In this country we've been quite slow switching on to soy sauce, but now – wow! – soy sauce has landed.
It is an ancient and crucially important ingredient in the Far East, used not just for seasoning but also for dipping, marinating, tenderising and at the same time purifying. What we need to concern ourselves with for the purposes of cooking is the enormous range in quality, and for cooks who care about quality the best soy sauce is made in Japan, where it is naturally fermented from wheat, soya beans, salt and water (the only ingredients that should appear on the label).
Short-cut unnaturally fermented soy sauces are not in the same league, so if you stick to Japanese you'll be sure you're using the best.
This very simple little salad makes a nice side dish. I like to serve it as a nibble before an oriental meal. If you have problems tracking down Japanese ingredients, try www.clearspring.co.uk
The golden rule of stir-frying rice successfully is to always make sure the cooked rice is absolutely cold. In other words, you can't boil it and stir-fry straight away because it goes all sticky.
The most important point to remember if you want to fry rice successfully is that it must be cooked but cold, so you must cook the rice ahead and then allow it to cool completely. I have used authentic Chinese ingredients here
If you have some Thai Red Curry Paste to hand, these little fish cakes make a wonderfully different first course, especially if the rest of the meal has a spicy theme.
This can be a quick supper dish for the family or it's exotic enough for entertaining: all you need is a fan steamer – bamboo or the old-fashioned kind.