Trying out different foods is something we always do. It is a perfect way of enriching our mind, body, and soul, as well as getting to know some culture, its national cuisine and ingredients. Asian food is popular worldwide, but Asian food doesn’t only refer to Chinese and Thai food.

An Overview of Halal Asian Cooking will look at the various Asian food which includes East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

East Asian cuisine

East Asian cuisine consist of Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Korean, and Taiwanese cuisine.

  • Chinese cuisine includes meat, rice, and vegetables. Vegetables are almost always crisp, and meat is never overcooked.
  • Japanese cooking relies on cooking ingredients that are currently in the season. Gingerroot and garlic are popular in Japan. The culture is not inclined on heavy spices because their usage would destroy the delicate food flavors. Soy sauce is one of the most common ingredients in Japan, and it is usually lighter and milder than the soy sauce used in China. Also, Japanese food contains lower calorie level than Chinese food.
  • Mongolian cuisine includes a lot of animal fat, meat, and dairy products. Spices and vegetables aren’t very common in this culture.
  • Korean cuisine is richer in spices than Japanese and Chinese food. However, they don’t use as much seafood as they do in Japan, and also, they use less oil than the Chinese. Koreans use red chili peppers, sesame seeds, green onions, and ginger. Their technique of barbecuing beef is known worldwide, and their food is enriched with soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and dried anchovies.
  • Taiwanese cuisine includes ingredients like chicken, rice, soy, and seafood, but beef is not very popular. Seafood is the most abundant ingredient of the culture’s food, which includes sardines, tuna, grouper, squid, anchovies, and cuttlefish. They also use fruit like papaya, melons, and citrus.

Southeast Asian cuisine

Southeast Asian cuisine includes a variety of cooking styles from the entire Southeast Asia. For example:

  • Bruneian – usually includes fish and rice. Beans are very expensive there and therefore not widely used. Bruneian cuisine includes halal food.
  • Burmese – includes different types of meat, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Cambodian – traditional cuisine includes soups, desserts, rice, noodles, and tropical fruits.
  • Indonesian – considering the fact Indonesia is consisted of thousands of islands, they all have their unique cooking style, ingredients, and methods. However, the country’s food in general is consisted of spices. Rice is one of the most important ingredients that is part of almost every meal.
  • Laotian cuisine – the traditional cuisine of Laos. It’s most famous type of food is sticky rice, but also fish is widely popular in the culture’s cooking style.
  • Malaysian – Is one of the most complex cuisines in the world. Its most popular ingredients include spices, rice, meat, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Philippine – includes a lot of spices, soy sauce, beans, seafood, and fruit.
  • Singaporean – is influenced by Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisines.
  • Thai – includes fish, rice, noodles, and spices.
  • Vietnamese – fish and seafood are important part of the culture’s cooking habits. They aren’t inclined to overuse oil. The most common drink is tea and it is served with every meal.

South Asian cuisine

Southeast Asian cuisine includes traditional foods that are prepared on the Indian subcontinent.

Amongst the various halal Asian cooking and recipes, Indian cuisine includes the use of a wide usage of spices which are used for several purposes; to enrich the foods flavors and to mask the odors (when the refrigerators weren’t that popular).

Curry is the most famous Indian food. It has a gravy base, and it is a spicy and hot dish. Curry dish is not the same as curry powder (curry powder is the mixture of ten or more different spices). Other spices used in Indian cooking styles are black pepper, cloves, and ginger. When it comes to meat, Indian food includeslamb, goat, fish and chicken.

Central Asian cuisine

Central Asian traditional cuisine includes cooking styles from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

  • Afghanistan’s cuisine includes wide usage of wheat, maze, rice, and barley. They also use a lot of dairy products, vegetables, and nuts. All of the food is prepared according to Islamic laws.
  • Kazakhstan’s cuisine includes a lot of horse meat and mutton. Milk products are also widely used.
  • Kyrgyzstan’s cuisine is similar to traditional cooking style of Kazakhstan. They also use a lot of horse meat and mutton, along with milk products.
  • Tajikistan’s cuisine includes meat and vegetables. Their national drink is green tea. They usually eat plov,  rice that is cooked with seasoned broth.
  • Turkmenistan’s cuisine – they also eat plov, fruit, especially melons, and they widely use naan (type of bread).
  • Uzbekistan’s cuisine – they use a lot of vegetables in their food, and the most common meat is mutton. Their most famous food is palov which is made of onions, carrots, rice, and meat.

Middle Eastern cuisine

Middle Eastern cuisine applies to all cuisines of that area, except for Egypt. Their common ingredients include:

  • Cereals – are one of the most important ingredients of Middle Eastern diet. They prefer rice and wheat, as well as barley and maize.
  • Butter – usually used in cooking instead of oil or olive oil.
  • Spices – Middle Eastern countries use a lot of spices like coriander, clove, cumin, and cinnamon.
  • Meat – favorite meat of Middle Eastern cooking habits are mutton and lamb.
  • Vegetables – are usually prepared in stews, they are also boiled, stuffed or cooked along with rice and meat. They also use cabbage, spinach, onions, carrots, and turnips.
  • Dishes – the most famous dishes are those that include stuffed vegetables ,which are called dolma.
  • Beverages – the most popular beverages are Turkish coffee, fruit-based drinks and tea.

Cooking styles

As it was mentioned above, halal Asian cooking applies to a lot of nations and parts of Asia; it is the biggest continent after all. That is why cooking styles vary and they include:

  • Shallow frying
  • Deep frying
  • Steaming
  • Roasting
  • Stewing
  • Stir frying

Conclusion

Even though halal Asian cooking styles vary and so do ingredients, there is one thing in common – the usage of rice, spices and vegetables. Most cuisines stay away from oily foods. halal Asian cooking is one of the most interesting cuisines due to its variety. Getting to know the food, means getting to know the culture, and Asian food is definitely worth trying.