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Cooking in Water

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Equipment and Techniques

Spring Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(1) page(s): 30

Several have queried if the ancient Chinese cuisine has more ways to prepare foods than any other? We know not about others and can only advise that we once read about forty different Chinese ways to cook Chinese foods by Benita Wong. She advises that when this ‘fire control’ includes Chinese minority population techniques, it would be twice as long. We are convinced it is important to understand them all.

Also important is flavoring foods is the quality of their raw ingredients before starting to heat them. Western cooking says this quality is most important, while Chinese cooking says raw materials, fire control, and flavoring have equal value. In a Chinese cooking class we attended, that teacher agreed.

We leave relative importance to you, so reach your own conclusions. The Chinese are master cooks who use specific instructions to describe how they control heat more specifically than other cultures, we say Benita Wong’s are not alphabetical nor in order of importance, but should be. Here are some of them.

Chu is probably the earliest and simplest food-heating process; it is cooking in water and is well-controlled, well-timed, and generally simply boiling in water.

Tang is steeping or quick boiling, a variation of the previous one bringing the boiling of sliced or thin-cut foods dipped into a hot liquid to seal and cook them by quickly after cutting the ingredients and sealing them cooking them quickly.

Shuan is cooking pieces of food in boiled liquid on charcoal or spirit-heated pot at one’s table.

Chin is cooking food in boiled liquid and then immediately reducing the heat or removing the heat source.

Chuan is bringing water or stock to a rolling boil, putting the food in it, re-boiling it and when at the rolling boil, removing the food deeming it ready.

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