I have taken to cooking a lot more Asian-style as of late. I'm trying to cut back on red meat, and boneless-skinless chicken breasts have been selling for very cheap as of late (<$2/lb this weekend). So I have been doing a lot of stir frying. Most dishes are very simple from a cookbook I was given about 25 years ago. My one problem has been finding some of the more "specialty" ingredients. Actually, they're stapes of Asian cooking, but not easy to find in a traditional supermarket. One is rice wine. Almost every store stocks Kikkoman "Mirin" but I know there are a myriad of cooking wines out there. I went to a small Asian grocery store where I have purchased supplies before. They must have new owners because their selection of Asian specialties was dismal. They basically stocked everything I could get at any supermarket with perhaps a few exotic brands. Rice wine? Kikkoman. Gah!
So today Kitty and I paid a visit to one of our local International supermarkets. We had shopped there before, but it's not very convenient for us and it's in an area "affectionately" known as "The War Zone." The City has relabeled the area "The International District," but that's like putting lipstick on a pig. Probably 95% of episodes of "Cops" filmed in ABQ were filmed in this area. But I digress. I have only been in this supermarket once before (at its grand opening) and I had forgotten how awesome it was. Rice wine? How about half an aisles' worth! Light soy sauce? Oy! Don't get me started on this one! Many stir fry recipes call for "light soy" sauce. Whenever I ask about it, I'm shown "reduced sodium" soy sauce. No! Not the same thing! Ah! Here it was! Yay! And then there were other things like chili bean paste. We've been considering getting a new rice cooker. Oh! Here you are! Choose from a few dozen models. Gah! Overload! They also have a European section with a row of pastas and olive oils from Italy. *foodie bliss* That's not saying we bought everything, but just saying that it is a comforting feeling just knowing it's available. So tonight I will whip up a nice stir fry using fresh and healthy ingredients. Rice will be cooked in our good old reliable rice cooker, but now we know that its days are numbered.
Oh, I should also mention that we had lunch at our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. Beef shawarma (and falafal) on fresh-baked pita. See! This city is awesome!