Most Popular Chinese Dishes You Should Eat

How to Cook Chinese Dumplings :Dumplings are an important Chinese New Year food in northern China. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Northerners usually make and eat dumplings. There are many ways to cook dumplings, including boiling, steaming, and frying.

Here we introduce dumplings with pork and Chinese cabbage filling. If you do not want that filling, replace it with another filling.

Ingredients: 600g wheat flour, 400g ground pork, 100g Chinese cabbage, 2 eggs, some ginger, green onion and some garlic

Seasoning: 5–10g salt, 20g soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, sesame oil, chicken powder

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

1. Make the Dumpling Wrappers

a) Put the wheat flour in a basin. Add some salt and mix evenly. Pour water in the center of the flour. Knead and stir the flour into dough. Cover the dough with a wet cloth for about half an hour.

b) Sprinkle some flour onto a board and place the dough on the board. Knead the dough into a long strip and cut it into dumpling-skin-size pieces.

c) Roll each small piece flat with a rolling pin to make the dumpling wrappers. Stack the wrappers aside, sprinkling some flour on each to prevent them from sticking together.

Make the dumpling wrapper

2. Make the Dumpling Filling

a) Clean and mince the pork.

b) Clean and mince the Chinese cabbage.

c) Mix the ground pork with the minced Chinese cabbage, salt, cooking wine, chicken powder, sugar, eggs, and some water, and stir them evenly.

3. Fill the Dumplings

a) Put a spoon of filling into the center of each wrapper.

b) Fold and pinch the wrapper edge together hard.

c) Make sure the wrapper edge is sealed.

Make the dumpling

4. Make the Dipping Sauce (Adjust to Your Taste)

a) Clean and chop some green onion, ginger, and garlic.

b) Make starchy sauce by mixing starch, boiled water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

c) Add the sliced ginger and garlic to an oiled wok, and stir-fry them until the fragrance is released.

d) Add the starchy sauce to the wok and bring to the boil.

e) Add the chopped green onions. Stir-fry quickly to finish the dipping sauce.

Make the dumplings dipping sauce

5. Cook the Dumplings

a) Boil some water, and add the dumplings one by one. While boiling the dumplings, stir them to prevent them from sticking together or to the pot.

b) When the water boils again, add a small cup of water. Cover and repeat twice more.

c) Drain the dumplings and serve them in a dish.

Cook the dumplings

Spring Rolls — a Popular Chinese New Year Food

Spring rolls

Spring rolls, also named ‘spring pancakes’ (春饼) or ‘thin pancakes’ (薄饼), are a traditional Chinese Chinese New Year food. They are popular around the world, but especially in regions south of the Yangtze River.

Why Eat Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are usually eaten during the Spring Festival in mainland China, hence the name. Eating spring rolls is a way to welcome the arrival of spring. The golden cylindrical-shaped rolls represent gold bars — which symbolize wealth.

History and Origin

According to records, before the Tang Dynasty (618–907), everyone made a kind of thin pancake with flour on the day of ‘the Beginning of Spring’. People put them in a dish and added special vegetables and fruits. This was called the ‘spring dish’ (春盘). It was sent to relatives and friends as a spring present and blessing.

In the Tang Dynasty, the ‘spring dish’ was generally decorated with carrots and celery by the poor, while it had various additions in rich families. There were sauces, baked and salted meats, various fried dishes, spinach, chives, beansprouts, bean vermicelli, and eggs.

In the Song Dynasty, the ‘spring dish’ served in the imperial palace was even more luxurious.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties (1367–1911), with the development of cookery skills, cooks rolled the traditional pancakes into mignon spring rolls. They were not only well-liked by common folk, but were also famous in the palace.

During the Qing Dynasty, when the grand banquet — the Manchu Han Imperial Feast (满汉全席) with 128 dishes — was held, spring rolls were served as one of its nine main pastries.

Now, spring rolls have many delicious varieties. They are better than ever before.

How Spring Rolls Are Made

spring rollsFried Spring Rolls

  • 1. Mix white flour with a little water and salt, knead into a dough and bake it into round wrappers.
  • 2. Add the filling a vegetable and meat filling in most places, but a red bean paste filling is used in north China on the wrappers
  • 3. Roll the wrappers, folding the two ends up
  • 4. Deep-fry the spring rolls until they are golden brown and crispy.

In China and Overseas

Chinese spring rolls are generally smaller in China. A 20-cm dim sum dish can hold more than ten.

Spring rolls served in Chinese restaurants in America reportedly usually have meat fillings, and can be as big as hamburgers. UK Chinese takeaway spring rolls are about an inch wide and 3 inches long (3 x 8 cm).The wrappers are filled with all kinds of ingredients, including bamboo shoots, carrots, peas, beansprouts, eggs, fish, shrimp, oysters, diced meat, and dried tofu. Dried tofu is cut or shredded, the thinner the better, and can absorb fluid from the meaty fillings, which prevents the wrappers from becoming soggy.

Spring Rolls in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, spring rolls are one of the common dim sum pastries eaten when people talk over a cup of tea in a teahouse — have yum cha.

They are about four inches long and about an inch in diameter. The wrappers are fried until they are golden brown. Inside the wrappers, the fillings are abundant and can include dried sliced mushrooms, shredded pork, dried bamboo shoot slices, vermicelli and agarics. Usually, a dish contains three ingredients.

When eating, people use scissors to cut the spring rolls in half and dip them in sauces. There are various spring rolls in Hong Kong. Spring rolls sold in stalls by vendors are two inches or more in diameter. The wrappers are crispier than traditional ones, and the fillings are more abundant, therefore they are very popular as street snacks.

How to Cook Chow Mein

Chow mein refers to stir-fried noodles with little  soup that are characterized by a salty taste. The name is from the Taishan Chinese dialect (a kind of Cantonese). Taishan is a county of Guangdong province. There are many varieties of chow mien all over the world. It is a famous Chinese cuisine.

The different kinds of noodles used in chow mein include rice noodles, flat noodles, fine noodles, sliced noodles, filleted noodles, silk noodles, and more, Chow mein is usually stir fried with brown and glossy soy sauce.

Varieties of Chow Mein

There are many kinds of chow mein including shredded meat (pork, beef, mutton, or  chicken) chow mein, egg chow mein, seafood chow mein, and plain chow mein.

The following is an introduction of cooking methods for various kinds of chow mein.

Beef Chow Mein

Beef chow mein is a main course with noodles and beef being its main ingredient . It is very delicious, and  nutritious.

Ingredients and Condiments

Main ingredients: 200 g salted beef, one section of fried noodle, and an appropriate amount of green onions

Seasonings: a piece of ginger, 20g cooking oil,15g soy sauce

Cooking Method  

1. Cut the fried noodle into several pieces.

2. Add oil into the wok and heat it up to thirty-five percent hot. Place the noodles into the wok and fry them crisp, then put them into a bowl touse later.

3. Drizzle with a dash of oil again, and stir-fry with beef until well-done. Pour them out and filter out the oil.

4. Add scallions, ginger slices and beef into the wok, then add some cooking wine.

5.Mix soup andamylum together evenly with oyster sauce, and stir them into a starchy sauce.

6. Spare the sauce evenly on the noodles, pile them onto a plate and it is done.

The cooking methods of pork, mutton, and chicken chow mein are the same as beef chow mein. The only difference is the meat.

Egg Chow Mein

Ingredients and Condiments

Noodles (200g), eggs (100g), vegetables (100g), scallions(10g), salt (3g), soy sauce (25g), peanut oil (50g).

Cooking Method

meishi

1. Break the eggs and put them into a bowl. Beat the eggs with chopsticks until thoroughly mixed . Add a little refined salt  and set them aside to  use later.

2. Wash vegetables and cut them into small pieces. Clean the scallions and dice them finely. Set them by to use later.

3. Cook the noodles until they are well-done. Rinse them with cool water. Dish them out of the wok and leave them to cool.

4. Add an appropriate amount of peanut oil into the wok. Heat up the wok until it is seventy percent hot. Add the egg mixture into the wok and stir the eggs around until they are scattered and broken. Place them in a bowl when done.

5. Get another wok and heat it up with the rest of the peanut oil to seventy percent hot. Then add the scallion pieces into the wok. When the scallions spread their fragrance, drop rape pieces, soy sauce, and refined salt into the wok. Cook them until welldone.

6. Nextdish them out and leave the juice in the wok. Bring  the juice to a boil then put the noodles into the wok and stir for about 3 minutes. When the juice has cooked out and the noodles are well-done, add the eggs and vegetable pieces. Mix them evenly then  serve.

Seafood Chow Mein

Ingredients and Condiments

Hand-pulled noodles (boil to well-done), fresh oysters (soak in ice water after being boiled to well-done, then drain), fresh shrimp (boil the shrimp to well-done), short necked clams ( the remaining  meat after being boiled to well-done), mushrooms, peppers, gingers, and scallion pieces.

Condiments: a large tablespoon of garlic lobster sauce and oyster sauce eachcooking wine, soup stock (soup which is used to boil short necked clams), half a bowl of rice, and a little salt.

Cooking Method

Heat up the wok with two lager tablespoons of oil. Add peppers, gingers and scallion pieces. Fry them until the fragrance bursts out. Drop oysters, shrimps, clams, and mushrooms into the wok. Stir-fry them immediately for a fewminutes , and then remove from dish.

Boil half a bowl of soup stock with some salt. Put the well-done noodles into the wok and stir-fry them until the soup cooks out. Add the seafood back, fry evenly, then the dish is finished.

Plain Chow Mein (素炒面)

Plain chow mein is a kind of noodles stir-fried with vegetables.  This colorful dish is very appetizing.

Ingredients and Condiments

Noodles (500g), dried beancurd sticks (40g), fresh mushrooms (60g), winter bamboo shoots (60g), flowering cabbage (100g), scallions (10g), gingers (5g), salt (6g), monosodium glutamate (3g), soy sauce (4g), cooking wine (5g), sesame oil (10g), peanut oil (35g).

Cooking Method

Chow MeinPlain Chow Mein

1. Cut the mushrooms into slices, flowering cabbage into sections, and bamboo shoots into pieces. Soak the dried beancurd sticks with warm water, wash them, then chop into pieces. Slice scallions and gingers into filiform pieces after removing their peels. Set them aside for later use.

2. Cook the noodles until they are well-done. Put them out and leave them to cool.

3. Heat up the wok with peanut oil. Then add the noodles and stir-fry until they take on a golden color. Dish up and remove the oil.

4. Get another wok. Spread a little peanut oil, and heat the wok to seventy to eighty percent hot.

5. Drop the filiform scallions and gingers to stir into the wok.

6. Then add mushrooms, dried beancurd sticks, fresh bamboo shoots, and flowering cabbage and fry themthoroughly.

7.Add the cooking wine, soy sauce, refined salt, and light soup and bring to a  boil.

8. Then mix the fried noodles in and stir-fry together. Turn down the heat and braise with a cover for a while.

9.Put in the monosodium glutamate and drop the sesame oil, and then the dish is done.

How to Cook Wontons

Wonton (pronounced “hún tún” or “hún tun” in Chinese pinyin, pronounced “wěn tēn” in Cantonese, and “wonton” in English) is a traditional regional pasta of the Han nationality in China. Originating from northern China, wontons are similar to dumpling and are usually served in soup.

How to Cook Wonton

Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 175g minced pork, 340g chopped fresh vegetable (Chinese cabbage or celery), 24 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers

wontons

Seasonings: 2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon chopped green onion, and ginger, moderate soy sauce, chicken powder.

Seasonings of Wonton

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine pork, sugar, salt, wine, soy sauce, green onion, and ginger. Blend well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Direction

Wonton

The way of making wonton varies from regions to regions. The easiest way is to place, roll it up with a chopstick, and press the top corner and the bottom to seal it.

Or, you can place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten all 4 edges of wonton wrapper with water, and then pull the top corner down to the bottom, folding the wrapper over the filling to make a triangle. Press edges firmly to make a seal. Bring left and right corners together above the filling. Overlap the tips of these corners, moisten and press together. Continue until all wrappers are used.

For soup

Bring some chicken soup to boil. Carefully place wontons (usually 10 – 15 wontons for each person) into boiling soup without crowding, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes till the wontons float to the surface. It’s best to serve with some white pepper powder, several drops of sesame oil, and oyster oil.

Wonton Described (Compared with Dumpling)

A piece of wonton wrapper is a 6×6 cm square, or a 5×7cm isosceles trapezoid; and a piece of dumpling wrapper is a circle 7cm in diameter.

Wonton wrapper is thinner than dumpling’s and looks crystal after cooking. If you cook the same amount of wontons and dumplings in boiled waterthe wontons will cook  easier and faster.

The soup of wanton is the key of its flavor, while the dip is all-important to dumpling.

Different Names of Wonton

Wonton

Beijing (northern China): wonton.

Sichuan: Chaoshou, Sichuan people like spicy flavor, so there is a famous dish named “Red oil (chili-made soup) Chaoshou红油抄手/hóng yóu chāo shǒu”.

Hubei Province: it is called “boiled dumplings (Shuijiao)” in Wuhan region, and called “Baomian /包面 bāo miàn” in other regions of Hubei.

Anhui Province: Baofu /包袱bāo fú.

Regions in the south of the Yangtze River: Shanghai, south Jiangsu, Zhejiang province call it “wěn tēn”, which is similar to the pronunciation in Cantonese.

Jiangxi Province: known as “Qingtang/清汤 qīng tāng”, also “Baomian” and “Yuntun”.

Guangdong Province: in Chinese, the two words of “wen tun” were infrequently written, and in the past, few people knew how to write them. So “wen tun” was generally written into “yunton” (in Cantonese), where its English name “wonton” originated from.

Fujian Province: known as “Bianshi /扁食biǎn shí”, “Bianrou /扁肉biǎn ròu”. The of meatfilling is usually hammered together by mallet.

The Origin of Wonton

Wontons can be dated back to the Han Dynasty over 2000 years ago. Wontons arecrescent shaped and were originally used in activities of sacrifice and worship.

Wonton

During the Winter Solstice Festival of the  Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), shops would close temporarily ehilr every family made wontons as sacrificial offerings for ancestor worship. Afterwards all the family members shared the wontons.

A plate of sacrificial wontons in wealthy and honored families called “Hundred Flavor Wontons” included dozens of flavors with different fillings After the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), wontons became popular amongordinary people.

Ancient Chinese regarded wontons as a kind of sealed steamed bread. At that time, wonton s were no different from dumplings.

For thousands of years dumplings showed little change, but wontons slowly became different especially in southern China. Wontons were distinguished from dumplings and got their own name since Tang Dynasty (618 — 907).

It is said that in Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D), the Xiongnu, an ancient tribe  in northern China, always harassed the border area so that local people suffered a lot. Hunshi (浑氏) and Tunshi(屯氏) were the two leaders of the Xiongnu .

Because of their cruelty local people hated them but had no way to kill them. So people began to call their dumplings “Hun” and “Tun” and pretend they were eating the flesh of the two warlords.

Allegedly this took place on the Winter Solstice Festival, so after that, people always eat wontons on that festival.

In the past, there was a saying in Beijing  “Eat wontons in the Winter Solstice Festival and eat noodles in the Summer Solstice Festival”.

Wonton Menu

English Chinese Characters
Chinese cabbage and pork stuffing wontons báicài xiānròu húntún 白菜鲜肉馄饨
Fragrant-flowered garlic and pork wontons jiǔcài xiānròu húntún 韭菜鲜肉馄饨
Preserved egg and pork wontons xiānròu pídàn húntún 鲜肉皮蛋馄饨
Beijing wontons jīngwèi húntún 京味馄饨
Jade wontons (with green vegetable stuffing) fěicuì húntún 翡翠馄饨
Yuanbao wontons (look like shoe-shaped gold/silver ingot) yuánbǎo húntún 元宝馄饨
Tea aroma wontons chá xiāng húntún 茶香馄饨
Deep-fried wontonsStation zhà húntún 炸馄饨
Ham and pork wontons huǒtuǐ xiānròu húntún 火腿鲜肉馄饨
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