INTRODUCTION IN CHINESE COOKINGWhat makes Chinese cuisine so appealing? Restaurants captivate our senses. Even an order of the ubiquitous Chicken Balls with Sweet-and Sour Sauce from the local Chinese takeout has its own special appeal. What is it that makes Chinese food so special? Its not the exotic vegetablesand seasonings — a skilled chef can prepare a meal that epitomizes the best ofChinese cooking using only native ingredients. Its not the equipment, either. Many tasty stir-fries have been born in a frying pan instead of a wok. The true secret to Chinese cuisine lies in a harmonious blending of flavors,textures, and colors. Take Basic Sweet-and-Sour Pork, for example. The sweet and sour flavors balance each other nicely, and the reddish sauce provides a nice contrast to the pineapple and green bell peppers.This characteristic isnt limited to entrées, either. The same satisfying balancecan be found in many Chinese dishes, such as Wonton Soup, where pork-filled wonton wrappers are swimming in a rich broth.
Peking Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered anational dish of China.The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly theskin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dishare slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, scallion, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names.
Liyuan Theatre is one of the lovely places in Beijingwhere you can have your delicious dinner, watching in the same time a grandious Chinese opera spectacle...
So, why arent more people stir-frying noodles and boiling dumplings? A common misconception is that it takes a skilled chef working with state-of-the-art equipment to prepare good Chinese food. Fortunately, thats not true. Stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying — the three primary Chinese cooking techniques — are all easily mastered with practice. Another common complaint is that the recipes are too complex, taking too long to make. The sight of a lengthy ingredient list can be a little daunting. But on closer inspection youll find that many of the ingredients go into preparing a marinade or sauce. Subtract those, and the basic recipe is frequently quite simple. As for time involved, most of the work lies in preparation. Time spent actually cooking can be mere minutes, especially if youre stir-frying. And once youve cooked a few dishes youll find yourself falling into a routine — cutting vegetables while the meat is marinating, preparing a sauce whilewaiting for the oil to reach the required temperature for deep-frying. Otherhandy time-savers include washing vegetables in the morning — giving themall day to dry — and marinating meat ahead of time and refrigerating it until youre ready to cook.
What are the pluses of cooking Chinese food at home? Besides the obvious advantage to your wallet, its often healthier than restaurant fare, since you control the fat and calorie count. You can let your own creativity come into play, adjusting a recipe to add favorite foods or seasonal local ingredients.Cooking Chinese food at home also allows you to modify a recipe to suit your familys tastes; substituting parsley for cilantro, for example. An added bonus is that there is something about cooking Chinese food that brings families together. Many pleasurable evenings can be spent filling dumplings or making pancakes. Appetizers such as egg rolls can often be baked as well as deep-fried, making it easier to involve young children. This book is designed to help you incorporate home-cooked Chinese mealsinto your daily life. Tips on purchasing equipment, cooking techniques, and stocking the pantry are all here. Recipes include popular favorites suchas Mu Shu Pork, and less well-known dishes such as MaPo Dofu, a tofu dish. Information on cooking with more exotic ingredients such as Szechwanpeppercorns and fermented black beans is provided, along with suggestions for substitutes where possible.
The EndMusic: Traditional Chinese 3/20/2013 6:14:15 AM