Traditionally, side dishes recipes are used to whet the appetite of those getting ready to enjoy a main course meal. Side dish recipes, however, can serve different purposes in different situations. For example, in many modern restaurants side dishes are designed to be enjoyed alongside the main course - such as shrimp with a main course of fresh onion soup. The basic nature of a side dish is to be complimentary to the overall meal experience, and to keep the eater comfortable while the main part of the meal is being prepared. A great side dish should excite and intrigue the person eating into being excited about what the upcoming meal may be.
Nibbling Side Dish Recipes:
Side dishes can sometimes be designed for occasional enjoyment, these differ from soups and set meals in that they can be shared and snacked on while socializing and waiting for food. Typically, these are chips and dip, or some other form of finger food such as puff pastry bites. Different types of restaurants have different ideas of how extravagant a side dish needs to be, and western restaurants often tend to favor these simple and savory bite-size treats. In practice, the difference between a side dish and an appetizer, particularly in western cultures, has blurred somewhat.
Sharing Side Dish Recipes:
It is common in Asian eating to enjoy side dishes in sociable circumstances. In other words, these are foods that serve two purposes - to compliment the meal, and to bring the people eating together. As an example, a light rice and meat selection may be shared over dipping sauces that can be passed around and enjoyed. In this scenario, the focus is on food as a social tool, and is therefore given in smaller amounts.
Combination Side Dish Recipes:
Some side dishes are intended to be enjoyed together with the main course. One classic example of this is bread rolls, which have been enjoyed with meals for many years. In fact, bread with food is so common that it is given in restaurants before any ordering has taken place. Bread rolls can be used to mop up gravy and they offer certain bulkiness to lighter meals that can help fill the stomach and add a needed starchy texture.
Side dishes have been used as complimentary options for as long as food has been served, but they are not for everybody. Those with smaller appetites may find that this is too much food and cannot handle the extra servings. They may also find that the additional dishes can detract from the effort that has gone into the main courses. However, some feel that side dishes offer a contrasting option to the main course and enhance the overall theme of the meal being eaten. It is a very personal decision but one that certainly carries many advantages. Whether it is a simple side of cottage cheese or an exotic spice dip, there is something very adventurous about side dishes that turn an everyday meal into an event and a meal to remember.
Chef Qing Hua, grew up helping in a food stall and learned about traditional cooking methods there. He received a diploma from the Overseas Institute of Cookery of Hong Kong and later traveled to many places to learn about various cooking methods, ingredients used and various recipes like side dish recipes