‘Cooking is LOVE made visible.’
A Chinese cooking technique where ingredients are fried in a small amount of oil in a very hot wok. Originating in China it rapidly spread throughout Asia along the trading routes across the old Silk Road. The benefits of stir- frying include the use of very little oil, which makes the food low in fat and calories, and the high heat cooks the food quickly, retaining its nutrients.
It is important to prepare all recipe ingredients in advance – once cooking starts there will be no time for chopping. Ensure all your ingredients are chopped evenly, allowing everything to be cooked at the same time. Once the food is in the wok, you need to flip it regularly to avoid burning and sticking to the bottom of the wok. Use a ladle, wooden spoon or spatula to scoop the food efficiently.
Serve the food immediately after cooking or the ingredients will lose their natural texture and flavor.
A traditional Chinese cooking technique that uses very little to no oil, wonderful for preparing healthy dishes. The process involves boiling water continuously in a wok or pan, creating steam and placing the food directly above the steam, which cooks the food. (Note: It is important to keep the food separate from the boiling water.)
Once you try steaming food you’ll become an instant fan – ingredients are kept moist and vegetables retain a lot more of their nutrients, plus washing up is a doddle as most dishes are cooked in one pot.
An important technique used in Chinese cooking, food is often prepared in advance with a coating of cornflour and egg before being plunged into hot oil. Although many believe this to be an unhealthy cooking method, the food seals very quickly on the outside, preventing further oil being absorbed. Food has a crisp outside texture while the inside remains very moist and juicy.
Shallow-frying or sautéing
This technique uses less oil than deep-frying; ingredients are first cooked on one side and then flipped over to cook the other side, ideal if using a shallow wok or frying pan. Shallow-fried or sautéed food is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
This technique is used to thicken sauces. Typically the thickening agent is a cornflour slurry (cornflour and a little water mixed, but potato starch can be used as well) which is poured into the dish at the end of the cooking process to thicken the sauce.
Whereas many of the recipes in this book give you the ingredient quantities to serve 2-4 people, if you are preparing a meal for the whole family or planning a large gathering, you can simply multiply the ingredients to increase the dishes to serve your extra guests. However, please be careful when increasing the salt, and start by first including the original recipe quantity and then adding to taste towards the end of cooking.
A versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating from China. The use of the wok is very prevalent in south China where it’s one of the most common cooking utensils.
A wok, in my opinion, is an essential piece of equipment in your kitchenware arsenal. This simple but uniquely designed pan can do pretty much anything. Buy a deep-sided wok and unlock a multitude of Chinese cooking techniques, including stir-frying, steaming, pan-frying, deep-frying, poaching, boiling, braising, searing, stewing and making soups.
There are three basic types of cleaver used in the Chinese kitchen: the slicing cleaver, the cutting cleaver and the chopping cleaver. For beginners, a slicing cleaver is the perfect place to start. It’s lightweight which makes it great for everyday use as it cuts everything from vegetables to boneless meat.
Walk into any Chinese home and you’ll find a large, heavy, wooden chopping board. They are far less slippery than plastic chopping boards but either will work well. After using your chopping board, wash it in very hot water and use vinegar and lemon juice to sanitize it from time to time.
A long-handled, bowl-shaped kitchen utensil which has been used for centuries by many Chinese cooks. It is the perfect tool for keeping the food moving around a very hot wok. If your wok is non-stick I do suggest you use a large wooden spoon instead because metallic cookware can damage the non-stick coating.
A long-handled spatula, shaped like a flat shovel, used to flip, toss and turn the ingredients when stir-frying in the wok.
Developed over thousands of years in China, the bamboo steamer is a practical kitchen accessory you will use time and time again. It steams the food in tiers and is designed to sit snugly inside your wok.
Besides using chopsticks to eat with, the Chinese also like to use wooden chopsticks whilst cooking, especially when using the wok.
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