Chinese cooking is pretty easy because there are not too many seasonings. Here are some basics, ie must-haves if you are interested in cooking Chinese or Asian food.
This is a must-have for cooking Chinese food. I either use a brand from Hong Kong or Japan. That’s my preference. Right now, I’m using Kikkoman.
Sometimes, I’ll also use dark soy sauce. It have a darker color. For braised or Chinese Lo Shui dishes, dark soy sauce would give a nice color. You can get a dark soy sauce from a Chinese brand in any Asian grocery store.
If you don’t like fresh oyster at all, you may think oyster sauce is yucky. Oyster sauce doesn’t taste like fresh oyster. You can use oyster sauce in almost any Chiense dishes like fried rice, veggie dishes,…. , or even put a little bit in the soup to give it some taste. It’s yummy. So far, I have not tried other brands of oyster sauce. I only use the brand called “Lee Kum Kee”. It’s a well-known Hong Kong brand. Lee Kum Kee has different grades of oyster sauce. The ones with more oyster concentrates are more expensive. I usually buy the cheaper grades like the one shown here, there’s a Panda in the logo. Still, it is yummy.
A good fish sauce is important. There are a lot of brands out there that are yucky. The best brand is the one with three crabs as the logo. See picture. Ming Tsai (Food Network chef) recommended this brand. Once I tried this one, I can really tell the difference from this to the other brands. Even thought “three crabs” are more expensive, it’s worth it. Just be careful of the knock-off out there. Some of them may have the logo with “three shrimps”, or “two crabs and a shrimp”, or “two shrimps with a crab”, …. LOL.
Chinese Cooking Wine:
This is rice wine. I didn’t use any cooking wine much years ago. Then one day my girl friend told me that it was yummy to add a little bit of cooking wine, sugar, garlic and salt for stir fried veggie dishes. I tried it, and it was good. So, I added Chinese cooking wine as my regular ingredient.
Chicken power is similar to chicken bouillon except it is in loose powder form, and not in cubes. Just adding a little bit (like 1/2 teaspon) can help to enhance the taste of a dish. I usually add this in soups or seasoning of meat. My college friend would also add a little bit of chicken powder in stir fired veggie dish.