Raid the Asian Market | SAVEUR

Raid the Asian Market

Add some spice and flavor to your home-cooked meals with these often-overlooked Asian ingredients. These items first appeared in our 2015 SAVEUR 100.

asian ingredients, asian recipes

Michelle Heimerman

#40 Fermented Bamboo Shoots

Packed in chile oil, the edible stalks of newly sprouted bamboo—an Asian staple—are crunchy and slightly funky. Use them to transform scrambled eggs or liven up a curry, or simply eat them straight from the jar. ($4 for 12 oz.; asian supermarket365.com)

#41 Peppercorn Oil

Hanyuan, a county in Sichuan Province, is known for its peppercorns, and turns the fiery pellets into oil. The spicy elixir is used in Chinese cuisine as a salad dressing. Chef Matt Jennings of Boston's soon-to-open Townsman also loves to drizzle it over grilled vegetables and blend it into mayo-based sauces like mustardy gribiche, for a mouth-tingling kick. ($12 for 14 oz.; posharpstore.com)

#42 Celtuce

While it's just getting popular in the West, celtuce has long been known in China for its crunchy stalks, which taste a bit like asparagus, and can be eaten raw in salads. Chinese chef Yu Bo also serves delicate pickled celtuce strips beautifully twisted into knots. (price varies; melissas.com)

#43 Angel Hair Pepper

Sweet, smoky, and mildly spicy, angel hair pepper originated in Tianjin, China, but is commonly used in Korean dishes like kimchi. The laser-thin strands cut from red chile peppers (sold as cheveux d'ange) can be stirred into vinaigrettes or used as a garnish for crispy pork belly. ($15 for .16 lb.; sos-chefs.com)

#44 Kinome Leaves

Glossy kinome leaves sprout on the Japanese prickly ash tree in spring. They're prized for their exhilarating fragrance, citrus and mint flavors, and slight numbing effect. In traditional Japanese cooking, the fresh young leaves are served as a garnish for grilled dishes like tofu dengaku, ground into a pestolike sauce, and spooned over simmered bamboo shoots. (price varies; chefs-garden.com)

See the recipe for Stir-Fried Celtuce Tops with Mushrooms »