Culinary Life in the Fast Lane
OK so people are always asking me to delineate the basics of Chinese cooking.

And to mean, that’s all about food preparation.

Because like, honestly, that’s the backbone of Chinese cooking: how you prepare it. Not even how you COOK it (because like there’s really only one rule for HOW to cook something in Chinese culture: WITH A REALLY MOTHERFUCKING HOT WOK AND NOT TOO MUCH OIL). 

So here’s some things that I use (even when I’m cooking western style stuff). Trust me: these are universal concepts.

1. How to chop garlic:  if you have to peel garlic, take a big-ass knife, and lay it flat over the clove.  Then smash down with the palm of your hand.  The skin will peel off and the smashed garlic will have more flavor than if you just plain sliced it.  Then you can just dice.  And when you dice, place one hand on top of the end of the knife, and use it like a fulcrum. Bam. Quicker and finer dicing. 

2. How to cook rice:  White rice generally needs to be rinsed. I recommend the number of cups you’re cooking + 1 (for rinsing times).  Swirl that shit around too, it’s covered in chalk and shit.  And in terms of adding water, do the finger rule: it’s generally a little bit past (or under, depending on how long your finger is) the first line of your middle finger’s top knuckle.  Your fingertip.  Trust me. It may seem like a lot, but if you’re cooking a rice cooker, the finger rule is how to go.

3.  How to spice things:  Generally, every single one of my recipes has one spice counterbalancing another.  Salty foods need a little sweet to bring the salty taste out and make it not overpowering.  Fresh tasting things like ginger and thai basil are good balancers for things like garlic and onion.  And lemon is generally necessary. Do not pour on the soysauce.  Real Chinese chefs use that shit sparingly. It’s like salt. 

4.  Ginger is your friend:  Generally, any meat requires ginger to get rid of the sort of “slimy” taste that can occur (seafood in particular).  Simply dry the meat/fish off, and powder with ginger, garlic salt, and pepper. Works every time. No weirdly off-tasting meat. 

5. How to cook in a wok:  Make sure it’s fucking hot.  Like pour the oil in and WAIT. Like the oil should be moving around like motherfucking water, it’s that hot.  It should be almost sizzling in the pan (but not sizzling because then you’re not going to be able to cook fast enough without burning).  Don’t add too much oil. Too much oil is a sign of a lazy chef.  Add in water and cover that shit if you’re trying to make chinese style veggies. The water will make sure the stuff doesn’t burn and you don’t need as much oil and it softens things. The hotter the water, the better. 

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