Why order chinese take out when it’s so easy to cook at home? Even if you’ve never cooked anything more complicated than French toast, this beginner’s guide to cooking chinese food can get you started in no time.
Chinese food is always a balance of colors, flavors, and textures. Harmony and balance is important to Chinese life, and it is a guiding principle in Chinese cuisine as well.
So when you make chinese food you can expect a lot of interesting ingredients, carefully orchestrated to complement each other. Try to get as fresh ingredients as you can. Wash vegetables well, drain them, and have them prepared (peeled, sliced) even before you start cooking. Don’t mix up the vegetables because they may have varying cooking times and must be put in the pan at different stages of cooking. Cut and marinate the meat and have the sauces and seasonings within arm’s reach.
Ideally you should have a wok, but any pan can be used too. First cook the vegetables that are tough and thick (Ex: broccoli, cabbage and carrots) and then add the leafy vegetables last (ex: bok choy).
Firm tofu is best for stir frying or deep frying. To prevent tofu from sticking on the pan, use sufficient oil and don’t move them until that side is cooked. (Another tip is to drain tofu well before cooking—press down with a napkin—so the oil doesn’t spatter and it absorbs sauces better).
Cooking meat and fish
Cutting beef across the grain will hlep to make it softer and tender. Also make sure the pieces are the same size so they will cook evenly. Don’t add the meat or fish to the wok until it is very hot. If you are preparing a dish that has both meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set aside before
adding the vegetables. Then, return the meat to the wok when you are in the final stages of cooking.