As a Chinese cuisine lover, you know that eating out isn’t always a viable option. Even if your favorite takeaway business is reasonably priced, after the fourth or fifth visit in a month, the costs start to pile up, and who among us can truly go a week without Chinese food? Because of this, the only true choice is to learn how to make it yourself. There is so much history and so much to choose from that it’s hard to know where to begin!
It’s not as difficult as it seems to set up a modest pantry for Chinese cuisine in your own home with a little research. So, read on to find out some of the best culinary methods, tricks, and hacks to completely transform your cooking abilities and make you a true Chinese food master.
High heat is key
Wok hei, or “wok energy,” refers to the high-heat tossing that traditional Chinese cooks do over the special burner called wok burner, and it’s a fundamental tool in Chinese cooking. Most Chinese restaurants employ burners with very high octane ratings, which are like miniature jet engines capable of discharging more than 100,000 BTU per minute. To put it in perspective, a typical home burner generates just 400-18,000 BTUs.
In order to prevent food from burning, the bottom of a quality wok can only achieve a temperature of 750 degrees Fahrenheit. A Maillard reaction occurs, resulting in a deep browning of the metal. The rich taste is a direct result of the high heat cooking. Therefore, invest in a fine wok and a burner to get the most authentic taste of Asian cuisine right from your kitchen.
The right cooking oil makes all the difference
Cooking with the wrong oil might result in your food tasting a bit off. It is traditional in China for people to use peanut oil because it has excellent aromas. If you’re going to cook with it, ensure sure the oil you use can take a lot of heat.
Naturally, always have in mind that different oils have different flavors. Having a bottle of sesame oil on hand is a good idea, but bear in mind that this oil is often used as a flavoring, not to cook with. Specifically, you may sprinkle it into a dish once it’s done.
When it comes to cooking, polyunsaturated oils are almost always the right option. If you’re looking for something a bit more flavorful, use peanut oil. Try corn, safflower, or soya oil if you don’t want the taste of oil to be overpowering. Avoid using butter, margarine, and olive oil! They’re never used in Chinese cooking!
Make a lot of rice
If you’d love to have some kind of Chinese dish a couple of times a week, you should always have some rice meal prepped. Cooked rice can hold up to a week in a fridge which is why it’s so great to cook a large batch and always have it at hand. Additionally, if you love fried rice, rice that is a bit stale is preferred over freshly cooked one. This is because it’s less moist and therefore much easier to fry.
Steaming is rarely used in western cooking which is why it’s crucial to get a hang of it if you’d like to master Chinese cuisine. Steaming is a typical cooking method for Chinese cookery, especially for meals that don’t call for a lot of fat or sauce. For example, you may use a steamer to make stuffed dumplings.
Under no circumstances should the food come into touch with the hot water directly below the steaming rack. If it dies, it’ll be boiled rather than steamed.
Think about the ingredients
Apart from rice, noodles, and protein sources, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables in Chinese cuisine. While some of the ingredients in Chinese food may be recognizable to you, others may be completely unfamiliar.
At all times, garlic and ginger should be found in your kitchen. Although dried versions may be used, fresh ones have a more robust flavor and aroma. If you’re going to use mushrooms, be sure to seek ones that are labeled “Chinese mushrooms.” The taste of them is usually rather intense. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll almost always have to purchase them dry.
Bell peppers, chili peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, carrots, white onions, green onions, and eggplant are just a few of the fresh veggies worth stocking up on. Tomatoes and pineapples are examples of fresh fruits that you may require.