How to Cook Chinese Takeout Food

Chinese Takeout Food

Chinese Takeout Food: There is a wide range of Chinese dishes you might be interested in preparing, but before you embark on mastering the preparation of this Chinese food, there are a few basics you need to learn. Each recipe varies, but there are some ingredients you will see more often than others and some techniques that you should expect to use. There are also a few special cooking utensils you should consider purchasing.

Read on: 26 Tips to Start Dispatch Rider Door/Door

Stock Up On Basic Ingredients

Buy plenty of rice and noodles. Rice is definitely a key ingredient in Chinese cuisine, so you need to have plenty on hand when you want to prepare a dish. There are also certain types of noodles frequently used in Chinese cooking. These noodles are typically rice-based.

  • You can use white or brown rice. You may find that each variety of rice has its own distinctive taste.
  • As for noodles, you should primarily stock up on rice noodles, glass noodles, and tofu noodles. Rice noodles have a soft texture and are made from rice flour. Glass noodles, also called bean threads or bean vermicelli, are made from mung bean starch. Tofu noodles, also called soybean curd noodles, are made from pressed tofu and have an al dente texture.

    Chinese Takeout Food

Use the right cooking oil. Peanut oil tends to be the most common choice in China due to its aromatic fragrance. You need to make sure that the oil you choose can withstand the heat you plan on using with it. Also keep in mind that some oils have stronger tastes than others.

  • You should keep a bottle of sesame oil, but note that this oil is usually used for its flavor and not used as a cooking oil. More specifically, you can expect to drizzle it into a dish at the last minute to maximize the effect of its flavor and aroma. Use a fragrant version that is 100 percent pure rather than one mixed with vegetable oil.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are usually used for cooking purposes. Go with peanut oil if you want something with a little extra flavor. For a cleaner taste, try corn, safflower, or soya oil. Vegetable oil can also be used in a pinch, but stay away from butter, margarine, and olive oil.

    See also: 60 Related Airlines Flight Interview Questions

    Chinese Takeout Food

Familiarize yourself with common sauces and liquid seasonings. As you cook more Chinese cuisine, you will likely run across a range of sauces, pastes, and other liquid seasoning ingredients. Soy sauce is one ingredient that even beginning cooks will recognize, but there are a few others worth knowing about, as well.

  • Soy sauce is used in marinades and sauces, and some even use it as a condiment. It has a salty, savory taste, and the best varieties taste fresh. Look for brands that are naturally brewed.
  • Dark soy sauce is fermented longer than the standard type and has a sweeter, less salty taste as a result.
  • Tamari is similar to soy sauce in that it is made with more soybeans. It is thicker and has a smoother, more complex taste. You can also get a gluten-free version if your dietary needs demand it.

    Chinese Takeout Food

  • Rice vinegar is light in color and has a very mild taste. It is used to provide acid in Chinese cooking, but its acidic content is often lower than that found in American vinegar. Chinese black vinegar, on the other hand, is similar to balsamic vinegar and has a richer taste.
  • Fish sauce and oyster sauce are made from seafood extracts and various seasonings. They can have a sweet yet savory flavor and are usually found in seafood and vegetable dishes.
  • Chili sauce is a quick way to add more heat and flavor to a dish, but the amounts you use should vary depending on how spicy you want the final dish to taste.
  • Hoisin sauce is another sauce with a sweet, smoky flavor. You will usually end up using this paste-like sauce in stir-fries or with spare ribs.

    Read on: 8 Tips to Become Airlines Flight Attendant

    Chinese Takeout Food

  • Rice wine adds a bit more dimension to the flavor of sauces and marinades. It is more common to Japanese cooking than Chinese cooking, but there are a few Chinese recipes that call for a bit of rice wine. If you do not have any and cannot find it in your local grocery store, you should substitute it with a dry sherry.

Keep dry seasonings, as well. Dried herbs and spices are not quite as essential as many of the liquid seasonings you will end up using, but there are a few of these that you will use frequently in your dishes, so it can help to know about them in advance.

  • Five spice powder is made from peppercorns, star anise, cloves, fennel, and cinnamon. Occasionally, it may include coriander seeds. This blend gives dishes a complex taste combining hot, salty, and sweet flavors.
  • You will need white sugar to help balance out sour and spicy flavors.
  • Cinnamon is used to help minimize fishy tastes or greasy textures in certain dishes.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a white, crystalline seasoning that dissolves in liquid.

    Chinese Takeout Food

Know which fruits and vegetables to include. While some of the produce you find in Chinese cuisine may seem familiar, others might be new territory for you. Use fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and when it is not possible to do so, buy high-quality canned goods.

  • Garlic and ginger should be kept on hand at all times. These ingredients are used for flavor in many different dishes. You can use dried versions, but fresh versions give a stronger aroma and taste.
  • Mushrooms are fairly common ingredients, but look for types specifically labeled as “Chinese mushrooms.” These tend to be fairly intense in flavor. Note, though, that you will usually need to buy them in dried form.
  • Fresh vegetables worth checking out include bell peppers, chili peppers, cucumbers, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, snow peas, carrots, white onions, green onions, and eggplant. Fresh fruit you might need include tomatoes and pineapples.

    Read on: How to Cook Chinese Takeout Food

    Chinese Takeout Food

Use fitting sources of protein. Eggs are a common source of protein in Chinese dishes. Tofu is another popular choice. Note, however, that Chinese food can include a variety of meats, poultry, and seafood.

  • Eggs are included in Chinese soups, stir-fries, and other dishes, so you should have some stocked.
  • Chicken, duck, pork, and beef are among the most common forms of meat used, while shrimp and crab to be among the most common forms of seafood used.

Grab a Few Special Cooking Utensils

Take out the wok. A wok is a specific type of bowl-shaped pan used for stovetop cooking. With its high sides and sturdy base, it is suitable for most cooking techniques that involve hot oil or other hot liquids. The shape itself is designed to spread heat evenly.

  • A traditional round-bottom wok works well if you have a gas stove. With these types, you can toss food around inside the pan more easily while containing most grease splatters.
  • A flat-bottom wok works better if you have an electric stove since it can balance on the stove more effectively. These woks usually have long handles that enable you to shift food around in the pan by tilting it, but the heat is spread a little less evenly than in round wok.

    See also: The Top 24 Hour Food Delivery Near Me

    Chinese Takeout Food

Practice using cooking chopsticks. Chopsticks are essential eating tools if you want to eat Chinese food in a traditional manner, but they also make excellent cooking utensils. Make sure that you actually use chopsticks made for cooking, though, since these are usually longer an may be joined at the end with a string to help hold them together.

  • Use chopsticks when you need to turn and lift fried foods, mix stir-fried foods, or stir soups.
  • If you do not have chopsticks, though, you could perform most of the same tasks with a standard set of tongs, mixing spoon, or spatula, depending on the task at hand.

Use a cleaver. A Chinese cleaver is essentially a large knife you use for cutting vegetables and meat. It has a heavy, smooth blade and is very sharp, making it capable of cutting through even the woodiest of vegetables.

  • When holding the cleaver, place your index finger over the top of the blade and your thumb and middle finger knuckle on either side of the blade.
  • Form a “cat’s paw” with your other hand to protect your fingertips as you hold the food you cut in place on the cutting board.

    Read on: 10 Best Places To Get A Takeout In The Greater Pittsburgh Area

    Chinese Takeout Food

Invest in a rice cooker. While a rice cooker is not absolutely essential, having one will definitely make your life easier if you plan on making Chinese food frequently. These appliances come in a range of sizes, so make sure that you choose one based on the number of people you will usually end up serving when you cook.

  • If you do not have a rice cooker, though, you could make rice on the stove with a standard saucepan and lid. It can be more difficult to cook the rice evenly this way, but it is certainly doable.

Learn how to use a steamer. If you plan on making a lot of steamed Chinese food, invest in a traditional bamboo steamer. These steamers come in stackable layers, so you can cook up to four or five dishes at once. Dishes that require more cooking are placed on the bottom layer, while those needing less are placed in a higher layer.

  • You can use other types of steamers if you do not have a bamboo one, though. A standard metal steamer works well. In a pinch, you could also place a wire mesh strainer inside a stockpot with a little boiling water and a lid.

    See also: 10 Places to Find and Eat Asian Food in the U.S.

Practice Key Cooking Technique

Master the art of stir-frying. This is the most essential cooking technique you will need to know, so learn it as thoroughly as possible. You will heat a little oil in a wok or similar pan and cook food quickly over high heat.

  • You will usually need to slice the food or shred it into small pieces. Small pieces cook faster and more evenly, which is why they are suitable for this technique.
  • The oil is added to the preheated wok. Fragrant ingredients are cooked after that, followed by the main ingredients. Add the sauce and spices immediately before the meat browns, then remove the meat and cook any vegetables.

    Chinese Takeout Food

Familiarize yourself with other forms of frying. Even though stir-frying is the cooking technique most commonly associated with Chinese foods, if you want to master Chinese cuisine, you should also learn a few other frying techniques.

  • Quick stir-frying is similar to standard stir-frying, but you use a basic sauce to cook the ingredients instead of an oil.
  • Flash-frying is also similar to stir-frying, but you use even higher heat to cook the food almost instantaneously. Meat is usually coated in eggs and starches to help contain the juices.
  • Deep-frying is done in a heavy pot with a large amount of oil. This oil needs to be kept close to the smoke point throughout the cooking process, and the foods must be dry when submerged in the oil. The foods should also be cooked a little at a time and completely submerged.
  • Paper wrapped deep-frying is similar to standard deep-frying, but small pieces of fish or meat are wrapped in cellophane before being submerged in the hot oil.
  • Pan-frying or shallow frying is done with a small amount of oil and a low to moderate heat.

    Chinese Takeout Food

Steam your meals. Steaming is a fairly common technique and is often used when preparing lighter dishes without oil or sauce. For instance, you might prepare filled dumplings with a steamer.

  • During the cooking process, the food must never come into direct contact with the boiling water below the steaming rack.

Learn about red cooking. Red cooking is fairly exclusive to Chinese cuisine. You would usually use it with large cuts of meat or poultry.

Know how to boil and stew. There are a handful of different cooking techniques used in Chinese cuisine that involve some form of boiling or simmering liquid.

  • Stews are fairly common, but most Chinese stews only have meat in them instead of meat and vegetables. Traditionally, these stews would be cooked in an earthenware pot over a slow charcoal fire, and the result is a thick stew with meat that is nearly like jelly in terms of tenderness.
  • You may blanch or poach food. During this process, food is quickly cooked in boiling water or boiling stock. Blanched foods are only in the liquid for a few brief moments, while poached foods are cooked until done.
  • Boiled foods are cooked in boiling water, as would be expected. Multiple-item boils involve several different ingredients being boiled together.
  • Quick-stewing is a cross between stewing and boiling. Foods are quickly cooked in boiling water or stock. A thickener is then mixed in and the contents of the pot are brought to a boil until thickened.

    See also: 8 Chinese Restaurants Near You To Try If You Are Hungry

    Chinese Takeout Food

Have some basic knowledge about roasting. Roasting is rarely used in Chinese cooking since most Chinese kitchens do not have an oven. If you plan on making certain restaurant-style dishes like Peking Duck, though, you will still need to know how to oven-roast food.

Practice key pre-cooking techniques, as well. In addition to the actual cooking techniques used when preparing Chinese food, you should also be aware of various pre-cooking practices you might expect to run across.

  • Marinating is the most important to know. Standard marinating is used for fruits and vegetables in Chinese cuisine, and involves soaking these ingredients in wine, soy sauce, vinegar, and various seasonings. Wine-steeping is a specific type of marinating that uses some form of wine.
  • Dry-marinating is usually done with meats. Dry spices and seasonings are rubbed onto the ingredients and left to bleed into the food before cooking.
  • Marinate-in-mash is a special type of marinating that involves placing the ingredients into a fermented grain mash leftover from the wine-making process.
  • Pounding refers to the process of pounding meat with the flat side of a cleaver or with the end of the cleaver. This tenderizes the meat before you cook it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like