Ingredient Notes

Canned Tomatoes
I use canned tomatoes a lot and only use whole tomatoes. The reason is that I once spoke with a man who used to work at a tomato canning factory. He said that the whole tomatoes were usually the best, with the quality going down with the more processing involved. He said to absolutely avoid crushed tomatoes at all costs.
I always take the extra step to deseed canned tomatoes as they tend to add a bitter flavour. I pour the entire can into a large bowl and open each tomato with my hands and scrape out the seeds, then shake the tomato out in the can liquid until the seeds dislodge. I put the cleaned tomato into another bowl. After doing this with all the tomatoes, I pour the leftover liquid through a sieve and use a wooden spoon to moosh any tomato bits through, while keeping the seeds out. It’s labour intensive, but it’s worth it. 

coconut-milkCoconut milk

I’ve found that coconut milk comes in a variety of price points. The ones I buy are generally more expensive, and will be mostly just coconut milk and water. The cheaper ones have all sorts of preservatives and mystery ingredients in them. I can’t confirm that the purer ones taste better, but why add any unnecessary ingredients?

Dried anchovies

I buy these at the Asian grocery store, in the dried goods section. They come in a bag. I find that these are super great for adding a seafoody, umami flavour to food without adding to the saltiness of the dish.
I’ve actually made a umami powder by grinding up dried anchovies, dried seaweed and dried mushrooms. I’ve given it as gifts and people really enjoy it. I add it to Asian dishes that are tasting a little bland, but don’t need any more salt.