One of my greatest passions in life is to experiment in the kitchen. Because of this, the make up of stuff in my pantry changes frequently. That said, there are some mainstays. Casper asked me to provide him with a list of Yeow pantry ‘permanent residents’. Here are 10 of them (in no particular order).
We use Rice Vermicelli in a lot of the quick Vietnamese and Chinese dishes we make. With four kids (some would argue five) there’s always demand for a easy quick meal. It’s either 2-minute noodles or rice vermicelli. The latter is without doubt the healthier option. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
Crystalised Cane Sugar
I’m referring to the packs of sugar in big blocks rather than the finely processed sugar that most are used to. We refer to it as ‘Ping Tong’ in Cantonese. I use these in making a variety of Asian desserts and to provide the sweetness in broths for classic Vietnamese dishes like Pho. I also use Ping Tong in to brew Wintermelon and Prunella tea, a favourite in the family. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
I think our family would die without fish sauce. We have a variety of these for different applications. Some are used for mixing sauces, while others are used to add flavour to broth-based dishes. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
Again, another sauce we cannot do without in the Yeow household. You’ll find some form of soya sauce in most South East Asian dishes. Again, I have a variety of these for different applications, ranging from Soya Sauce for Sushi to Kichap Manis (translates as “Sweet Soya Sauce” or so Casper telle me) as a dipping sauce.
We also have a variety of chilli sauces. The most used is the beloved Sriracha, which is loved by many around the world. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
Like most of the items already listed, you can’t just have one type. I normally have Jasmine, Short-grain, Glutinous, Basmati, Wild Rice, Brown and Vietnamese Broken Rice somewhere in the pantry. We go through a lot of Jasmine rice as it’s a daily staple for us. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
Canned Coconut Juice
Vietnamese Soy-Braised Pork Belly with Quail Eggs is undoubtedly the reigning family favourite for dinner. Canned Coconut Juice is one of the main ingredients that gives it its unique flavour.As this dish is always in demand, we make sure I have a few can handy at all times.
Canned Quail Eggs
Vietnamese Soy Pork Belly with Quail Eggs as its name suggests needs quail eggs. Canned quail eggs is the easiest way to go.for the same reason as that for the canned coconut juice we always make sure we have a few cans ready to go. Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie
I don’t eat red meat or chicken. For me tofu is my meat substitute. We use them in hot pot dishes, and often, I can substitute deep fried tofu for the meat in many meat dishes and it’ll still taste great.
Konnyaku Jelly Powder
Konnyaku Jelly has often come to the rescue for those last minute desserts. They take no time to make and are visually stunning when I incorporate fruit pieces into them.
The hardest part of accumulating everything you need is the beginning. It gets expensive if you’re going with the Big Bang approach.I tried at the beginning but it tends not to work. I blew the budget a couple of times when I tried and often you may buy stuff that you don’t end up using. “Don’t rush things” is a good general principle for life, cooking and, in this case, building up your pantry. Good luck! Poh Ling Yeow; Yeow Family; Foodie