Cooking Chinese food can be really fun and easy if you finally got the hang of it. There are some essential tips we would like to share and should not be without. Here are some of the fool-proof Tips for cooking asian and chinese cuisine by Chef Will Made It:
Tip 1 General Principles of Chinese Cooking
Let’s start with the basics: Variety, Freshness, Preparedness
- Variations of meat and vegetables are a good way to provide diversity and balance of colors, texture, and flavor. Chinese people believe that balance and harmony is a very essential element of their lives including their food.
- Fresh produce is always the best choice for your ingredients, if available.
- Prepare everything in advance before cooking. Tasks like washing vegetables, draining and cutting vegetables, as well as marinating and cutting meats should be done before you turn on your fire to make sure they’re ready when you need them. If you are cooking with sauces, prepare them ahead of time too.
Tip 2 Equipment & Tools
Here is some kitchen equipment that you might need when cooking Chinese food:
- A Chinese wok is the holy grail of Chinese cooking. While you don’t necessarily need one, it’s a piece of equipment that you might want in your kitchen. There are several types of woks: carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.
- A cleaver is also nice to own. Very helpful! However, you might want to get other knives too!
Tip 3 Vegetable Preparation Tips
As a general rule in cooking, preparing your vegetables ahead of time will make your lives a lot easier. Here are some tips:
- Green and leafy vegetables take time to dry. That is why it is important that you wash them ahead of time so they can have enough time to drain. This is very helpful when stir-frying!
- Once you’re done with washing and cutting, it is best if you place all your vegetables in a tray or cooking sheet. Since different vegetables have varied cooking times, be mindful not to put them in one container where they can be mixed up.
Tip 4 Tips for Stir-Frying Vegetables
Stir-frying is one of the most common Chinese cooking techniques. Here are some tips so you can ace it:
- The toughest and thickest vegetables should go first for they cook longer periods than soft and thin ones. For example, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage need to be cooked before bok choy. Vegetables like snow peas and bean sprouts should be the last to be cooked.
- If you’re unsure of the order that they should go in the pan, the best way to go around with it is to stir fry them separately to prevent overcooking.
Tip 5 Tofu Cooking Tips
Tofu is often a misunderstood ingredient. But Chef Will Made It has three tips for you:
- Silken Tofu has a softer consistency because it is packed with water and requires refrigeration. It can crumble if not handled carefully. Regular tofu on the other hand does not require refrigeration. While both are processed differently with the same ingredients, they are not the same and can’t be swapped in a recipe.
- When stir-frying or deep-frying, a firm or extra firm tofu is the best choice for it retains its form. Firm tofu does not crumble in the wok.
- Drain your tofu before cooking. This allows the tofu to maximize its flavor absorption properties.
Tip 6 Meat and Fish Cooking & Preparation Tips
Here are a few meat and fish preparation and cooking tips:
- Fresh meat should always be marinated, allowing it to absorb as much flavor as it can. If you need to marinate your meat with cornstarch, add it last as it acts as a binder.
- For tender beef, always cut across the grain. This will ensure that chewing it would not feel stringy. Uniformly cutting or relatively cutting the same sizes guarantees cooking more evenly. Make sure that your wok is hot enough before adding your meats when cooking.
- When making stir-fried meat and vegetables, the meat always comes first. However, to prevent overcooking, you have to set it aside until you’re done stir-frying your vegetables.
Tip 7 Cooking with Oil Tips
Here are some reminders when cooking Chinese that requires oil:
- Drizzle Oil down the sides of the wok.
- Stick the chopstick in the oil to know if it’s hot enough. Sizzling around it means your oil is ready.
- Choosing a high smoke point oil lessens the chances of burning your food. Stir-frying requires high heat so it’s advisable that you choose the oil with the highest cooking temperature.
Tip 8 Tips for Sauce and Seasoning
Sauce? Sauce! Here are some tips:
- Fresh ginger is a must in cooking Chinese food. Do not use powdered ginger.
- Sugar can be a substitute for MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).
- When mixing cornstarch with water, the usual ratio is 1:2 or 1:4. For example, for every tablespoon of cornstarch, you add 2 tablespoons of water (or 4, depending on what you’re cooking).
- When cooking with a recipe to follow, do not add more cornstarch than what it indicated.
Tip 9 Cooking Rice Tips
- Asian cuisine is centered on rice. Here are some tips when cooking it:
- Long grain rice is preferred. They usually have the best results especially if you’re not well experienced in cooking rice.
- It is best to use cold-cooked rice, preferably at least one day old, when making fried rice.
Ever wondered how to make Chinese food with their umami and smoked perfection taste? Making them is now possible with Chef Will Made It’s cookbook. With over 20 million views on YouTube, he is now a recognized figure in the culinary world. He will soon be launching his new book which is about Chinese cuisine: a modern and fresh approach to Chinese cooking.
About Chef WIll Made It
Chef Will Made It provides his private chef services to a-list celebrity families, famous athletes, and movie stars in Southern California and around the world. He loves taking pleasure in the smiles and happiness of people enjoying the meals he has created. As a natural leader, Chef Will Made It is a reliable team player and has a proven track record of making great food that entices his diners and leaves them wanting more.