Chinese Cooking: Common Herbs and Ingredients in Chinese Cookery
Instead of heading for the nearest restaurant, reach for a wok and chopsticks to create their own stir-fry and other Chinese recipes
at home. Below are some of the most common ingredients and herbs you may encounter:
1) Noodles - The Chinese likely invented the noodle, and they are quite popular in Chinese cuisine, they join rice as one of the
main staples. A couple of examples include egg noodles (made of wheat flour and eggs), soba (made of buckwheat), and rice noodles (white and
2) Water Chestnuts and Bamboo Shoots - In many stir-fry creations, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots are popular ingredients. Water chestnuts
are often available in cans (already peeled), which create a sweet, mild taste in recipes, as well as add a nice crunch. Bamboo shoots
are often canned as large chunks and are commonly used in stir-fry to add texture to a recipe.
3) Soy Sauce - While soy sauce is often used as a flavoring, it is also viewed as a convenient dip or condiment. Light soy sauce provides a
more delicate taste, while dark soy sauce is richer in flavor, making it perfect for stews and meats.
4) Ginger Root - The spicy and hot taste of ginger is often peeled and finely sliced (or chopped) before adding to a recipe.
5) Szechuan Peppercorns - When using these reddish-brown peppercorns, you will encounter a much stronger taste and scent than the peppercorns
you are probably used to cooking with.
6) 5-Spice Powder - It is suggested to sparingly use this spice mixture when cooking because it can create a pungent flavor in recipes.
The five spices used to create this Chinese favorite are star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and Szechwan peppercorns.
7) Bean Curd (Tofu) - Pureed yellow soybeans are used to create this nearly tasteless cooking ingredient that boosts the protein
level of any Chinese dish. Often sold in cakes, this is quite the popular addition to many Asian recipes. Of course this is an important source
of protein for vegetarian and vegan families.
8) Mushrooms - Mushrooms are very common in Chinese cuisine. For example, Chinese dried mushrooms are chosen for their flavor and aroma. It is
suggested to soak this type of mushroom in warm water for 20 minutes before using.
9) Scallion - Scallions are an aromatic plant that has a history in China for more than 2,000 years. This immature onion possesses long green
stems with a small white bulb at the root end. Both of these parts are edible. Often, it is the bright colors of scallions that you
notice adding a pop of color in Chinese cooking. The flavor of scallions is described as slightly hotter and milder in flavor to other
10) Sesame Products - Sesame paste (rich and aromatic) and sesame oil (nutty and flavorful) are often used in Chinese recipes.
Spring Onion Miso Soup
Asian Style Chicken Slaw over Noodles