Asian cuisine has a long and much-respected place within the history of food in the USA, brought over by immigrants from China, Korea and Japan. Early Asian cuisine came as a result of the massive influx of immigrants to the US in the late 1800s. As these immigrants made the move, they brought their cooking traditions with them. American Chinese cuisine was the result of Chinese restaurant owners adapting traditional Chinese dishes to suit American appetites and tastes, and it quickly became a favorite foodstuff throughout the nation. The sudden availability of new ingredients, such as tomatoes and potatoes, also had an impact on Asian food.
Today dishes such as ramen, rice, chow mein and stir fry have become staples of home cooking as well as restaurant delicacies. To remind you of why Asian cuisine has become so well loved, we’ve listed some of our favorite Asian dishes for you that are not only tasty but easy to make.
1) Fried Rice
Perhaps one of the easiest Asian dishes you can make, fried rice is the bread and butter for much of East Asia, and is one of the most commonly eaten forms of food in that region. Exceedingly easy to make, fried rice is also extremely easy to customize to suit your tastes and preferences. If you want something with a bit of flavor to it, add some pork or hardboiled egg. For something a little spicier, add a little curry powder or some chilli peppers. There’s very little that can’t go with rice, so all you need to do is experiment some.
One great thing about rice is that it is excellent at soaking up sauces and juices. If you use a particularly tangy sauce or accompaniment with your rice, expect them to have a much richer and fuller flavor for you to enjoy.
2) Chow Mein
The second most commonly eaten foodstuff, chow mein is wheat noodles stir-fried with a variety of extra ingredients. Like fried rice, this dish offers much personalization potential, as you can pretty much throw in what you like and let it cook with the noodles. As another similarity to rice, noodles can also soak up the flavours of anything they’ve been served with, although to a much slighter extent.
If you find the noodles a little too dry, try adding some more soy sauce to them.
3) Teriyaki Chicken
You can find teriyaki sauce in almost any supermarket, and that is not at all surprising considering how popular teriyaki chicken is amongst Americans. The name refers to the way in which the chicken has been cooked, though, not the sauce itself. This can be an excellent starter or side dish if served in small portions. However it can also be made as part of a much larger meal. As teriyaki chicken has quite a sweet taste, it is a definite hit amongst kids.
4) Miso Soup
While usually served at the start of the meal in the USA, in Japanese cuisine miso soup is served alongside the meal as a side dish. However you choose to serve it there is a wide range of options available to you when preparing a bowl of miso soup. Miso soup is pretty easy to make too – all you need to do is add some miso stock to hot water and then decide what you want to have in it. As well as the usual fare of green onions, tofu and seaweed, you can have any other variety of ingredients. Potatoes, carrots, bits of chicken, mushroom, seafood, you name it.
5) Saeng Sun Jun (Korean Pan Fried Fish)
This is a generic name for any fish that has been pan fried in flour, although there are specific names depending on which fish was being used during cooking. Cod, for example, is called daegu jun (fried cod). It is very simple and easy to make and requires no more than a few minutes to prep and cook. A decent plate of saeng sun jun can be made up as a side dish or starter to your main meal, or even wrapped and used as lunch box filler or a light snack.
This Asian dish can be done with a wide variety of fish, so feel free to experiment until you have found a fish you particularly enjoy. Also feel free to experiment with different additional ingredients to add to the flour, such as parsley, chopped onions or sage.
Asian food is not something that requires a trip to a restaurant or a call for delivery; it is something you can easily make yourself. That does not mean you always have to cook for yourself of course. If you are just not feeling up for it I highly recommend restaurants like Bento for pan-Asian cuisine. Who knows? You might even find new ideas for a meal at home!
The writer of this article, Christian Mills, is a freelance writer specializing in food related topics, and is always trying out various new recipe ideas at home. If you wish to learn more about Christian you can visit his profile on Google+.