[11:45] Stacey Wee

Spices

Spices

Getting Salty: Different Kinds of Salt and its Effect on You

Given the bad press around salt and its potential negative health impacts, it’s easy to overlook that it’s an indispensable ingredient in most kitchens. While most of us reach for table salt when cooking and baking, you can also find a range of gourmet salts in supermarket aisles, each with a different mineral make-up, sodium content and taste profile. Also known as sodium chloride, salt is a crystalline compound made up of two elements: sodium and chlorine. These elements are …

Is MSG Really Bad for Your Health?

More dining establishments are going MSG-free these days, reflecting widespread consumer concerns about the consequences of eating too much of this commonly used flavour enhancer. Formally known as monosodium glutamate, MSG is usually found in Asian cooking, as well as in canned soups and sauces. Some people try to steer clear of MSG completely, claiming it gives them headaches and causes weight gain. It’s perhaps most synonymous with Chinese food, thanks to a 1968 opinion piece in the prestigious New …

SALTed: Where East Comes to the West

As I stir the tomato sauce gravy encircling a bed of crispy egg noodles, the distinctive aroma of Sarawak pepper swirls into the air, offering a delicious depth to the tangy flavours. Although tomato mee is a much-loved Sarawakian street dish, it’s rarely found in Kuala Lumpur so I was delighted to discover it recently on the menu of SALTed, a small café with a big message run by a Sarawakian couple, Sofya Yusof, 39, and her husband Karel Loong, 51. …

Eating Healthy with Asam Jawa (Tamarind)

When they need some zing or tang, most Southeast Asian curries turn to the tamarind – either the juice or the flesh itself. While the tamarind (asam jawa in Malay) is fairly ubiquitous in our cuisine, most of us don’t give it too much thought. Given how much we use it, the humble tamarind probably deserves a bit more attention. Tamarind 101 Let’s go back to basics. The tamarind tree, the Tamarindus indica, is a hardy tropical species typically found in arid …

Star Anise Secrets

If you’re familiar with Chinese cuisine, then star anise, with its distinctive, eight-pointed shape, will be no stranger to your kitchen. Its distinctive taste – with even more of the same compound that gives ordinary anise and liquorice their unique flavour – packs a huge punch in that small, pointy package and represents one of the five major spices in Chinese cooking. Those less accustomed to cooking Chinese dishes might not consider star anise a very versatile spice. How could …

Anthony the Spice Maker

Anthony Leow is the man behind the brand of 10-year-old Anthony the Spice Maker. We caught up with him at his stall in Singapore’s Chinatown, where he sells a variety of hand-crafted spice blends that have attracted the attention not only of local home cooks, but of chefs around the world.