Chinese Cooking Techniques
Chinese cooking involves all kinds of techniques from stir-frying to steaming to simmering. This table lists a variety of Chinese cooking techniques and what you use them for, and a few tips as well.
|Technique||The Results||What You Need||How Long?||Tips|
|Stir-frying||Crisp, brightly colored foods with lots of nutrition and
flavor, but little fat
|A wok or large frying pan||Lightning-quick — there’s not time.||Have all your ingredients and sauces prepared ahead of time;
cook ingredients in stages.
|Steaming||Healthful, almost fat-free foods whose fresh, natural flavors
|An electric steamer; a wok or pan with a steamer rack||Not too long — as long as it takes to fully cook the
|Be careful when removing the steamer lid so you don’t get
a painful steam burn.
|Blanching||Softened — not fully cooked — foods that are now
ready for complete cooking via another method
|A wok or pot big enough to hold plenty of boiling water||Brief — just a few minutes or long enough to soften||Make sure to stop the cooking after removing the food the food
by rinsing it with or plunging it into cold water.
|Simmering||Gently cooked, tender, juicy, and flavorful food||A wok or pot that can hold enough water to cover the food||A while — from a few minutes to more than an hour||Gentle is the key word: After you bring the water to a boil,
reduce the heat and gently cook the food until it’s
|Braising||Flavorful, tender, morsels from the toughest cuts of meats||Same equipment as simmering||A long time; normally a couple hours will do the trick||Browning the meat first adds flavor and color; just be patient
and don’t put too much meat in the pan at once.
|Deep-frying||Food that’s crisp and golden on the outside, tender and
fully cooked on the inside
|An electric fryer; a large pan or wok with a flat bottom or a
|Not too long, because the quicker the food fries, the better
the texture becomes
|Don’t let the oil temperature drop! Be careful working
near the hot oil, too.
|Roasting||Foods with a crisp, caramelized exterior and juicy, tender
flesh (but they get that texture from dry, circulating heat rather
than from hot oil, as in deep-frying)
|An oven||Depends on the food’s thickness, but generally a longer,
less fuel-efficient method
|Make sure that air circulates around the food, and baste it
with the marinade or pan juices to add flavor and keep it
|Smoking||Foods with a distinctively smoky, aromatic flavor||A wok, which easily turns into a smoker||A longer, slower cooking method||Choose from many flavoring agents, such as tea and rice, to
flavor your smoke.