When I first ate Chinese food within the united kingdom within the 1970s, it had been really quite unappealing. Everything came during a gloopy sauce and seemed to taste the same , because of the overuse of MSG , supposedly a flavour enhancer but actually , nothing of the sort . Then within the 1980s a replacement breed of Chinese restaurant arrived (at least it took that long to achieve the provinces) which provided lighter, tastier Chinese cooking demonstrating regional differences. There was one drawback, however, which was that this new kind of restaurant was much more expensive than the primary cheap ©n tasteless ones. Consequently, i assumed how nice it'd be to cook Chinese food reception but I had no idea where to start out out until BBC TV came to my rescue within the form of Ken Hom, the USA-born chef of Cantonese parents.

Ken presented Chinese cuisine in such an easily-understandable way, demonstrating techniques and suggesting alternative ingredients should the originals not be available in your local supermarket. The book which accompanied the series, Ken Hom©s Chinese Cookery became my bible which i still have my copy, pages stained with oil drips and smears of sauce. 

To help you on your because of cooking Chinese food reception , I©m going to briefly describe the essential equipment, ingredients and techniques which you'd wish to understand so as that you're going to produce some simple and attractive dishes. I hope you enjoy the article which it inspires you to urge cooking!


Although there are many implements and pieces of kit you'll buy, to start out out on the road to cooking your own Chinese food, you really only need an honest knife or two and a wok. Woks are available all shapes and sizes, they're going to be non-stick, flat-bottomed, they're going to even be electric lately but I still prefer my old steel wok with it©s rounded bottom and one wooden handle. this is often often a Pau wok. These are readily available in Chinese supermarkets and are much less expensive than other varieties. there's one important task though, before you will be ready to cook with such a wok which is to season it. you'll need to scrub it with a cream cleaner to urge obviate any residues of machine oil and dry it carefully. Put the wok on the hob over a coffee heat. Rub the within of the wok with two tablespoons of oil using kitchen towel. Let the wok heat slowly for 10 to fifteen minutes then wipe the within with more kitchen towel. The paper will come away black. keep it up coating, heating and cleaning off until the kitchen towel comes away clean. Your wok is now ready to use. After use, wash only in water without detergent and dry thoroughly over a coffee heat. you'll also apply slightly oil if you'd like . this might prevent the wok from rusting but if it does develop rust, just scrub and season again.

As well because the wok, you will need a wok stand, particularly if you've an electrical hob. This keeps the wok stable if you're using it for braising or deep frying.

You will also need something to stir with © any spatula, slice or slotted spoon will do © metal for a metal wok and plastic or wooden for a non-stick wok.


Before you leap out and take over the whole Chinese section at the supermarket, bear in mind that some ingredients don©t keep well if left unused. Just select something simple from your chosen cookbook and buy the things that you simply simply need for that then you'll expand your selection as you progress through different dishes.

Some common store-cupboard ingredients that you simply simply will almost certainly need are dark and light-weight soy , some quite oil and oil , cornflour and rice wine or sherry. For more information, see my article Chinese Cooking - Ingredients and Equipment.



The most documented Chinese cooking technique is stir-frying. this is often often where your wok comes into its own as it©s shape and size (at least 14 inches diameter with deep sides) is true for quick cooking. the key to successful stir-frying is to possess all of your ingredients ready beforehand .

Meat should be cut according to the recipe but normally in thin strips. Vegetables likewise but in any event should be of comparable shapes and sizes to form sure even cooking. Long thin vegetables like spring onions, carrots or asparagus are often cut on the diagonal so as that more area is exposed for quicker cooking. measure sauce ingredients - check the recipe - if they're all added to the dish at the same time, you'll put all of them in one small bowl. If cornflour is included, don©t forget to supply it an honest stir before adding to the other food.

Once you've everything prepared, heat your wok until it's extremely popular then add oil and using your chosen stirring implement confirm that the oil is evenly distributed over the surface of the wok. Before you add your ingredients. the wok should be so hot that it's almost smoking - this might prevent the food from being greasy. The exception to this is that if you're flavouring your oil with garlic, chilli, spring onions, ginger or salt - these will burn if the oil is simply too hot.

Now add your other ingredients within the order stated within the recipe and toss them over the surface of the wok ensuring that nothing rests in one place for too long and moving the food from the centre of the wok to the sides . I suggest that you simply simply wear an apron or other protective clothing for this operation because the food often spits because of the warmth it's cooked at.

Deep Frying

You can use your wok for deep frying but be very careful that it's safely balanced on its stand. Under no circumstances leave it unattended. Deep frying during a wok uses less oil than a deep fryer or saucepan but you will find these safer and easier to use.

When deep frying, confirm that the oil is hot enough before adding ingredients or the food will end up very greasy. Test it by dropping during alittle piece of prepared food or a cube of bread. If the oil bubbles up around what you dropped in then it©s hot enough. 

Make sure that food to be deep fried is dried thoroughly on kitchen paper or drained of its marinade before cooking otherwise it'll spit.

Shallow Frying

This is the same because the Western technique. Fry food on one side, then the other and drain off any excess oil before adding sauce ingredients. a standard frypan is ok for this.


Steaming is widely utilized in Chinese cookery. you'll use a bamboo steamer during a wok, a heat-proof plate placed on a rack during a wok or other large pan otherwise you'll use a standard European steamer.

If employing a bamboo steamer or plate during a wok, cause 2 inches of water to a simmer. Put your rack into the wok (if the bamboo steamer is large enough and may sit on the sides of the wok without being within the water, you don©t need a rack) and balance your plate or steamer of food thereon . Put the lid on your steamer or wok and check occasionally to determine if the water needs topping up (use water which is already hot).

Whichever method you use , confirm that the food is above the water level and isn©t getting wet.


As with Western cooking, braising is used for tougher cuts of meat and involves gentle cooking of meat and/or vegetables in flavoured stock. Red-braising is that the technique where food is braised during a dark liquid like soy which provides the food a red/brown colour. this type of braising sauce are often frozen and re-used.