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Chinese Food and History

Chinese Food History Class is in Session

This is a guest author submission on Chinese food, and the history of Chinese cooking, methods, and styles.  I’m always eager to learn about the history of the Chinese food that I love.  I feel that an educated gastronomist is one who can open one’s mind and palate to try new and exciting recipes and flavors.  Consider this required reading for all fans of The Chinese Quest.

Chinese cooking is usually done in a wok or a bamboo steamer. A wok is simply a large, bowl shaped pan that can hold soups, stews or stir fry easily. Bamboo steamers are made from bamboo, and are used to make dumplings, meats and vegetables.

chinese-food-historyYou will use the bamboo steamer inside the wok, which will be filled with water. You do not need to use a lot of water, but you will want to make sure that there is enough water so that the wok does not dry before the food is cooked, and that the water is boiling before you add the steamer.

Extremely developed culinary techniques can make seemingly inedible ingredients, to foreign eyes, into dish after dish of delicious treats by the hands of Chinese chefs. The Chinese cookbook also contains quite an extensive list of foods, including just about anything edible with very few taboos. The Chinese, who see eating as a fortune and life as an art, not only created various kinds of regional food styles in its own vast lands, but have also spread Chinese food culture to far across the seas. Today, in this world where even the farthest corners can seem as close as one’s backyard, Chinese food can be enjoyed in each and every metropolitan throughout the world.

A wok is a great choice for making healthy and nutritious vegetable dishes, since you can use a high heat for your dishes so that little cooking time is required. Since Chinese cooking can be completed in just a few minutes in a wok, your family will love being able to have their favorite Chinese food anytime.

beautiful-chinese-foodThe Chinese food can be chosen, to make a great difference by opting for various dishes with different nutritional value. Chicken or beef dishes and vegetables are a good choice. Fried dishes like sesame chicken can be substituted with cashew chicken or beef and broccoli. Such dishes offer nutritional value that is not contained in traditional plates like lo mein, which are noodles soaked with oil, fats and carbohydrates.

Some Chinese cooking does require some practice to make, such as egg rolls and dumplings. The main problem that you are likely to encounter is working with and folding the wrappers for these Chinese foods.

A good tip to remember is to make sure that you measure the foods you put into the wrappers, so that all of the egg rolls or dumplings cook in the same amount of time. You can cook egg rolls and dumplings either in hot oil for a crunchy snack, or in a steamer for a softer one. Typically, egg rolls are fried while dumplings are steamed, although you can always choose the cooking method that suits your family best.

chinese-food-dishesThrough proper cooking techniques, aestheticism in food is achieved. “Aroma” is achieved by using the right spices, such as scallion, ginger, garlic, cooking wine, aniseed, cassia bark, black pepper, sesame oil, shiitake mushrooms and so on, to stimulate the appetite with the aroma from the cooked food. When preparing food, techniques such as fry, stir-fry, roast, steam, deep-fry, quick-fry, simmer and others are put to use, with the goal of preserving the natural taste and juices of the food. One can also add the right amounts of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, spices, spicy pepper and other seasoning, making the dishes taste salty, sweet, sour, hot and much more. With tomatoes, turnip, cucumber and other sculptural vegetables to create elegant and intricate decorations to the plate, and the use of exquisite fine china for dining ware, Chinese cuisines really become a true art form complete with aesthetic beauty, wonderful aroma, and great taste.

by Harry Chan

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