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Chinese Cooking -Harmony, Balance, Joy

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Chinese Cooking Tools

chinese-cooking-harmony-balance-joy

Chinese Philosophy on Cooking

The Chinese philosophy of cooking is to achieve harmony, balance and joy. Even though eating is a necessity of life, the Chinese believe it should be enjoyable, contain good nutrition, and should consist of eating only when you are hungry.

They do not believe in stuffing oneself, and they also believe in drinking only when you are thirsty with the drink being neither too hot nor too cold. The aim is to achieve balance between the Ying and the Yang.

In northern China there are two provinces of Shandong, where the two greatest philosophers Confucius and Mencius were born. They are closely linked, and they are thought of as one province. Hebei (Beijing) has made a considerable contribution to Northern Chinese food, which has attracted some of the best cooks throughout China. The weather is too cold there for them to grow rice. A considerable influence on food has also come from Mongolia.

In the southern region of China they have three rice crops a year, plus access to seafood. Chinese restaurants throughout the world are more widely known as Cantonese cuisine, which includes cooking recipes from this region. Overall, the Chinese menu is very healthy and diverse.

Chinese Cooking Utensils

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Chinese Utensils for Preparation

The range of utensils to cook a Chinese meal is relatively small, as you can see in the pictures. Notice the chopsticks. The Chinese started eating with chopsticks under the Shang dynasty (1766-1123 B.C.). They come in two sizes, 10” to transfer food from the plate or bowl to the mouth, and the 14” are made from bamboo for kitchen tasks.

Getting ingredients reading for cooking is approximately 80% of the time spent to complete a meal. Meat and vegetables all have a particular way to be prepared. The pictures below show the different ways of preparation.

Slicing Thin

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Spring Rolls

Flicker

Flicker

Spring Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound lean pork or chicken cut into thin strips measuring 1/8” to 3/4” inches
  • 2 level tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup bamboo shoots, cut to the same size and shape as the meat
  • 2 large black dried Chinese mushrooms, pre-soaked and thinly sliced
  • 1 small leek or large scallion including the green stem (finely chopped)
  • All-purpose flour
  • 12 Chinese spring roll skins, they can be purchased at a Chinese food store

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. dark or "black" soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour

Directions:

Sprinkle the meat with the cornstarch and mix; let sit for a few minutes.

Heat the peanut oil in the wok and stir-fry the meat, the bamboo shoots, and the mushrooms for 1 minute.

Add the sauce ingredients and stir-fry until the liquid has evaporated.

Add the finely chopped leek.

Transfer to a plate and leave to cool.

Prepare a paste for sealing the pancake rolls by dissolving 1 tablespoon of flour in 1 tablespoon of cold water.

Add 2-3 tablespoons boiling water and stir.

Place some of the filling along the lower half of each pancake; lift up the lower edge, fold it over the filling,

Tuck in the edges at both ends and roll up neatly, sealing the final flap with the flour and water paste.

Fry the rolls in plenty of hot oil (350°F/180°C) and serve while still piping hot and crisp.

Yield: 6-12 servings (12 rolls).

Dicing and Cubing

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Stir Fry Beef with Green Beans

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Chop Ginger Very Fine

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Stir-fried Beef with Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces thinly sliced lean beef
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 7 ounces green beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 can of straw mushrooms
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped leek
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • A few drops of sesame oil

Directions:

Cut the slices of beef into pieces about 3/4 to1 inch long and place in a bowl or deep dish.

Add the sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch and peanut oil; mix well and leave to marinate.

String the beans if necessary, wash, and cut into 1 3/4- 2-inch lengths.

Heat wok, pour in 2 tablespoons oil and stir-fry the beans lightly; add the salt and the water, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender.

Remove beans from the wok and drain.

Drain the canned straw mushrooms.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok, add the marinated beef, and stir-fry lightly - the meat should still be a little pink.

In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and stir fry the chopped leek; when the leek starts to release its aroma, add the mushrooms and the beans.

Stir fry these briefly and then add the meat, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine.

Stir-fry quickly over a high heat, and add a few drops of sesame oil to give the dish more flavor.

How To Make Ramen

Sichuan Pouring Sauce over Ingredients

chinese-cooking-harmony-balance-joy

Sichuan Beef with Ginger and Green Peppers

This dish has the strong flavors characteristic of Sichuan cooking and should be accompanied by rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound lean beef
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 5 green peppers
  • 1/4 pound bamboo shoots (canned, unsalted or fresh parboiled)
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped leek
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • Sesame oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

If required: 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water to thicken the sauce

Directions:

Cut the beef into thin slices and then into thin strips 1/4" wide.

Season with salt, dip in the egg white, and then sprinkle with the cornstarch mixing well by hand.

Cut the green peppers in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and pith, and shred into very thin strips less than 1/8" wide;

Cut the bamboo shoots into similar-sized strips.

Stir-fry the strips of beef in fairly hot oil, taking care that they do not stick to one another.

Remove as soon as they have turned whitish.

Heat the wok and pour in 2 tbsp.oil; when this is hot stir-fry the chopped garlic, leek, and ginger briskly over a high heat.

Once the ginger has turned golden brown and has started to release its aroma, add the shredded green peppers and the bamboo shoots.

Stir-fry briefly over a high heat.

When the peppers and bamboo shoots are nearly tender, add the beef and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon rice wine.

Stir fry all the ingredients together.

Pour the sauce over the contents of the wok, and stir fry the ingredients rapidly to allow them to absorb the flavor evenly.

Finish by adding a few drops of sesame oil to give the dish extra flavor.

If the sauce is too thin, stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water.

Serve this delicious dish over rice.

Unlimited Possibilities of Chinese Cooking

Chinese cooking, whether you use a dish from the northern region or the southern region, has numerous types of recipes using many types of fish, meats and vegetables. Sometimes we think of everything Chinese being about rice, which of course, is not true. The very diverse menus seem endless with a huge variety of choice.

One thing that is noticeable is the amount of preparation that goes into almost all the true Chinese recipes as each ingredient has a particular way it needs to be cut, sliced, diced or chopped. They are very precise with regard to meat, as they trim off all the fat carefully before proceeding with the planned preparation for the rest of the meal. The recipes are also healthy, typically low in saturated fat and they include a lot of vegetables.

The most important thing to the Chinese is to achieve harmony, balance and joy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for your comments, Moiza.

Moiza Sheikh3 on June 13, 2020:

Wao amazing recipes

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 14, 2019:

Hi Alyssa, Thanks so much for your kind comments. I hope you do get to try the Sichuan Beef recipe.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 14, 2019:

Your recipes look delicious! I love Sichuan Beef, so I'm going to have to try your recipe sometime soon! I really enjoyed the background information about Chinese culture and learning how they perceive eating and drinking. Thank you for sharing! :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 14, 2012:

Lisa, I love oriental food also. I hope you enjoy the recipes and thanks for your comments.

Lisa Chronister from Florida on June 14, 2012:

This article is interesting and the recipes sound delicious. I can't wait to try them. Thanks for posting!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 31, 2010:

Papernotes, I'm not too good with the chopsticks either. Thanks for your comments.

PaperNotes on August 31, 2010:

Yummy! I can say I can cook those Chinese dishes well, it's in the use of chopsticks where I would fail!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2010:

Loves to Read, That restaurant sounds fantastic. I love Chinese cuisine also. We have one that delivers which is really handy at times. Thanks for your comments.

Loves To Read on August 18, 2010:

Another great hub Pamela. I am also a lover of Chinese cuisine. We are lucky to have a wonderful restaurant in a local town where you can eat in or take away. They provide about 14 dishes of Chinese and also fish, chips, scalloped potatoes and pasta. If you dine in for all you can eat it costs $9.20 for lunch. Starting with soup, mains, sweets and coffee or tea. Whenever we go there they are always packed out. These recipes look great. I will have to give them a try.

Love and Hugs.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Marie, Thank your for your comments and I hope you enjoy them.

Marie Tyson from Seven Valleys, PA on August 03, 2010:

I love the recipes! I am definitely going to try some of them.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 07, 2010:

Nancy, Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comment.

nancy_30 from Georgia on July 06, 2010:

Great hub. I love Chinese food. Thanks for all the really great recipes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 29, 2010:

Peggy, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and than you for your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 29, 2010:

What a wonderful hub filled with enticing pictures, good sounding recipes and some history as well. Now I'm hungry for some Chinese food!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 29, 2010:

Sherrylou, I appreciate your comments.

sherrylou57 from Riverside on June 29, 2010:

Nice hub, thank you for sharing this. I also love chinese cooking.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 25, 2010:

Betty, I would like to make spring egg rolls that aren't too difficult to make. It is good to have a friend to help. Thanks for your comments.

Betty Reid from Texas on June 25, 2010:

Pamela99, thanks for the ideas. A Vietnamese friend taught me to make egg rolls. It was a lot of fun and tasted great. Your Stir Fry Beef with Green Beans looks fabulous, and I don't even like green beans!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

Janny, Thank you for your comment and the Chinese lesson. All appreciated.

JannyC on June 24, 2010:

Xièxiè Pamela! Beautiful hub (btw that is Xièxiè is thank you in chinese) I have been wanting a spring roll reciepe too so happy. Now to catch up on some more of your hubs been so busy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

Gals, Thank you so much for your comments.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

I love Chinese food. All of your recipes look delicious especially the spring rool recipes. Beautiful pictures.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

Miata, I love Chinese food. Thanks so much for your comments. Much appreciated.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

Ken, I;m glad you picked out your menu for today. Thanks for your comment.

Patriot, Thank you for your nice comment.

Akirchner, Spring rolls are great. Thanks for the comments.

Judy, Thanks so much for your comments.

Support Med, Thanks so much for your comments.

prettydarkhorse from US on June 24, 2010:

thanks Pam, I think you nailed this one, and sure you have a good grasp of what Chinese foods are, Maita

Support Med. from Michigan on June 24, 2010:

Sounds good to me. Thanks for the recipes. Voted-up/rated!

judydianne from Palm Harbor, FL on June 24, 2010:

Love your pictures and recipes! Thumbs up!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on June 24, 2010:

Totally delicious looking and I haven't even had breakfast yet! I love spring rolls and have a great recipe for baked egg rolls. I need to dig that one out! Thanks for reminding me and must try your recipes.

partisan patriot on June 24, 2010:

Pamela

The pictures made me hungry; how’s that for an insightful comment?

Parmesan Patriot

Ken R. Abell from ON THE ROAD on June 24, 2010:

Great Hub. I think we'll want to try the Sichuan Beef with Ginger and Green Peppers recipe. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 24, 2010:

Carolina, Thanks for your comment.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on June 23, 2010:

That Spring Roll recipe is right up my alley... great hub!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2010:

Springboard, I'm glad you like Chinese food and my hub. Thanks for your comment.

Springboard from Wisconsin on June 23, 2010:

Absolutely love LOVE Chinese food. I could eat your hub. :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2010:

Hello, Thank you for your comment.

K9storkes, Thank you so much for the compliment and your comments.

Roberta, Thank you for your comments.

Tom, I love those spring rolls too. Thank you for your comments.

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on June 23, 2010:

Pamela,

Great hub I love the look of the Spring Rolls and the two beef dishes my mouth is watering!!!!!!!

Roberta99 on June 23, 2010:

This is a wonderful hub to have the history and the recipes. I like your pictures as well.

India Arnold from Northern, California on June 23, 2010:

Very complete hub. From history to table you covered it all! I think you might just have the winner this time Pamela! Found the imaged very helpful and defining.

Up and awesome!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 23, 2010:

I love Chinese food and definitely wrote a winner here. Thank you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2010:

Sandy, I'm glad you like the recipes and thanks for your comment.

Hanna, It seems they don't use many utensils but the ones used are unique. Thanks for your comment.

Darlene, I'm so glad you liked the hub. Thanks so much for your comments girlfriend.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on June 23, 2010:

Great hub, with your extra special touch of the eastern flare. Your hubs are always so excellent and I love the title of this piece. Hugs your fan

sheila b. on June 23, 2010:

I love ginger, so the beef with ginger and green beans sounds wonderful. Luckily there's a really good Chinese restaurant near-by. Oops, that's not the idea, is it? Actually, I like cooking Chinese because I enjoy all of the dicing and slicing. Your pictures were good for showing the various ways.

HealthyHanna from Utah on June 23, 2010:

Ohhhhhhhh, These look so good. I love Chinese cooking. It is quick and easy when you learn where to buy ingredients. I wish I had better utensils however.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on June 23, 2010:

Thank you for theses recipes. I love Chinese food.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2010:

POP, I love Chinese food also. Thanks for your comment and I hope you make some great Chinese food.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 23, 2010:

Coolmon, Thanks so much for your comments.

breakfastpop on June 23, 2010:

Great recipes, Pamela. I adore Chinese food but would prefer to cook it myself. Now I can with your help. Thanks.

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on June 23, 2010:

I love Chinese food, and I enjoyed reading your article. Well done and thumbs up. I will tweet this one.

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