Chinese Cooking Tips & Recipes

Chinese food

"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...

Chinese Cooking Tips

  • Key Ingredients

    Seasoned wok

    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.

  • Fried Rice

    Home made egg fried rice

    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.

  • For basic egg fried rice you will need:

    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.

    • Heat your wok and then add some groundnut oil, make sure that the whole of the wok is coated in oil
    • Then add the beaten egg and stir to break it up. Add a little more groundnut oil, a splash of sesame oil (about a teaspoon as sesame is a very strong flavour) and then the cold rice, stir to mix
    • Once the rice and egg is mixed add some light soy sauce and make sure the rice is coated; you can now add your extra vegetables or meat if you fancy
    • Serve!
  • How to cook perfect rice every time:

    1. Rinse your rice thoroughly before cooking; this helps to remove excess starch which can make your rice stodgy. Rinse until the water runs clear
    2. Try and measure your rice and water out using a cup, half a cup normally suffices for one person and for each full cup of rice add 1 cups of water to a pan
    3. Bring the rice to a boil uncovered and when it is boiling, turn the heat down and place a lid on with a small gap to allow steam to escape
    4. Once the rice has been cooking a while you should start to see small holes or a crater effect when this happens put the lid on tight and turn the heat down to the lowest setting
    5. Leave the rice to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, check it is done by tasting then fluff and leave to cool or serve.

    You can also invest in a good rice cooker , either an electrical or microwave style.

  • Oriental Drink

    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!.