Chinese Culinary Highlights -
The aroma of Chinese food has to be memorable. The individual ingredients are
combined because their fragrances blend to create appetizing aromas. Color
The Chinese delight in colors. The dishes all form a painting on the table - the gold of
soups, the white of rice, the bright green of vegetables, the reds of condiments, the
orange of meats and sauces. The Chinese cook is very aware of color and may even
choose dishes to match the surroundings and clothes of the hostess.
Chinese cuisine is famous for its textures. Crunchy vegetables, chewy bits of meat, crisp
water chestnuts, creaminess of bean curd and smooth sauces are combined to create
Contrasting tastes is the joy of Chinese cuisine. Chinese love to stimulate the senses
with combinations of taste. Their meals, many of which are simple, bland and pure in their
taste, are skillfully combined with dishes and condiments that are stronger and more
stimulating in taste.
A Chinese meal is rich in variety of ingredients used. Chinese cuisine is known for its
contrast and variety. This is combined with variety in taste, texture, color and
aroma. Dry dishes are served with soupy dishes, there are sweet dishes and sour
dishes, bland dishes and highly seasoned dishes, light dishes and rich dishes making the
meal an exquisite experience. This experience is further highlighted by each dish
maintaining its integrity, its own proportions, its own dominant elements and contributing
to the coherence and harmony of the meal.
no main dish
Chinese dishes have an equal place on the menu. Each dish is whole and important.
Chinese eating is also an art. The Chinese create individual dining experiences from the
same meal. According to their personal preferences they dart from one dish to
another. Depending on their individual fancy they will sample one dish or the
other. Once they have satisfied themselves of a particular taste or experience they simply
change their serving and are on to a new adventure. This way they avoid monotony and
feeling of overeating which can be the result of a meal that is comprised of the same
foods in comparatively large quantities.
preparation with minimum cooking.
Chinese cuisine is very quick cooking. Because the ingredients are prepared in bite
size pieces they are quick to make. The preparation of ingredients for the meal is a
thoughtful process. For the cook time stands still and he is lost in the art of cutting
vegetables and meats, combining seasonings and preserving the integrity of each
dish. The cooking itself is done in a flash.
starting point is the ingredient
The Chinese never begin their meal with an idea of a stew or roast. The Chinese have
no idea of their meal until they visit the market. It is there that they survey the
offerings and decide on what is particularly good. After having made their purchases
they begin to create the meal. They will then begin to match the ingredients, decide
on the cooking methods, decide on the seasonings and come up with a balanced meal in every
respect. Thus a Chinese meal is never created twice.
The permutations and combinations that are created in Chinese cuisine is
inexhaustible. The Chinese have mastered the art of blending ingredients and yet
preserving their individuality. It is like dressing a bride each ingredient
is dressed in its seasoned finery. The unique characteristics of each ingredient are
understood, then seasonings and spices are incorporated and then different dishes are
coordinated to create the meal.
cook not the diner seasons the food
The meal is the proof of the cooks' skills and ingenuity. It is he not the diner that
seasons the food, blends the seasonings. The cook knows which individual property of
the ingredient to highlight, dull or render inconsequential and to use seasonings to bond
dissimilar foods. The cook uses his knowledge and skill to use seasonings without
overpowering or overwhelming the ingredients.
cook not the diner cuts the food
In the Chinese dinning etiquette, knives should not be seen on the table.
Chopsticks, bowls and soup spoons are the traditional table ware. Food is always cut
into bite sized pieces, whole meats such as pig, fish and poultry are cooked till they are
so tender that the meat can be removed right off the bones with chopsticks.
Cook Books and their Reviews
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