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Old 03-02-2006, 04:17 PM   #41
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I used to have a problem with cooking Chinese food (well, actually I never really tried that much). But, I found from my limited tries that it due to the techniques I was using (like not cutting right). So, I decided to go to class to learn how to cook - improved my cooking in a week! It was truly amazing! Unfortunately, I had to leave class cause I was busy all the time...

as a side note, the classes are no longer available, but the teacher made a cookbook at Wokfusion.com. Has anyone tried this cookbook?
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:18 PM   #42
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cool site tommyboy, thanks!!! my wokking skills and experience are severely lacking, i'm gonna look into that.
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Old 03-05-2006, 11:23 AM   #43
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I tried for months to re-create our favorite chinese dishes and could never get the flavors just right or the tenderness of the meat. I bought this book and now we never eat out Chinese, here is the information on the book:

Stuart Chang Berman
Potsticker Chronicles
America's Favorite Chinese Recipes: A Family Memoir

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:36 PM   #44
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May I make a suggestion (I live in Beijing)

There are possibly several reasons for the lack of authenic taste, but I doubt it is the heat. First probable reason, the Chinese almost invariably use peanut oil. But it is not a refined peanut oil as is available from US Supermarkets. You will have to get it from an ethnic supermarket for the genuine imported oil (and so many dishes have hot oil added before serving). Second, they use a lot of home-made chicken-broth. This apparently easy and commonplace constituent cannot be replicated in a can. It must be home-made and made in large quantities (restaurants can do this because they use so much). Third, they almost always use white pepper, never black. Finally. many of the dishes demand Chinese cooking wine. Again, this is nothing like any other wine in the world. Get this from an ethnic store. There is no substitute.

Finally, speaking from the heart, Chinese food in China is very different from Chinese food in the USA (or any other country, come to that.) This is because Chinese food in the US and Britain (and any other country, come to that)is adapted and modified to suit local tastes.

I have worked with the Chinese Embassy in London, and the Chinese staff found it almost impossible to find a Chinese Restaurant in London that served what they called "genuine" Chinese food. I have met many Chinese who have visited the US who failed to find what they called a "genuine" Chinese Restaurant.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:48 PM   #45
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While I sure your assesments are accurate, I suspect the folks here are trying to duplicate the tastes the are accustomed to in thier favorite restaurants, even though they may not be authentic to China.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 03-26-2006, 01:27 PM   #46
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I've been cooking Asian food since the early 1970's, probably have at least 30 or more cookbooks concerning it, & yet many times was STILL disappointed in the results.

Then, at a 2nd-hand book sale recently, I picked up a copy of The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo. My stir-fries in particular have never been the same, & I'd willingly hold them up to the best any Chinese restaurant has to offer.

I have a basic small well-seasoned steel wok purchased from a Chinese grocery store back in the 70's, along with the requisite "ring" for using it on my electric - yes, electric with element coils - stove. "Heat" has never been a problem.

The two techniques that have made the biggest difference in my results?

1) "Velveting", which is mixing meat, poultry, or fish with a combination of egg white & cornstarch & partially cooking it very briefly in simmering water, stock, or hot oil, before stir-frying it.

2) IMMEDIATELY, & I mean IMMEDIATELY removing the completed stir-fried dish to a warm serving bowl or platter. Never, ever serve the dish directly from the wok.

While these 2 things may sound ridiculously easy, the results have been night & day different so far.

This book should be MUST reading for anyone interested in cooking good Chinese food. I don't think it's still in print, but is probably available from 2nd-hand on-line bookstores like www.abebooks.com or www.alibris.com.
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Old 03-26-2006, 07:23 PM   #47
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Thanks, Andy M.

Good point.
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Old 05-27-2006, 04:34 PM   #48
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MSG should not be a problem. Upscale chinese restaurant(in china)use broth mostly.

Originally Posted by AlexR

I just love Chinese cuisine, or should I say the versions of it I've had in a dozen countries other than China...

There is a wonderful Aisian supermarket near where I live, with just about every ingredient you'd ever need .

And yet, rarely do I make a dish at home that tastes the way it does even in a cheap hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant.

Background information:
- I do have a couple of books, including Ken Horn's
- I have a wok that is well-seasoned and maintained
- I have been attempting to make Chinese food for years and understand the basic principles.

BUT my stir fries (because this is what I am mostly referring to) rarely taste quite, well, Chinese....

Obviously, I could improve my technique, but I'm wondering about 2 things specifically:
- Is the weak flame of my standard household range the culprit? Might I not be about to do wonderful things with a very hot flame?
- I never use MSG. Could this be part of the reason?

Thanks for your input,

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Old 05-28-2006, 07:15 AM   #49
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Haven't read the thread but it is the heat, for one thing. Try using a turkey fryer burner outside for your stir frys.
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