Know Your Chinese Cuisine

Tips & Tricks

Know Your Chinese Cuisine

This exciting fusion cuisine originated in Calcutta with Chinese immigrants coming to India. Taking the best of both cuisines, Indian Chinese has developed into a highly palatable cuisine with an exciting range of flavors.
Snow peas belong to the pea family and are used in Chinese cooking just like French beans. Snow peas need to be stringed just like French beans.

BEAN SPROUTS:

These are shoots of moong beans or soya beans. To retain the crunch, add them into your favorite vegetarian Chinese dish just before serving. Varieties of Chinese cabbage: Bok Choy: also known as spoon cabbage is used for stir frying. Both stalk and leaves can be used. Cook for only 1 minute to retain color and texture.

SHALLOTS:

These are small onions, not very pungent and can be eaten in bite sized pieces. Shallots are extensively used in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

OYSTER MUSHROOMS:

These fan shaped mushrooms have a delicate and mild flavor and are often used in stir fry recipes.

STAR ANISE:

Also called Chakri phool in Hindi (Badyani in Urdu) this hard star shaped seed pod is commonly available in the Indian market. It tastes similar to fennel and is an important ingredient used in the 5 spice flavor. This spice is used in Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cooking.

SESAME OIL:

A strong distinctive nutty taste and aroma. Adds flavor to dips, salads and stir fry dishes. In Chinese cooking it is liberally sprinkled on top of already cooked, hot, food just prior to serving.

5 SPICE POWDER:

This is made from peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel (saunf). It encompasses many tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty, and is a wonderful one-stop shop to mouthwatering food. Dry Red Chilies are easily available in Indian markets and is used liberally in noodle and rice preparations.

NOODLES:

Dried noodles are available at most grocery stores. They can be made with either plain or whole wheat flour.  Cook them in boiling water with salt until almost done; be careful not to overcook them as they quickly turn mushy. For most varieties of noodles, the cooking time is about 2 minutes. After straining, sprinkle a generous amount of oil to prevent them from sticking.

RICE:

In most parts of Asia, white rice is a staple, eaten simply boiled. Sometimes it is flavored with ingredients like ginger, shallots, mushrooms and garlic. Often a short grained glutinous rice commonly known as sticky rice is eaten in several Asian countries, but not commonly found in the Indian market. Any short grained rice can be used for Indian Chinese specialties, along with Knorr® Easy to Cook Fried Rice.

STIR FRYING:

To make a good ‘stir fry’ or to stir-fry anything well, you need a good iron wok, ladle and a strong arm! Meat and vegetables are cooked on a high flame for a short period of time, stirring continuously. The ingredients are added to the wok in order of cooking time. If you are cooking with meat, then always stir-fry your meat first. Vegetables like bok Choy can be added at the very end. The real trick to making a good stir-fry is not to put too much into the wok at one time, because if you do, the vegetables will sweat instead of frying. Steaming vegetables is the healthiest way to eat them. Traditionally Chinese food is steamed in a round bamboo basket set in a wok filled with boiling water. This method is often used to make dim sum or dumplings or steamed wontons. However, if steamer baskets are unavailable then food can be steamed by placing in a colander which is put over a pot of boiling water. The pot should be slightly smaller than the colander so that the colander sits comfortably in the mouth. Cover the colander while steaming. To prevent your dumplings or wontons from sticking to the bottom, line the colander with cabbage leaves.
 
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