Sometimes all it takes is one ingredient to elevate an otherwise ordinary dish. That ingredient could stand alone or be part of a whole–like Herbs de Provence to roasted poultry or green mango to a West Indian fish curry. When you’re eating it, you just know. I’ve discovered that everlasting ingredient for possibly every Asian dish I plan to make from now on. Black Bean Chili Paste. It’s so freaking good I could spread it on toast and eat it for breakfast! This is Chinese Stir-fry Noodles enhanced with the best chili bean paste I’ve ever had.
I know your secret. You don’t really use any of the measurements that I post. You memorize the ingredients and just start throwing whatever you want, whenever you want into the pan. Personally, that’s my favorite way to cook. A cooks best measuring tool is their eyes! As Rachael Ray says, “just eyeball it.” Don’t be afraid to let the other senses intervene also. Don’t like the smell of fish sauce? Who does? You never have to use it again, no matter what the recipe says!
Instead of taking extra time to measure all my ingredients, I decided to do photo comparisons. This way you get a sense of how large or small the quantity should be and then proceed to make your own alterations and substitutions.
Here’s my photo tour of todays ingredients: