Authentic Chinese dishes fit for a king

Posted · 23rd January 2015
Chinese Cuisine
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A Guide to Chinese Cuisine

Chinese cooking has been celebrated since ancient times and at celebrations, food takes centre stage. So with Chinese New Year just around the corner, if you’re in need of some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created a guide to Chinese cuisine, which will ensure your dish causes fireworks at the dinner table!

Chinese Cuisine

Let’s get the basics right!

In a country as large as China, the diversity of its food is vast, but there are five major styles which can be attributed to the different regions. These pointers should help you can sort your Sichuan dishes from your Fujian!

Celebrate like an emperor

Did you know that food was so important in ancient Chinese times that there was an army of over 2,200 people, dedicated to the sole purpose of looking after the imperial meals!

One of our favourite ingredients to add into a Chinese dish is tofu, but did you know that it dates back some 2,000 years? According to one Chinese legend, tofu was invented when a cook decided to experiment by flavouring a batch of cooked soybeans, but instead of flavoured soybeans, he ended up with bean curd.

Map of Chinese Cuisine

Diced, sliced or crumbled – when it comes to creating the ultimate Chinese dish, us Brits are now turning to tofu as it easily absorbs Chinese spices and flavours.

- Beijing Cuisine in the North – dishes are light and flavours are subtle in this region. Noodles, steamed dumplings are common.

- Sichuan Food in the West – chilli paste or dried chillies, garlic and ginger are some of the most used ingredients in this area. A favourite dish found here is Ma Po Tofu. Preparing tofu is a simple process, but to help, we’ve prepared this helpful step-by-step video guide.

- Hunan Food in Central China – Hunan cooking is known for its spicy zest and also sweet and sour flavours. Fresh chillies, garlic and shallots are the staples in the Hunan kitchen.

- Fujian cooking in the East – Famous for its clear soups, seafood dishes and subtle flavours.

- Cantonese Food in the South – Soy and ginger are the main seasonings and this cooking relies on a great variety of fresh ingredients for flavour.

A taste of the Orient

If you’re new to Chinese cooking then we’d recommend a Tofu dish as it’s the ideal starting point for a number of Asia’s finest cuisines and it’s perfect for vegetarian or vegan diets.

We’ve created one of our favourite Chinese tofu recipes for you to try out – fried tofu in Chinese sesame soy sauce. The recipe uses our organic tofu block and only takes 13 minutes to prepare.

Click here for the full recipe.

We’ve also found a great range of Chinese-inspired dishes for you to try including; red cooked marinated tofu, shiitake mushrooms and chestnuts, buddhas stir-fry vegetables with marinated tofu and Sichuan-style aubergine with tofu.

Creating your own Chinese dishes

Now you know a little more about tofu and how to prepare it for your tasty Chinese dishes, it’s time to start experimenting! If you’re new to Chinese cooking, then we’d recommend checking out Chinese food blogger Lulu Chai, as she offers Chinese workshops, courses and classes to give you the skills to create your own authentic, healthy Chinese food for all your friends and family at home.

Lulu also offers a great range of traditional Chinese recipes to get your taste buds tingling! Feel free to check out Lulu’s Chinese vegetarian poached dumplings recipe, which is utterly delicious!

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