Top chef shares tips for cooking flavour-filled Asian dishes at home

Top chef reveals the simple secret to creating incredible Asian dishes at home

  • One of Australia’s top Asian chefs has revealed the secrets to cooking his dishes
  • He says Asian food is ‘never perfect’ and all about balancing four key flavours
  • He likes to have palm sugar, ginger, chilli and lemon on hand at all times

Benjamin Tan has revealed the secrets to cooking Asian food

Having a well-stocked pantry is the secret to making stunning Asian-inspired dishes at home, according to one of Australia’s top chefs.

In fact Benjamin Tan, who is the executive chef at Rumble, a restaurant at The Star inspired by South-East Asian cuisine, always has chilli, lemon, lime, palm sugar and ginger on hand.

This is because the key to Asian cooking is balance. He told Seven most dishes incorporate a combination of spicy, salty, sweet or sour flavours.

These flavours are balanced by taste – rather than typical measures, he explained, so a well defined palate is a huge advantage.

‘There’s no completely perfect Asian dish, as there will always room for a bit more – a bit more spicy, salty, sweet or sour,’ he said.

Lemon or lime is the best ‘sour’ flavour for spicy food, he claimed while palm sugar is the Malysian’s favourite ingredient when sweetness is needed.

He says good Asian food is about balancing sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavours well

Ginger is non-negotiable, according to the chef, and should be in every kitchen as it adds flavour and is also great for the immune system.

Everything is served with chilli in Tan’s home – so he and his family can add as much extra spice as they desire with an effortless splash. 

The chef also spoke about other ‘flavour boosting’ ingredients he likes to use in the kitchen – which are perfect for foodies trying to recreate meals at home.

‘I use mushrooms as a natural booster. Especially dried shitake mushrooms, as it can be grinded to a powder to add a natural umami seasoning to a dish,’ he said.

Tan has become known for his ability to blend traditional Asian cooking techniques and flavours with contemporary ideas. 

‘Rumble is all about blending the familiar with the foreign; taking the traditional dishes and breaking them down using fresh local produce to create new tastes,’ he said on Instagram.

‘I’m so excited to be sharing some of the incredible multi-cultural dishes I grew up with in a way I hope surprises and delights.’

What are Benjamin Tan’s favourite ingredients? 




 Palm sugar

Shitake mushrooms 


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