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Typical Asian Ingredients Chef Janine Uses in Our Ketogenic Kitchen

Chef Janine considers herself as a culinary and cultural ambassador of East and the West. Food brings people all together. And that is no different for the Asian American community. Food is how they show love. It’s how they communicate, how they cope and find comfort. And the Asian food is as diverse as the Asian American community with numerous ethnicities.

Here is a list of the typical Asian ingredients Chef Janine uses in our ketogenic kitchen.

Bok choy

This leafy green, mild in flavor with a tender yet crunchy center and vibrant, slightly bitter leaves, is a Chinese cabbage. It has vitamins C and E and beta-carotene (all inflammation fighters), as well as fiber, which supports good digestion and keeps you satiated. The delicious way to prepare bok choy is to sauté it in a pan with garlic and ginger until just wilted. Drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil is a potent flavor enhancer. A little sesame oil goes a long way when it comes to flavor and aroma.

Sesame oil is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants that help fight damaging free radicals in the body, and tyrosine (an amino acid) which boosts levels of the mood-lifting hormone serotonin.

Toasted sesame oil has a low smoke point. Consequently it is advisable to cook with a different oil (such as avocado oil) and add a small amount of sesame oil into a sauce.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are tiny, oil-rich seeds that may have various health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. They are also a good source of fiber, protein, calcium, and antioxidants.


Seaweed is packed with nutrients. It contains iodine, which supports thyroid function, as well as iron, which is critical to healthy oxygenated blood. It also contains protein and antioxidants.

Aside from being used to make sushi or a seaweed salad, try nori furikake (a seaweed rice seasoning) as a great addition to Asian dishes or sprinkled over avocado toast.


Aromatic scallions are used as a garnish in countless Asian cuisines. It’s high in vitamin K and quercetin (an antioxidant that combats inflammation). Stir-fried, braised, grilled, or marinated scallions can be added to just about any dish. A favorite way we use them is to chop and mix into our homemade fried  cauli rice or hearts of palm rice.


Traditional Korean kimchi is made from fermented cabbage. It contains probiotics that support a healthy gut. It’s good all on its own as a snack, or it can be added to stews, stir-fries, sandwiches, egg dishes and Korean bibimbap bowls.


Daikon is a type of Japanese radish that’s whiter and longer than the common red radishes. Daikon is used in cooked East Asian dishes, as well as pickled. It has a high water content and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger, aka GARI is made from sweet, thinly sliced ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. For ketogenic purposes, we use monk fruit sweetener in place of sugar. Younger ginger is preferred because of its tender flesh and natural sweetness. It is often served on the side of sushi, and in Asian salads.

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are edible shoots of bamboo plants that are rich in fiber, copper, and vitamins B6 and E. They may help lower cholesterol, promote gut health, and support weight loss. However, they also contain traceable amounts of cyanide and goitrogens that are reduced by cooking.

Fish/Oyster Sauce

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish — usually anchovies — that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is used as a staple seasoning in East and Southeast Asian cuisine (Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam). Fish sauce has been embraced globally by chefs due to its ability to add a savory umami flavor to dishes.

Oyster sauce is a reduction of the water used to poach shucked oysters. It is an oyster concentrate. Commercial oyster sauce may contain salt, sugar and soy sauce.

Sambal Olek

Sambal is an Indonesian chili sauce/paste, typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, and lime juice.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is a general flavor enhancer liquid condiment used for just about any savory dish (steamed vegetables, on a salad, vegetable stir-fry, etc.). Coconut aminos is made from the fermented sap of a coconut palm tree and sea salt. In ketogenic cooking, coconut aminos are used in place of soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio. It's gluten-free and considerably lower in sodium than soy sauce. It does cost significantly more than soy sauce though.

Thai Curry Paste

Thai curry is a dish in Thai cuisine made from curry paste, coconut milk or water, meat, seafood, vegetables, and herbs. Curries in Thailand mainly differ from the curries in India in their use of ingredients such as herbs and aromatic leaves over a mix of spices.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Rice wine vinegar, also known as rice vinegar, is made by fermenting the starches and sugars in rice until they convert into alcohol and then eventually into acetic acid, which is responsible for vinegar’s acidic taste. It is made with white rice, brown rice, or black rice. Rice vinegar is commonly used to add acidity to many Asian dishes, from Chinese stir-fry to Japanese sushi. It’s also used in pickling, and to make light, flavorful salad dressings, vinaigrettes, and dipping sauces, and can serve as part of a marinade. It is a staple condiment in Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese pantries.

Rice Paper

Rice paper is made from rice flour, water, and salt. It is typically steamed or soaked in water before being used to wrap various fillings. One of the primary reasons why many people opt for rice paper is because it is gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten intolerances or celiac disease. Rice paper is low in calories, making it a relatively healthy option for wrapping up fresh vegetables and lean proteins. Due to its relatively high carb content, it is advisable to use rice paper sparingly in ketogenic cooking. Rice paper is particularly popular to make spring rolls and summer rolls, and is surely a healthier alternative to traditional wheat-based wraps.

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are thin, translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam. They are part of traditional Japanese cuisine, but they are also valuable to people with allergies or intolerances to wheat, gluten or eggs, or, for their low caloric value, to people restricting their energy intake by dieting.

Thai Basil

Thai basil is a type of basil native to Southeast Asia. Its distinctive flavor is anise- and licorice-like and slightly spicy. It is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of regular sweet basil. Thai basil has small, narrow leaves, purple stems, and pink-purple flowers.

Szechuan Pepper

Szechuan pepper, also known as Sichuan pepper, is a spice commonly used in Sichuan cuisine in China, in Nepal, and in northeast India. Despite its name, Sichuan pepper is not closely related to black pepper or chili peppers. It is made from plants of the genus Zanthoxylum in the family Rutaceae, which includes citrus.

Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are the tender, crunchy crisp root that grows out of a bean. they're mostly made out of water, thus low-calorie. They . Bean sprouts are immature seeds that can be eaten raw or cooked. They are nutrient-dense, rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and peptides that may support blood pressure, cancer prevention, digestion, eye health, and heart health.


Lemongrass is a grass-like ingredient with a pungent lemony, herbaceous, and sweetly floral flavor. It is native to the tropical regions of Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is used in Asian cooking (especially in Southeastern Asia), and found most often in Thai cuisine. Since lemongrass is rather fibrous and can even be woody, it's best when finely minced. Similar to bay leaves, when we use larger pieces, we remove them before serving the dish.

It's relatively easy to grow in a home herb garden and is a nice plant for containers. It is also used as medicine. It can help with anxiety, colds, fever, and more.

Mushrooms in Asian Cuisine

In Asian cooking, mushrooms give extra umami flavors, fragrance and textures to a plethora of dishes. They are savored in stir-fries, sushi, braised delights, deep-fries, soups and more. They are delicious in meat, seafood and veggie dishes. Mushrooms deliver all sorts of health benefits, including the boosting of immunity.

Shiitake mushrooms usually come dried and appear cracked. Deeper fissures and whole mushrooms with larger caps tend to have more flavor so look for those when you’re shopping. They are used in curries, soups, or sautéd along with vegetables!

Wood ear fungus are black, thin, wrinkled mushrooms with a soft and smooth texture. They are a high source of fibre and contain many antioxidants, iron, protein, and vitamins B1 and B2.

Enoki mushrooms are long, skinny, white, and bunched together. They typically have a soft, chewy texture and are a highly versatile ingredient for cooking.

Oyster mushrooms are large, fan-shaped mushrooms with white flesh and a grey, brown exterior. They have a meaty texture when compared to other mushrooms but can also be soft textured. Canned oyster mushrooms are also available.

White button mushrooms are probably what you think of when someone mentions mushrooms, they are stout, round, and white hence the name white button mushroom. Although you can eat them raw, cooking them brings out their full fragrance. Try white button mushrooms sautéed, in salads, or soups!

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