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69

The effect will be different for a few reasons. When you add spices to hot oil, they cook at a considerably higher temperature (up to around 200°C) than in a simmering sauce (100°C as it's likely to be mostly water). Important cooking chemistry happens at this higher temperature, so the flavour is actually changed (just as with onions and garlic). ...


44

At least in germany "cooking wine" is more a reference to a cheap wine that just does not taste good if drunken (or is of a low percieved quality). For example a cheap lambrusco, which you get if you order a few pizzas at your local pizzaria, is considered "cooking wine" in germany.


42

For me it isn't fried rice without toasted sesame oil, and the fried rice I have had in restaurants always tastes to me as if it contains toasted sesame oil. Peas are pretty required too. BTW, La Choy is synthetic soy sauce, it was at the very bottom of the America's Test Kitchen taste testing of soy sauce (sorry, paywalled), the only soy sauce to get a "not ...


40

Cooking wine has added salt so it is unpalatable to drink and legal to be sold in a store that doesn't have a liquor license in states requiring that.


31

As my answer is quite long, it was suggested to add a summary up front. Here are the main points along with a little more info. In the US, commercial cooking wines found in the grocery store, usually on the aisle with vinegar products, contain salt and other preservatives. The main reason for this is stability, giving the products a longer shelf life after ...


31

Thickening agents To thicken, you would mix in an agent designed to do so. There are many options, but here are some that are directly applicable to Asian cooking: Corn starch - Works well in small quantities, though I find it has a tendency to turn sauces into jello in the fridge. If you have too much liquid in your sauce and use a relatively large amount ...


30

Yes, with any kind of 'stewing' sauce, the flavour improves the longer you cook it (provided it's a slow, gentle process). The longer you leave it, the more chance the flavours have to 'marry'. I have a recipe for a pasta sauce that calls for 6 hours of slow simmering! You may also have noticed in the past that left over pasta sauce that you eat the next ...


30

What we perceive as "flavor" often comes from a lot of aromatic and volatile components that we smell. We smell them because they are volatile, which means that they tend to evaporate off food (if they are small molecules) or tend to be carried off of food (for larger molecules). Aside from the basic sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami notes, the rest of ...


29

Red pizza sauce is often (but not always) two things: Thicker. Thinner sauce will tend to run in the oven and also steam the pizza crust as it cooks - if loaded with toppings, otherwise thin is fine. Depending on the crust, the heat of the oven, the toppings above sauce, and how watery it is, this may not be needed. If you've just got some crushed ...


28

You're right that the smaller pieces of cheese will melt faster than a whole block when added to a sauce. The main advantage to shredding or grating cheese is that you create smaller pieces of uniform size, and often smaller than can be achieved just by crumbling (at least when working with harder cheeses). The smaller the pieces the faster they melt, and ...


28

'Expiration' dates on anything that's not baby formula aren't. They're 'best used by' or 'sell by', but many restaurants will get rid of it for liability issues. Although it should be good for many months past that date, it'd be better stored refrigerated, and I suspect most people don't have the fridge space for that sort of thing. What I'd recommend is ...


25

How about using orange zest instead of the juice? That way you'll get a lot of the aroma and flavor we think of as "orange" without really changing the sweetness or acidity.


24

Yogurt is a mesh of denatured milk protein that traps the whey. When yogurt is over-heated those proteins tighten and squeeze out the extra whey. When the protein matrix is cut it will also leak whey. To combat this add a little starch. A little cornstarch mixed into the yogurt will prevent the yogurt proteins from over-coagulating. All heated yogurt ...


24

Many such sauces include a thickening starch, like corn starch. This can either be mixed with some of the cold liquid and stirred into the hot, or used to coat ingredients prior to adding liquid (with slightly different results). In a crock pot you can do this at the beginning, or when everything is cooked, a few minutes before serving. Some starches (e.g. ...


22

First, the alcohol doesn't burn off. We had a table about the percentage of alcohol left after a period of cooking, and especially in something cooked as short as a pasta sauce, there is a substantial amount left. For the longer discussion, see Cooking away alcohol. Second, alcohol is a great solvent. It can leach aromatics from spices and herbs which ...


21

A few things can cause tomato sauces to become bitter: Overcooked spices. Both basil and oregano can become bitter with long simmers. Add them near the end of the process. Under-ripe tomatos. Store bought tomatoes are often picked green and ripened in the store. These tomatoes make less sweet sauces (which may be contributing). Cooking in an aluminium ...


20

The whole thing should've been done with the lid off. Any time you're reducing a sauce, you want the steam (moisture) to escape. As for 'how thick', the standard test is 'coats the back of a spoon'. If you stir with a spoon, you should be able to lift the spoon out vertically, and the sauce doesn't immediately drip off of it. This test also lets you ...


20

There's a great deal of variation in the quality of the pre-made stocks you get from different sources, so there's no clear-cut answer. Here's the types you might find: Stock cubes: these are dehydrated stock, or sometimes just chemicals meant to taste like it. It's the lowest quality option. There's a lot of variation here, I've found some brands (knorr ...


19

I believe the primary reason is that the pasta water is already hot. When you need to thin your sauce on short notice, you add hot pasta water and it will not cool down your sauce. Secondary benefits are: The pasta water has nice salinity, so you're not diluting the salinity level of the sauce. This assumes you salted your pasta water. You did, right? There ...


18

This is a complex question, because there are several different ways to categorize soy sauces: COUNTRY OF ORIGIN (Chinese and Japanese are the ones most commonly contrasted --but as you saw in Wikipedia, there are many more), COLOR (light, dark, white), VISCOSITY (thin, thick, jam), and MANUFACTURING PROCESS (This has the most name variation, but there ...


18

Marinara is a style / kind of a sauce that originated in Napoli usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. A spaghetti sauce only says where to sauce is used (obviously on spaghetti) but doesn't say anything about what the sauce is exactly like. There are many dishes which are basically spaghetti + sauce: Spaghetti alla marinara – which ...


18

If you add all the liquids and a big solid lump of peanut butter, you'll have a tough time getting it all smooth, as stirring the (thin) liquid parts won't affect the (solid) peanut butter lumps, and the lumps (once they're small enough) will just swim around your spoon and not break down further. You need to gradually dilute the peanut butter with the ...


18

It would not caramelize for sure, as caramelization occurs between 110 and 180 degrees celsius depending on the particular sugar - well over the boiling point of water, which is your maximum sous-vide temperature. However, it would serve a few purposes that might well work. For one, it would allow the slow breakdown of starches into sugars, just as other ...


18

Learning how to season with salt (especially) when cooking is what separates good cooks from those who are not as accomplished. Yes, you should season the chicken, whether or not is has an accompanying sauce. With attention and experience you will learn how to adjust that seasoning depending on the seasoning of other ingredients in the final dish. However,...


17

You are trying to add the yoghurt at too high a temperature. Let the dish cool to around 75 deg C before adding the yoghurt, and make adding the yoghurt the last thing you do before serving.


17

In most cases, curdling occurs because proteins in the sauce are denatured and bind up with each other forming clumps. In cooking, proteins are denatured by excessive heat, acid, salt, or enzymes. Heat and acid are the usual culprits for me. For example, when making a hollandaise sauce- the egg yolks are slowly cooked to allow them to set. In most recipes ...


17

I grew up with a Vietnamese mother that used to put fish sauce in nearly everything. While I can't exactly recommend all of her uses (she once used it in a texas beef chili -- was not good), there are a few techniques that are good to know. A common method to create a savory sauce is to use fish sauce with sugar at a 2:1 ratio. For example, you can make Dau ...


17

As other answers have noted, stirring spices into the nearly-finished dish will give a different taste because frying something in oil is physically and chemically very different from boiling it in water. One possibility would be to use what in Indian cooking is called a tarka (and a hundred other names, too, depending on which part of the Indian ...


16

If you let it sit in the sauce overnight then it's no longer a sauce, it's a marinade. That's fine, but marinating is something you generally do with tough, cheap, and/or dry cuts of meat such as chicken breasts or top rounds (beef). For a full chicken, especially the wings, drumsticks and thighs, a marinade is entirely unnecessary and in my humble opinion ...


16

Yes, cooking it more to evaporate off some of the liquid will definitely help. This is called reducing a sauce. A moderate simmer would be the appropriate temperature. You want to see occasional bubbles but definitely not a rolling boil. Stir it occasionally, making sure to get the bottom of the pot to avoid any scorching. It is possible to have it be quite ...


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