Chinese cuisine is well-loved across the world and is bursting with delicious food, from noodles and rice to spring rolls and dumplings. As the food is so varied, there are numerous cooking methods used. In this post from cheap dinner ideas, we take a look at the range of cooking methods used to create Chinese food so that you can replicate the perfect dishes at home, in the correct way.
Used throughout many cuisines, boiling is considered the simplest method to cook Chinese dishes. A quick method, the ingredients are washed and cut, then submerged into boiling water or broth. Once fully cooked, drain the ingredients immediately and then serve with seasoning. Vegetables are the most common ingredient to prepare in this form as you can cook them to your desired texture, hard or soft.
Many types of meat in Chinese cuisine are roasted, such as chicken and duck. Usually, the meat is cleaned, seasoned and then basted with cooking oil, to then be hung above a fire or cooked in a very hot oven. Once roasted, the skin should be crispy, and it can then be chopped and arranged on a platter in an arty form. Many roasted dishes are served with a sauce made from the meat drippings for extra flavour. One of the most famous and familiar roasted Chinese dishes is Peking duck, a meal that is enjoyed across the world.
Wok Stir Fry Cooking
Perhaps the most common method people know of Chinese cooking is stir-frying. A quick and simple method, all you have to do is chuck the ingredients in a wok and cook on high heat for a short period of time. Due to the short cooking time, vegetables and other ingredients will keep most of their nutritional value, and stir-fried meat is often juicy and tasty. The secret to this type of cooking is too have all the ingredients pre cut and to the same size. A quick stir fry dish is egg fried rice.
A method that is slightly more time-consuming is braising; however, it is certainly worth putting in the effort. The technique involves adding seasoning and ingredients to a small amount of water or broth to either a wok or saucepan, then boiling it together at a high temperature. Afterwards, you simmer at low heat for around one hour or longer.
Once braised, you can cut the ingredients into large cubes and serve. Braised chicken with mushrooms or braised beef with potatoes are perhaps the most well-known dishes cooked in this way. Some spare rib recipes can be first braised and then fried to make them crispy.
A widespread cooking method that is used across the world, deep-frying is where you fully submerge the ingredients in oil, to produce a crispy-textured dish. The usual way to deep-fry is to cut the ingredients into small chunks, soak them in a seasoning of your choice, coat with corn starch and then fry them in hot oil. The more seasoning and corn starch you use will determine the crispiness of the dish. Often the use this method to fry whole fish in a wok.
Invented in China, steaming is widely used for buns and dumplings. The process of this cooking style involves putting ingredients in a steamer basket which is placed over water in a steamer pot. Steaming can hold more of the nutrition contained in food compared to boiling because the water doesn’t absorb them. Furthermore, less seasoning is used, and very little oil is required, so the foods natural flavour is maintained. Bamboo steamers are commonly used by the locals, which are stacked upon one another, allowing for an array of food to be cooked at once. Dishes that require the longest cooking time are placed at the bottom so that they are near the hottest part. Furthermore, the most well-known dishes that are steamed are dim sum, dumplings, buns and fish.