Paddy straw mushroom - see Straw mushroom
Pak Choi - See Chinese cabbage
Paprika - A powdered mixture of dried red-skinned chilies, ranging in flavor from slightly sweet and mild to acrid and hot. The color can also range from bright reddish-orange to dark red. Used as a spice and garnish.
Parsnip - A long, white root vegetable with feathery green leaves. Its look and taste is similar to a carrot and it can be cooked in much the same way.
Peanut Oil - Clear oil pressed from peanuts; very useful in Chinese cooking. Peanut oil has a delicate flavor and high smoke point, making it perfect for deep-frying. American peanut oils tend to be mild-flavored, whereas Chinese peanut oils have a distinctive peanut flavor. Peanut oil will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dark place.
Pecans - The thin-shelled, richly flavored nut from a tree native to North America; high in fat, used to enrich cakes, pies and other confections. Pecans are widely available in supermarkets.
Pepper - The berries of a climbing vine. The fruit grow green then red as the plant matures. To make black pepper, the berries are picked green and sun-dried, resulting in black peppercorns. To make white peppercorns, the dark husk is removed by soaking. Pepper should not be confused with the peppers more accurately known as capsicums or chilies.
Pickled bamboo shoots - are similar in flavor to dried bamboo shoots. Put in boiling water and return to the boil. Drain and rinse in cold water. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times to remove the sour flavor. These keep for a long period in the refrigerator.
Pickled mustard green - See pickled Chinese cabbage.
Plum Sauce - Plums provide the sour flavor in Chinese dishes. It's a great combination with stir-fried pork and deep fried appetizers and dim sum.
Pomelo - The largest citrus fruit, the pomelo has a thick, coarse rind that ranges from greenish to yellow to pink, and pink or pale-yellow segmented flesh. The flavor can be either sweet or slightly tangy. Pomelos can be found in Asian or specialty produce markets in winter; also known as shaddock.
Potato flour - gives a very smooth, transparent result when used for thickening soups or sauces.
Pot sticker wrapper - Very thin sheets of dough made from flour, eggs and salt; used for small meat and vegetable filled dumplings known as potstickers, as well as for won ton. These wrappers can vary in thickness, and are usually available prepackaged in square or round sheets in many supermarkets and Chinese markets; also known as won ton skins or wonton wrappers. Keep refrigerated or frozen and let them come to room temperature before using.
Pimento - The aromatic berry of a West Indian tree used to make allspice. Do not confuse with the Spanish sweet pepper "pimiento."
Prawn - Term commonly used for any large shrimp, although a true prawn has a thinner body and longer legs than a shrimp, and an average market length of 3 inches or 4 inches. Another distinction: Shrimp tend to live in saltwater, whereas prawns are generally thought to swim in freshwater, though they might migrate to saltwater to spawn. Prawns can be cooked and served in any way appropriate for shrimp. Lots of Chinese shrimp recipes...
Preserved Food - Food is preserved when it is salted, dried, frequently pickled or candied, and canned. Canned Chinese foods are rather looked down upon, except some specialties such as abalone. Almost anything may be preserved. Salted shrimps, shrimps eggs, salted fish, from the tiny one-inch fish to shark's fin, hundred-year-old eggs (which taste better when about 100 days old). Chinese ham are the commonest preserved animal foods. Dried lilies and golden needles, ears of wood, which is a fluffy kind of fungus, dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots, dried transparent pea-starch noodles ) called in some Chinese food shops 'long bean rice') salted vegetables of various kinds, salted radishes and soy pickled cucumbers, sauce-pickled vegetables of various kinds-these are the commonest preserved vegetables. For preparing dried foods before cooking, the first step is to soak them in warm water or slightly boiling for several hours to several days.
Preserved mustard green - See pickled Chinese cabbage.
Preserved white radish or turnip - are usually sun dried in strips, then salted or preserved in soy sauce. There are several different varieties. Care must be taken with the salted variety to add no more salt to any dish in which they are used. Wash well before cooking. Round turnips are sometimes preserved whole; they have a sweet, appetizing flavor and can be cut into thin batons and eaten as a relish.
Learn About Chinese Cooking Ingredients Video
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Learn How to Prepare Bok Choy for Chinese Food Video
Some Basic Ingredients for Chinese Food Video
How to Remove Fibers from Peapods for Chinese Food Ingredients Video
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