In China there is quite a difference between restaurant food and home cooked food, unlike in Britain where commercial kitchen equipment is just a scaled up version of our home equipment, in China there is a vast difference between the two.
You may have tried cooking Chinese restaurant food at home and been a bit disappointed that the results lack the authentic taste and texture. In this post I am going to show you some of the methods and techniques that may rectify that.
The size and shape of the ingredient should always be suitable to the method of cooking, for example if you are going to produce a quick stir fry dish the ingredients should be sliced thinly or shredded. The blending of different flavours and colours are also of the upmost importance.
There are a few essential tools most of which you will probably have in your kitchen, chopping block, spatula, ladle, strainer and steamer. The two main tools that I always arm myself with are a cleaver and a wok.
There are 5 basic flavours in Chinese cooking:
Sweet sugar, honey, jam, fruit.
Sour plum sauce, tomato sauce, vinegar
Bitter almond, orange peel herbs.
Hot peppers, ginger, mustard, chilli, chilli sauce.
Salty soybean paste, salt, soy sauce.
There are 2 very important components that are used in most Chinese restaurant dishes, and they are the basic stock, which used instead of water whenever liquid is required, and seasoned oil which must be vegetable oil of some kind. Sunflower oil is my choice for Chinese cooking.
How to season your oil
How to make the basic stock
This will be one of the first things a Chinese cook will prepare when starting work in the kitchen.
You will need:
3 spring onions each tied into a knot
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
Trim off the excess fat from the chicken and pork. Place the chicken, pork, ginger and spring onions into a large pan with the cold water and bring to the boil, then skim off any scum.
Reduce the heat but keep on the boil uncovered for 2-3 hours, by then it should have reduced by about a third.
Strain the stock, discarding the chicken, pork, ginger and onions; add the wine and return to the boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes and it is ready to use.
The stock will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, or alternatively you can freeze it in smaller containers and defrost when required.
Keep a look out for the next post in a few days, I will be telling you how to prepae and cook an authentic Chinese chicken curry and fried rice. It will taste just like you get in your favourit Chinese resaurant.
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Food pics http://www.theartisttonyrose.co.uk/