“The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.” – Confucius
The Chinese take their food very seriously. Finding balance and harmony in everything is important to them and their food and cooking techniques reflect this.
Try to vary the meat and vegetables used in different dishes, so that there is an interesting variety of flavours, textures, and colors. The Chinese believe it is important to find balance and harmony in every aspect of life, including food.
If a marinade calls for starch such as cornstarch or potato starch, add it last. It will act as a binder. Also if adding cornstarch to thicken gravies or soups, add it last. If it is added early in the cooking process, starch can cause the dish to burn easily.
- When deep-frying, to tell if the oil is hot enough, simply stick a chopstick in the wok. When the oil sizzles all around it, you can begin adding the food.
Don’t be afraid of garlic, ginger or spring onions – the holy trinity in Chinese cooking. The Chinese love to eat garlic raw with their noodles, or crushed and added to cold salads. And always use fresh garlic and ginger, not dried.
Chinese cooking puts a huge emphasis on colour, fragrance and flavour. The colour should be vibrant – try to vary yellow baby corn with green snow peas and orange carrots in a stir-fry. The smell should be fragrant and aromatic. The flavour should encompass all six flavours- sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and umami – and should compliment each dish. Serve a sour dish followed by a savory dish or a spicy dish rather than serving two sour dishes in a row. Strive for variety and balance: texture, flavour, carbohydrate, protein and vitamins, moistness and dryness.
Follow these 5 simple tips and make your Chinese dishes truly authentic.
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