I consistently get a lot of questions from people wondering how to cook Chinese food. Regardless of if you are just learning how to cook or have been cooking for awhile you will probably find this article useful. The truth is, cooking Chinese food is not hard at all. In fact, many Chinese dishes are all very similar so once you learn how to cook a few different dishes, you should develop a good understanding of Chinese cooking. In this article I will explain to make a few popular Chinese dishes. These dishes include Sesame-Orange Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Cashew Chicken, Black Pepper Chicken, Egg Rolls, and Crab Rangoons. All of these items are fried and most can be found at Chinese restaurants across the United States.
The first thing when preparing to cook Chinese food is to make sure you have a lot of the ingredients on hand. A lot of Chinese dishes all use very similar ingredients. Some ingredients you will want to keep in your pantry are soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and rice wine. Fresh ingredients would include ginger, garlic and green onions. A couple of questions I constantly receive are, “What is the best type of oil for deep frying Chinese cuisine?” and “Are rice wine vinegar and rice wine the same?” The answer to the first question is peanut oil. Peanut oil will brown nicely and give the meat great flavor when used for deep frying. Rice wine vinegar and rice wine are not the same thing. Rice wine is an actual wine, sometimes called Sake or Mirin, while rice wine vinegar is a type of vinegar that is made from fermented rice wine.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg (beaten)
½ cup water (or as much as needed to make batter smooth)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
the juice of ½ orange
1 teaspoon orange zest
sprinkle of garlic powder
Step 1: Heat oil in a deep fryer to 325 degrees. In large bowl combine all of the batter ingredients and mix thoroughly. The batter should be thick enough to coat the chicken but thin enough to flow around the pieces. Set aside.
Step 2: Dip chicken pieces into the batter to coat evenly (one by one). Deep fry the chicken in batches in your deep fryer for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. (or you can fry in hot oil at about 325 degrees in your wok for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown).
Step 3: In a bowl whisk together ketchup, honey, sugar, water, vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil, orange juice, orange zest, and sesame seeds. Pour into a wok and cook until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Mix in a bowl with the fried chicken pieces.
2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
2 cups flour
5 teaspoons cornstarch (divided)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 eggs (beaten)
oil (for frying)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large green pepper (sliced)
1 large onion (sliced)
2 cups cashews
1/3 cup green onions (chopped)
Step 1: In a bowl mix flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. In another bowl beat the eggs. Dip chicken pieces first then the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture and then again in the flour mixture.
Step 2: Fry in oil in a wok or in a deep fryer at 350 degrees in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Step 3: Heat a tiny bit of oil in the wok and stir fry green pepper and onions for 2-3 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.
Step 4: To make the sauce- in a bowl mix chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Step 5: Pour sauce into wok and cook over medium heat stirring until well blended and sauce thickens. In a bowl pour sauce over chicken pieces, add green peppers and onions. Mix well and garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve with white rice.
Black Pepper Chicken-
1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
6 tablespoons cornstarch (for dusting)
1 white onion (diced)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
oil (for drying)
¼ cup oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sake or rice wine
Step 1: Mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Cut chicken into ½“cubes and dust chicken pieces with corn starch until fully coated.
Step 3: Deep fry (or fry in a wok) chicken in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Step 4: Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and stir fry diced onion for a minute or two. Add celery and stir fry for another couple minutes. Add sauce mixture to the wok and heat until bubbling. Add chicken stirring to fully coat with the sauce. Serve with white rice.
General Tso’s Chicken-
1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1” chunks)
5 dried red chili peppers
3 green onions (sliced)
3 eggs (beaten)
½ cup cornstarch
oil (for frying)
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl combine cornstarch and beaten eggs. Mix well to create a batter. Add chicken bits and coat thoroughly.
Step 2: To make the sauce- in a small bowl combine rice vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
Step 3: Heat deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees and deep fried chicken bits in batches. Drain on paper towels.
Step 4: Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to your wok. Add dried chili peppers to your wok and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken bits to the wok and stir fry for a couple minutes.
Step 5: Add sauce mixture to the wok and cook stirring until the sauce becomes thickened and bubbly. Garnish with green onions and serve.
Pork Egg Rolls-
1 lb ground pork
1 package egg roll wraps
1 bag shredded cabbage and carrot mix
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup sugar
½ cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 egg (beaten, for sealing)
Oil (for frying)
Step 1: Fry ground pork in a little oil until the pork is completely browned. Drain and set aside.
Step 2: In a large bowl combine cabbage and carrot mixture, cooked ground pork. Season with 1 tablespoon of oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Step 3: Lay out an egg roll wrapper. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the corner of the wrapper, but not so the filling is actually touching the corner. Fold over that corner and roll about half of the way up. Fold over the left and right corners to the middle. Using a brush or the bottom of a spoon, brush the beaten egg on the edges of the wrapper. Finish rolling up tightly and secure to make sure there are no leaks. Repeat until all the egg roll wraps are used.
Step 4: Deep fry egg rolls in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
12 ounces of cream cheese (at room temperature)
50 wan ton wrappers
1 cup imitation crab meat (or canned)
2 green onions (minced)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 egg (beaten)
oil (for frying)
Step 1: In a bowl cream the cream cheese, soy sauce, green onions and garlic powder. Stir in the crab meat (if using imitation crab it should be chopped into pieces).
Step 2: In a separate bowl beat 1 egg. Lay out a wanton wrapper so it forms a diamond shape and place 1 teaspoon of filling just below the center of each wrapper.
Step 3: Brush the opposite corners of the wanton wrapper with the egg mixture. Fold over the edges of the wrapper to form a triangle and seal tightly.
Step 4: Deep fry the rangoons in batches at 375 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.