Written by Dennis Weaver and Casey Archibald
I love Chinese. It’s my favorite place to go, a good Chinese restaurant. And I would love to cook Chinese at home, but I’ve never gone past stir fries and fried rice—and they’re easy.
But Casey said that she would run the project. Casey as a journalist, worked for a newspaper, was a skilled cook, and was friends with an accomplished Chinese cook in Seattle. With his help, she could make it work. And she would teach me.
And years earlier, we had a delightful young lady—April was her name—that had lived in mainland China. She had gone there as a missionary, came back and got married, and then she and her husband went back. April loved the people and loved their food. She was a wonderful Chinese cook and we had her recipes.
So, with Casey, her friend in Seattle, and April’s recipes, we got started. It was a wonderful journey. Follow along and you’ll make wonderful Chinese recipes that your family will love.
Chinese food is easy—the ingredients and methods may be a little different.
You can make Chinese with the tools you have in your kitchen. Seventy-five percent of all Chinese food is made with four tools–a cleaver, a cutting board, a wok, and a spatula–plus a source of intense heat. You’ll do just fine with a chef knife, a cutting board, a spatula, and a large frying pan, and the range in your kitchen.
What are the 5 “S’s” of Chinese Cooking?
There are five ingredients commonly used in Chinese cooking. Two of them you’ll have. The other three you’ll find in your grocery store. Here’s what they are used for:
- Soy Sauce: The main condiment for any Chinese dish. It’s loved for its salty, smoky flavor.
- Sherry/ Rice Wine/Dry Sherry: A condiment used to eliminate foul flavors or odors as well as to tenderize textures and blend the flavors in the sauce.
- Salt: A basic ingredient to balance out the sweetness in Chinese dishes, but use it sparingly when in the company of high amounts of soy sauce.
- Sugar: Another basic ingredient to highlight the naturally sweet flavors of other ingredients and to add a more viscous texture to the sauce.
- Sesame Oil: A condiment to be used sparingly at the last moment in cooking to add a smoky flavor to the dish and to suppress strong tastes like a fishy flavor.
- Soy Sauce:Adds a salty, smoky flavor. You can purchase a low sodium version in the grocery store.
- Sherry/Rice Wine/Dry Sherry: Adds flavors to the sauce and can help tenderize the meat.
- Salt:Balances the sweetness in Chinese dishes. Use it sparingly since there is salt in the soy sauce.
- Sugar:Adds sweetness to other ingredients and thickens the sauce.
- Sesame Oil:Use sparingly at the last moment in cooking to add a smoky flavor and meld flavors.
Other ingredients commonly used in Chinese cooking are garlic, ginger, green onions, vinegar, and red chili. Since these are strong flavors, use them sparingly. They can be found in the grocery store.
You’re ready to cook Chinese food!
Just follow the proven recipes below.
Make Easy Orange Chicken
This is the orange chicken that you are familiar with in most Chinese restaurants. It’s crispy and coated with a sweet orange sauce.
Make Chinese Lemon Chicken
This is wonderful lemon chicken! It’s not hard but the secret is double-dipping before cooking. The lemon sauce is fantastic and authentic.
Make Authentic Fried Rice
Fried rice is quick and easy to make; it only takes minutes to convert steamed rice to fried rice. The sesame oil adds a nutty-like flavor, much more flavorful than vegetable oil.
Make Vegetarian Egg Rolls
These vegetarian egg rolls are simple yet delicious. They can be made in three easy steps. Buy egg roll wrappers at the store and pick up some Mandarin Orange Sauce or other Asian sauce.
Make Shrimp and Pork Egg Rolls
These shrimp and pork egg rolls are just like what you get from a Chinese restaurant. You can bake these egg rolls or deep fry them. If shrimp and pork together seem a bit much, substitute one for the other.
(Updated from March 6, 2018)