Asian Food The spices of Asia• Spices are strong or sweet-smelling vegetable products. Some of the common spices are pepper, ginger, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and cloves.
• Spices were greatly valued for three purposes: as medicines, for preserving food and to season food to make it tastier.• In India spices are dried thoroughly in the sun and then ground and mixed together. The mixture is called “ garam masala”.
The „hotness‟ in the spiced food called curry is due to the presence of chillies. Hot chillies are important to many Asian dishes. The hottest part of the chilli is the seeds inside, which can be flicked out with the fingers before adding to dishes. Garlic• Garlic is widely used in much of Asian cooking. Garlic has many advantages for people such as giving strength, using in Asian cooking, prevent illness, antiseptic oil and antibiotic.
Two important cereals of Asian Rice Rice is the oldest grain in the world. It is staple food grain of most Asians; that is, it is the most important item in the daily food of most Asians.
Types of rice Asians can tell the difference between the various types of rice through its texture, color, fragrance and flavor. The types of rice more commonly used by Asians:• Unpolished rice: has high food value and is cheaper than other varieties. It is not popularly consumed.
• Polished rice: the rice grains are milled and polished.
• Parboiled rice: rice with the husk is soaked in cold water and then steamed.
• Glutinous rice: the grains of rice are whiter and more rounded than ordinary rice. It is mainly used in Asia in local cakes and savouries.
Use of rice Used as:• A main dish of meal (fried rice, milk rice…)• Flour, made into noodles.• Cakes, sweets and desserts.
Wheat• Wheat is the world’s most important grain crop.
Uses of wheat• Noodles (most Asians eat wheat in the form of noodles).• Breads (some Asians eat wheat in form of breads).• Semolina: this is made from the endosperm part of the grain. It is mainly used to make sweets and puddings. Main types of Asian cooking• China, Japan, and Korea• India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka• Southeast Asia
China, Japan and Korea China• All ingredients are cut into shapes and sizes convenient for picking up with chopsticks. Chinese meal should appeal to many senses. It should be pleasing to the nose, the tongue and eyes and should create a balance between texture, taste and smell.
Japan• The main feature is the freshness of raw materials use. Japanese cooking uses seafoods, such as fish, shellfish, and seaweeds, as well as vegetables and the protein-rice bean curd. Japanese often serve raw fish with different types of sauces.
Korea• Food is highly seasoned with chillies, sesame seeds and sesame oil as well as garlic. Much use is made of a fermented vegetable pickle called Kim Chee. Koreans eat more meat than Japanese and Chinese. Although plain rice is served, rice is often cooked with other foods, such as potatoes, bean sprouts, mushrooms.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the lands of the curry. A curry is a stew to which a mixture of spices is added. India The further southwards one travels in India the greater is the use of spices. Indian cooking is also affected by various taboos associated with religion or caste. Hindus generally do not eat beef, Muslims do not eat pork, and high caste Hindus are strict vegetables, not eating fish or eggs. People of the Jain religion who are strict vegetables do not eat root vegetables.
Sri Lanka Sri Lankan food has been influenced by south Indian, Dutch, Malay, Portuguese and English cooking. Curries are distinguished and described by their seasonings (white curries use coconut milk, red curries use many pounded chillies…).
Pakistan Pakistani food is basically the same as Indian food but it has been influenced by the Muslim culture of the Middle East and Central Asia. Pakistanis are also great meat eaters, consuming nearly all kinds of meat except pork.
Southeast Asia Southeast-Asian cooking has been influenced by the great civilizations of India and China as well. The coconut The coconut tree is useful tree for the people of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia Both Malaysia and Indonesia enjoy Malay food whilst Singapore, with its predominantly Chinese population, enjoys all the varieties of the regional foods of China. Some main features: Malay and Indonesian food is influenced by the Islamic culture, which forbids the use of pork. Goat meat is greatly valued. Satay, which consists of tiny cubes of marinated meat or seafood, roasted over charcoal and eaten with a peanut sauce and rice squares, is popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. In Indonesia, rijsttafel is popularly served for a party.
The Philippines The food of the Philipines is a mixture of East and West combining ideas from China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and Spain. Filipino food consists of rice and several dishes, which are served together. Food is distinguished by its sour and salty taste, the use of garlic and onions. Filipino dish is Adaho. Another popular dish is the Lumpia.
Cambodia Cambodian dish is not as spicy. Curries, stir tried vegetable, rice, noodles and soups are staples of the Khmer diet. Cambodia is well known in the region for its Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes. Rice is the principal staple in Cambodia. Cambodians favor glutinous rice eaten with seafoods, stewed buffalo meat and several vegetables, as well as soup.
Thailand Thai food is characterized by a variety of dishes that the Thais call kaeng. Kaeng means liquid and efers to any food served in a liquid form. Thais have been influenced by Indian culture. Coconut milk is used in most Thai food.
Vietnam and Laos The food of these countries is influenced mainly by the Chinese and Indian. Fish sauce, garlic and fresh coriander leaves are the flavoring ingredients used in Vietnam. Laotians favor glutinous rice eaten with seafoods, stewed buffalo meat and several vegetables, as well as soup. Laotians do not eat plain white rice and curries. The most distinctive Laotian food is the breakfast dish, which consists of noodles, pork, and garlic and is sometimes flavored by a Laotian leaf, marijuana.
Asian fruits No Asian meal is complete without some kind of fruit being offered. There is a tremendous variety of Asian fruits. Some common Asian customs associated with eating The three countries we will look at are China, India and Malaysia.
China Table setting The table is usually round although other shape tables are used. Table manners The head of family usually picks up his chopsticks and raises them to signify the start of a meal. And then, everybody uses his/her chopsticks to help their eating.
India Table setting Indians sit on the floor in rows, either eating off banana leaves or a special round plate called a Thali. In towns and in restaurants, food is usually served at a table, the shape of which is not important. Table manners The traditional Indian style of eating is with the fingers. Food is always eaten with the right hand and fingers are used to mix the various curries with the rice. At the end of the meal, the hands are washed either from a bowl of water or at a tap.
Malaysia Table setting In rural areas, food and drinks may be served while people sit on mats on the floor. Modern Malays may set the food on tables with porcelain plates for rice and other dishes, and forks and spoons to eat it with. Table manners In traditional home, men and women do not set together for meal. The women serve the men first but nowadays, men and women sit together for meals. However, women are sitting on the left side of the men. Malays also eat with the fingers of their right hands. At the end of the meal, hands are washed and fingers are never licked.
Conclusion This is a very brief survey of Asian food customs. It is not possible to look into every aspect of such a vast and diverse area. Also Asia is changing all the time and many of her traditions are being replaced by modern, Western customs.Thanks for your attention!