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A Beginners Guide to Chinese Cookery

Posted on March 4, 2022 by Chase Demko

To assist you to on the way to cooking Chinese food in the home, I'll briefly describe the essential equipment, ingredients and techniques that you have to know to enable you to produce some simple and tasty dishes. I am hoping you enjoy this article and that it inspires one to get cooking!


Although there are several implements and devices you can purchase, to start on the path to cooking your personal Chinese food, you truly only require a good knife or two and a wok. Woks can be found in all sizes and shapes, they may be non-stick, flat-bottomed, they are able to even be electric nowadays but I still prefer my old carbon steel wok with it's rounded bottom and something wooden handle. This can be a Pau wok. They are easily available in Chinese supermarkets and so are significantly less expensive than other varieties. There's one important task though, before you'll be prepared to cook with this type of wok which is to season it. You will have to scrub it with a cream cleaner to eliminate any residues of machine oil and dry it carefully. Put the wok on the hob over a minimal heat. Rub the within of the wok with two tablespoons of cooking oil using kitchen towel. Allow wok heat slowly for 10 to a quarter-hour then wipe the within with an increase of kitchen towel. The paper should come away black. Keep on coating, heating and cleaning off before kitchen towel comes away clean. Your wok is currently prepared to use. After use, wash only in water without detergent and dry thoroughly over a minimal heat. You may even apply just a little oil if you want. This should avoid the wok from rusting but if it can develop rust, just scrub and season again.

As well because the wok, you will require a wok stand, especially if you have a power hob. This keeps the wok stable if you work with it for braising or deep frying.

You may also need something to stir with - any spatula, slice or slotted spoon can do - metal for a metal wok and plastic or wooden for a non-stick wok.


Before you rush out and purchase up the complete Chinese section at the supermarket, be aware that some ingredients don't keep well if left unused. Just select something simple from your own chosen cookery book and purchase things that you will need for that then you can certainly expand your selection as you progress through different dishes.

Some common store-cupboard things that you will probably need are dark and light soy sauce, some type of cooking oil and sesame oil, cornflour and rice wine or sherry. To learn more, see my article Chinese Cooking - Ingredients and Equipment.



The renowned Chinese cooking technique is stir-frying. That's where your wok makes its as it's size and shape (at the very least 14 inches diameter with deep sides) is fantastic for quick cooking. The trick to successful stir-frying would be to have all of your ingredients ready beforehand.

Meat ought to be cut based on the recipe but normally in thin strips. Vegetables likewise however in any event ought to be of similar sizes and shapes to make sure even cooking. Long thin vegetables such as for example spring onions, carrots or asparagus tend to be cut on the diagonal in order that more surface is exposed for quicker cooking. Measure out sauce ingredients - check the recipe - if they're all put into the dish simultaneously, it is possible to put all of them in one normal size bowl. If cornflour is roofed, do not forget to give it an excellent stir before increasing another food.

Once you have everything prepared, heat your wok until it is extremely hot adding oil and making use of your chosen stirring implement make sure that the oil is evenly distributed on the surface of the wok. Before you add your ingredients. the wok ought to be so hot that it's almost smoking - this can avoid the food from being greasy. The exception to the is if you're flavouring your oil with garlic, chilli, spring onions, ginger or salt - these will burn if the oil is too hot.

Now add your other ingredients in the order stated in the recipe and toss them on the surface of the wok making certain nothing rests in a single place for too much time and moving the meals from the centre of the wok to the sides. I would recommend that you wear an apron or other protective clothing because of this operation because the food often spits because of the high temperature it really is cooked at.

Deep Frying

You may use your wok for deep frying but be careful that it's safely balanced on its stand. For no reason leave it unattended. Deep frying in a wok uses less oil when compared to a deep fryer or saucepan nevertheless, you could find these safer and simpler to use.

When deep frying, make certain that the oil is hot enough before adding ingredients or the meals find yourself very greasy. Test drive it by dropping in a little little bit of prepared food or perhaps a cube of bread. If the oil bubbles up around everything you dropped in then it's hot enough.

Make sure food to be deep fried is dried thoroughly on kitchen paper or drained of its marinade before cooking otherwise it'll spit.

Shallow Frying

This is equivalent to the Western technique. Fry food using one side, then your other and drain off any excess oil before adding sauce ingredients. A standard frying pan is okay because of this.


Steaming is trusted in Chinese cookery. You may use a bamboo steamer in a wok, a heat-proof plate positioned on a rack in a wok or other large pan or you should use a standard European steamer.

If utilizing a bamboo steamer or plate in a wok, produce 2 inches of water to a simmer. Put your rack in to the wok and balance your plate or steamer of food onto it. Put the lid on your own steamer or wok and check occasionally to see if the water needs topping up (use water that is already hot).

Whichever method you utilize, ensure that the meals is above the water level and isn't getting wet.


As with Western cooking, braising can be used for tougher cuts of meat and involves gentle cooking of meat and/or vegetables in flavoured stock. Red-braising may be the technique where food is braised in a dark liquid such as for example soy sauce gives the meals a red/brown colour. This kind of braising sauce could be frozen and re-used.