Cook Like A Chef

How to

Cook Like A Chef
In Just One Day

Learning the 16 fundamental cooking techniques to quickly improve your culinary skills with Jim

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Cook Like A Chef

The author Jim Yang and ‘Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cooking With Jim’ made their best efforts to produce a high quality, informative, and helpful e-book. However, they make no warranties or representations of any kind with regard to the completeness or accuracy of the contents of this book. They accept no liability of any kind for any losses or damages caused or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, from using the information contained in this book.

How To Cook Like A Chef In Just One Day is © 2002 Cooking With Jim TM All rights reserved worldwide. First edition 2002.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any way or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the copyright holder.

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Cook Like A Chef

"I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation." ~ Madame Benoit

"Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements." ~ Marcel Boulestin

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Cook Like A Chef

Contents
FOREWORD......................................................................................................................6 BASTING............................................................................................................................7 BLANCHING.....................................................................................................................8 HOW TO BLANCHE VEGETABLES .......................................................................................8 BRAISING & STEWING ...............................................................................................10 CUTTING.........................................................................................................................12 BUYING A KNIFE .............................................................................................................12 GRIPPING THE KNIFE .......................................................................................................13 GENERAL CUTTING .........................................................................................................13 SLICING...........................................................................................................................14 JULIENNE AND SHREDDING .............................................................................................15 CHOPPING (GREEN ONIONS) ............................................................................................15 PARALLEL CUTTING ........................................................................................................15 DICING ............................................................................................................................16 MINCING .........................................................................................................................16 CRUSHING .......................................................................................................................17 ROLL-CUT .......................................................................................................................17 KNEADING DOUGH .....................................................................................................19 KNEADING THE DOUGH ..................................................................................................19 DEEP-FRYING................................................................................................................21 DETERMINING OIL TEMPERATURE ..................................................................................21 DEEP-FRYING TIPS ..........................................................................................................22 GARLIC - HANDLING ..................................................................................................23 PARBOIL .........................................................................................................................24 POACHING......................................................................................................................25 RICE – COOKING..........................................................................................................26 PREPARING RICE – WASHING AND SOAKING ...................................................................26 COOKING THE RICE .........................................................................................................27 COOKING THE RICE – MEASURING THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF WATER ............................28 COOKING THE RICE – THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.............................................................29 COOKING THE RICE – WITH A RICE COOKER ....................................................................30 SAUTÉ ..............................................................................................................................31 SKINNING TOMATOES AND PEPPERS...................................................................32 HOW TO EASILY SKIN TOMATOES: ...................................................................................32 HOW TO EASILY SKIN PEPPERS: .......................................................................................32 4

..............................................................................................35 MAKING MEAT STOCK ................................41 STEAMING........................43 STEAMING TIPS ............................................................................................................................46 5 ................................................Cook Like A Chef SOUP STOCK – MAKING .........37 THE WOK ..34 MAKING POULTRY STOCK .................................................................................................................................37 THE FIRE ............................................................................................38 THE SMOKING POINT .................................................................................................................................39 STIR-FRY LIKE A REAL CHEF ........................................................................................................................................40 STIR-FRYING TIPS .....................................................................................45 TIPS FOR USING STARCH WATER ...........................................................................................................................................................................................33 MAKING VEGETABLE SOUP STOCK .............................................................44 THICKENING SAUCES ................38 THE BIG SPLASH ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................36 STIR-FRYING .....................

It’s arranged alphabetically so you can easily and quickly find what you’re looking for.Cook Like A Chef Foreword Learning to cook is easy. Key points will be highlighted. Are you always wondering what so many of the terms and jargon they use on cooking shows mean? You don’t have to be intimidated by all their fancy terms anymore. 6 . It doesn’t have to be complicated. All those fancy cooking styles and techniques you see on television really aren’t that difficult. Learn the basics. because I explain each one of them in this cooking techniques book. and you can easily master any and all of the following 16 fundamental cooking techniques. Enjoy cooking. Each cooking method starts with a brief explanation and descriptions. and many tips are provided to make cooking quick and easy for you.

7 . You add some barbeque sauce on. A bulb baster has a 5 to 7 inch long tube-like section with a pointy tip. grilling. roasting. For example. You can baste when you’re barbequing. The liquid could be melted fat. and pan dripping. and use a brush to smear it around – you are basting. there’s a round ball made of plastic where you store the liquid. or any other type of liquid. A bulb baster can also be used to drizzle the liquid over the food. or baking.Cook Like A Chef Basting Basting is a technique used to moisten food (usually meat) while cooking with a liquid. Basting is easily done. some type of sauce. At the end. You can use a brush of some sort and simply use it to brush on sauces to whatever you are cooking. say you’re grilling a few beef patties on a grill.

Blanching slows the actions of the enzymes that cause the vegetables to ripen. The larger the piece. Depending on what type of vegetables you’re blanching the amount of time will differ. blanching is used mainly to preserve vegetable colors. You’re ‘pre-cooking’ your vegetables before cooking them. in my Oyster Broccoli and Stir-fry Gai Lan recipes. For easy to cook vegetables such as lettuce. For example. blanch for only a few seconds. Also. and also to soften the vegetables somewhat before stir-frying. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt. It serves several purposes. A side benefit of blanching is the effect of killing off bacteria that the vegetables may have. Do not cover with lid. This also helps to preserve the vitamins and minerals of the vegetables. 8 . How to blanche vegetables When blanching vegetables. flavor and texture. • Fill a pot about 2/3 full of water. For more difficult to cook veggies such as broccoli.Cook Like A Chef Blanching Blanching is an excellent way to preserve the color. the size of the individual vegetable pieces also becomes a factor. immerse the vegetables in boiling water briefly. and bring the water to a boil. it’s best to blanche first to capture their peak color. the longer you should blanche. texture and flavor of your vegetables. blanching is recommended to pre-cook the vegetables. In my Chinese Vegetarian Cooking book. blanch for 30 – 60 seconds. Before freezing vegetables. Blanching is used primarily for vegetables. • Add your vegetables into the boiling water.

Tip: When you plan on blanching vegetables. that’s way too long. Remember that blanching is not meant to cook the vegetables. blanche it longer. However. cauliflower. so I prefer to have my veggies to have a little crunchy texture. so speed is very important. 9 . I don’t enjoy eating very soft vegetables. • Immediately run the vegetables through cold water. strain the vegetables from the hot water. you ensure that all the pieces get blanched evenly. it’s really up to you how long you want to blanche for. make sure to cut the vegetables in to evenly sized pieces. This way. If you like your vegetables to be soft. In my opinion. Some people recommend blanching your vegetables for several minutes. I usually blanche my vegetables for stir-frying purposes. Blanche your vegetables quickly if you like them to be more crunchy. Some vegetables you could blanche include. Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan). cabbage. broccoli. and many more.Cook Like A Chef • When finished blanching.

So even though I titled that section braising and stewing. How long do you think it takes to cook vegetables? Not very long. you maybe mislead to think that most of the braised/stewed recipes take a long time to cook. You couldn’t be more wrong. 10 . and a little cornstarch. At the same time. and in all the recipes there are only vegetables. However. Here’s how I braise my tough cut meats: • Cut the meat chunk into 1 to 2 inch sections • Instead of the normal method of browning meats in fat. Braising is a cooking method where you first brown meats and vegetables in a little fat (or oil). and onions to place at the bottom of your pot so the meat doesn’t come in direct contact with the pot. ☺ The truth is. and then let it slowly cook in a pot with some liquid for a long period of time. Braising is a technique used usually on tough cuts of meat – the long cooking process softens the tough meat. the recipes really don’t take very long. In my Chinese Vegetarian cookbook. the braised/stewed ingredients really absorb the flavors during the long cooking process.Cook Like A Chef Braising & Stewing When you braise or stew something. there are no meats at all in my vegetarian book. This also adds some extra flavor and aroma. the essence of braising and stewing is captured in the recipes. you ‘wet-cook’ it. you can dice up carrots. I like to marinate it first with either soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Tip: To prevent burning your meats while braising and stewing. celery.

This is where I add in all the spices and seasonings. I find that marinating and stir-frying the tough meats on high heat really packs the flavors into the meat when it’s finished cooking. and let it stew for a long period of time. You can also add in garlic and ginger at the start to add more flavor to the meat. 11 .Cook Like A Chef • I then quickly stir-fry the meat on very high heat. MSG. sugar etc…) • After stir-frying on high heat for 30 to 60 seconds (after all the meat is no longer pink) I then add in water. hot sauce. (Salt.

One summer back in university. then the carbon steel cleavers are for you. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them. You need to keep them clean. and you can find the stainless steel type wherever knives are sold. if you want a sharp knife. You can easily find the traditional carbon steel knives in Chinese hardware stores. but they are difficult to sharpen. So. In western cooking. Unlike knives used anywhere else in the world. if you don’t want the hassle of maintaining and sharpening your knife. chefs almost always use the cleaver exclusively to cut everything from meat and bones to tomatoes and mushrooms. Cutting your food into uniform pieces to make the dish present nicely is half the battle. The stainless steel cleavers don’t rust. a cleaver is usually used primarily to chop up large bones (because of the weight and size of the knife). they tend to rust easily. but they do make good 12 .Cook Like A Chef Cutting and slicing up food is probably one of the most important skills to master in Chinese cooking. Cutting Buying a Knife There are two main types of cleavers that you can buy. In Chinese cooking. I got a knife sales job with Cutco. Stainless steel cleavers would be good for you. and always dry after washing. The carbon steel knives easily sharpen. Chinese chefs use a cleaver as the knife of choice. and you can take good care of your knife. however.

use the first knuckles of your 13 . Gripping the Knife To properly hold a chef’s knife. I still use the French Chef Knife that came with my set. To properly hold the food. The knife should have a nice feel. You could easily run into the thousands. Curl you index finger slightly.Cook Like A Chef knives – that cost you an arm and a leg. but not so heavy that you have a tough time handling it. In fact. When you’re purchasing a Chinese cleaver. You’ll find that holding a knife this way gives you much more control when cutting ingredients. But the knives sure worked great. my preferred knife. after many years. General Cutting When you are ready to cut some ingredients. place your index finger and thumb on opposing sides of the blade. It should have a good weight. you should curl your fingertips in toward your palm. which was cheap considering that a small French Chef Knife costs around $80! A French Chef Knife. I had to buy a display set for demonstration for $80. So when cutting. referred They were not cheap knives. hold the food in place with your free hand. and grasp the handle with your other three fingers. too. test its balance.

it also acts as a guide for your knife as you cut along the food. This not only prevents your free hand from getting cut. and using your knuckles as a guide. and the weight of the knife shifts to the front. Hold the knife properly. the heavy part of the knife touches the chopping board. and the knife’s tip leaves the chopping board. and moving back slightly as you raise the knife. Slicing Slicing is one of the most basic forms of cutting. you should have the knife always touching the chopping board. the heavy part is lifted. cut straight down. and bring it back toward you as you go back up. If you were using a knife with a curved blade like a French Chef Knife. When you finish the cut. I find this helps to cut faster than just cutting straight down. When you cut downward.Cook Like A Chef free hand to guide the cut. you follow a rocking motion. The motion of the knife very much depends on what type of knife you use. When I slice. For a Chinese cleaver. your cutting motion should be steady downward motion moving slightly forward as you cut. Slide the knife forward a little as you cut down. So when you cut with a French Chef Knife. I usually use a slightly ‘sawing’ motion. and never raise the blade higher than your first knuckles. 14 .

I my Chinese Vegetarian cookbook. So. then you need to parallel cut. I first cut them in ½ and then into ¼ sections. Place the food near the edge of the chopping board.Cook Like A Chef Julienne and Shredding If you ever wonder what the chefs on television are talking about when they mention ‘Julienne’. This is much more efficient. Parallel Cutting When you want to make large. After you slice up something. and cut straight through to cut them into matchstick like pieces. stack a few. cut the slices very thin. and also have a picture for you to see. Then I pile them up together. It’s rather simple. When I chop my green onions. and chop at once. you’re just cutting it into strips. and hold it firmly in place with your free hand. Done properly. You can shred the ingredient into all different sizes. thin slices of meat or vegetable. So I thought it was important enough to have a little section about chopping onions. many recipes make use of chopped green onions. now you’ll know. For a very thin strip. and then cut the slices into thin strips. you can quickly and easily chop up green onions. 15 . Chopping (green onions) Chopping is exactly what it says it is – cutting food into smaller pieces.

Now. Usually you would mince garlic and ginger. you usually cut the meat or vegetable into small cubes. Mincing Mincing is similar to dicing. hold the knife properly. I am mincing some garlic. and place the palm of your freehand on the back of the knife. 16 . and slide it across. This is especially important if you were mincing some meat. In the picture to the right. First slice the ingredient. Dicing When dicing. This speeds up the mincing. and rock the knife back and forth to mince the garlic. then cut once more into cubes. and cut into strips. and the cut into strips. Scoop up the ingredients and flip them over to ensure even mincing. Then take your knife.Cook Like A Chef With the knife almost parallel with the chopping board. except you cut the ingredient into much finer sizes. make an incision at the thickness you desire. First slice up the garlic.

With the palm of your free hand. you have a carrot with a ‘shaved’ edge that’s facing away from you. See the second image. After your first diagonal cut. Roll-cut Roll-cut is usually used for cutting carrots and other long shape vegetables into a trapezoid like shape. Sure. you can just flat-out cut the carrots into 2inch long round sections. and smash the knife with the bottom of your fist. Place your knife diagonally on the carrot to start. Then cut. and hold the knife steady.Cook Like A Chef Crushing A common way to prepare ginger and garlic in Chinese cooking is to crush them. smash the knife to crush the garlic or ginger. Notice the diagonal cut. You could also make a fist. Here’s how you roll-cut a carrot .very simple. 17 . but roll-cutting the carrots gives it a much better look. Hold the carrot firm on the chopping board. Place the knife flat over the ginger or garlic.

and make another diagonal cut. Just do this for all your carrots. 18 .Cook Like A Chef Now roll the carrot 45 degrees toward you – so the slanted edge is facing straight up. I’m sure you’ll pick it up in no time! After the first diagonal cut. so the slanted side is facing up. Place your knife at where the last cut left off. roll the fter carrot 45degrees toward you. By doing this. you make a carrot chunk that has two slant edges that are about 45 degrees from each other. It’s not very hard to do. Then make another diagonal cut.

and push down and away again. or by hand. Don’t add too much water at first. In North America. using your palms and the heel of your hands. and there are several methods you can use to knead dough. it becomes clumpy and somewhat hard. in my vegetarian cookbook. and push down and away again. However. After you’ve mixed the flour with water. Now you can start to knead the dough. I recommend kneading on a large flat surface. kneading dough is primarily used to make vegetarian meat. lightly spread some flour on the flat surface. You can knead dough in a mixer. add a little more water whenever necessary. • Repeat this push and fold process over and over until the dough is the right texture. • Rotate the dough about 45degrees. or in a very large pot. If you find the dough is extremely difficult to knead. then add a little more water to soften it up. which is my preferred method. Or if you find that 19 . Kneading the Dough When you’re ready to knead the dough. • Grab the dough in your hands. As you’re kneading the dough. with a dough hook. kneading dough is usually for baking needs.Cook Like A Chef Kneading Dough You can use dough in many different ways after kneading. push down and forward on the dough • Now fold the dough onto itself. The first step is to mix some water into the flour. • The kneading process takes 10 to 15 minutes.

and you’re done! 20 . Stop knead when the dough reaches the consistency you desire. round it up – make it into a ball shape. you can add a little more flour. Here are some common characteristics to help you determine whether your dough is well kneaded: • The dough is soft and smooth. • It’s no longer sticky like it was • It springs back when you lightly press it and it retracts back if you pull on it lightly When you’ve finished kneading the dough.Cook Like A Chef you’ve added too much water. and it holds together in a nice ball. and the dough is too soft.

To determine whether the oil is hot enough. At this point. so that the oil temperature remain constant throughout the whole process. and turn the heat to your desired temperature. Now the oil is at medium-high temperature. and insert the chopsticks. It’s best to just fry a few pieces at a time. When you see bubbles coming quickly from the chopsticks. Wait a little longer. no bubbles will form because the oil is not hot enough. If you wait even a little longer. When deep-frying.Cook Like A Chef Deep-frying To do this right. you will see the bubbles forming a lot faster. Test this yourself. and put in the chopsticks again. you may see it start bubbling. So it’s at high heat already. the oil is at about a medium temperature. Determining Oil Temperature Here is the technique I used to determine the temperature of my deep-frying oil. do not fry too many items in the oil at once. and insert the chopsticks again. the bubbles will form very quickly. put a pair of wooden chopsticks into the oil. I use this method exclusively to determine the temperature of the oil. Let it heat for a while. For different foods. you will deepfry at different temperatures. since it causes the oil temperature to drop. The heat at this point is just a little below the smoking point for the oil. 21 . then the oil is hot enough. put enough oil in a small pot. When you first put the chopsticks into the oil.

Discard the oil when it becomes too dark and dirty from frying too many times. You can use the deep-frying oil several times before throwing it out. Otherwise. I do this with wooden chopsticks. Store in tightly sealed container and refrigerate. it will splash all over. Always coat your food with some type of batter or coating before deep-frying. 22 . 2. 6. 4. This seals in the flavors. 3. 5. Always deep-fry your food in small amounts to keep the oil temperature consistent. Avoid getting water into the oil. The towels soak up the excess oil.Cook Like A Chef Deep-frying Tips 1. and also prevents burning the skin of the food. Test the temperature of the oil first before frying. When you finish deep-frying always place the deep-fried item on some paper towel.

another method is to cut off the end stub. Here’s some common ways garlic is used in Chinese cooking: • Sliced or whole garlic is used mainly for braising fish • Diced garlic is used primarily added into very hot oil to flavor stir-fry dishes • Minced and grated garlic are used mainly for marinating or for making different sauces Garlic is an important ingredient in Chinese cooking. 23 .Cook Like A Chef Garlic . The biggest fuss with garlic is that you have to peel it. The easiest way to do this is to crush it with the flat of a large knife. mince. and even grate the garlic. and it depends on what you plan on using the garlic for. There are several ways to prepare garlic.Handling So here’s a little section on how to prepare garlic quickly and easily. dice. See the picture in the cutting section. Once you crush the garlic. This allows you to get a hold of the skin from the bottom. and peel it. All you need to do is then cut off the end stub. You can slice. the skin easily peels off. If you prefer not to crush the garlic.

24 . parboil them for 5 to 7 minutes. you boil your food to partially cook it. The main difference is that parboiling food takes longer than blanching.Cook Like A Chef Parboil Parboiling is a technique of boiling your food that’s very similar to blanching. Parboiling is useful for foods such as potatoes and carrots. especially if you were planning to cook broccoli with some easily cooked ingredient. After cutting your potatoes and carrots. This will soften them up for you. Like blanching. such as chicken and fish. Parboiling is used for dense food such as broccoli.

allowing a slow simmer to cook the food. The easiest way is to start with medium heat. and then turning the heat down to get the simmer. the fragile foods may fall apart. The temperature of the liquid is most important. It’s much better than starting at high heat. or even oil. poultry and fruits that easily fall apart. Cooked by poaching. bring the liquid to a boil. color and texture. You can use many types of liquid for poaching. 25 . the fragile foods can preserve their shape. You submerge food in liquid and simmer just below the boiling point until its cooked. Poaching minimizes nutrient loss and preserves flavor. It must be maintained at just below the boiling point. Different foods require different poaching liquid. ginger. and adjust your heat to get the desired simmer.Cook Like A Chef Poaching Poaching is a very simple way to prepare food. You can use water. court bouillon (highly seasoned liquid). Poaching is ideal for preparing fragile foods such as fish. If the liquid boiled or simmered vigorously. and lemon can be added for extra flavor. flavored stock. Herbs and spices such as garlic.

Which type should you buy? For serving rice during regular meals. I usually buy Rooster brand or Flying Horse brand. It’s not completely necessary that you wash the rice. More decisions to make! The truth is. For example. However. It’s served almost You may shy away from making rice for dinner because you’re worried about making it either too dry or too wet. There is some very high quality rice. that when you taste it. Preparing Rice – washing and soaking Before you cook rice. long grain rice. I always buy regular long grain rice. Now. since most of the rice you buy these days is clean. when it comes to long grain rice (or any type of rice) you’re going to find so many different brands.Cook Like A Chef Rice – Cooking Rice is the staple food for Asian people. you can taste the difference right away. That’s a little over statement though. I couldn’t really tell the difference between most of the brands. and/or soak it in water for a while. This is how to do it: 26 . I don’t think it matters too much which brand you buy. I always wash my rice before cooking it. everyday for dinner. for regular rice purchasing. Japanese rice. wild rice. you need to wash it. I can tell you that it’s not hard to cook near ‘perfect’ rice every time! I’m going to show you a little trick that I use when cooking rice. even though I’m no rice expert (but I have been eating all my life). and sweet rice just to name a few. There are many different types of rice on the market. but it’s still a good idea to give it a quick rinse through to get rid of any dust or dirt.

so it lasts me for several months. and the rice is ready to cook. and to allow for maximum growth for the rice. follow these guidelines: • 1 cup of rice makes 2 – 2½ small bowls of cooked rice • Usually 2 – 2½ cups of uncooked rice will make enough to serve a family of 3 to 4 I always buy 40lb bags of rice. and I never have to worry about my rice getting burnt.Cook Like A Chef • Fill the pot half full with water. We’ll take a look at cooking rice the old fashioned way with a pot and a stove. The one reason to soak rice is to shorten the cooking time. I cook usually 1½ to 2 cups of rice. Note: I’m referring only to long grain rice. There are many different ways which you can cook rice. You can repeat the above steps as many times as you want. It’s so much easier. and also using rice cookers. replace it with fresh water. 27 . But if you wash the rice too thoroughly you will wash away some of the nutrients. Sometimes I cook a little extra for snacking on it. or use a rice cooker. Now I only use rice cooker now. steam the rice. I used to cook rice in a pot on a stove. and gently massage the rice with you hands • When the water becomes murky. You can use a pot to cook rice on a stove. For the three of us in my family. I replace the water. Whether you soak the rice in water or not is totally up to you. Cooking the Rice How much should you cook? If you not sure. microwave cook the rice. and massage one more time • Finally. make congee with the rice.

This rule works especially well when you cook about 2 cups of rice in a medium sized pot. There’s a ‘rule of thumb’ that I follow. If you cook more rice. Every time someone in my family makes rice. It always puzzles people how much water they should use.’ Confused? That was a bit long. 28 .Cook Like A Chef Cooking the Rice – measuring the correct amount of water The first thing you need to do is measure the right amount of water after you wash the rice. For example. then the water level should be less than your index finger.) The amount of water above the rice is about the same height as the first section of your index finger. I hope that clears it up. and that is: the water height above the rice should be about the height of the first section of your index finger. you can’t follow this rule strictly. Take a look at the picture to the right. if you cook less than 2 cups. they always ask me “is this enough water?” I can usually tell just by looking at it. Of course. (Hope you enjoy my little sketch. but of course. then the water should be a little higher than the first section of your index finger. there’s a much better way to determine how much water you should use. You should use this rule of thumb to guide you whenever you cook rice.

and let it slowly cook the rice to perfection • Once you have the rice the way you like it. unless you like very dry rice) • Now turn the heat down to low. Then it was cooking rice on a stovetop. put on a stovetop element. I cooked rice the old fashioned way. • After washing and adding water to the rice. Here’s how to cook rice the old fashioned way without ever burning it. 29 . and turn heat to high • Wait until the water is boiling • Let it boil for about 30 – 60 seconds (keep the lid a little open to prevent overflow) • Then turn the heat down to medium/medium high • Let the rice cook on this temperature until most of the water is absorbed and evaporated (make sure not to cook too long at this temperature. and did I fall in love with it! But there’s nothing wrong with cooking rice the old fashioned way. Finally. my mom cooked rice in a tin pot on a clay stove using charcoal.Cook Like A Chef Cooking the Rice – the old fashioned way Before I ever knew the rice cooker existed. If you follow the above instructions. or added too much water or not enough water etc… Here’s what to do: Problem: The rice is too dry. Note: this method requires you to pay close attention to the rice as it cooks. turn the heat to lowest possible to keep it warm until serving Remember to always have to the lid covering the pot. You might forget about it. you’re almost guaranteed perfect rice every time. When I was still a kid in China. But it’s difficult to make perfect rice all the time. I decided to buy a rice cooker one day.

30 . In about 15minutes or so. All you need to do is wash the rice. just follow the same methods outlined above.) Close the lid.Cook Like A Chef Solution: Add a little more water. Problem: The rice is too wet or soft. and stir. There are no tricks to it. Use a spoon and stir up the rice to let the excess moisture escape. Then turn heat down to low. Solution: With the heat on medium. If you find the rice is too wet or dry. and put it on cook. put it into the rice cooker. measure the right amount of water. Dish out the edible rice as much as you could. and let this cook on medium temperature until the rice is how you want it. Problem: You forgot about the rice. You won’t have to worry about burnt rice. and keep it off. open the lid. Keep on doing this until the rice is dry enough for you. your rice will be done to perfection. Cooking the Rice – with a rice cooker This is so easy. (You can always add more if necessary. and the rice is completely burnt at the bottom! (I do this all the time!) Solution: Run cold water to the bottom of the pot to prevent the burnt taste and smell penetrating the rest of the rice. Add no more than ¼ cup of water.

fish. you should add in the ingredients. You can use a sauté pan. If you were sautéing vegetables.do not use a fork to pierce the meat when you flip it. pork. If you cooked thicker slices of meat. Place the ingredient in to the pan. a wok. I recommend using a spatula of some sort. If you were cooking chicken or fish.Cook Like A Chef Sauté Basically. You should only flip the food over once or twice at most when sautéing. or use chopsticks. you can easily and quickly whip up something – sautéing chicken. How do you know when it’s hot enough? When the butter begins to turn pale brown. Cooking time will also depend on the ingredient. Sautéing seals in the flavors and minimizes the cook time. After the first side has browned. You should use about 1 – 2 tablespoon of butter/oil for 2 pieces of chicken cutlets or fish. turn it over and brown the other side. You should avoid the 1 most common mistake people make when sautéing . beef. it should take about 2 to 4 minutes. Note: you can use either oil or butter. sautéing is cooking food quickly in some oil or fat over high heat. or pretty much any type of pan. It’s best used to cook fish and thin cuts of meat because of the short amount of time sautéing takes. Butter gives food a better taste and browns it easier than oil does. or the juices will escape from the meat. or vegetables. Preheat the oil in the pan on high heat because you want the food to cook quickly. This is a very basic technique that once you learn it. it would take much less time – about 1 to 2 minutes. they wouldn’t be cooked throughout. and let that side brown. 31 .

Take it out and let it cool. and grill over fire or heat until most of the skin is blistered.Cook Like A Chef Skinning Tomatoes and Peppers I’m including this little bit of info on skinning tomatoes and peppers in case you ever need to skin some. and at the same time rub the pepper with your hands. All you need to do is soak the tomatoes in boiling water (or just hot water) for 2 to 4 minutes. The skin will rub off easily. How to easily skin tomatoes: It’s really very simple. Also. Skew the pepper. You can either do it on an open fire. How to easily skin peppers: The easiest way to get rid of peels on peppers is to grill it. and the peels will come off easily. you could just microwave the pepper for 3 to 5 minutes. Take them out. or just use a stovetop element. and the skin should peel off easily. 32 . Then run under cold water.

3) red meats. and it really tastes good. In my Chinese Vegetarian cookbook. but it SAVES me so much time. I make stock because I want nice tasting and high quality soup base. I have a nice section here on how to make your own stock. You can make great use of leftovers and scraps in your fridge to make it. The first three types of stocks will be used most often – especially vegetable stock. I do make my own soup stock at times. So for those of you who are not as lazy as I am. of course). unless you want it to be. I admit. so I won’t talk about that here. There are four main types of soup stock: 1) vegetable. many of the dishes use soup stock to add flavor.Cook Like A Chef Soup Stock – Making Soup stock is often used in all styles of cooking. Sometimes I make stock just to get rid of scraps and leftovers. and 4) seafood. although not too often. where the ingredients would probably have been thrown out. it’s not as nice tasting as your own soup stock. or use fresh ingredients (recommended. you’ve probably noticed that I don’t very often make my own soup stock. However. However. 2) poultry. Making seafood stock can get very expensive. But. 33 . and sometimes. you do miss out on the freshness of using fresh ingredients. I use pre-made soup stock powder mix from Knorr. Soup stock making isn’t too difficult. Using scraps and leftovers is very economical. and that’s true for Chinese cooking as well. since you’re cooking from my vegetarian recipe book.

Use tomatoes sparingly. I can’t possibly name all types of veggies that you can use to make soup stock. or rotting vegetables. you can use a little more water to make it lighter flavored. and you have your vegetable soup stock. If you’re unsure of how much ingredients and water to use. Depending on how strong you like your soup stock. peppers. or use less water to make it more flavored. follow this rule of thumb: the amount of water should be about the same as the amount of ingredients. and cilantro are also good for making stock. water chestnuts. mushrooms. or any other type of spice you like. ☺ Some of the most common vegetables you can use to make stock include: carrots. You want to avoid using week old. etc… You can also use tomatoes. celery. remove all the vegetables and ingredients. lotus roots. onions. some black pepper. yams. This adds some extra flavoring. squash. Cook your soup stock on high until it’s boiling. turnips. The flavor of your vegetable soup stock will always be slightly different depending on the type and the amount of vegetables you use. green onions. however I recommend not using too much tomatoes since they tend to overpower the rest of the ingredients. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about one hour. ginger. bean sprouts. When done. 34 . potatoes. That’s not going to do much for the flavor.Cook Like A Chef Making vegetable soup stock I strongly recommend using fresh vegetables for making vegetable stock. Of course. I also recommend adding a little salt. Garlic.

I really like the taste of chicken. you should use some vegetables to enhance the flavor. Some of the ideal vegetables to use are onions. discard all the ingredients and your chicken stock is ready for use. 35 . Every once awhile take a spoon and skim the dirty foam from the soup stock. buy the cheapest kind. you can use duck parts as well. since it’s the cheapest to buy. and if you want to get adventurous. and add just enough water to cover to the top of the ingredients. Got a lot of turkey leftover from thanksgiving? No problem! Use that to make turkey soup stock. You can use either chicken or turkey parts. One pound of chicken backbones usually sells for less than a dollar. feet. When finished cooking. Bring this to a boil. Here’s a basic chicken stock mixture: • • • • • • 4 – 6 pounds of chicken bones and parts 1 chopped white onion 2 – 4 sticks of celery 2 – 4 carrots Some ginger and/or garlic Salt and black pepper Add these ingredients into a large pot. and then turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for 1 to 2 hours. I usually buy the neck. carrots. I usually just use chicken. and celery. When making poultry soup stock. When you buy chicken for soup stock making.Cook Like A Chef Making poultry stock Poultry stock is my preferred soup stock to make. and backbones.

and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours.Cook Like A Chef Making meat stock You can use several different types of meat to make meat soup stock: pork. When I get the meat home. You can add more water during the cooking process if you feel there isn’t enough soup stock. strain the soup from the ingredients. and parts 1 large white onion 2 – 4 celery stalks 2 – 4 carrots Ginger and garlic Some salt and black pepper Like the chicken stock. and I use parts of the skin and all the bones to make soup stock. 36 . beef. Here’s how I make my soup stock: • • • • • • 4 – 6 pounds of pork bones. and turn the heat down to medium-low. Bring this to a boil. and lamb are the main ones. You should skim the dirty foam from the soup every once awhile. and its ready for use. and lasts me for a long time. skin. It usually weighs 20 to 30 pounds. After it’s done cooking. Nothing goes to waste. fill water just high enough to cover all the ingredients. When I buy pork. I usually buy a large chunk of pork (usually pork butt or pork shoulder). I de-bone the pork.

Some takes even less than 30 seconds. Teflon coated woks. the oil has two main functions. and second is to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the wok. If you use a Teflon wok. I have to use a plastic or wooden spatula instead of my steel one. When stir-frying. stainless steel woks. so you have to always dry it well. and the food cooks very quickly. flat bottom and round bottom woks. Most stir-fry dishes cooks within 1 or 2 minutes. which you can use. and oil. you cook the food at very high temperatures. Some include carbon steel woks. Even though the carbon steel type required more care than the other woks. 37 . Worst of all. When stir-frying. a round bottom wok. it stir-fries much better than the other types. The wok Here’s what you need for proper stir-frying. There are many types of woks. a spatula. The drawback of using a carbon steel wok is that it rusts easily.Cook Like A Chef Stir-frying Stir-frying is the most commonly used method to cook food in Chinese cuisine. My wok of choice is a round bottom carbon steel wok. The first is to quickly cook the food and preserve its flavors and texture. you don’t need to use as much oil. I find that Teflon wok cooked food isn’t as good as food cooked with a carbon steel wok.

There is one thing. You must stir-fry at the highest temperature possible. You will see throughout my recipe book that I make reference to the ‘smoking point’. This is the smoking point. You have much better control with a gas stove. This is a very important point about stir-frying.Cook Like A Chef The fire I should really have titled this sub section ‘the temperature’. Always. Never mind what any other chef’s told you. and you can heat your wok hotter and much faster. When you heat the oil on high. Aside from the wok. The smoking point What is the smoking point? I bet you’ve never heard of the smoking point – it’s a term I use for stir-frying. The whole point of stir-frying is to cook food as fast as possible to seal in its flavors and textures. I also recommend gas stoves over electric. always have it at the highest temperature possible. always. How to determine when the oil is hot enough and when is the right time to add in the ingredients? It’s rather simple to determine the smoking point. the oil eventually gets hot enough that it begins to smoke a little. 38 . the fire (or temperature) you use to stir-fry is the most important element. and only one thing you need to know about stir-frying temperature – always stir-fry on the highest heat possible. ☺ The smoking point is the ‘perfect’ time to add in your ingredients for stir-frying – it is when the oil is at the optimal temperature.

I do this to cook something really fast. I like to wait even a little longer after the oil gets to the smoking point. you should add in your ingredients.Cook Like A Chef The temperature of smoking point for vegetable oil ranges from 450°F (corn) to 510°F (safflower). 39 . do not wait too long. After many years of stir-frying and oil splashing. I’ve gotten used to the oil splashing on my hands and arms. Often when I cook. oil splashes. if you do decide to wait even a little long beyond the smoking point. However. and there’s no excess water • When stir-frying vegetables. The big splash The big oil splash is unavoidable when stir-frying – it’s a part of stir-frying. When you see smoke coming from the oil. letting the veggies dry beforehand will reduce the amount of oil splash • Always make sure the wok is dry before you add oil to it You could also wear long sleeves if you’re really worried about the oil splashing. However. You can’t really avoid this. you risk burning the oil. Every time you add your ingredients to the hot oil in the wok. and your food will have a slight burnt flavor. you can reduce the amount of oil splashing following these few simple guidelines: • When stir-frying meat. Otherwise. make sure the meat is well marinated.

This ensures the food is cooked evenly.e. All you need to do is practice at stir-frying quickly. and cover with a lid. lotus roots and Chinese broccoli require longer time to stir-fry than most vegetables. quickly. and flip your ingredients quickly • Add in you spices and seasonings • Keep on stirring until the food is cooked It’s very simple. work as fast as you can. and prevents the food from getting burnt. use the spatula to stir and flip the food constantly.Cook Like A Chef Stir-fry like a real chef It’s not very difficult to stir-fry something. toss and separate the chicken to ensure even cooking (~10 – 15 seconds) • Quickly add in the spices: i. In this case. and become good at stir-frying. For example. some do require slightly longer cook time. hot sauce. salt. and adding in seasoning and spices quickly. toss. etc… (~5 seconds) 40 . the ingredients are pretty much cooked. Just keep one thing in mind – speed is of the essence. As the steam begins to come out from the lid. and the other hand holding the wok. This is how I stir-fry my chicken: • • • • Marinate the chicken Heat oil to smoking point Quickly add in the chicken Use the spatula to stir. Here’s how to stir-fry: • Heat oil on highest temperature until smoking point • Quickly add in your ingredients • With your writing hand holding the spatula. stir. Although most stir-fry dishes cook quickly. When you stir-fry. While you stir-fry. you add a dash of water into the wok.

Stir-frying tips just can’t. 9. and it will still be very tender. 6. Cut the ingredients into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. 4. This is not the real way to stir-fry (if you can even call it stir-frying). 5. You can take the meat out after it’s no longer pink and then cook the vegetables. veggies. Add 41 1. This not only prevents food from sticking. 7. 2. You will never get the flavors. and enhances the flavor of your dish. You don’t overcook the meat this way. etc… • Stir and mix quickly until the added ingredient is cooked (~15 – 30 seconds or longer depending on the ingredients) • Dish up and serve hot Now you see why you need to work quickly when stir-frying? Many western cook shows demonstrate stir-frying on low heat. Never try to prepare your ingredients while you stir-fry – you . Add in the more difficult ingredients first. 8. and textures stir-frying like this. 3. I find that I can keep the meat in the whole time. add a decent amount of oil (3 – 5 tablespoons). add these first before the ingredients. The oil extracts the flavor from the garlic and ginger. Cut meat in to thin slices for stir-frying.Stir-fry your ingredients according to density.Cook Like A Chef • Mix the spices with the chicken (~5 – 10 seconds) • Add in other ingredients such as tofu. 10. and always stir-fry the meat first. and in a slow motion. so it gets longer cooking time. but it’s not necessary. Make sure the wok is dry before adding oil. colors. It’s a good idea to preheat the wok to medium temperature before adding in oil. it also helps to cook food faster. If a recipe calls for ginger and garlic. Prepare everything ahead of time. If you’re not using a non-stick wok.

15.When adding starch water to thicken the sauce. put the ingredients to the side. 42 . 13.Cook Like A Chef the easy to cook ingredients last such as green onions. The less water your ingredient has when stir-frying the less the oil will splash. Add the starch water slowly so you don’t add too much. lettuce. 14.Serve the dishes hot. etc… 11.It’s a good idea to wash your vegetables ahead of time to let some of the water dry. 12.Constantly stir and toss the ingredients when stir-frying. Thicken the sauce before mixing with the ingredients.

It not only seals in the flavor and juices of the fish. and occasionally. and just place your plate on top of the chopsticks. you can even stack several bamboo steamers. fish. There are varieties of steamers you can use: pasta cookers. Chinese broccoli. cauliflower. The construction of the bamboo steamer allows for maximum steam to circulate throughout. stackable steamers. Some of the best ingredients for steaming are carrots. potatoes.Cook Like A Chef Steaming Steaming is simple and straightforward. Bamboo steamers are excellent for steaming food. and cover with lid Steam until the food is cooked 43 . Place them crossing each other. and eggs. pasta cookers. I bought my bamboo steamer for around $10 dollars. If you don’t even have a rack. Steamers are also inexpensive. broccoli. Here are the simple steps to steaming: • • • • • Fill your pot or wok about ¼ to 1/3 full of water Turn heat on high Place the steamer on the stove Place your food inside the steamer. and some kind of rack. Place your ingredients in an enclosed environment and fill it with steam. use a few chopsticks. you can make one easily. bamboo steamers. If you don’t have a steamer. it also makes the fish very tender. All you need is a pot or wok (that can be covered with a lid). If you were steaming multiple items. asparagus. or you can simply improvise with whatever you have. Steaming is one of my favorite ways of cooking fish. I prefer to use bamboo steamers.

4. and green onion strips to fish near the end will enhance the flavor and aroma of the fish. Depending on what you’re steaming. and rub on some salt. salt. Placing green leaf vegetable under sticky foods will prevent it from sticking to the steamer. place directly into the steamer without a plate. garlic etc… This adds a lot of flavor to the fish. When steaming. When steaming vegetables such as eggplants. This will save you a lot of clean up time. For fish it takes about 10 – 15 minutes. spices. twist on some lemon juice. and peppers.Cook Like A Chef Steaming tips 1. 5. 44 . This ensures the top and bottom parts are cooked evenly. Otherwise you’re letting all the steam out. Add a little soy sauce. 6. Bring water to a boil with the steamer in place. food into the steamer when the water is boiling. Only put the 2. unless you like your vegetables very soft. sesame oil. try not to open the lid too often to check on the food. For vegetables 3 to 5 minutes is plenty of time. cut a few slits in the meat. 8. For extra flavoring. the time required will vary. If you are steaming fish. 7. 3.

Even some soups use starch water to thicken it. When you thicken soups with starch water. you can use your fingers to feel if there are any clumps. creating the right thickness for the sauce is very important. you will need more starch water than normal. As a rule of thumb. I suggest using your fingers to mix it. 45 . In case you didn’t know. and remix before adding into the soup. When you make the starch water. Since starch likes to clump together. This all depends on how well you use starch water. For many dishes.¾ cup of starch water before hand.Cook Like A Chef Thickening Sauces Sauces are an important part of Chinese cooking. mix 2 – 4 teaspoons of starch with about ¼ cup of water. Make sure to mix the starch water well. I usually prepare ½ . For example: Mushroom Egg Drop Soup and Hot and Sour Soup. Starch water is just a combination of cornstarch and water. starch water is used to thicken all types of sauces. You will see that many recipes in my cookbook use starch water to thicken the sauce.

6. put the ingredients to the side and mix the starch water with the sauce. Then mix with the ingredients. Always remix the starch water before adding to your food.Cook Like A Chef Tips for using starch water 1. The starch settles and separates from the water after a few minutes. When stir-frying. 5. If you find that you made the sauce too thick. 4. Always use your fingers to mix the starch water. 46 . Add starch water to your food slowly. you can slowly add a little more water to reduce the thickness. This allows you to control the thickness of the sauce. 3. 2. Add more starch water if you want your sauce to be thicker. So make sure to mix it well before using.

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