Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's Almost Like Having an Asian Market

I have a habit of whining about the lack of ethnic food here in northern Ontario, but things just got a little better. For those of you who live in the Bay, TW Foods on Main Street has a respectable Asian food section. They must have expanded it recently because I remember going in there last year and not being too impressed. I thought I would share my finds with you all. Let's go right to left.

Kasoori Methi
Also known as sun dried fenugreek leaves. I could smell their pungent odour right through the packaging and found the claim that they were "hygienic, flavourful, and tasty" to be rather hilarious. I sprinkled some over some dal to boost the dish's flavour. Amazing.

Vegetable Ghee
I thought this was worth a try, but basically it is corn oil. It didn't add much to the dish I made, but the can did assure me it was fine to use for religious observances.

Sweet Soy Bean Paste

Less sweet that hoisin sauce and with a more complex flavour than soy sauce. A great way to thicken a stir fry sauce while adding some flavour.

Tamarind Concentrate

This takes all the work out of soaking dried tamarind (which you can see in the very front, left). Throw some into a Thai dish for a nice tangy flavour.

AROY-D Curry Pastes

These are actually pretty good for pre-fab pastes. I bought red, green and yellow and am happy with all three. The bonus is that they do not have and fish sauce in them. Besides chiles, they are made with galangal, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime peel, and lemongrass.

Black Glutinous Rice
I have yet to use this, but I do have a recipe for Thai rice pudding that I think would be easy to veganize.

Annatto Seeds
These are used in Caribbean dishes, I believe. I remember seeing them in a recipe somehwere, so I bought them on a whim.

35 comments:

Kate said...

I have so much to learn from you!

sam said...

That annatto begs to be put into an Arroz con Pollo, and with your mastery if mock-chicken, I hope you decide to publish a recipe for it.

Admittedly, I haven't looked to far or wide, but I've not seen a veggie recipe for this, and have not really gotten great success trying on my own

Anonymous said...

I am another big fan of Asian food, especially Thai food, so I often buy products that lay in the pantry for ages and which Ieventually throw away, because i don't know how to use them.
I happen to have recently bought on a whim black glutinous rice and tamarind and I am looking forward to seeing some good recipes from you to use them!THANKS Valentina

veganefcliz said...

You will find the annatto seeds invaluable when Terry's Vegan Latina comes out. A kind fellow tester sent me some. The annatto infused oil is a revelation.

Carla said...

I have the same rice, which I use for sticky rice with mango dessert - it is honestly, dessert in a bowl! yum! Basic recipe is: To a can of full fat coconut milk you add some sugar and a bit of salt, let rest. you cook the rice with water, then baout 15 minutes before it is done, you add the coconut milk, let it finish cooking and absorb the coconut milk. Let it cool to warm. Serve topped with slices of ripe mango (ataulfo mango is best for this I htink, these are the small longish yellow/orange ones), and raspberries and mint leaves if you have them.
There is a good recipe for this in Get It Ripe by Jae Steele.

Gwen said...

Let us know what you think about the ghee. I did not even know there was an alternative to the regular stuff!

Hannah said...

Mmm, black rice is delicious and beautiful! I had it made with (I think) coconut milk. So good.

Bliss Doubt said...

Hi there. Annato is also used in Mexican food. Another name for it is achiote, and it comes from a plant called the lipstick tree. You dissolve little pinches of it in oil over low heat, and then add rice or pasta with water and cook as usual. It gives a mildly nutty flavor and beautiful color to spanish rice or paella, and is used in Pibil sauce. It's used to give cheddar cheese that deep yellow color in industrial cheese making. See the vegan lunchbox blogspot, where she uses it to make vegan goldfish crackers gold.

lucifuge said...

Annatto seeds can be used as a natural food colouring. Pound 'em up and get a blood red hue-- yeah!

Anonymous said...

Thai mango sticky rice is really good with black rice. I have read (and want to try) mango sticky rice with durian. However, I would imagine that this would not have nearly as wide of an appeal on top of being harder to acquire.

Gloria said...

Black Glutinous Rice with coconut milk and mango on the side is totally awesome and naturally vegan. Plus homemade raw coconut ice-cream is just over the top

Audrey said...

Everyday Dish Tv has a Peurto Rican Soup Recipe which uses the Annatto eeds. Also I have a vegan Thai Rice Pudding recipe uses taro, if you email me at this name yahoo.com

Heather J. Chin said...

Cheers on the new selection!
Re. Thai rice pudding, Jennifer McCann over at Vegan Lunch Box used this recipe, along with a little bowl of coconut milk on the side for topping, and just left out the eggs, which apparently worked fine.

http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaidesserts/r/Thairicepudding.htm

Marianne S said...

I sometimes cook black glutinous rice with a little coconut milk. put it in sushi moulds, and put banana, papaya etc on top. fruit sushi <3

ennoncha said...

I have the opposite problem, I used to live in northern ontario and complain about the lack of good asian food. Now, I live in Korea and complain about the lack of good Western food, hahaha.

Sophia.Pflieger said...

I am lucky enough to have 2 Asian market/grocery stores available to me here in Kingston. I love the cheap Agar-Agar, and most of the Thai pastes are so versatile in whipping up up some quick Asian food!
I have never heard of Annato seeds before.
Sophia,
http://whatyourmommadidntknow.blogspot.com/

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Anonymous said...

So far I've only used the annatto as coloring in homemade soap, but I know it's used a lot in Latin and Filipino cuisine.

I make an easy and delicious Malaysian Bubur Pulot Hitam (Sticky Black Rice Pudding) with coconut milk. They probably do something similar in Thai cuisine. I was excited when I found the rice in Chinatown here.

Nice finds!

Aloha,
Alina

Find award-winning vegetarian and vegan recipes on my blog:
http://almostveganinparadise.wordpress.com

Ace K. Tankskank said...

I use ground annatto in my mac 'n' "cheese" for the yellow color.

Gwen said...

And congrats on being voted one ofthe top 10 vegan blogs! I agree! :) http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-22107-Louisville-Vegan-Examiner~y2009m9d6-Top-10-Vegan-Blogs

Karyn said...

Yes! I make the infused oil all the time and it gives such wonderful flavor to my "arroz no pollo"..and so many other foods. Its a great color, too. I think you'll love the annatto seeds.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of the green curry paste you bought. It's a 1/4 of the price of the other vegan one we can get and you need lot less to make a good spicy curry!

Eco Mama said...

Great post! Love those curry pastes, especially the red.

Anonymous said...

What is the fat and sodium content of the Aroy-D pastes? I'm sure I would love them, but I'm not sure I'd love their nutritional value.

Vegan Dad said...

Anon,
0.5g fat and 690mg sodium per tbsp.

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

wow - I just posted about my own tamarind experience....I see that perhaps I bought the dried, not the paste/concentrate? It took forever to dissolve in my sauce (or didn't really). It came in a big block, which I also got at my local "international market" (aka - awesome food store find). have fun!

kmouse said...

That's great that you found all that stuff! I can imagine how frustrating it is not to have ethnic shops nearby. You can always buy stuff online too.

By the way "Aroy D" in Thai means "very good!"

The Voracious Vegan said...

YUM! My mind is spinning with all the possibilities, you have the potential for dozens and dozens of delicious meals right there! What fabulous finds.

Lorena said...

Annatto seeds can also be used in Filipino cooking; as a former Spanish colony governed via Mexico, you'll find it used in a variety of savory dishes.

Annatto seed-infused water is used in kare-kare, a Filipino oxtail stew with peanut butter. You could probably make it quite easily by substituting pressed tofu for the meat and upping the veggies, which usually include eggplant, bok choy and green beans.

Northern Vegan said...

TW is one of North Bay's best kept secrets. I'm glad you're promoting it because we vegans need it to remain open! They do custom ordering too. I got them to get me holy thai basil chili sauce. Hoorah, TW!

mahadevi said...

Haha, almost all of the packaging I've seen for Indian spices claim that they are "hygienic, flavourful, and tasty", gets me every time.

I am not particularly fond of kasoori methi, but my mother makes kasoori methi parathas that are delicious!

Anonymous said...

Vegan Dad,

I posted my Black Sticky Rice Pudding recipe on my blog, if you want something specific to try. It's really easy and never fails to please.

Aloha,
Alina

http://almostveganinparadise.wordpress.com

Jennidy said...

I just found your blog via someone saying it was their fav on the VegCafe (VegNews) blog.
I saw you bought vegan ghee and it was corn oil...I've used corn oil in cooking (especially seasoned corn oil previously used in deep frying) but I've found coconut oil to be a better substitute. Unfiltered coconut oil, that is, of the sort I bought from the local Asian market. Have you tried it before as a sub for ghee?

Vegan Traveler said...

I recently found your website and am soo impressed. I don't know where to start. Thank you!

Kristi-Jo said...

Are you really from the Bay and went to Queen's? Such a coincidence! I grew up in T.Bay myself and took Engineering at Queen's. And I'm a vegetarian. Anyway, I love your blog. So many great ideas! Keep up the good work :-)