Cooking Chinese Food - Easy

Balancing the Yin and Yang

The best word to use when describing Chinese cuisine is harmony, as the aim is to achieve balance. There are really no hard fast rules or fixed dogma or even arbitrary categories when cooking Chinese. Their aim is to achieve balance between the principles of Yin and Yang. Since eating is a necessity of life, they feel it should be as enjoyable as singing, painting or having a good conversation with a friend. Good nutrition consistently eating only when you're hungry and not overeating. A good rule is to get up from the table when you still feel as if you could eat a little bit more.

Large Country of China

Wickimedia
Wickimedia

Mencius


“….. there are few who know how to distinguish the true taste of food."

Mencius (372-289 B.C.)

China has 4 Distinct Regions

China is a very unique country that is surrounded by mountains, has fertile plains, lakes, rivers and seas which of all influenced their culture. There were long periods of time when some regions were cut off from others, therefore, the Chinese have been influenced by many different cultural traditions and their food varies from region to region. For example, rice is the staple food in central and southern China, while maize and cereals is the staple in other areas.

China has always been a poor country and only a rather small portion of this enormous country is suitable for agriculture, so adequate food has always been a problem. They have suffered from droughts, floods, invasions by barbarians and their soaring population has added to the problem. The northern, southern, eastern, and western portion of China all cook their foods a little bit differently.

Won Ton Soup

One of the excellent Chinese food recipes that I always enjoy and order when I'm in a Chinese restaurant is Won ton soup. The recipe below will serve 6 to 8 servings, and while it takes a little bit of time to make it is well worth the effort.

Won Ton Soup

5 stars from 1 rating of Won Ton Soup

Won Ton Soup

source the joy of Chinese cooking My book
source the joy of Chinese cooking My book

Cook Time

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 Servings

Sweet and Sour Pork Preparation

source the joy of Chinese cooking My book
source the joy of Chinese cooking My book

Ingredients -Soup, Marinade, Won Tons

  • 3/4 pound shrimp
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 1/2 ounces leek, shallot or scallon, cut into think rings
  • 1 tsp. sugar, for marinade
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, for marinade
  • 2-3 drops sesame seed oil, for marinade
  • 6 cups chicken stock, for soup
  • 1 tsp. salt, for soup
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce, for soup
  • 5-6 drops sesame seed oil, for soup
  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour, sifted for won ton
  • 6 tbsp. egg and water combined, beaten
  • cornstarch, as needed

Instructions

  1. Prepare the won ton: Sift the flour onto a pastry board, make a well in the center and pour in all but 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg and water mixture; mix in the flour and work the dough for about 5 min. until smooth; add the remaining egg and water if needed. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 4 to 5 hours at room temperature.
  2. Knead the dough briefly once more and lightly dust the pastry board and rolling pin was cornstarch. Roll the dough out into a very thin, almost transparent sheet and cut out a 48 circles. These should be dusted with cornstarch, piled on top of each other, and kept in the refrigerator, covered with a cloth until needed.
  3. Mix the shrimp thoroughly with the marinade and place in refrigerator for 30 min., which is sugar, salt and sesame oil.
  4. Place a generous teaspoon of shrimp mixture in the center of each pastry circle; brush the edges with beaten egg.
  5. Gather the pastry over the filling; twists to seal.
  6. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and boil the won ton until they rise to the top. Drain.
  7. The soup consists of the chicken broth, salt, soy sauce and sesame oil. Distribute half the chopped leek evenly in the soup bowls and placed the wonton on top.
  8. Bring the chicken stock and other soup ingredients to a boil, add the remaining leek, and boil for 1 min. Serve.

Nutrition for Won Ton Soup

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories 120
Calories from Fat18
% Daily Value *
Fat 2 g3%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 17 g6%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 7 g14%
Cholesterol 50 mg17%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Sweet and Sour Pork

source the joy of Chinese cooking
source the joy of Chinese cooking

Chicken Chow Mein (or Chao Mian, stir fried noodles)

Sweet and Sour Pork

Another Cantonese dish, which has become a favorite worldwide and is excellent with boiled rice, is Sweet and Sour Pork. This easy recipe is not too difficult to make and again, it is well worth the effort.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound leg of pork (de-boned)
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 small can of pineapple
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • Cornstarch as required
  • Oil for frying, (peanut oil is preferable to me)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. Cut the pork into slices about 1/2 inch thick and pound each piece lightly on both sides with the blunt edge of the cleaver to tenderize; then cut into bite-size portions.
  2. Remove the seeds from the chili pepper and cut it into rings about 1/4 inch thick. Slice the leeks into 1/2 inch lengths, and chop the garlic very finely
  3. Drain canned pineapple and cut into small pieces; slice the green peppers lengthwise; remove the seeds, pith, and stem; and cut into portions the same size as the pieces of pork.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients together. In a separate small bowl or cup dissolve 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 4 teaspoons cold water.
  5. Dip the pork pieces into the beaten egg and then coat with cornstarch. Heat the oil over medium heat in the wok and fry the pork until it is cooked through. Set aside.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the wok and stir-fry the chopped garlic; as soon as this releases its aroma, add the leeks followed by the green peppers.
  7. When the green peppers are tender, add the chili pepper, the pineapple, and the pork and stir-fry, mixing and turning all the ingredients briskly; moisten with the rice wine to add flavor.
  8. Finally, add the sweet and sour sauce, followed by the cornstarch dissolved in water; mix thoroughly. Turn off the heat and serve.

Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking

Summary

The joy of Chinese cooking is such a nice break from your usual routine. Chinese food is delicious and not that difficult for to prepare. There are some wonderful Chinese chicken recipes and vegetarian recipes on the Internet also, so whatever your taste, I'm sure you can find a recipe that will suit you.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 44 comments

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 5 years ago

Some distant relatives of ours are now living in Hong Kong. When they come to visit they reach for the wok and prepare some tasty dishes, with fresh ingredients, colorful meals much like your sweet and sour pork recipe. Good and healthy eating. Voted this one up!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Pamela, thanks for the great recipes. I have gotten into Chinese cooking lately and I love it. My latest was, "Ants Climbing a Tree". It doesn't sound good but it is.


Steph Harris profile image

Steph Harris 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Hi Pamela, I love Chinese food and I thoroughly enjoy cooking it. Though mine never tastes as good as the local take away, I must admit. Maybe I just need a little more practice, anyway, thanks for the recipes. It is such a healthy cuisine I should try harder.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Wonderful recipes, Pamela. Now I know why I enjoy Chinese food so much. It's the built-in yin and yang no doubt. Rated up. And hungry!


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Oh Pam, I love Chinese food! and Won Ton soup is one of my favourites. I enjoyed reading your intro into Chinese cooking and the recipes, too. Good one, Pam. Voted up and awesome!

Have a nice day,

Rosie


tobey100 profile image

tobey100 5 years ago from Whites Creek, Tennessee

You're killing me here! Growing up in Thailand I ate chinese food three meals a day. Authentic sweet and sour anything is my favorite, poke, chicken, beef, snake, mouse, whatever. In my house we eat rice instead of bread, that's how far gone we are. Great hub, as always!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Pam, now you're talking like my long lost cousin. I make wanton soup a lot and I must say this makes me want to have some today. Rated up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Bail up, That sounds great. We got a wok about two years ago and are trying our hand a a few good dishes. Thanks for your comment.

BPOP, That's a strange name but if you say its good I'll see if I happen to have it in my collection. I appreciate the comments.

Steph, Some of these restaurants grow their own herbs which might be the reason and then there's the old practice makes perfect. Thanks fr your comments.

drbj, Certainly we can use all the harmony we can get! I appreciate the comments.

Rosie, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I love the food also. I appreciate the comments.

Tobey, I would love to visit Thailand and didn't know you grew up there. Thanks so much for your comments.

Anginwu, I have no doubt I would love to eat at your house every day. Thanks for the comments.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Pam, I was being healthy and sensible and after a trip to the gym just had a veggie meal. Now my yin/yang feels unbalanced after reading this hub - I am feeling so hungry!

Delicious!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Docmo, So sorry you are hungry, but maybe the recipes will be helpful some day. Thanks for the comments.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love Chinese food and I liked your recipes. It sound delicious with great presentation. Pam, you are master chef. I am glad to know this from you. Rated up as usual.

Prasetio


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

prasetio, Thank you for your comments. Peace and love.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Sweet and sour pork is my favorite, but I have never prepared it at home. Thanks for the delicious recipe. I'll stock up on some fortune cookies too!


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago

Very well-written hub. I love Chinese food and will try out some of these recipes.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 5 years ago from Utah

Another great hub!


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

I think I'll order Chinese tonight. Good hub Pam.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Sally, I hope the recipe turns out well and I appreciate your comments.

Snurre, Thank you so much for your comments.

Hanna, Thank you very much.

JY, I always enjoy ordering Chinese so enjoy your meal. I appreciate your comment.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Hi Pamela,

I love Asian food, as a matter of fact my boss is Chinese, straight out of Asia. I must tell you though that authentic Chinese cooking has no ketchup, the Ketchup thing is strictly western. If I should put ketchup in my boss' sweet and sour sauce, she would fire me for sure. The sweet and sour sauce for pork (there are several for different dishes) contain pureed tomatoes or tomato paste.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Recipe hubs always make me hungry and this is no exception. I gained a love for Chinese food when my daughter (second child) was born...men do that too you know! LOL! Still, there are certain dishes that I really like terms of texture and flavor. When I spent time in Vietnam and Thailand, I discovered there were many similiarites but they tend to use more noodles and less rice than the Chinese. Some of the best Chinese I have ever had was in a restaurant in downtown Kansas City Mo...loved it. Thanks for reminding me...it just might be a Chinese night for me! WB


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Rosie, Thanks for your comment.

Wayne, We really enjoy this food once in a while. Even China has five different distinct areas where food is prepared differently and only two use rice exclusively from what my source said. I appreciate your comment.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

I love Chinese food, esp. sweet and sour pork. We have a new Chinese restaurant that just opened here. Yea Thank you.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

I've had a hankering for more Chinese lately but healthy Chinese...definitely gonna try some of this!!


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for the Recipe's. I like Chinese food and buy it a lot but have never tried to cook it myself.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

always exploring, I do too and the easiest way to get it is to order it. I have enjoyed trying some new recipes from my Chinese cookbook. Thanks for the comments.

Audrey, I know you are great cook so I'm sure you can turn out some wonderful Chinese meals. I appreciate your comments.

Lady E, I hope the recipes work out well for you and I appreciate your comments.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I too turned more towards making Chinese dishes. I like their way of quick cooking which keeps the flavour and vitamins. Thank you for these super recipes. Will try them.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hello, I am glad these recipes will be useful for you and I appreciate your comments.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

My husband lived in Hong Kong at one time and loves authentic Chinese food. I have come to like some Chinese food - especially the food served at our local Chinese buffet!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Cari, We have some good buffets and restaurants close by also. Thanks for the comments.


emilybee profile image

emilybee 5 years ago

Just had Chinese food tonight! I think we go to our fave Chinese restaurant about once a week now...it's so good and hard not to since it's only 2 minutes away ;) Great hub!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

emilybee, Glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

Pamela, I love Chinese food. I will try these recipes.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

katrinasui, I hope you enjoy them and thank you for your comment.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

It would appear that you are making many people hungry with this hub! Haha! I cook some Chinese / Japanese inspired stir fry meals but rarely follow an exact recipe. Have even made spring rolls. With all of the good Chinese buffet restaurants, it is just so tempting to just go out and dine at them. We have an excellent one not too far from our house. Thanks for the recipes!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, I buy out more often than I cook also. I do make stir fry because its so easy and delicious. Thanks for your comment.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

I had never considered the harmony of Chinese cooking. Cooking can be such an art and I appreciate your Hub's helping me think about this. Perhaps I don't enjoy cooking because I don't have the right mindset. Thanks for the Hub!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

glassvisage, Thank you so much for your comments.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Pamela, I love Chinese food. Your recipes look uteerly doable and sound delicious. Loved the touch of history also. Up and awesome.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

KKGals, I think these recipes not too difficult. Thanks so much for your comments.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

Nice hub, Pamela. I LOVE won ton soup. It's interesting that you make it with shrimp. So far I've tried only the pork version. But I'm pretty sure cooking won ton soup with shrimp will be just as delicious. Rated up and useful! :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Om Paramapoonya, I use pork some of the time also as I am used to buying it that way from restaurants. I like both Thanks for your comments.


Albert Street profile image

Albert Street 5 years ago from Northern USA

I love Oriental Cooking. This was a great Hub. Thanks for your insight.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Albert, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments,


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

You explain these recipes so well, Pamela. I love chinese food but always thought it would be too difficult to cook myself. I am surprised how easy your wonton soup recipe is, I should be able to follow your instructions without any problem. Voted up and very very useful!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Cloverleaf, I hope you enjoy the soup. Thanks for your comments.

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