Packaged Moroccan Camel Meat

Packaged Moroccan Camel Meat

Moroccan Camel Meat

I have never ever seen Camel appearing on a restaurant menu anywhere. I even lived in Libya which is (somewhat) close to Morocco way (WAY) back in the day, and I didn’t get to experience it there either. I was accordingly quite excited to see it turning up in a local supermarket packaged by a Canadian Company, Blue Mountain Fine Foods. Now, it seems that the Company may have closed down now, as weblinks are broken, but, in any event, I found the product interesting but a bit disappointing.

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Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe – a.k.a. Rapini

Sometime ago, I did a post featuring Broccolini and I described it as being something of a cross between Broccoli and the Chinese vegetable, Gai Lan. Broccoli Rabe, also known by the Italian name ‘Rapini’ is somewhat related to Broccoli, and shares some similarity to Gai Lan, but the taste profile is a little different.

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A bottle of Kikkoman™ Japanese Eel Sauce

A bottle of Kikkoman™ Japanese Eel Sauce

Japanese Eel Sauce

If you haven’t encountered Japanese Eel Sauce before, you may be wondering whether it is a sauce made *for* Eel dishes, or one made *from* Eels. Well, the short answer is… both. It is well worth trying though, and quite easy to find. Rest assured, it will not make any food you use it with taste ‘fishy’ in any way

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A package of ground Ostrich Meat Patties

A package of ground Ostrich Meat Patties

Ostrich Meat – An Introduction

I have seen Ostrich steaks offered on restaurant menus a few times within the past decade or so, but, on each occasion, other items were more appealing for one reason or another so I have yet to try it in a restaurant dish. The meat is still not that widely available in grocery stores as yet, but I recently purchased the package of ground Ostrich Meat you see above and tested it in a couple of recipes.

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Giant Water Bug Essence

Giant Water Bug Essence

Giant Water Bug Essence

I purchased the cooking ingredient you see above at an Asian grocery store out of curiosity, and without knowing exactly what it was. I am posting about it, not so much because it is an extremely versatile, or useful ingredient, but rather because it is quite unique and worth trying if you get the chance.

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A package of Kombu

A package of Kombu

Kombu and Kombu Dashi

It would be almost impossible to have eaten in a Japanese Restaurant and not have encountered Kombu in one form or another. It can be eaten as a vegetable in it’s own right, but it is a foundation ingredient in Japanese cuisine for the preparation of Dashi stocks.

Miso soup, to name one ubiquitous and very popular dish, is based on Dashi, and there are many dishes which just cannot be made without the very interesting, and umami-rich sea vegetable you see pictured above.

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An opened jar of XO Sauce

An opened jar of XO Sauce

XO Sauce – An Introduction

The very richly flavored, and rather expensive, product known as XO Sauce, has only been around since the early 1980’s. One occasionally sees it as a component in dishes on Chinese restaurant menus, or, somewhat less frequently, appearing as a dipping sauce for some foods. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is well-worth investigating. Afterwards, you may very well wish to have it as an addition to your pantry

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Chinese Salted Black Beans up close

Chinese Salted Black Beans

Chinese Salted Black Beans

If you eat regularly in Chinese Restaurants, it is quite likely you have encountered Chinese Salted Black Beans at one time or another. They are used in a wide range of dishes, including those that are stir-fried or braised, but they feature quite frequently in steamed dishes, and many Dim Sum dishes incorporate them as a rich, umami ingredient. They have not yet crossed the cultural gap to the point that you find them in many Wester kitchens, but they are well worth trying and having on hand.

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Dried Sea Cucumber - 海参

Dried Sea Cucumber - 海参

Dried Sea Cucumber – 海参

You might be forgiven for mistaking the above two objects for fossilized dinosaur droppings but they are, in fact, a dried marine delicacy commonly called ‘Sea Cucumber’. These ‘cucumbers’, also known as ‘Beche-de-Mer’ or ‘Trepang’ are widely harvested and consumed but are especially popular in Chinese cookery where they are known as 海参 or ‘hǎishēn’, meaning ‘Sea Ginseng’.

Like tofu, these delicacies are prized more for their texture rather than their intrinsic flavor, which is practically non-existent and they are typically braised, or otherwise cooked with rich sauces and other ingredients from which they then take their flavor.

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Preserved Radish

Preserved Radish

Preserved Radish – An Introduction

The item pictured above may look rather alarmingly the ‘leftovers’ from an ancient Egyptian sex change operation, but it is, in fact, a type of very large Radish that has been preserved by salting. This type of Radish in question is most commonly known by its Japanese name ‘Daikon’ these days, but you can also find it in supermarkets as ‘Lo Bok’ (the Cantonese name), or ‘Mooli’.

Daikon is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The result, using this particular technique, may not look all that appealing, but it is actually a versatile and tasty ingredient in all sorts of dishes.

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