Having been passionately experimenting in my kitchen for more than a decade, I hardly ever wrote down my recipes (at least not in a way that could be easily understood by others). Some dishes I know by heart, but for most, I simply make a list of the ingredients (Baking is an exception though). This has allowed me to be more creative and to develop alternative approaches. I have always been reluctant to stick to the rules (Read more about me here).
Writing recipes for a food blog is, however, very different from making a few notes while cooking. What I’d like to share with you here are recipes packed with great detail and precision (how I produce a dish exactly). I think this is particularly useful for those who are new to Chinese cuisine.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to my specific recipe. Chinese cuisine is extremely diverse and every dish has numerous versions, just like other great cuisines in the world. Take the super popular Red-cooked Pork Belly for example, people from various regions of China use very different methods to cook it. Thus, the concept of “authentic” Chinese cuisine becomes rather superficial. Experiencing and appreciating different foods is, after all, a very personal thing. So, once you acquire some knowledge of Chinese ingredients and get the hang of the basic techniques, be flexible, creative and bold. I’m happy if you succeed in making tasty dishes by following my recipe. I would also be delighted to hear about your own alteration or twist. Please share them with me.
Since I am currently living in the UK, all the ingredients are purchased locally. Luckily I can now find most of the basic ingredients from the Asian food shelves in mainstream British supermarkets. I go to Chinese shops once in a while to get other essentials. In my recipes I always first consider using the ingredients which are common and accessible (without compromising the final result of the dish). I provide substitute ideas to save you that extra trip to the shops. You may also skip some of the ingredients if they are unavailable or not really your cup of tea.
However, in order to give you every chance of success I emphasis the “must have” key ingredients, in other words, what makes a dish stand out. Golden rules in preparation, cooking and serving methods are also stated to ensure the most satisfying results. Please feel free to contact me if you are uncertain about anything.
Unlike Western meals in which each course is served one after another, Chinese dishes, in general (especially in home environment), are consumed at the same time. That’s why I don’t confine each recipe into Western meal categories like “starter, main, side dish, dessert” etc. (in fact Chinese people don’t normally eat dessert after savoury dishes. Sweet treats are appreciated as snacks between meals). But this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to mingle Chinese delicacies with other cuisines. On the contrary, fusion is a regular feature of meals in our Red House. Just use your common sense and imagination to serve them the way that suits you best.
In my recipes, you will see the number of servings for each dish. However, as you may already know, multiple Chinese dishes, put in the middle of the table, are shared by everyone. The serving size of a single dish depends on how many other dishes are available and how many people share the meal. Thus, I write notes about serving suggestions too. Again I’m always here to help if you have any questions about meal planning.
Along with recipe posts, from time to time I also write about special Chinese ingredients (their usage and purchase advice) and basic cooking techniques. You can find these posts in the “Pantry“.
Wishing you every success in your kitchen!