Chinese food

Chinese food

Chinese food. Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, which includes cuisine originating from the diverse regions of China, as well as from Chinese people in other parts of the world. Because of the Chinese diaspora and historical power of the country, Chinese cuisine has influenced many other cuisines in Asia, with modifications made to cater to local palates. Chinese food staples such as rice, soy sauce, noodles, tea, and tofu, and utensils such as chopsticks and the wok, can now be found worldwide.

The preference for seasoning and cooking techniques of Chinese provinces depend on differences in historical background and ethnic groups. Geographic features including mountains, rivers, forests and deserts also have a strong effect on the local available ingredients, considering that the climate of China varies from tropical in the south to subarctic in the northeast.

Chinese cooking the most varied in the world, but it is perhaps the greatest cuisine in the world.

Chinese regional cuisines are the different cuisines found in different provinces and prefectures of China as well as from larger Chinese communities overseas.A number of different styles contribute to Chinese cuisine.  In this blog we have divided the country in 4 areas:

  • Shanghai in the East
    • Eastern China food mainly features a sweet and subtle flavor, using sugar, wines, vinegars, and soy sauces. It’s basically the similar cuisines of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Fujian, four of China’s Eight Major Cuisines.
  • Peking in the North
    • Northern food includes several regional cuisines. The best known regional cuisines of Northern China are those of Beijing, Shandong, and Inner Mongolia. … It is very well known for its imperial cuisine. And its most famous dish is Peking Duck. Mild dishes.
  • Szechwan in the West
    • Spicy dishes.  It has bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavour of Sichuan pepper.
  • Canton in the South
    •  In southern China, it is warm and rainy enough for rice; so people in the south eat rice as staple food. Piquant dishes.

In this blog, you will find recipes for chicken and duck, pork and beef, seafood, vegetables, soups, asian rice dishes, asian rice noodles, healthy chinese food option, and much more…

Differences between Chinese food between Europe and Asia.

Although there may be several, we will focus on two major differences:
1) The one that shows at first sight, is that in Asia it is eaten with chopsticks, instead of with fork and knife. This leads to the way food is served at the table.
In Asia, in almost all dishes, the ingredients of the food must be cut into pieces that fit in the mouth before cooking.
In Europe, with the fork and knife, this is not necessary, and the ingredients are usually cooked in large pieces to be cut on the same plate at the time of eating.

2) The dishes are not served individually, but are placed in the center of the table so that all guests can take a little of everything.

We can see this in some Chinese restaurants in Europe, quite large round tables, with the turntable, this is also because it is considered impolite to extend or extend the arm in front of another person to reach food.
With the turntables we avoid this problem.

Be careful when eating Chinese food in western countries.

Chinese cuisine is incredibly varied and rich, thanks in large part to its traditional techniques such as sauteing or steaming. The problem is that in Western countries, a touch that makes the food more attractive to our palates is usually added: a large amount of saturated fat, sodium, oils, sweet sauces and fried foods.

Main ingredients of Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine is one of the most varied and rich in the world. With such a size of country and population, it could not be otherwise. However, there are a number of ingredients that are present in many of its infinite variants. Whether it’s Beijing, Cantonese, Shanghai cuisine, and more, many of their dishes share some of the ingredients we describe in this article. If you like Chinese cuisine, you should have them all in your pantry and let yourself be carried away by the inspiration to create your own Wok dishes.

    • Peanut oil: it is the most used in China for its famous stir-fries in the wok. It tolerates high temperatures and gives a rich flavor to food. You can use sunflower oil as an alternative. Never use olive oil unless you want to do Chinese-Mediterranean fusion cuisine.
    • Sesame oil: Whether roasted or clear, this oil is used exclusively to add flavor, that is, it is not fried with it or used in large quantities precisely because of how “powerful” it is. Provides a delicious flavor to sauces, vinaigrettes and stir-fries.
    • Corn or rice starch: Very liquid sauces or soups are not carried in China. They will always give it a slight touch of thickened using mostly corn or rice starch. You know, a little starch is dissolved in a glass of cold water and added to the soup or sauce to bring it to a boil. It will thicken in seconds.
    • Fermented Beans: This fermented bean paste is a widely used base in Chinese cuisine. It is added at the beginning of a stir fry and adds flavor, salt and sometimes a point of spice if the pasta is also spicy.
    • Star anise: one of the most characteristic spices of Chinese cuisine. It should be used in moderation because it adds a lot of flavor. In general in China they use it ground but you can use those whole stars in a stew as long as we remove them later.
      • The Star Anise (Ilicium Verum Hook) is the fruit of a native Chinese shrub, an evergreen that can grow between 3 and 8 meters (although in England it barely exceeds three meters in height), with an average life of 80-100 years.It also grows in the Atlantic, North America and tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Japan and Vietnam. Its collection is carried out in the months of July, August and September. The Japanese grow badian in temples and cemeteries and use its bark to make incense.
      • Origin of star anise
        It is known under different names such as star anise, star anise, French anise and Chinese badian (badian which in Chinese means eight horns). Its use dates back to approximately 1,120 BC in China where it was used to perfume and as a chew. The Malays used star anise to combat stomach ailments due to intestinal gas, headaches.It belongs to the Magnoliaceae family, its bark is whitish, the leaves are lanceolate with an elliptical shape, the flowers are yellowish or reddish white. Its fruits are polifollicles between 6 and 12, in each follicle there is a cleft, observing a shiny brown seed inside.
      • How do you take star anise?
        Infusion. It is prepared from the fruits. The maximum recommended dose is 0.5-3 g / day. A cup is usually taken after meals.
        Dust. Another way to benefit from the virtues of this plant is to administer it in powder form, either alone or encapsulated.
        Properties of star anise
        The essential oil of star anise is stimulating, eupeptic, carminative, galactogenic, diuretic and a mild expectorant. Its use has been common to combat colic, flatulence, it is used in cough drops, and also as an antipyretic.It has a recognized anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial activity (Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Clostridium), it has been used to deworm cattle in aerosol, all these properties are believed to be linked to anethole, although it has been observed that during the processing of anethole it have found other fractions that also exhibited antimicrobial activity.There are different species of Ilicium, among them the Ilicium anisatum that contains sesquiperthen lactones that are spasmogenic and toxic, and on the other hand the Ilicium Lanceolatum or Ilicium Religiosum that is poisonous also known as Japanese star anise.
    • Long grain rice: the battle rice of this country and that feeds almost the entire population. Easy to cook, it is loose and is ideal for sautéing.
    • Bean sprouts: added near the end of a stir fry to leave them almost raw. Very nutritious, crunchy and tasty. It is becoming easier to find them in our Spanish markets.
    • Chicken broth or similar: Yes, in China they also use their “cubes (chicken stock)” and they are of a great quality. In Cocinista we propose different chicken or meat concentrates used in Asia and that are the basis of many Chinese stews.
    • Rice noodles: incredible for their texture and translucent appearance. It provides relatively little flavor and that is why they are perfect to be added to soups or stews.
    • Ginger: both fresh and dried and powdered, this is undoubtedly one of the typical flavors of China and Asia.
      • Ginger, also known as kion or quion, is an aromatic plant that has been the subject of study for centuries thanks to its healthy and healing effects. It belongs to the tuber family, and is an underground rhizome (root) with a remarkably spicy flavor, which also makes it a good gastronomic seasoning.

        Since ancient times, ginger was one of the most popular and important plants in the Orient, especially in the Arab countries, China and India. This is the result, in part, of its properties: it is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps fight various heart, digestive or respiratory diseases.

        • Composition:
          Ginger means finding in a single food a whole concentration of benefits and compounds, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids or essential oils for our health.Within the family of oils it contains, we find some types such as citronellal, lemongrass and camphene. Gingerol is another of the essential oils of the plant since it is responsible for giving it that spicy flavor that characterizes it.As for vitamins, this tuber is rich in Vitamins B and C, in addition to being also rich in minerals such as aluminum, phosphorus, calcium and chromium.
        • The most important benefits of ginger
          Below we will briefly review the benefits of ginger that can help to significantly improve our health if we maintain a regular consumption:1. Nausea
          During pregnancy it is ideal to consume ginger as a natural antiemetic, especially for the first months of pregnancy as it is a beneficial supplement for both the fetus and the mother. It also helps cope with the difficulties of chemotherapy for cancer patients.2. Digestive
          Ginger is highly recommended for those who suffer from digestive problems such as gastritis, flatulence or diarrhea, among others. It also works as a stomach protector, although it cannot replace the medication dedicated to this.3. Natural anti-inflammatory
          The use of ginger is recommended to help go through painful or inflammatory diseases, and effectively combat problems of osteoarthritis, arthritis or chronic fatigue.4. Throat conditions
          Professional singers are big fans of ginger. The benefit it provides to treat throat infections and inflammations is priceless.5. Helps increase body heat
          Ginger is highly recommended for those who have a cold or who have problems maintaining body temperature, especially in winter. It has a very powerful calorific component.6. Speeds up metabolism
          It also helps speed up the metabolism, so it is an ideal supplement if we need to lose weight.7. Increase libidoGinger is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It is recommended to take it as a drink almost every day.8. Prevents heart disease
          As we have discussed previously, ginger has benefits for cardiovascular problems, maintains an optimal rhythmic level and helps regulate the pumping of the heart.9. Improves circulation
          Ginger also makes the blood circulation adapt better to what we are doing.10. Fight migraines
          Scientific studies have shown that ginger blocks the effects of protasgladina, a substance that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain that causes severe headaches (migraines).11. Anti-stress
          Thanks to the properties it contains in cineole, ginger helps reduce anxiety levels, regulates states of stress in seasons of ups and downs and provides a feeling of calm to the body.12. Decreases muscle problems
          It is a food especially recommended for those who practice sports constantly and with high performance. It will help to relax your muscles after putting a lot of pressure on them.13. Avoid congestion
          It effectively fights congestion and the discomfort of constipation. It is advisable to drink ginger infusions.14. Calms menstrual cramps
          For those women who suffer from pain in the ovaries, it is highly important to take liquid ginger, it is the only natural remedy that does not present significant side effects.15. Prevents colon cancer
          The properties of gingerols are beneficial in preventing colon cancer. Its effects appear to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in this area.16. Strengthens defenses
          Ginger has tremendous benefits for the immune system, so it helps make colds and acute flu to develop.17. Dermatological treatment
          The ginger root can be applied directly to the skin, and it effectively fights minor wounds and burns if you have suffered a heat stroke.18. Fall asleep
          As we have seen, the relaxing effects of ginger help regulate stress. In this way, if we have problems falling asleep, it is advisable to take ginger before going to sleep.
    • Mix 5 spices: add a little of this mixture to a stew and it will taste like China. Star anise predominates but pepper, cinnamon, fennel, and coriander also add flavor.
    • Sichuan pepper: it is actually a false pepper but do not be confused: it is very spicy and provides a rich characteristic flavor.
    • Chilli sauce: on every Chinese table there is a good spicy and thick chilli sauce. Made with red chili peppers and oil, they can be used to cook and give a spicy touch to a dish, but it is also served separately so that each diner contributes the level of spiciness they like and tolerate.
    • Oyster sauce: it is made from fermented oysters and its special flavor combines curiously better with meat stews.  Oyster sauce is a dark brown viscous sauce widely used in Asian cuisine such as Chinese, Filipino and Khmer cuisine, as well as Chifa cuisine.
    • Soy sauce: rarely does a Chinese add salt to a stew. You will add a little soy sauce that, in addition to salt, provides aroma and color.
      • Soy sauce is one of the condiments that provides the most benefits to our body as it contains a wide variety of nutrients. In it we can find proteins and fiber, which are very beneficial nutrients for our body. It also contains essential amino acids and lecithin.
      • Soy sauce is one of the best-known and oldest condiments that exist in the world and is originally from China. It emerged about 2,500 years ago thanks to Buddhism and its spread of vegetarianism. It was created as an alternative to seasonings of meat origin and as a way to preserve food. Originally it was produced from the fermentation of roasted soybeans and wheat grains. From this process arose a salty paste of fermented soy and wheat grains that, together with water, formed the first recipe for soy sauce.
      • Today soy sauce is known and appreciated throughout the world and the ways to use it in the kitchen are practically endless. But if you have not yet dared to use it in the kitchen, we give you some tips to include it in your diet. Soy sauce is widely used to:
        • Accompany the sushi
        • Aromatize fish or vegetable soups and poultry broths.
        • Dressing salads
        • Reinforce the flavor of meat and fish
        • Marinate grilled or boiled vegetables
        • Accompany rice
    • Dark soy sauce: the same as the previous one but added in very small quantities with the main intention of giving color to the stew.
    • Hoisin Sauce: A sweet sauce typically used to accompany roast and lacquered duck.  Hoisin sauce is a typical Chinese dipping sauce included in popular dishes such as Peking duck, spring roll, mu shu pork, or barbecued pork. It is known and also used in Vietnamese cuisine where it is called tương đen.
    • Sesame seeds: give flavor and serve to decorate. To get all their aroma, it is advisable to fry them very briefly.Sesame, also known as sesame (Sesamum indicum), is a seed native to Africa and India. Currently its consumption is widespread worldwide.In its application in the kitchen, we can use sesame to prepare breads, cookies, salads, dishes with rice, pasta, meat or vegetables, sweets or tahini (creamy pasta derived from this seed). In addition, we can obtain sesame oil (very present in Asian cuisine) ideal for dressing salads.Sesame are small seeds and in the market we can find them of different types, mainly three:White sesame seeds: they are the most popular, used for buns, breads, curry sauce or hot sauce. They are characterized by their mild flavor.
      Unpeeled or whole sesame seeds: their nutritional properties are superior to those of white seeds. They can be used for the preparation of tahini pasta or butters. They should be kept in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place.
      Black sesame seeds: The oil derived from this seed is one of the most valued on the market and can be used to make baked goods. They stand out for their intense flavor and aroma, especially when they are toasted.Sesame or sesame is a gluten-free seed, rich in: Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E, K), minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sicilium, iron or iodine), fiber, antioxidants , vegetable proteins, and healthy fats.

      When it comes to its health benefits, sesame:

      – It favors the functioning of the digestive system and protects the bacterial flora.
      -Strengthens the nervous system.
      -Helps reduce arthritis pain
      -Regulates the level of cholesterol in the blood
      -Can prevent colon cancer, migraine or osteoporosis
      -It is beneficial for people suffering from heart problems or hypertension
      -Delays cellular aging -Improves circulation -Promotes rest.

    • Tree ear mushroom: a curiously shaped mushroom that grows in the bark of trees. It is used for its special texture and presentation since they hardly add flavor.
    • Dried shiitake mushrooms: another mushroom that grows on trees, in this case already dead. Its flavor is mild if consumed fresh but very intense and rich if it has been previously dehydrated. A delight.
    • Bamboo stems: another ingredient that provides a lot of texture and a very characteristic mild flavor. It is usually added to soupy stews. It is bought already cooked in a can or in a bag.
    • Tofu: made from coagulated soy milk as if it were a fresh cheese, it represents a rich and healthy contribution of protein in the diet. In China they tend to batter and fry the toffee to give it more flavor and make it more manageable.           Tofu is a food of oriental origin, prepared with soybeans, water and solidifying or coagulant. It is based on the nutritional value of soy protein and its ability to lower blood cholesterol, among other benefits. It is a common component in oriental cuisine. It is prepared by coagulating the so-called “soy milk” and its subsequent pressing to separate the liquid part from the solid, in a similar way to how cheese is prepared from milk. It has a firm texture similar to that of cheese, creamy white in color and is usually in the form of cubes.

      Tofu originated in China. Chinese legend attributes its invention to Prince Liu An (劉 安, 179 BC – 122 BC). Tofu and its production technique were introduced to Korea and Japan during the Nara period. It also spread to other parts of East Asia. It is very likely that its spread coincided with the expansion of Buddhism, as it is an important source of protein in the vegetarian diet of Asian Buddhism. Li Shizhen of the Ming Dynasty describes a method of making tofu in the Bencao Gangmu.

      Tofu is low in calories, with relatively large amounts of protein and very little fat. It is rich in iron and depending on the coagulant used during its manufacture, it can also be high in calcium and / or magnesium.

      Tofu is widely used in Japanese cuisine, which has made it famous in the West, but its use is also widespread in China and in Asian cuisine in general.

      If cooked with any spices, tofu takes on its flavor, which makes it a good ingredient for stews and special soups. No animal product is involved in its preparation, which is why it is widely used as a partial substitute for meat by vegetarians.

    • Rice wine (Shaoxing): Another ingredient that added to a dish gives it a clear Chinese flavor. It is used to give a point of sweetness, flavor and a lot of aroma to sauces and marinades. In some recipes they suggest substituting it for sherry wine if the original wine is not available, but in our opinion they are not comparable, although it is true that both are very aromatic.
    • Rice vinegar: either light or dark, vinegar is a very present ingredient in authentic Chinese cuisine. Dark vinegar, for example, is the most common accompaniment to famous dumplings. And many Chinese dishes have a distinctive sour taste.Rice vinegar is a type of vinegar obtained from the fermentation of rice.The best known and most used is white rice vinegar. This type of vinegar has an appearance that can be from practically colorless to a pale yellow hue.Other rice vinegars can be colored with different shades of red or even brown or black.Rice vinegar is somewhat denser than the vinegars that  usually are used in the West.

 

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+ 100 Amazing Chinese food recipes