There are an increasing number of people today that are starting to get interested in cooking proficiently to increase their enjoyments of their meals or even to give the gift of a delicious treat to their loved ones. If you are thinking about rolling up your sleeves and cooking something tasty, but are not sure where to start or what style to try out first, let us recommend Chinese food. Chinese food has an enormous array of flavours for you to try, the food is very nutritious, it is usually quite easy to prepare and, best of all, you don't need to be wearing a fancy dress to do it.
Before you go running for party supplies and ingredients to have your friends over for your début as a Chinese food chef, you should think about getting a wok. While you don't absolutely need it to create tasty and satisfying meals, the bowl shaped wok has several advantages: it will spread the heat evenly, use less oil that a traditional deep fat fryer (for those adventurous who want to try deep frying) and will ensure that the food tossed during the stir frying process lands back in the pan (where you want it) instead of the stove.
Here are some more good news for you: you don't need to get a mortgage to buy a wok. In fact most experienced Chinese cooks will swear by the good old carbon steel variety, which are relatively inexpensive. Also the best type of wok for beginners will probably be the flat bottom ones. Round bottom surfaces will reflect heat back on the element and this will severely compromise your appliances (if you are cooking with an electric range.) And besides a flat bottomed wok is much easier to work with and can peacefully stand on gas stoves. Also, try to find either a wok with resistant handles on the sides or one of the ones that comes with a large wooden handle. This latter option will make it kindergarten easy to move and tilt the wok, which is especially useful when you are stir frying.
Finally it is extremely important to season your wok before you use it for the first time. Manufactures usually place all sort of preservative oils on their woks to prevent rust. Needlessly to say, you do not want this stuff on your pristine dishes. What you need to do is to replace that with a light coating of cooking oil, and also make sure that you clean your wok thoroughly after each use. Even if all of this seems rather obscure now, take the plunge and you'll find that Chinese cooking is both easy and terribly delicious.
Chinese Cooking Tips
- Try to vary the meat and vegetables in a dish, so you can achieve an interesting mixture of flavours, textures and aromas.
- The fresher the better: always use fresh ingredients when possible.
- Always marinate fresh meat. Period.
- Cut the meat into uniform pieces so that it will cook more evenly. Also you will look really professional.
- Make a point of having everything prepared before you start cooking and avoid the potential headaches.
- Even if you don't absolutely need one, getting a wok will make your life easier.
- Wash the green leafy vegetables ahead of time, this will give them time to drain for when you stir fry them.
- When stir frying go from the toughest and thickest vegetables to the softer and leafy ones.
- Stick a chopstick in the oil when stir frying and, if the oil sizzles around it, you are ready to go!
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