Whether you know it or not you have a gluten free Asian pantry. It may only contain gluten free soy sauce but that is how it all starts. You create a system to purchase and replace the necessary staples you want to have on hand for everyday cooking. Whether you have an app on your phone or a notepad in your kitchen you just need a system that makes sense to you.
Guidelines For Stocking A Pantry
- Know what you have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards.
- Store these items in a way that works for your style of cooking and frequency of use.
- Restock items before you run out.
A well-stocked pantry is the key to cooking a variety of delicious homemade meals day after day. Just a few minutes of planning will pay off every time you cook and shop. Whether you are whipping up a quick dinner or planning something more adventurous a well-stocked pantry makes life in the kitchen more enjoyable.
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Throughout this website I have written about many gluten free Asian ingredients. I have also posted recipes for sauces I make that I cannot find at the store. Now it feels like it is time to put that information together in a more useful format, a simple list of ingredients. These are items you may want in your Asian pantry.
I provided a link to the actual product I use where possible. Following that I’ve included links to my recipes to show you how I use each ingredient. If you follow that link the recipe description often has helpful information about the specific ingredient.
This is just a beginning. Asia is a big continent with a lot of countries and each cuisine is created by the unique combination of ingredients and the techniques in which they use them. I have four lists grouping the ingredients as basic Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese, Japanese and then Indonesian.
Gluten Free Asian Pantry – Basic Chinese
- Garlic – I like fresh but a jar in the fridge works too
- Ginger – Fresh ginger will keep in the fridge or freezer; a jar of chopped ginger is okay too
- Soy Sauce – Have a tasting to learn the finer points of tamari and soy sauce and pick a favourite; buy two at a time so you won’t run out. Did you know you can buy individual travel packs of GF soy sauce, available in packets of 50 or 20.
- Oyster Sauce – The one with the GREEN label is gluten free; use it to perk up an everyday stir fry , Lion’s head meatballs or use in a marinade/sauce
- Hoisin Sauce – Perks up an everyday stir fry or use in a sauce like Hoisin ribs
- Sesame oil – Small amounts for lots of flavour in salad dressing, stir fry, salmon, Hoisin ribs, sesame mayonnaise and more
- Sherry – I buy W&H Dry Sack sherry at the liquor store and use it for salad dressing, stir fry, salmon and more. Use it in recipes calling for cooking sherry or Chinese cooking wine.
- Fermented Black Beans – These beans are used to make black bean sauce
- Homemade gluten free Black Bean Sauce – Use in an everyday stir fry, salmon or Hoisin ribs
- Rice Noodles – keep a variety of widths to use in soup, salad, salad rolls, stir fry and noodle dishes
Gluten Free Asian Pantry – Thai and Vietnamese
- Coconut Milk – for curries, soups, coconut rice and ice cream. Read more about the different kinds of coconut milk in this post.
- Fish Sauce – the essential ingredient of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, just buy it! Read more about it and see more recipes in this post.
- Sriracha chile sauce – you don’t need every type of chile sauce but this one is popular
- Rice paper wrappers – if you love salad rolls you need these
- Curry Paste – many varieties sold separately or as a trio of three types; yellow, green, red, Massaman and more; used in curry dishes
- Sweet Thai Chile Sauce – a great dipping sauce for meatballs or use in sweet chili ribs; or in this Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry
- Lemongrass – fresh or frozen; use it in soup, Hoisin ribs, lemongrass skewers or marinade; read more in this post titled How To Use Lemongrass
Gluten Free Asian Pantry – Japanese
- Sushi Rice – for rolled sushi, Sushi Pizza and California Roll Salad
- Rice vinegar – for rolled sushi, Sushi Pizza and California Roll Salad
- Seaweed – sold in sheets for rolled sushi, Sushi Pizza and California Roll Salad
- Wasabi paste or powder – Some pastes are ‘wasabi style’ and contain gluten. Read the labels carefully. Wasabi powder seems to be more reliably gluten free. Use it for rolled sushi, Sushi Pizza and California Roll Salad
- Pickled ginger – sold in jars to use for rolled sushi, Sushi Pizza and California Roll Salad
Gluten Free Asian Pantry – Indonesian
- Homemade gluten free Kecap manis – Use this sweet soy sauce for satay and peanut sauce.
- Sambal Oelek – this is my go to chile sauce for almost any cuisine
- Tamarind concentrate or paste – read this post to determine which is for you; use it in Pad Thai, satay and pork curry, also used in East Indian cuisine
Whether it is the first time you’ve thought about your Asian pantry or you have some basics and want to expand, I hope you find this helpful. Let me know in the comments below what you keep in your Asian pantry or if you have a clever way of ensuring your pantry is well stocked.