"Kung Hei Fatt Choi!" Or "Have a happy and prosperous New Year" celebrate the Chinese New Year by learning to cook Chinese food.
When cooking Chinese food the best tip is preparation. Make sure that all your vegetables are chopped, shredded and rinsed; that your meat is sliced or diced and already marinated and that you have the liquids measured and ready for cooking. Because Chinese cooking is fast and uses a hot wok there is no time to be preparing the next ingredient, you might find yourself with burnt and stuck food. Read on for more tips and a great recipe...
Invest in some key ingredients such as groundnut oil, sesame oil and a good wok. Groundnut oil has a higher flash point which means it can heat to higher temperatures before it starts to burn. Sesame is a strong flavoured oil used in many traditional Chinese recipes and gives a lovely depth of flavour. When you buy a wok you can choose a non stick or a traditional steel version but make sure you have cured it first before using.
To cure a new steel wok, wash it first and thoroughly dry before placing it on a high heat. Add some groundnut oil to the wok and make sure it coats each part of the cooking surface (Be careful not to spill any of the oil as this could cause a fire). Remove the wok from the heat and cool then remove the excess oil with kitchen roll. Repeat the process 3-4 times to ensure the wok is well cured or seasoned. To clean the wok after cooking food simply wipe over with kitchen roll or a brush to remove excess food then give the wok a wipe with some more groundnut oil to seal. You shouldn't wash your wok once it is cured.
There are plenty of good Chinese recipe books to choose from or cookery websites with easy to follow recipes so it is simple to start cooking Chinese food. One of our favourites to start with is egg fried rice, a basic staple that works well with simple grilled fish or chicken or stir fried vegetables.
Making your own egg fried rice may seem daunting at first but once you know the tricks you can create a healthy version to accompany many dishes or adapt to make a main meal of its own. The key to making good fried rice is to use cold cooked rice as it is firmer so try and cook your rice the night before and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
A wok, cold cooked rice (see below), some groundnut oil, sesame oil, light soy sauce and 2 large eggs, beaten. You can add shredded spring onion, peas, water chestnuts, prawns, chilli or whatever you fancy at the end.
You can also invest in a good rice cooker , either an electrical or microwave style.
Remember to accompany your food with some chinese drink too. Try Singapore's famous Tiger Beer or some jasmine tea instead of the after dinner coffee. And don't forget to end with a chinese fortune cookie!.