5 Asian pantry staples (and when to use them)

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5 Asian pantry staples (and when to use them)

Know your dashi from your bonito? Shrimp paste gathering dust at the back of your cupboard? Here’s what to do with the fishiest ingredients


Fish stock powder by another name, these granules make an instant version of dashi, traditionally made by heating water with fermented skipjack tuna and kombu kelp. Add it to Asian broths to enhance flavour.

Try: Asian ginger and pork broth


Salted anchovy fillets are pulped, simmered with vinegar and water, and the reduced mixture pressed through a sieve to extract the essence. Add it to a classic Caesar dressing.

Try: Classic Caesar salad with prawns


This pungent paste, commonly used in Southeast Asian and southern Chinese cooking (and found in Woolies red Thai curry pastes), is made by fermenting ground shrimp and mixing it with salt. Try it in a classic nasi goreng if your fellow diners are not allergic.

Try: Nasi goreng


These shavings of dried, fermented bonito fish add depth of flavour to Asian broths and sauces. You could also try something totally unexpected and sprinkle it over creamy scrambled eggs.

Try: Asian-style scrambled eggs


The sea’s answer to soya sauce, this dark brown liquid is extracted from fish that have been fermented with salt. It’s a staple in Asian cooking and adds a savoury note to dishes. Mix with soya sauce to make a dressing.

Try: Easy noodle salad with coconut dressing

Discover our range of Asian recipes here

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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