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Author : Rubel Zaman

Chinese food is probably one of the most widely eaten foods in the world, not just in China, where the 1.3 billion population would make it so, but also in the Western world too. Chinese restaurants are everywhere, and there is a Chinatown in most big cities.

If you fancy emulating some of the delicious feasts you've tried in a Chinese restaurant, ensure you have some essential ingredients first, as it is the ingredients listed below that recreate that authentic Chinese flavour.

Most of the ingredients can be bought from the local supermarket; such is the popularity of Chinese food, so you won't necessarily have to go to Chinese speciality stores or markets to get them.

The vegetables listed can be used fresh or, if you can't get fresh, tinned is fine.

Ensure you have a good cookbook and clean utensils to work with, such as wok, spatula and sharp knife. Have fun!

Soy Sauce – Soy sauce is used in all types of Asian cooking, light soy sauce is used to cook food in and dark soy sauce which is thicker is used to dress and add flavour to food once it is cooked.

Oyster Sauce – Oyster sauce is made from boiled oysters and seasoning. It s a rich and savoury sauce, and is used in meat and vegetables dishes. It is one of the key ingredients in Cantonese cooking.

Chinese Mushrooms – Chinese mushrooms are usually of the black mushroom variety. They are quite slimy and taste unusually earthy, but they add a traditional 'bite' to Chinese cooking. Other popular Chinese mushrooms are Shitake, and the beautifully named Wood Ear and Snow Fungus.

Garlic – Garlic is present in most Chinese dishes and is used to flavour and season

Ginger –Ginger is also a very popular Chinese flavour that is present in many of the traditional dishes, such as ginger beef or chicken.

Spring onions/ Green Onions / Scallions – Spring onions are a very frequent addition to Chinese cooking, which ad flavour and crunch.

Water Chestnuts

Bamboo Shoots - No vegetable seems quite as Chinese as Bamboo Shoots. These can be bought tinned or fresh, and cooked in stir fries or eaten raw, on top of stir fries, salads and soups.

Water Chestnuts – Another traditional Chinese vegetable which adds a great crunch to stir fries.

Broccoli /Courgette (Zucchini) – Both of these green vegetables are used widely in Chinese cuisine.

Chinese Rice Wine – Adds authentic Chinese flavour and removes strong odours from cooking.

Rice – Rice is the staple to Chinese (and Asian) diets everywhere. Long grain or delicately scented Jasmine Rice is used for savoury dishes and short grain 'sticky rice' for snacks and desserts.

Sesame Oil - This strong tasting oil is used for cooking and seasoning, particularly to add flavour to stir-fries and soups.

Chilli Paste – Chinese chilli paste is made with chillies, salt, garlic, ginger and oil. A small amount of this spicy seasoning adds heat to stir-fries, marinades and sauces, it is particularly typical of the Szechuan region of China, where hot and spicy food is a speciality.

Mung Bean Sprouts – These are another favourite Chinese vegetable, found mainly in stir fries.

Oil - Oil is very important in Chinese cuisine as most dishes are stir fried or deep fried. Traditional Chinese cooking uses peanut oil, however a healthier version often used today is plain vegetable oil, such as canola. Peanut oil tends to go rancid rather quickly, which can be a problem if you're just getting into Chinese cuisine and don't cook Chinese food often.

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Submitted : 2011-03-07    Word Count : 602    Times Viewed: 355