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Some of the main ingredients in Chinese Food are ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. These are the odors you smell when you walk into a Chinese Buffet. Here are a few tips to getting a better flavor out of your Chinese cooking.
Always use raw ginger or garlic, but this does not mean it has to be fresh. Put both roots in the freezer if you don't use them every time you cook.
The ginger will grate into finer powder than when it is fresh. You don't have to worry about cleaning the fibers out your fine grater. They will just grate with everything else. The frozen garlic will peel easier. But I buy the minced kind in a jar you can get at Walmart. It is ready to go and lasts for weeks in the refrigerator.
When making stir fry, heat your oil and then put in the ginger and garlic. This will cause these flavors to spread more evenly into the stir fry recipe. You might think it doesn't make a difference but it does.
Sesame oil is expensive so use it as an enhancer. Add a tablespoon to a cup of regular salad oil for frying. Drizzle it over the whole recipe just before serving. Stir into the mixture if you have picky guests that might say it looks like the whole thing is swimming in oil. It really makes fried rice have a good flavor.
Source: From my simple little brain
By Tim Lawson from Science Hill, KY
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Has anyone had any success making Chinese food that tastes like what they make at restaurants? I have tried some recipes but it is never quite the same. What's the secret? Any recipes or tips would be great.
According to a Chinese friend that owns a restaurant, the reason is that you can't heat the wok to the same high temps that they use in the restaurants. They cook nothing at home because of this very reason. They do all their cooking at the restaurant. Your typical stove at home just won't work!
I have an old paperback cookbook that has recipes for the foods you typically order in a Chinese restaurant. It separates the recipes in order of difficulty and tells you what you can substitute for the Chinese ingredients and also what you would you need to go buy at a Chinese grocery store.
Well, if you checked out the calorie count in most Chinese restaurant dishes, you wouldn't worry so much.
I make many of my own versions of Chinese foods simply because I have a friend that works as a Restaurant Food Inspector and she highly recommends NOT going to any Chinese restaurant in our county! My family seems to like all the things I make just as well or better than most of the Chinese restaurants anyway.
There is a Stir Fry mix you can buy in some grocery stores (including Publix & Walmart). It is a powder mix that is sold under the name of "Produce Partners"; I use this package and add a little of my own touches...I add Soy Sauce and a bit of Splenda. When I make the Stir Fry, I typically use only the veggies my family will eat: i.e. green & red peppers, fresh mushrooms, onions, Pork, Chicken and Beef strips and 2 or 3 of these seasoning packets. I usually serve this over Brown Rice or even a Rice-A-Roni blend. There are usually no leftovers on Stir Fry night!
Sheila in Titusville, FL
I know that one particular chinese restaurant uses Maggi seasoning. I was given a recipe and tried it with and without the Maggi. Yep, that made all the difference.
Also, please notice that chinese restaurants aren't using long grain white rice (like Minute Brand rice) that is commonly found in standard american grocery stores.
Go to an asian grocery or in the asian grocery aisle and check out the bags of rice on the shelves. Resolve to cook rice in a steamer and notice the difference.
I have added a picture of the Cuisinart rice cooker. It's not necessarily the best and there are certainly less expensive models (try Target and Wal-Mart). What I don't like is that they are teflon coated and aluminum. If you find one that isn't made with these substances, post the info here, please!
I saw one on a vegetarian site years ago for more than my budget would then allow and although I saved the info, the computer developed a virus and it wasn't backed up all the way. That's why I am requesting this info!
I have to differ with 'Cookwie'. Maggi (liquid seasoning, I'm copying directly from my bottle) is comprised of Water, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy protein, salt and artificial flavor. MSG is short for monosodium glutamate which makes the tastebuds more sensitive, rather than seasoning the food.
I've found that a good brand of sesame oil (added last to most things) makes a big difference in authenticity. Use peanut oil (most Chinese restaurants do) and a freshly ground pepper. Ginger means fresh ginger, not ginger powder.
Jasmine rice is a good accompaniment. Substituting American long grain rice won't give you the same results.
Very much like American cooking, the same dish can be interpreted in many ways. There must be a million variations to meatloaf. The same is true with most stirfry dishes (Wok fried with a gravy especially)
Most local Chinese restaurants serve something closer to fusion foods. If you're looking for authentic, a good barometer is to chose restaurants where you see a good percentage of Chinese customers.
Here is a recipe for chicken fried rice that is equal to or better than any Chinese Restaurant.
It may seem like a long recipe, but once you have made it a couple of times it is easy. The rice and the chicken can be cooked the day before and the vegetables can be chopped.
Chicken Fried Rice
3/4 cup onion,chopped
2 1/2 tbs oil, divided
3 drops soya sauce
3 drops sesame oil
8 oz chicken, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1/2cup carrots, chopped small. (opt)
4 cups cooked rice (cold)
4 green onions, chopped
2 tbs. soya sauce
Stir fry the onions in 1 tbs oil over medium-low heat till golden, this will take @ 8 minutes.* and remove from the pan.
Mix the egg, soya sauce and the sesame oil
Add the 1/2 tbs oil to the pan and pour in the egg mixture and swirl the pan so the egg covers the bottom and sides
Cook till the egg is puffy, turn and cook the other side briefly. Remove and chop fine.
Heat the last tbs oil add the chicken, carrots, peas and cooked onions. Stir fry @2 minutes
Add the rice,green onion and mix.Stir fry @ 3 minutes
Add the 2 tbs soya sauce and the egg mixture
Stir to mix and serve.
*Don't rush this part, this is what gives most of the flavor.If you have had onions from a fair or carnival thats what they will look and smell like.
Good luck, its worth the effort.
Hydrolyzed corn will give the same effects as MSG!
Hydrolyzed anything will give the same effects as MSG!