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fresh turmeric root... how to use it?

If you don't like the taste of tumeric root, why in the world would you reply to a post asking how to use it in cooking?

Jun 07, 2012
kitchenprof in Home Cooking

fresh turmeric root... how to use it?

Turmeric root doesn't have the burn of ginger, but it is a bit tangy, on it's own, but the fresh stuff is much more subtle yet richer than it's powdered and processed counterpart. It teams well with many spices, as it does with curries and such.

Peeled and grated, I like it as part of the mix in meat dishes extended with egg and breadcrumbs, like chicken burgers. meatballs, salmon patties, meatloaf.

Like ginger, if you squeeze peeled and grated root in a garlic press you get a nice (orange) juice out of it. You can do a million things with this- add to soups, rice dishes, salad dressings, etc. I often grate and squeeze ginger and garlic with it as a finishing touch bit of flavor right before serving.

I often team it with ground coriander seeds and peppercorns.

For a healthy snack you can grate it into plain yogurt, with vanilla and a little honey, maybe some grated carrot too.

It will stain anything, especially your grater or cutting board. I don't really care myself. Doesn't stain the pots or plates. Grating it will make your fingernails yellow for a day or two. Wear gloves if that's a problem.

I save all the peelings and the juiced pulp for the bag of frozen vegetable matter I use for stock. Same with the garlic and ginger scraps.

If you love the flavor, as I do, there's no end with what you can do with it. Since I can get it so easily in Jackson Heights, I almost never end up using the powder, which is much less interesting.

Jun 06, 2012
kitchenprof in Home Cooking

A fish called Swai - new fish to me

Swai is delicious. It bakes really well. I marinate it in various citrus/spice/oil scenarios and bake it in a really hot oven, almost 500 degrees. Fantastic in about 10-15 minutes.

Feb 18, 2012
kitchenprof in Home Cooking

Fish Sauce, do you find it overpowering?

I agree, if you can distinctly "taste" fish sauce in a dish, you've put in too much, except perhaps a fish soup. It's a great way to fortify fish chowder, for example...

However that said, three crabs is an excellent addition to so many foods. There have been times when I've used varying amounts in every course of one meal. It's a great additive to simple salad dressings. A little shake of it at the end of a stir fry is nice. A simple vegetable saute of some kind with butter and three crabs can work wonders. I occasionally soak onions in a bowl of three crabs and water before adding them to a salad or a vegetable dish (perhaps with a little sugar), for the younger member of my family who doesn't like STRONG onion flavor.

Out of the bottle? It's a little weird, and TOO rich or TOO umami for the taste buds. As others have said, it augments flavors in the right amounts, which means a few drops or small spoons. It adds an extra salty richness in reasonable amounts, which can be a wonder that may just make you glad to be alive, and hungry.

Aug 12, 2011
kitchenprof in General Topics

favorite potato chips

Picked up a bag of Bellreich's "Marcelled" potato chips in Toledo, Ohio the other day. AWESOME. Not unlike the "wavy" lays or the Paramount chips (that I miss....) but a richer working class potato chip that makes sense to me. And it was a 2.75oz bag for 99 cents. I really don't like to buy a big (fat) bag of chips, so this was perfect.

An Ohio family product since 1920, I hear. It's my new favorite chip. And a darn good reason to hop off the Ohio turnpike.

Jul 11, 2010
kitchenprof in General Topics

In Search Of Snail Advice Or Recipes

My question? What do I do with these snails in my freezer? As you may see in the picture, it’s a frozen block of “Cooked Apple Snail Meat.” I bought them a couple months back and I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with them. But I’m really ready to eat them.

I know, I could go the whole butter and garlic routine, but I wanna do something different. And the fact that these come from Vietnam, I’d like to something more Asian. Soup or noodles perhaps. A casserole sounds good, but I wouldn’t know where to start. But I do have a five-year old to please. She’s pretty open minded, but I can’t do anything too spicy or alien. Anything with mushrooms? Besides stuffing them?

So, any ideas? While I’ve eaten snails, I’ve never cooked them. So any advice is welcome. But I’d like to find something nice, quick, rich and easy. Or at least something I can get together in an hour. I have a decent stock of spices and condiments in stock and go out to Elmhurst for my Asian goods a couple times a month.

Any suggestions, or tips or recipes would be greatly appreciated.


Sep 17, 2009
kitchenprof in Home Cooking

favorite potato chips

Don't go much for the flavored chips these days, although some of Zapp's flavored chips aren't bad. But in general so much of the chip flavoring tastes more like science than food, if you know what I mean.

I love the caramelized taste of the Cape Cod dark russet and the peanut oil cooking you taste in Zapp's and Krunchers. But in general I like simple chips with a lot of flavor. Paramounts are good if you can find them. And I guess I'm partial to the Lay's "Wavy" chips as well. Better Made and Jays are pretty tasty too.

Jul 24, 2009
kitchenprof in General Topics

Can somebody help me identify this delicious vegetable?

Well, I'm glad I included the photo.

You are absolutely right. It is malabar spinach, also known as saan choy-- or Ceylon spinach, Vietnamese spinach, shan tsoi, luo kai, shu chieh, lo kwai, tsuru murasa kai, mong toi, paag-prung, genjerot, jingga, gendola or just "slippery vegetable. I can see why it's has so many names in so many languages. It's that good.

Thanks so much for the quick response. And it's a brassica too! But a vine plant. And very tropical, as I thought. Amazing. And it thickens soup like okra too!

Now that's solved, I'd be curious what others do with this yummy vegetable. I saw a woman who looked like she was from Bangladesh packing up a big bag of it the other day. I should have asked her what she was going to cook.

Thanks again.

Jul 21, 2009
kitchenprof in General Topics

Can somebody help me identify this delicious vegetable?

I still don't know that what this plant is, but I can't get enough of it!

In the last couple years I've gotten in the habit of shopping at the Asian grocery stores out in Elmhurst, Queens. And the incredible array of vegetables, condiments and sauces has really made cooking a blast. And every time I bring something home I've never had before.

Sometimes the signs on the vegetables are in English. Often they're not. When I'm not sure what I'm buying at one particular market, I watch the screen as they ring it up and see what they call it. This particular one is identified as "sun choy" on their system. However, searches on the web using this name or "sun choi" have been pretty fruitless thus far.

I believe it's a brassica, and probably from tropical or subtropical Asia. It tastes more like a water plant. It's rich and a little slimy when you crunch into the stems. And I think it tastes fantastic. Sort of like a combination of okra, spinach and Chinese broccoli.

I'm still experimenting with it. But the stalks are interesting in a stir fry (with shrimp paste or belecan and some shallots and garlic for example) and in quick noodle soups. And the leaves add a rich foundation as part of the greens in a salad. And you could certainly blanch this stuff and just toss a little olive oil or butter on it. Plenty of flavor.

Anyway, I really love this stuff and I'd like to learn more about it. Anyone have a clue?

Jul 20, 2009
kitchenprof in General Topics