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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Eight Cuisines of China

In the US, we typically know only one type of Chinese food; there are a few standard dishes served at most Chinese restaurants across the country. However, in China itself, the cuisine is much more diverse and based on regions. They classify their food into eight types: Sichuan, Shandong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Anhui, Fujian, and Hunan.

Sichuan

Sichuan cuisine is not for the faint of heart. These dishes often feature peppercorns, which causes the mouth to feel tingly or numb. Peppercorns, chili peppers, and garlic are paired with chicken or tofu, or mixed into a flavorful broth for hot pot. Sichuan locals are used to this level of heat in their food, but if you are not, then we recommend having a cold drink on hand to put the fire out in your mouth.

Shandong

This type of cuisine comes from Shandong Province, located on the northeastern coast of China. Their dishes mainly feature fresh seafood due to the region’s proximity to the ocean. No matter the dish, cooks making Shandong cuisine focus on emphasizing the fresh taste and appearance of the seafood and vegetables they use.

Zhejiang

Zhejiang cuisine is great for those who prefer more mild flavors in their food. Fried seafood of all kinds often take center stage in Zhejiang dishes, as locals love the crispy texture and savory taste. Though it is fried, it is not greasy; it retains a delicate, luxurious mouth feel. We recommend trying this cuisine throughout the year since the ingredients used change depending on the season.

Jiangsu

Jiangsu cuisine is as beautiful as it is delicious. These dishes are made with a wide variety of vegetables and meats, and are cooked in a way that allows the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine without the addition of too many seasonings or spices. If you are looking for an introduction to Jiangsu cuisine, we recommend starting with meatballs.

Guangdong

Also known as Cantonese cuisine, Guangdong cuisine is absolutely exquisite. These dishes are light, fresh, and diverse. Unlike Sichuan cuisine, Guangdong food does not use many spices or chili peppers, so you can easily taste the natural flavor of the ingredients. The most iconic Cantonese food served not just in this region but also around the world is Dim Sum.

Anhui

This cuisine comes from Anhui Province, a region of China known for its majestic mountains. Anhui dishes primarily feature ingredients found in the mountains, such as mushrooms, wild plants, and frogs. Salted meats and flavorful stews are especially popular with locals from this region. People looking for hearty, healthy food will surely love Anhui cuisine.

Fujian

“Buddha Jumps Over The Wall” is a dish that perfectly represents Fujian cuisine. Various seafoods are simmered for 10 hours in a spiced broth, then served in a clear soup. A poet once wrote that this meal is so delicious that even Buddha would jump over a wall to eat it. Many other Fujian dishes also include all kinds of fresh seafood and soups that are spiced, but not so spicy that they overwhelm the flavor of the solid ingredients.

Hunan

Is Sichuan food not spicy enough for you? Try Hunan cuisine. Their dishes are just as loaded with spice and chili peppers, but without the peppercorns to numb your mouth. The result is an explosion of heat and sourness that is unique to Hunan cuisine. It is not to be missed if you have the opportunity to try it.

Which of the eight cuisines of China would you like to try first?

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.