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Cooking Techniques: Chinese Style

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Equipment and Techniques

Spring Volume: 2018 Issue: 25(1) page(s): 14


This ancient culture has more ways to prepare foods than most others, new or old. There are some forty different ways to cook food, Chinese style. We read this but never found such a list. We did read that this cuisine uses the freshest ingredients when so doing and adds more flavors and more ways to prepare its foods. Though we have never seen a comprehensive list of these ways, flavors, or tastes, we know the Chinese use the largest variety of ingredients considered safe to eat. Here are some of them; if you know of others, please advise. The ones we know or read are below. (JMN)

CHU is China’s earliest and probably simplest food preparation process as it is cooking food in well-controlled and well-timed applications in water.

TANG is quick-boiling requiring cutting ingredients in thin or other small-shapes and putting them into a boiling liquid to seal them and cook them quickly and evenly.

SHUAN is cooking all pieces of food in a boiled liquid at the table over charcoal or in or over a spirit-heated liquid.

CHIN is putting food in a boiled liquid and immediately reducing its temperature or removing it from the heat source.

CHUAN is bringing water or stock to a rolling boil, putting all food in at one time, then re-boiling it until the liquid reaches a rolling boil, then removing the food when completely cooked.

PAO is deep or using a rolling boil in liquid three to four times more than the amount of food being cooked.

MEN is first frying a food in very little oil, then adding water or stock and bring that to the boil, then reducing the heat and slowly simmering the food in this liquid.

SHAO is similar to men, but first frying the food in very little oil, then simmering it in water or stock reducing the liquid and leaving a small amount thickened at the end.

CHA SHAO is a Cantonese method of reducing liquid that is cooking meat and/or vegetable cut in strips marinated then roasting them over a fire or hanging and cooking them in a hot oven.

LU is cooking meats in strong aromatic soy or herbal stock with rock sugar, soy sauce, wine, dried tangerine peel, ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder or in a master stock.

CHENG is steaming fish or sea food in an open bowl or on a plate over a liquid in a rolling boil, the food never touching the liquid.

TUN is steaming food, marinated or not, in a closed container over a liquid in a rolling boil in a closed pot.

PENG is frying both sides of a food until brown, then adding a small amount of water, stock, and other ingredients and simmering the food until the water has evaporated.

HUI is cooking pre-cut meat or vegetables in a liquid thickened with starch until almost done, then adding transparent or thin noodles and a drop or two of sesame oil and serving.

PAN is tossing or scrambling food similar to Hui, but as a dry process, then adding wheat flour noodles and a drop or two of sesame oil, tossing or stirring it once, then serving.

CHA is food often marinated, then battered and deep-fried two or three times; if dry-fried, first fry it in a little oil, then toss with flour and fry a second time.

YUNG is deep-frying meats or vegetables one time.

CHAO is stir-frying food, often cut in strips in a small amount of oil then tossing them continuously.

PAO is a last cooing process, done in oil, water, or stock, and called ‘explosive’ frying.

CHIEN is cooking large chunks of food in a small amount of oil, as one part of a multi-phase cooking process.

LING, sometimes called ‘splash-frying,’ food is suspended over hot oil using a ladle and frequently pouring oil over the food. And never putting the food into the oil.

LIU is frying food, marinated or not, in the middle or late stage of cooking, then tossing it with wine or another spirit after it is fried.

                                                                                                                                                       
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