10 Essential Ingredients to Cook Chinese Food
Chinese dishes consist of many complex flavors that can make you yearn noodles. How? These ingredients are the backstory.
Rice is one of the most common and important ingredients for Chinese dishes. When making a Chinese dish, you can go with any form of rice but using long-grains can give you a sense of authentic chinese food. The other quality of rice most commonly consumed in Chinese dishes is the sticky rice. It is a form of rice that possesses a glutinous and sticky texture.
It is no secret that noodles are a huge part of Chinese cuisine and it is utterly flexible. It can be used in either of the forms - you can have them as the main dish or simply as a side to another dish. There is also a variety of noodles available and each kind of noodle has its own flavour and importance in different recipes.
Soy Sauce is another important ingredient in Chinese recipes. It's made with soybeans, salt, a kind of mold and, sometimes, wheat. There are two kinds of soy sauce used in authentic Chinese recipes- light and dark. Light soy sauce has a pale colour and a salty flavour. It's mostly used to add flavour to the dish or in dips. Dark soy sauce contains sugar. That is the reason behind its darker texture and a sweeter taste.
Meat is an essential part of many Chinese recipes. In fact, many Chinese dishes taste delicious because of the meat they contain. If you love trying out Chinese recipes in your kitchen, it's essential that you have a good supply of meat in your pantry. While fresh meat is the best choice as it adds more flavour to the dish, there is no harm in using frozen meat.
Most Chinese dishes are very well-balanced when it comes to spices. Chilli sauces are an integral part of most Chinese dishes not only because they spice up the food but also because they add a whole new flavour to a dish. Though these sauces are not very hot, they’re extremely flavourful and introduce our taste buds with a delicious well-balanced flavour of several spices.
When cooking Chinese food, you must remember that the most important aspect is the flavours present in the food. That is why ginger is such an important ingredient in almost all Chinese recipes. It adds flavour to the dishes and also makes them healthy. It also facilitates cooking of several meat products as it tenderizes the meat, allowing it to absorb more flavours and cook a bit faster.
Green Onion, just like ginger, is essentially used in Chinese recipes as it adds a lot of flavour to the dishes. Green onions are often added to the vegetables that are being stir-fried because they enhance the mixture’s taste and also help it become more visually appealing. Green onions are also used as a garnish on the main dish not just to better its taste but also add colour to it.
As we've mentioned earlier, Chinese recipes can only be completed if the food contains a lot of complex flavours. While many ingredients help in adding flavour to the dish, garlic is particularly effective in doing so. It’s often used in a paste form while stir-frying vegetables to add flavour to them. Garlic also helps improve the texture of meat dishes and helps the meat absorb more flavours and get more aromatic.
Cornflour is a white powder that is made from maize. It is a very important ingredient in many Chinese recipes. Mostly, cornflour is used in sauces to thicken them and give them a nice texture. In meat dishes, the importance of using cornflour increases as it helps give the meat a good texture and cook better. When stir-frying chicken, it can be used to give it a silky, smooth texture.
Five Spice Powder
Chinese five-spice powder is a very popular spice mixture of flavourful Chinese spices. The pack consists of star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, cloves, Chinese cinnamons and fennel seeds. It is added in many dishes as a spice rub for meat, or as a coating for foods that are deep-fried. It can also be sprinkled over dips or stews to add more flavour to them.
If you are planning to cook Chinese dishes, make sure that you have a good stash of the above ingredients.