Chinese Cooking Methods

Here at WN Foods, Chinese food is one of our all time favorite cuisines. While we love takeout like so many others in the USA, we also love homemade Chinese food. However, we’ve noticed that many people are hesitant to cook it at home. We promise that it isn’t as complicated as it seems! Today, let’s take a look at common Chinese cooking techniques and how to use them in your home kitchen.

Stir Frying

Stir frying is one of the most common techniques in Chinese cooking. It may have even originated in ancient China! This cooking method is known for being fast; it involves heating a pan and stirring ingredients in hot oil until cooked. Almost any ingredient you can imagine can be stir fried, but most recipes include some type of meat or seafood, chopped vegetables, and either rice or noodles. Many Chinese cooks stir fry food in a wok over a fire, but you can use this technique at home with a stove and a pan.

Red Cooking

Chinese red cooking takes longer than stir frying, but trust us when we say that the wait is worth it! Red cooking is a particular type of braising where ingredients are first sauteed at a high temperature, then slowly cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, star anise, and rice wine until the food is coated in a sweet, luxurious glaze. Duck and pork belly are most commonly prepared using this technique, but we recommend also trying it at home with tofu or your fish of choice. This Chinese cooking method doesn’t require any special equipment, so it can be done easily at home.

Steaming

Steaming is a versatile cooking technique used in Chinese dishes of all kinds. The most traditional form of steaming uses bamboo steamer baskets, which allow cooks to utilize steam from hot water to cook ingredients and also to quickly and easily serve the finished meal. Steaming creates tender, juicy dishes like soup dumplings, aromatic whole fish, and sweet buns. If you live near an Asian grocery store or can order from online shops, you can purchase bamboo baskets and use them on your stove. If you don’t have access to bamboo baskets, you can still steam food in a metal pot or even a microwave.

Roasting

Roast meats are a staple of Chinese cooking. This method uses dry heat, as in a fire or oven heat with no water, oil, or other cooking liquid. Roasted foods often end up having an irresistible golden brown finish without losing any of the tasty juices on the inside. Roast duck is the most famous roasted Chinese dish (which is why you might see them hanging from restaurant windows in Chinatown), but you can also roast flavorful pork belly or chicken. You can easily roast meals at home as long as you have an oven and some spice!

Boiling

Chinese food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. Boiling is a perfect demonstration of how you can have an amazing feast without having many technical skills. The most difficult part of Chinese hot pot is creating the broth, which really only requires stewing a few aromatics for enough time. Once the broth is ready, any number of meats and vegetables can be chopped and cooked quickly by boiling them. Though you can do this with a stovetop pot, many families make this a shared experience by using a portable stove and placing the hot pot directly on the table.

What are your favorite cooking techniques? Which dishes would you like to cook with these methods? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

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Regional US Foods

Regional US Foods.png

Here at the WN Foods blog, we’ve talked a lot about foods from different countries around the world, but we haven’t explored many American dishes. It’s time to shine a spotlight on a few regional US foods!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza, which is made with a tall, flaky crust filled with a generous helping of cheese and chunky tomato sauce on top. The combination of the crunch of the golden crust with the hot, gooey cheese is heavenly. Some people make this dish even more luxurious by adding various meats, sauces, and vegetables.

Louisiana Gumbo

Though gumbo has roots in French and African cooking, it has evolved into a special dish loved especially by Louisianans. This dish is one of the most rich, flavorful soups thanks to it base, which is made by mixing roux, filé powder, and okra. Many different ingredients can be added to this base, but common ingredients include sausage, shrimp, and chicken.

New York Garbage Plate

Okay, we admit that the name isn’t very appetizing, but we and many native New Yorkers assure you that the Garbage Plate is absolutely delicious. To make this dish, just pile potatoes, baked beans, macaroni salad, and your choice of meats (usually chili, hamburger meat, or sausage) on a big plate and enjoy. This definitely isn’t diet-friendly, but it sure is satisfying.

Maine Lobster Roll

Lobster rolls are simple, but they pack a flavorful punch. At its base, a lobster roll is just lobster meat in a bun. In Maine, the lobster meat is served cold and coated with mayo. The bun may be lightly buttered and toasted to add a bit of crunch to the mix. Other states in New England have their own variations of this dish as well.

Hawaii Loco Moco

Loco moco is one of the most quintessentially Hawaiian foods out there. To make this dish, top steamed white rice with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy. Though this is the most basic form of loco moco, it can also be served with sides like macaroni salad, noodles, or fresh vegetables. We can just picture ourselves at a restaurant in Honolulu chowing down on loco moco now!

Which regional US dishes have you tried? Which ones would you like to taste first? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

Mushrooms

Autumn is the season for mushrooms, a delicious and flavorful ingredient. Let’s learn about this fascinating fungus!

What Are Mushrooms?

Though mushrooms are often included in the vegetable section of grocery stores, they are not vegetables as they have no roots, seeds, or leaves. So what exactly are mushrooms? They are a fungal growth. The larger top of the mushroom is actually the reproductive part of the fungus; it carries spores, which are similar to seeds in that they spread and allow more mushrooms to grow. Not all mushrooms are edible, but a few types are safe and quite delicious when prepared correctly.

Where Do Mushrooms Grow?

Mushrooms grow well in damp, nutritious environments like forest floors. In the US, forests in the Pacific Northwest are famous among foragers because the moist climate is perfect for mushroom growth. Rather than being gathered, some mushrooms are grown on farms in climate-controlled rooms. This way, mushrooms can be grown and harvested quickly.

How to Gather Mushrooms

Gathering mushrooms is all about knowing where to look. The best method is to go with an experience mushroom forager so they can take you to their favorite spots, teach you which mushrooms are safe to eat, and how to properly cut them from the stalk with a knife. When gathering mushrooms, be sure to carry them in a woven basket so that the spores will spread as you walk and the mushroom population can be replenished for the next harvest.

Types of Mushrooms

As stated earlier, not all mushrooms are edible. Some are even lethal, so always be sure that your mushrooms are safe to eat. Edible varieties include chanterelles (golden mushrooms with fruity, peppery notes), portobello (large, meaty mushrooms), and enoki (thin, mild-flavored mushrooms). Shiitake (rich, umami mushrooms), porcini (nutty and creamy mushrooms), and button mushrooms (white mushrooms often found on pizza) are also commonly used in cooking.

How to Cook Mushrooms

There are as many cooking methods for mushrooms as there are types of mushrooms. Larger mushrooms like portobellos can be grilled and stuffed with savory fillings, similar to meat. Other mushrooms can be sliced thin and placed on top of pizzas. Sauteeing is another common cooking method that really brings out the flavor of mushrooms. Be sure to also try mushrooms in kebobs, pasta, and burgers.

What’s your favorite mushroom? Which ones would you like to try? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

One Pan Recipes

Whether you are cooking for yourself or an entire family, cooking can sometimes be such a chore. Make things easier on yourself with these one pan recipes using WN Foods sauces!

Sriracha Chicken & Veggies

(Photo by Buzzfeed)

Looking for a balanced meal that can be made quickly and easily? Try this one pan sriracha veggie dish! It offers the perfect amount of heat and sweetness to compliment the juicy chicken and fresh vegetables, and you only have to use one pan, so cleaning up the kitchen after dinner will be nice and easy. We think it tastes great with steamed rice on the side, but eat it as you like.

Honey Garlic Salmon

(Photo by Cafe Delites)

Many people think that cooking fish at home is too difficult due to the intensive preparation process, but with this honey garlic salmon recipe using pre-cut salmon fillets, making a delicious and nutritious fish dish is a breeze. This meal can be enjoyed with a simple side dish like rice or green beans, or it can be eaten by itself like the crown jewel it is!

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This one pan sweet & sour chicken recipe is already easy as pie to make, but you can save even more time by making it with our Longevity Sweet & Sour Sauce so that you don’t have to mix the delicious sweet & sour sauce yourself! Though the recipe suggests using snow peas and carrots, you can use any of your favorite vegetables. We personally love adding in some broccoli, green beans, and bell peppers.

Frozen Potstickers

These are more like instructions than a recipe, but did you know that you only need one pan to heat up frozen potstickers? Using a method called steam frying (covering a pan of frozen potstickers, water, and oil till they are both steamed on the top and fried crispy on the bottom), you can make frozen potstickers taste as good as new! This one is especially good for families that make potstickers in bulk and freeze them for future meals.

Fried Rice

(Photo by Averie Cooks)

Takeout fried rice is one of the most beloved fast Chinese foods in the country. What fans of this dish may not know is that can be made with one pan at home with this convenient recipe! Like the previously mentioned sweet & sour chicken recipe, you can also add any of your preferred vegetables to this fried rice dish. Enjoy!

What are your favorite one pan recipes? Which one would you like to try first? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

Surprising Flavor Combinations

We know, these flavor combinations are weird, but don’t knock them till you try them!

Peanut & Meat

Fans of Thai food probably already know and love this flavor combination, but in case you haven’t tried it, peanut sauce is amazing with all kinds of meats. Satay (skewered grilled meat usually served with peanut sauce) is an awesome introduction to this unique mix of juicy, savory goodness with the distinct flavor of peanuts. Give it a try!

Fruit & Spice

Spiced fruits are extremely popular in Mexico and anywhere with a Mexican population, and for good reason. If you have never tried fruits with chili powder, you may not think this combination is appetizing, but trust us when we say that the fruity freshness mixed with the kick of spice from the chili is absolutely mindblowing. It’s also very easy to make at home as all you need is fresh fruit and chili powder.

Avocado & Chocolate

Avocado is traditionally associated with savory dishes, but did you know that it tastes amazing with chocolate? This is primarily because of its rich, creamy texture, which lends itself well to foods like chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream. Despite what you may think, the natural flavor of the avocado doesn’t overpower the chocolate at all. They work together in perfect harmony!

Cheese & Jam

Here in the USA, we often reserve cheese for either savory dishes or cream cheese, but we should really be eating it with jam more often. Soft, creamy cheeses like brie taste heavenly when piled on a crunchy cracker and topped with a flavorful jam. We recommend either regular fruit jams or the lesser known spicy chili jelly.

French Fries & Ice Cream

People who dip their french fries in their milkshakes at restaurants sometimes get weird looks, but we understand you. Many think that crunchy and salty fries would be gross when combined with sweet and creamy ice cream when they are actually an awesome combination, just like chocolate covered pretzels.

What’s your favorite flavor combination? Which one of these unusual combinations would you like to try first? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

German Food

Here on the WN Foods blog, we have learned about many different types of Asian cuisines, but we haven’t explored many European dishes. Since it’s October, let’s take a look at food from Germany, the origin of the famous Oktoberfest!

Spätzle

Spätzle is a versatile staple of German food that some people call the German version of mac & cheese. It is made simply by boiling egg noodles, cooking it again in butter or milk, and then serving it with a side of choice. Spätzle is often paired with tender beef, wurst (which we will cover next), or on its own with a creamy sauce.

Wurst

When you hear the word “wurst”, you may think of a standard German sausage, but the truth is that no such thing exists. There are numerous different types of wurst, like currywurst, bratwurst, and paprikawurst, just to name a few. Each different type of wurst can be served with different sides, but the most common combination is with French fries or just by itself with German mustard as a dipping sauce.

Soft Pretzels

There’s nothing quite like biting into a warm German pretzel on a chilly Autumn day! These soft pretzels are salty, pillowy, and golden brown; they are absolutely perfect as a bar food or as a snack to warm you up from the inside. German pretzels are either served with mustard, curry ketchup, or butter. For the optimal German experience, wash it down with beer.

Rouladen

It seems that Germans love rolled food, because not only do they have rolled cakes, they also have a rolled meat dish called Rouladen. This meal is made by wrapping thin-cut beef around bacon, mustard, and onions. It can be served with potatoes on the side, but we think that Rouladen is filling enough on its own with some gravy on top.

Schnitzel

Like Americans with their chicken tenders and the Japanese with their katsu, the Germans have their own form of fried meat. This dish is called Schnitzel, and what sets it apart from the others is that it is pounded flat before being breaded and fried. A typical Schnitzel is served with mashed potatoes and German mustard.

What’s your favorite German dish? Which one would you like to try first? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.

French Food Vocabulary

Previously on the WN Foods blog, we have learned Mandarin and Korean food vocabulary. Today, it’s time for French!

  • Food = Nourriture
  • “J’adore la nourriture!” (I love food!)
  • Meat = Viande
  • “Elle ne mange pas de viande.” (She does not eat meat.)
  • Vegetables = Légumes
  • “Je vais acheter des légumes.” (I am going to buy some vegetables).
  • Bread  = Pain
  • “Il y a du pain à la boulangerie.” (There is bread at the bakery.)
  • Cheese = Fromage
  • “Ce fromage pue.” (This cheese stinks.)
  • Wine = Vin
  • “Je bois du vin tous les jours.” (I drink wine every day.)
  • Cake = Gâteau
  • “L’enfant a un gâteau.” (The child has a cake.)
  • Egg = Œuf
  • “Un œuf, s’il vous plaît.” (One egg, please.)
  • To eat = Manger
  • “Tu dois manger à notre restaurant!” (You should eat at our restaurant!)
  • To drink = Boire
  • “Il ne faut pas boire trop de café.” (One must not drink too much coffee.)

What’s your favorite food word in French? Which languages would you like to see featured on our blog? Let us know!

Here at WN Foods, we co-pack high quality sauces, cooked with the finest ingredients. If you would like us to manufacture your sauce recipe, or if you would like our food science team to help you develop your own sauce, please contact us at (510) 487-8877 or wingnienfoods@gmail.com.