Canadian chef anna olson is inspired by asian food –

It is 11.30am on a sunny Tuesday morning and I am hovering over a hot stove, staring intently at the bubbling contents inside – a medley of rice, coconut milk and shrimp. Easy homemade white pasta sauce recipe I have never cooked a risotto before and have been paired with three other girls who – as luck would have it – have also never cooked the dish before. Tomato pasta sauce recipe We are using a combination of common sense and our wits to forge ahead, but anxiety is still omnipresent in the kitchen.

Then, like a ray of sunshine, Canadian celebrity chef Anna Olson walks by, a wide, disarming smile adorning her face. Healthy homemade pasta sauce from scratch “Ooh, that looks lovely. Homemade pasta sauce to can You guys are doing a fantastic job,” she says.

Instantly, spirits lift and we all do an internal high five.

How do you make homemade sauce for pasta It isn’t every day you get a chef, much less a celebrity chef, all to yourself for a masterclass and if she says you’re doing a good job, well, don’t change anything you’re doing!

“This isn’t so difficult after all,” I think to myself as I ladle out hot, heaping spoonfuls of the finished risotto and marvel at the fact that this velvety soft, delicious dish has been made from scratch by culinary neophytes.

Olson’s Shrimp and Coconut Risotto is inspired by the Malaysian nasi lemak and is one of the many dishes that she adapted from classic Asian dishes.

Olson’s Shrimp and Coconut Risotto is one of the many appealing recipes from her brand-new series, Inspired With Anna Olson. Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with canned tomatoes Already a familiar face in the region, Olson has been on television since 2002.

Predominantly known as a pastry chef (although she is trained as a chef too), Olson’s vivacious, bubbly personality has made itself felt on shows like Baked, Sugar and Fresh With Anna Olson.

In her new 10-episode culinary series Inspired With Anna Olson, the Asian culinary scene is heralded and celebrated. Homemade sauce for pasta and chicken The show plays out as a homage to Olson’s love of and fascination with Asian cuisine, specifically from the South-East Asian region, as she travels through Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

The first part of each episode sees Olson visiting hawker stalls and the homes of food enthusiasts and chefs like Chef Wan, and AFC’S Food Hero winners Ili Sulaiman and Sarah Benjamin.

They introduce the intrepid Canadian to a smorgasbord of local and regional dishes like nasi lemak bungkus, sambal, Nyonya laksa, prawn mee, kaya toast, short rib adobo and pho bo. Homemade pasta sauce and meatballs After sampling the dishes and dissecting the techniques and flavours involved, Olson creates brand new recipes inspired by her discoveries, in the second half of each episode.

In the second part of each episode, Olson creates brand new dishes based on the recipes she discovered on her travels around Asia. Homemade pasta sauce using canned tomatoes As this part of the episode was filmed in Canada, she made do with limited ingredients, including tinned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut milk.

“That’s where the concept of Inspired With Anna Olson came about. Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe from garden tomatoes Not only do I come to a country like Malaysia, but I work with a local chef or food expert and they show me what’s behind the dish, so it’s not like a travelogue – I want to know what’s at the heart of the dish and the person behind it, and that’s where I find my inspiration,” she says.

There’s a lot of history and technique behind many Asian dishes. Homemade pasta sauce from scratch recipe The grinding of spices for a sambal, the varied cooking methods and flavours underscoring a nasi lemak – these are all dishes which are labour-intensive and have been around for aeons. Sauce for pasta with shrimp So Olson was adamant that she wasn’t going to merely recreate these classic dishes, or in her own words, be “a copycat”.

The result is a show rich with varied flavours and intuitive interpretations. Best sauce for homemade pasta Like an Atlantic lobster chowder inspired by the rich broth of prawn mee or a pickled jalapeno salsa derived from the humble sambal. Homemade pasta sauce with meat It is both interesting and enlightening to learn the many possibilities with and inspirations from local dishes.

“I brought home those ideas, and maybe it was integrating a few ingredients into a Western dish, or taking something I’d already been making and changing a technique to reflect my now-Asian influence.

“I would never presume to just recreate a dish to share back with South-East Asia. Homemade pasta sauce mario batali You don’t need me to tell you how to make laksa, right?” she says.

Olson admits that she didn’t have the time to visit the smaller cities in many of the countries she visited, focusing instead on capital cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, where she hoped to get a proper initiation into what was available. Homemade red pasta sauce But if there is a second season of the series, she is determined to branch out to other parts of South-East Asia and explore the cuisines in different cities too.

Doing the show also opened Olson’s eyes to the vast panoply of ingredients and produce available in the region – some of which she had tasted, but didn’t really fully understand.

“Even though I had been to South-East Asia before, I didn’t know what belacan was. Homemade pasta meat sauce I thought sambal belacan was a type of chilli sauce, but I didn’t understand that belacan is a fermented shrimp paste that gets cooked into the chilli sauce. Sauce for homemade pasta So learning about things like that was altogether different, and helped me appreciate the complexity of the sauce, how to use it and what it goes with,” she says.

Travelling and speaking to food experts in the region also gave Olson opportunities to learn new techniques, and inadvertently shattered some pre­conceived notions she had.

Like the time she thought she knew all about how bread was made (being a pastry chef and all) but ended up getting schooled all over again, when she realised that the dough for traditional steamed buns in Hong Kong had to be folded 20 times (!) rather than the three or four times she was convinced was enough!

Although Olson confesses that food in her part of the world and South-East Asia is very different, sometimes the ties that bind are more similar than anyone could imagine.

In making the series, Olson worked with food experts and chefs from the region, like the celebrated Chef Wan who taught her how to make nyonya laksa and onde-onde.

“When I was cooking with Chef Wan, he made onde-onde. Homemade pasta sauce for canning It was great to learn that technique and he talked about how he made it with his grandmother. Homemade pasta sauce from tomatoes Well, it reminded me of the coconut doughnut holes that I used to make with my grandmother.

“So here we were, across the planet from each other, making these little coconut-covered treats, in different ways with different recipes… but the connection was our grandmothers and that’s something to love and share,” she says.

Olson says she’s learnt a lot from this experience and benefitted greatly from the step-by-step crash course she went through at the hands of her Asian tutors. Homemade pasta sauce recipe nz It was an experience she treasures and one that she hopes will resonate with her South-East Asian viewers as much as it has with her.

“When I was working on the recipes, I was actually thinking more about my South-East Asian viewers, because I like to share my style and they’ve supported me so much over the years. Tomato pasta sauce using passata So this is kind of my way of saying ‘thank you’ and here’s what I’d like to give back. Homemade pasta sauce healthy I dearly hope it’s well-received,” she says.

Although Olson is already on the move, hatching the next series of her popular show Baked, she says Inspired With Anna Olson has inspired her in more ways than one.

“I have a coconut soufflé in there, I have steamed barbecue buns and a mango mousse dessert. Homemade tomato spaghetti sauce fresh tomatoes All of a sudden, that’s the inspiration – it’s now the fabric that is my culinary personality,” she says.