My (Asian) life in food: Louisa Lorang
Chef and cookbook author Louisa Lorang, known from GO 'Morgen Danmark and Maddysten on DR1, has just published the cookbook Asian Style. We met her to chat about the differences in the Asian cuisines and where she shops before turning on the burner under the wok.
What is it that makes Asian cuisine interesting to you?
It’s an expansive kitchen just like the European – just even more complex. I love both the snazzy and deep-fried elements, as well as all the piles of solid spices they use. And then, the kitchen also offers a sea of fresh, crispy vegetables and herbs that make it both healthy and tasty.
What is your favorite from Asian cuisine?
It is hard to say. But I love dumplings, among other things, because they are so great for sharing with friends and family. And then I love everything with kimchi because it contributes so much depth and flavor, whether you get it in soups, in pancakes, on rice, or chop it in mayonnaise. Okonomiyaki is also highly addictive because it is so sweet, soft, and delicious. Finally, I might mention good ramen, where you can tune the heat up pr down after your liking.
What are the main characteristics of the different Asian cuisines?
Roughly, Vietnamese cuisine offers piles of fresh herbs. Thai cuisine is, for my curries and delicious wok dishes. The Japanese cuisine is more subdued and exotic, while the Chinese cuisine offers sweetness, chili, and comfort food. But then again, this is the very simplified version.
What essential ingredients from Asian cuisine do you always have in your fridge at home?
I always have kimchi! I can eat it around the clock – also for breakfast. And then I always have chili sauce, fish sauce, a variety of curry pastes, toasted sesame oil, and miso. It’s simply an arsenal of flavors that can spice up even the rainiest gray Wednesday.
Which Asian grocery store do you use in Copenhagen?
I use wakuwaku.dk for everything from Asian shopping to Friday sweets. The selection is enormous and also fun. But I also use Torvehallerne’s small Asian shop (Din kinesiske købmand) , which I must visit when I’m in that part of town. And I’m also happy with “Chinatown” in Vesterbro because they always have what is impossible to find anywhere else – for example, fresh lotus root.
Are there any classic mistakes that we Danes often make when we throw ourselves into preparing Asian food?
I actually do not know. But I am in favor of throwing oneself into Asian cuisine without overthinking it. So taste, play, and enjoy that we can have so many fun ingredients delivered right to your door.