5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Cuisine


5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Recipes

Regardless of whether you are an experienced home cook or a beginner in the cooking area, one thing that you should have your hands on is Chinese food. But even before deciding on trying out different dishes from China, you should get an idea of the main ingredients used in Chinese recipes. The reality is you do not really require too many ingredients for cooking and enjoying authentic Chinese dishes. It is just about finding a solid foundation. Once you master the art of cooking, you can find substitutes for the ingredients if not the original ones. Chinese recipe ingredients core to your cooking arsenal include:

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce, which is also called Peking Sauce, is an essential ingredient in many Chinese dishes. Used for marinating barbeque meats and stir-fries, this sauce is well-known for its blend of spicy and sweet flavor. It is even used in the form of a dipping sauce with momos and rolls. Made using sweet potatoes, sugar, garlic, five-spice powder, and wheat flour, this sauce tends to be thicker in comparison to the other sauce varieties.

5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Recipes
5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Recipes

Soy Sauce Both Dark And Light

A familiar staple ingredient in Chinese food, soy sauce is generally made from wheat flour and fermented soybeans. You can find different varieties of this sauce in Japan and China. However, the two main types include light and dark soy sauces. The lighter versions are saltier and thinner than the darker ones. In China, light soy sauce is used as an alternative to salt in stir-fries, soups, stews, and braises. Dark soy sauce speaks of a less salty and mellower flavor. It even has a thicker texture and darker color. It is used for adding color and flavor to different Chinese delicacies.

5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Recipes
5 Main Ingredients Used In Chinese Recipes

Sesame Oil

It is a recognizable flavor in many Asian and Chinese dishes. One thing you should consider when buying sesame oil is going for toasted varieties. The toasted versions of this oil will have rich aroma and dark amber color. Avoid going for yellow or clear bottles of this oil as they are not toasted. This means they will not have a good taste and rich fragrance. Adding a bit of sesame oil to stir-fry menus helps in giving the dishes an Asian flavor. Additionally, excess of this oil can make a dish taste overpowering. So try using just sufficient for complementing the other sauces, spices, and ingredients.

Rice Vinegar

You will find different variants of rice vinegar used throughout China. Rice vinegar is made using fermented rice. There is a plain variety that is clear and is used in dressings and pickles. Then there is black rice vinegar that comes with an earthy and mellow taste. It offers dishes a fantastic smoky flavor.

Five-Spice Powder

The powder is made by mixing fennel seed, star anise, cinnamon, clove, and Szechuan pepper. It offers an excellent punch to vegetables and meat. You can easily find a number of variations of this amazing powder. There is no other spice or ingredient that can replace this powder in Chinese cooking.

Well-stocked cupboards make all the difference in cooking Chinese recipes. It might be tempting to substitute some ingredients for easier alternatives. But there can be no shortcuts for authentic Chinese food.

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