Getting Started

The most important part of cooking Chinese food at home is work area and ingredient preparation.

Because stir-frying is so quick, you should have all your chopping and sauce preparation ready before you turn on the stove. Once you start stir-frying, you won't have the time to do anything but stir-fry!

 

FOOD SAFETY:
WASH HANDS & WORK AREA (Kids sometimes needs to be reminded)
Designate different cutting boards for raw meat and veggies for food safety's sake.
Thaw frozen meats in the fridge (bottom shelf) or microwave (finish cooking immediately after micro-thawing) - NOT on the counter.
Use separate clean plate for cooked meat, not the same platter that held raw items.

FOOD PREPARATION:

Meat Cutting Techniques

Chill meat in the freezer for an hour, until very firm and slightly icy. Using a sharp knife, cut across the grain, making slices at a slight angle "about 1/4-inch thick".

 

 

Vegetables Cutting Techniques

Crushing, Smashing:
Crushing or smashing garlic, ginger or shallots releases the flavor of these ingredients into your dishes. It also loosens the skin so that peeling is made easier, subsequently cutting down on preparation time. To crush or smash, bring the side of the cleaver (or a very heavy, thick-bladed knife) down onto the food in a slapping motion, decisively striking it. If you find that the slapping motion is not comfortable for you, simply place the cleaver onto the food and strike it firmly with your fist. You are then ready to peel or chop.

Slicing:
Using your knuckles to hold down the food, and as a guide for the blade, hold the knife or cleaver perpendicular to the cutting surface and cut straight through the food, down and away from your body.

Shredding:
Cut food into 2-1/2" pieces, then cut those pieces into thin slices. Stack the slices and cut them lengthwise once again into very thin strips.

Dicing:
Follow the steps for shredding, then line the shreds up and cut them crosswise. Depending upon the size of the shredded or sliced vegetables you desire, you may slice your pieces more thinly or thickly in any of the above steps.

Mincing:
Mincing simply takes dicing a step further. Follow the steps for dicing above, then continue to finely chop; the result will be a minced vegetable.

Slant Cutting:
A slant cut may be used to dress up your dishes, particularly when slicing long, thin vegetables like carrots, asparagus, zucchini, turnips, string beans or Chinese radishes, or thin pieces of meat. Slant cutting creates larger pieces of food which will cook more quickly because a larger surface area is exposed to cooking heat. It also enables the food's juices to be incorporated more willingly into the sauce. To slant cut, simply hold the meat or vegetables from the side, again using your knuckles as a guide, and cut at a 60-degree angle.




 
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