Chinese cooking classes
I love fine restaurant quality stir fry. With the skills and experience I gained while living in Asian for several years and my Chinese cooking classes, I’m sharing some basic techniques that will make you an expert at this delicious and healthy cooking. Let’s not get this confused with the Chinese food you get at buffets aplenty. They are often loaded with grease and sit in soggy sauces. I had the opportunity to cook a 10-course Chinese banquet for some international executives. They had traveled the world and eaten at some of the finest Chinese restaurants. Their comment was, “Who cooked this dinner? It is the best Chinese food I have ever eaten.” Here is some information about how to cook the rice. Simple techniques make the difference between mediocre and fabulous Chinese cuisine.
Recipe: Asian Pencil Asparagus with Chicken
Prep Time: 12 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Yield: 4 servings | Level: Easy
- 3 cups Calrose rice
- 1 lb boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 3/4-inch piece of fresh ginger root
- 1 bunch of pencil thin asparagus, cut in 2-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper
Special Equipment – Wok, Rice Cooker
1 Cook the rice in a rice cooker or medium sauce pan.
2 In a medium bowl combine the chicken, cornstarch, garlic and soy sauce and combine.
3 Prepare the asparagus, carrots and ginger before stir frying.
4 Once the rice is cooked, begin stir frying while it steams for 10 minutes. Heat the wok or a large frying pan on high heat with 1 Tbsp of oil swirling it around the pan to thinly coat. When the oil is shimmering, slide the meat into the wok and stir fry the meat until the pink is gone, then scoop it back into the bowl.
5 Scrap the bottom of the pan to remove the bits remaining and throw away. These bits will burn when you stir fry the vegetables.
6 Add the last tablespoon of oil and once hot, add the ginger and stir fry 30-45 seconds. Add the carrots and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add the asparagus and continue to stir fry until the vegetables are crisp tender, about 2 minutes depending on thickness.
7 Add back the chicken and the chicken broth. Stir and cook just long enough to heat the broth and cook any residual raw meat juices. Check for salt and pepper then slide onto a waiting platter. Serve immediately with rice.
Chicken Broth—Use homemade, canned or boxed. If not, use reconstituted chicken paste or bouillon.
Cooking Rice—Place the rice in the rice cooker pot. At the sink, fill it up with cold water amply covering the kernels. Rice is coated with talc which keeps the kernels dry and separated in the packaging. With a loose-fisted hand, swish the rice around to loosen the talc. The water becomes milky. Drain out the milky water and repeat this process until the water is just about clear. It takes several rinses, sometimes rinsing even 6 or 7 times, but it’s worth it. Fill the pot with enough water to cover rice with 1 inch of headspace. I use my finger tip to measure it. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and set your rice on to cook. Once it is done let set to steam for at least 10 minutes before serving to rebalance the moisture.
Rice Cooker—No rice cooker? Use a medium sauce pan and use the same technique to wash the rice. Add water, and salt and heat to a boiling. Then simmer for 17-20 minutes. Don’t remove the lid. When it is done, take off the heat and let set for 10 minutes.
- Exchange pencil thin asparagus for a larger size. Peeling recommended to ensure the stems are tender. Cut the sticks into 1-1 ½ inch lengths depending on width so they stir fry evenly with the carrots.
- Exchange asparagus for fresh green beans.
- Exchange carrots for orange bell peppers.
- Exchange chicken for pork.
Inspiration—Ying Ling Lui
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 27, 2012