Chinese cuisine is a globally popular ethnic food, and 40,000 restaurants can be found in Australia alone. Chinese restaurant food cooking can seem complicated at first, but it is actually very accessible and easy. With the right tools, knowledge of technique, and some helpful advice, anyone can make delicious Chinese dishes at home. When you go to a Chinese restaurants, try avoiding the large buffet-style establishments where there are salty and greasy foods. Although eating out may seem simple, there are a seven steps to eating healthy at chinese restaurants.
Take a look at the top 4 tips for cooking Chinese food at home.
1 – Make sure you have the necessary ingredients
Most grocery stores carry some Asian ingredients, but they are usually not the high-quality ingredients used by authentic Chinese cooks. If you have an Asian neighborhood nearby, you will find they offer a much wider range of Chinese ingredients. Asian groceries and produce markets typically carry higher quality foods. For example, good rice wine is essential to many dishes you may want to make at home. The rice wine found in the average grocery store is not of high quality. Many foods, such as produce items, noodles, vinegar, and sauces, require months of ageing to develop their full flavor.
2 – The right tools and equipment are essential.
Chinese kitchens are typically small and simple, requiring only a few essential items to cook the cuisine alone. A good, sharp knife is essential for flavorful dishes. You’ll be cutting and cooking a large amount of produce when you make Chinese dishes, so a quality blade is vital. Appropriate slicing is essential to ensure cooking uniformity and many recipes require meat and vegetables that are thinner than average. It is crucial to have a variety of knives in your kitchen. A chef’s knife and santoku, boning knife, small knife, and serrated bread knife are the essential pieces for your cutlery lineup.
When you cook at home, a wok with a rounded bottom might not work for making stir-fried dishes. The rounded bottom of this pan makes it difficult to heat the whole surface evenly, while a wok-style pan has a flat bottom for better heating. Cast iron and high-grade carbon steel are the best wok materials to look for since they hold heat better than cheaper alternatives.
3 – Learning the various techniques
You’ve probably noticed that Chinese restaurants tend to serve food very quickly. That’s because recipes are very quick to make once you have your ingredients ready. The cooking part of the process only takes a fraction of the time it takes to prepare everything for cooking! To avoid cooking disasters, I always prepare all of the needed ingredients and cooking utensils before I start. In Chinese cooking, the main cooking method is stir-frying. This is done over high heat for short periods of time. When cooking at a high temperature (as seen in stir-frying and searing), it’s important to continuously make sure there is movement on the surface of the food; otherwise, it will burn quickly. Bamboo steamers are suitable for this, but you can use any steamer. Few Chinese dishes are fried or deep-fried compared to other cuisines, but because of western influences, the “Chinese food” we know is typically deep-fried. After all, what’s a Chinese combo plate without chicken balls, right?
4 – Try new things!
Some dishes that we are accustomed to in Australia originate in Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese recipes. Although some people think of Australian Chinese food as new cuisine, they are actually dishes that you would not find in China. There are many different culinary regions in China, though, and they all have differences in cooking styles, methods, dishes, and recipes. The food from Jiangsu is renowned for being spicy and full of flavour with dishes that showcase meat, chicken, pork, crab, seafood, or even turtle. One dish from the Fujian region is provided in a clear soup made with many different types of fish and seafood.
Once you’ve mastered some of the traditional dishes that you’re used to getting from take-out, try out some of the unique recipes from other regions in China. Your dinner guests will be impressed with your menu. They’ll like the food.