Chinese restaurant fare always seemed too daunting to try making at home. But I saw another side of Chinese cooking when eating with my boyfriend's parents, Peter and Wendy Lee. With a few fresh ingredients, easy-to-find sauces, and some basic techniques, home cooking is light, flavorful ― and easy. Serve steamed Chinese broccoli or snow peas on the side, and pour a Chenin Blanc.
From the Asian-foods aisle
• Noodle soup base such as Kikkoman Memmi. A mixture of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and fish flavorings, sold in bottles beside the soy sauce.
• Chinese rice cooking wine such as Shaohsing (sometimes spelled Shao Xing). Used in small quantities to flavor dishes.
• Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar. Made from rice; used as a condiment on finished dishes.
• Sriracha hot sauce. A red chile sauce used as a condiment.
More Chinese recipes from our archives
Egg Drop Soup with Mustard Greens
Won Ton Noodle Soup
Spicy Scallop and Bean Thread Noodle Salad
Steamed Chicken with Black Bean Sauce
Chinese Almond Cookies
Homestyle Chinese cooking tips
• Cutting techniques. The texture in many Chinese dishes depends on the ingredients' being sliced uniformly thin. A sharp knife helps. To cut chicken and other meats very thinly, freeze them for about 15 minutes, then slice.
• Rice stick noodles. No need to boil. Just soak in very hot liquid (water works fine, but chicken broth adds more flavor) until soft, about 15 minutes, then drain. When you stir-fry them with the rest of the ingredients in your dish, you have to stir vigorously to separate.