for whatever vegetable is plentiful and cheap.

I can also do butter chicken, but I'm not sure combining chicken with gobs of butter and cream in a way that tastes good is really an achievement. It's sort of like putting a candy bar on top of a cupcake.

I figured out how to make sushi rolls.  It's fun but kind of labor intensive and you don't get efficiency from batch cooking, and since I stick to veggies and smoked salmon rather than trying to process raw fish myself, there's still plenty of reason to go to a restaurant, so I don't make it much.

Also I managed to make beans that a cajun person told me were 'passable,' so that felt like an achievement too. While we're calling Southern an ethnicity: I can also make good collard greens using this: http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2010/03/collard_greens.html


I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.

I've never made fried rice but is it possible they use sesame oil? That's the key thing I discovered in making stir-fry and ramen taste like how restaurants do it.

Come to think of it, stir-fry and ramen could also be called ethnic foods I've conquered recently. In addition to the sesame oil, the trick to stir fry was using a mandolin. Ramen was quite easy once I realized what the dish actually looks like in a restaurant and watched a couple youtube videos on it.

2ndTimer

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2014, 04:38:43 PM »
dim sim type things.

If you can cite any good recipes for these, I would be very interested

CommonCents

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2014, 05:29:32 PM »
Well, I've eaten pizza my entire life and in the past two years made my own pizza with Trader Joe's dough, but tonight I made my own pizza dough for the first time.  We moved, TJs is no longer around the corner, and I didn't love the Stop & Shop dough so I took this as an opportunity to try  it myself.  I'm not satisfied with it yet, but DH already thinks it's better than store bought.  :)

Next up to try when I have time: homemade pasta and better stir fries.  Usually I let DH manage the wok, and I think he doesn't turn the heat on high enough / cook in small enough batches.

windypig

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2014, 06:50:58 PM »

stripey

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2014, 09:17:29 PM »
What do you mean by ethnic?

Sorry for derailing the thread slightly but I find semantic differences between the US and Australia quite interesting.

At least in the part of Australia I'm in, calling someone 'an ethnic' is a mild racial slur in these parts and the term 'ethnic' is reserved for more formal usage, e.g. 'ethnic minority'. Other Australians may have different perspectives. (Disclosure: sixth generation Australian of continental European descent).

Tai

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2014, 07:20:42 AM »
I've been using a cookbook that has a lot of south western recipes, some of which use chipotle peppers and I was happy with how well they turned out. I'm still working on Chinese cooking, and I love Indian food but haven't mastered that yet. Quite a few of the traditional foods are less expensive to make.

Stripey that's strange how "ethnic" is a racial slur in Australia. I'm in Canada and I don't believe that it has that connotation here. Everyone has an ethnicity, it's your culture of origin. Since I would think of many European national cuisines as ethnic food I don't see how it correlates to the idea of race. I might even think of your old family recipes as ethnic cuisine.

2ndTimer

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2014, 09:16:52 AM »
I've been using a cookbook that has a lot of south western recipes, some of which use chipotle peppers and I was happy with how well they turned out. I'm still working on Chinese cooking, and I love Indian food but haven't mastered that yet. Quite a few of the traditional foods are less expensive to make.

Stripey that's strange how "ethnic" is a racial slur in Australia. I'm in Canada and I don't believe that it has that connotation here. Everyone has an ethnicity, it's your culture of origin. Since I would think of many European national cuisines as ethnic food I don't see how it correlates to the idea of race. I might even think of your old family recipes as ethnic cuisine.

I can go you one better on this.  My family is (among other things) mixed Eastern European but we never made pirouskis.  So even MY ancestral food is ethnic to me.  They are definitely on the list.   

rockstache

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2014, 09:27:14 AM »
What do you mean by ethnic?

Sorry for derailing the thread slightly but I find semantic differences between the US and Australia quite interesting.

At least in the part of Australia I'm in, calling someone 'an ethnic' is a mild racial slur in these parts and the term 'ethnic' is reserved for more formal usage, e.g. 'ethnic minority'. Other Australians may have different perspectives. (Disclosure: sixth generation Australian of continental European descent).

I can honestly say that I have never heard someone use the word ethnic as a noun. I imagine that if I did, I would assume it to be an insult also. In my part of the world it is usually an adjective, and not an offensive one (depending on the context).

Heart of Tin

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2014, 09:58:01 AM »
I grew up using yeast or baking powder in my breads so non yeast breads like scones, pita and tortillas are ethnic for me. 

How do you make pita if not with yeast?

I made some lovely Ethiopian food the other day. Miser wat, gomen wat, and kik alicha. However, my injera stuck to the pan something awful.

ketchup

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2014, 10:51:24 AM »
Chicken Tikka Masala. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-tikka-masala/  Holy fantastic.  We've made it twice so far, and probably will be repeating it every few weeks.

$200k

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2014, 11:36:29 AM »
Quote
Chicken Tikka Masala. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-tikka-masala/  Holy fantastic.  We've made it twice so far, and probably will be repeating it every few weeks.

I will need to give this recipe a try.  I completely failed at a masala recipe this weekend that was overly simple, and ended up tasting like nothing but creamy tomato sauce.  Sigh.

WESTOFTHEHUDSON

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2014, 12:47:37 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.


Do you use sesame oil? I just tried Fried rice this week and while it wasn't as good as my NYC takeout, it was comparable. I didn't use teriyaki at all and only a tsp of soy but I sauteed my vegetables in some sesame oil and I think that gave it a nice flavor.

GardenFun

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2014, 01:04:18 PM »
I am sooo looking forward to these answers!  My problem is fried rice.  I put in the soy sauce and tried mixing in some teriyaki sauce, but still don't get the right flavors.  Not sure what sauces are used in restaurants but theirs taste much better.


Do you use sesame oil? I just tried Fried rice this week and while it wasn't as good as my NYC takeout, it was comparable. I didn't use teriyaki at all and only a tsp of soy but I sauteed my vegetables in some sesame oil and I think that gave it a nice flavor.

I have but it doesn't taste right.  It is a sesame oil blend.  Is light or dark sesame oil more authentic?

2ndTimer

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Re: What ethnic food have you conquered recently?
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2014, 06:00:31 PM »
I grew up using yeast or baking powder in my breads so non yeast breads like scones, pita and tortillas are ethnic for me. 

How do you make pita if not with yeast?

I made some lovely Ethiopian food the other day. Miser wat, gomen wat, and kik alicha. However, my injera stuck to the pan something awful.

Good point.