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Asian grocery store ingredients that enhance every day non-Asian cooking?

JetLaggedChef | Feb 7, 201509:03 PM

After reading some terrific posts by other CH posters, I've been rummaging through a great local Asian grocery store where nobody speaks English so I'm just experimenting up and down the aisles with things that look interesting.

A few of them have turned out to be revelationary items that I can use to "step-up" other recipes and I'm in love with them.

Here are a few examples:
- friend onions and fried garlic: they're kind of like the "French's fried onions" but smaller and made for seasoning. I can't believe what a huge kick of depth these add to almost anything.
- dark (authentic) soy sauce: It's got a really intense beefy umami flavor and I've been using this for "beefing up" dishes for about a year. I often use 1tbsp per replacement of 1 tsp of salt.
- MSG: I seem to have a reaction to this as it makes my face all red and puffy looking. Tomatoes and strawberries do the same to my mom and grandmother, so I think it's a genetic allergy. Still though, it definitely adds flavor on occasion.
- Wheat egg noodles: They're nice and thin and seem to work really well in any liquid to make a quick "soup". They don't get soggy, yet have more of a "ramen" consistency but a noodle shape. Plus, they're cooked in only 2 minutes.

Also, this week at Costco, I ran across a "Miso Broth" that packaged in a quart sized box like the other chicken or beef broths and I used it to make an incredible "Asian inspired chicken soup".

What are some other things one would find in the Asian grocery store that could also be used for enhancing other non-Asian dishes?

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