A short gained Italian rice ideal for use in risotto as it can absorb a great deal of liquid while still maintaining shape and texture. Like pasta it should be prepared al dente or slightly firm to bite in texture.
Chinese Five Spice Powder
A spice powder usually made from a mixture of anise, ginger, Chinese cinnamon and cloves or fennel. It has quite a strong aniseed aroma and is available from most supermarkets or ethnic grocers.
Used often in Thia cooking it is the sugary sap of date, sago or coconut palms. The sugar is golden brown and sold in tubes, blocks or packets of individual cubes. Available from Ethnic grocers or the Asian section in your supermarket.
A standard ingredient in Italian cusine; pine-nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. They are versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. They contain nutrients including zinc, niacin, manganese and amino acid. Can be found in any good supermarket or grocer.
Polenta is made with ground cornmeal and can be either fine or coarse in texture. It can be cooked in a variety of different ways including sweet and savoury dishes and is an excellent addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Cornmeal can be purchased from health food shops and supermarkets; keep an eye out for instant polenta as this takes less time to cook than cornmeal. As a rule cook the polenta to one part cornmeal, three parts liquid.
An East Asian mushroom most often brought dried. They have a hearty and almost smokey flavour and a meaty texture. Commonly used in Asian cooking they are a very versatile mushroom and are available from most supermarkets and Ethnic or Asian grocers.
A rich Japanese soy sauce made in a similar way to miso; it is usually wheat free. True tamari has a very dark color and an almost smoky flavor. Avaliable from Supermarkets, health food stores and ethnic grocers.
Tamarind is a tropical fruit with a moist, dark, sticky flesh in-cased in a pod. It has a delicious fruity tartness and is used most often in South East Asian and Indian cookery. Great in curries, sauces, stir-fries and desserts it is available from Asian Grocers as a paste or in a block. Block tamarind is fresher and keeps indefinitely in a cool, dark place. To make a paste from the block soften a little in warm water, when cool enough to touch, work with your fingers to break up the tamarind and mesh with the water to form a thick paste. Pass the tamarind mixture through a sieve or squeeze out and remove the excess pulp until you have a smooth, thick paste. Make enough to use for your recipe or store any left over in the fridge for up to a week.