Chinese Cooking is Amoy-zing!
Quite literally it is amazing.
I have not, dare I say it, cooked any chinese for years. Whether it can be blamed on the kids, I don't know, but the wok has been hidden away in the dark depths of the cupboard, gathering dust... I recall many an evening as a young up-and-coming exec rustling up a stir fry in moments after a long hard pressurised day at the office... But that is not a recent memory...
It was not until I attended the Central Street Cookery School for the Amoy Event, the launch of the brand new Special Selection Soy Sauce, that I remembered again, quite how good chinese cookery could be. Thanks to the passionately energetic teacher for the day, Hannah Hayes of China Feast, we spent an afternoon cooking up five dishes.
Following demo's in quick succession, to replicating same dishes ourselves, to writing notes and taking photos, the challenge was simply to keep up! The pressure increased and the complexity of the dishes with it, as the day progressed.
For me, it simply demonstrates what can be done, if you put your mind to it. So much is down to smell and learning at what point to add the next ingredient or move on to the next stage. It is also having the right ingredients and techniques. On reflection, very little equipment is required really. Just a good wok and great ingredients!
Top Tips For Chinese Cookery
The key tips I came away with from the day are:
Egg Fried Rice is simple, quick and really tasty. Plus the kids all love it!
For guaranteed success when making Egg Fried Rice, just make sure you have a clean sturdy food plastic bag to firstly crush up the raw egg, then make sure every grain of cooked rice is coated before adding to the wok.
No need to wait for the frozen peas to defrost, simply put peas into a mug of boiled water and leave for a few moments, whilst stir frying other ingredients. They'll be de-frosted in a jiffy!
The importance of the way you cut your meat dictates how tender it will be. What I mean by this, is with chicken or white meat, you MUST cut the meat with the grain. Then cut across the grain if you need the meat in cubes. But the key thing is to cut the breast of chicken lengthways first.
With red meat, however you cut AGAINST the grain, ie across the grain first, then cube up.
It is amazing the difference that tip has made. I no longer have to sit at the dinner table, waiting for the kids to chew their meat endlessly. Suddenly they have found a new found love for meat, "It's so tender!" they tell me! And that is just in the way you cut the meat up!
If you watch this quick video Hannah explains further!
Creating a marinade for meat is really quick and easy and it is all a mindset really. It's all about trying out new dishes, new flavours and exposing the kids to different things. You just have to plan the meal and go for it! It's so easy to stick to recipes that one knows and has done many a time. But you know, it's good to experiment and try out new things too. And my kids are definitely of an age where they're receptive to new textures, flavours and tastes...
At Lunchbox World, we are always looking out for more ways with lunchboxes, and what better dish to pop in a lunch box than a chicken skewer on a bed of egg fried rice.
Just be sure to pop in an icepack to keep the lunch safe and chilled until lunchtime.