A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

caixin Caixin
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Better known in Cantonese as Choy Sum, or Chinese flowering cabbage. This vegetable usually comes with yellow unopened flower buds. The variety with long leaves is more common. Excellent for stir frying as it isn't too juicy and stand well to heat.
Candle Nuts
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Sometimes eaten roasted in Indonesia, the raw nut contained in a hard shell is toxic. It is used mostly in fresh spice paste in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The taste is subtle and when use as a thickener, maybe replaced with other nuts such as macademia or cashew. Usually sold shelled.
Cardamom
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A spice that gives many Indian dishes its distinctive flavour. The intense fragrant comes from the seeds. Black cardamom is used whole mainly in north India, taste is strong, somewhat sharp and menthol like and are used for savoury dishes. Green cardamoms are smaller in size, sweet and aromatic used inboth sweet and savoury dishes. A whitish and round variety from Java used in Chinese traditional medicine is sometimes used as a replacement for green cardamom. Many other varieties are used in Traditional Chinese medicine, some of them used in spice mixes.

Cashew Nut
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A delicious nut with high fat content, it is a native of tropical America. The Chinese use it in stir fry dishes and the indian used them over rice and in curries. Tasty raw, the nuts are usually roasted before use. The young leaves are sometimes used in regional kitchens.

casia
Casia, Cinnamon
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So called true cinnamon is the inner bark of a species of cinnamomum native to Sri Lanka. It is thinner and pealer and usually comes rolled in multiple layers. Many other cinnamomum species, including Cinnamomum cassia, grow throughout Southeast Asia with subtle differences as a spice. It is either used whole in a stick form or powdered for both savory and sweet dishes. The outer bark is sometime sold but the smooth inner bark is preferred for fine cookery.
Chinese celery Celery
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Apium Secalinum, or Chinese celery is much smaller than its Western cousin and both its stems and leaves are used, often in soups. Western celery with thick stems are now common in Asia and often used in Chinese cooking but root celery is still rare.
Celery Cabbage
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Brassica pekinensis
A popular East Asian vegetables also grown in the West. It is tender and contains a lot of water used often in stir fry, soup and in kim chi by the Koreans. Some varieties are white, others green.
cendol Cendol
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Made of various type of flour, they are used in drinks and desserts of Malay and Indonesian origin.
chayote Chayote
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Pear shape marrow of Central American orign. It is rather bland with a large edible seed. Need not be peeled. It exudes a sap when cut.
Chilli
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Capsicum annuum, capsicum frutescens
There are many varieties but three are common in Southeast Asia. They differ in size measuring around 10cm, 5cm and 2cm. In this case, the smaller the size, the hotter it is. The smallest bird's eye is Southeast Asia's hottest and is used primarily to add heat. Its many names include Cili padi, Cili api, Prik khee noo suan and Tabia kerinyi. The largest, konwn in Indonesian as Lombok and in Thai as Prik chi faa is simply called chilli in Malaysia and Singapore. The medium sized known as Rawit in Indonesia is a favourite of the Thais which they call Prik Khee Noo. Chilli's heat comes from a substance called capsaicin which concentrates in the seeds. Always adapt the amount of chillies used in a recipe to your own taste and remove seeds to reduce the heat. Handle chillies with care and use gloves to avoid any mishaps. No one wearing contact lenses should handle chilli with bare hands. Chilli leaf is also eaten as a vegetable in Thailand.
Chive
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Looks somewhat like spring onions but the leaves are flat and not hollow. It is used either raw as a garnish or stir fried. An yellow version grown in absence of light is more tender. Do not keep for more than a day or two as it ages quickly and turns fibrous.
Chive stalk
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Unopened flower bud with its stalk is a very tender and delicious vegetable. Its flavour is more subtle compare to chive and is a little sweet.
Chuan Xiong
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TCM - A dried root sold thinly sliced in traditional Chinese medicine. It has a strong and somewhat minty flavour often used in tonic and other soup preparations to promote blood circulation and flow of vital energy. Consult your physician on use.
cincalok, bagoong alamang Cincalok
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A speciality of Malacca. This pinkish shrimp fry is preserved with salt and rice and is used in making sauces and salads. Various forms exist throughout Southeast Asia, including one known as Bagoong Alamang from the Philippines.
Coconuts
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Cocos nucifera
Coconut milk is widely used throughout Southeast Asia in curries and desserts. For milk extraction, only matured coconuts are used. Shredded coconut flesh are squeeze for thick milk, then water added for thin milk. Since coconut shred and milk turn sour quickly in the tropics, they are sometimes steamed or lightly salted to prevent them from turning sour. Coconut contains about 35 percent fat. The oil extracted by boiling is a popular cooking oil in some Southeast Asian countries.
Green imature coconut is often eaten as a dessert/drink, it contains a soft flesh that could be easily scooped out with a metal spoon. The water from a matured coconut is usually discarded.
Coriander Leaves
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With a refreshing and distinct flavour, coriander is widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisines. It is often called Chinese parsely and throughout Spanish influnced regions, cilantro. The Malays and Indonesians rarely use it. Keep roots in water and cover leaves in a plastic bag will keep it good in the fridge for at least a week. Grown easily from seeds.
Coriander Seeds
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It is widely used and often in substantial quantity, it is yet another spice that gives many Southeast Asian dishes their distinctive flavour. Roast before use.
Cucumber
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Cucumis sativus
Cucumber is usually eaten raw. The tips may be bitter in taste and often discarded. Keep fresh in a bucket of water. An orangy brown variety known to the Chinese as Old cucumber, or Lao huang-gua, is used almost exclusively for soups. Usually cut into sections and not peeled.

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  Culantro, Saw Leaf Herb
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Of American origin often referred to as 'foreign coriander' in Southeast Asia. Also known as Saw Leaf Herb or Sawtooth Coriander. It tastes like coriander but much stronger and with a distinct 'medicinal' feel. Especially popular in Vietnam where it is often eaten raw.
Cumin
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Cuminum cyminum
Cumin is a main ingredient in curry powder and often used coupled with fennel seeds. It is minty and aromatic. Use whole or powdered, roast before grinding. The so called cumin leaf (Daun Jintan) used in Indonesia is the leaf of Indian borage, Plectranthus amboinicus.
Curry Leaves
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Murraya koenigii
The South Indians introduced this small tree of the citrus family to Southeast Asia. The edible leaf adds an unique flavour to many South Indian curries. Use only fresh leaves as the strong distinct fragrance is absent in dried leaves.
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