Cooks use specific spices in Thai, Indian, and Malaysian foods, all of which are favorites with Tim Hornibrook. These spices include ginger, cardamom, and tamarind paste, which are native to these countries. Tom Hornibrook has visited many of the countries of the Asian continent.
Authentic Thai chefs use both old and young ginger in their food preparation. Old ginger is typically sliced julienne-style and added to garlic and stir-fried meals. Young ginger is lighter in color with a green stem, and is commonly eaten alongside other foods, such as the tender pink ginger that is served with sushi. It may also be pickled, usually with cucumbers and eggplant.
Indian chefs use cardamom, which can be either green or black, in a variety of ways. Green cardamom has a light, sweet taste, and can be served in desserts, lassis, or spice mixes. Black cardamom tastes the opposite, with a strong, smoky flavor which can be overpowering if the entire pod is used instead of just the seed.
Tamarind paste is a common ingredient in Malaysian foods. It comes from tamarind tree fruit, which is found in east Africa. The brown, sticky pulp from the brittle shell tastes both sweet and sour. The fruit is stirred into warm water to create a sour liquid for curries, soups, and stir-fry dishes.