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Top 3 Chinese Foods

Chinese Foods

Chinese cuisine is rich and varied, with thousands of dishes spanning its vast geographical and cultural expanse. 😛

However, based on international recognition and widespread appeal, here are three of the most popular Chinese foods:

1. Dumplings (饺子 Jiǎozi) 😛

 

These are pockets of dough filled with a variety of ingredients, typically minced meat (like pork, chicken, or beef) and vegetables. They can be boiled, steamed, or fried. Dumplings have special significance during the Chinese New Year as they symbolize wealth and prosperity.

Making Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi, involves preparing the filling, making the dough, assembling the dumplings, and then cooking them. Below is a basic recipe to make homemade dumplings:

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– Approximately 3/4 cup water

For the Filling:
– 1 cup minced pork (or another meat or vegetarian option)
– 1 cup finely chopped vegetables (cabbage, green onions, mushrooms, etc.)
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon sesame oil
– 1 teaspoon minced ginger
– Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Prepare the Filling:
1. **Mix the Filling**: In a bowl, combine the minced meat, chopped vegetables, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside to marinate.

Prepare the Dough:
2. **Make the Dough**: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add water while stirring to combine until a dough forms. You may not need all the water, so add it little by little.
3. **Knead the Dough**: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
4. **Roll Out the Dough**: After resting, divide the dough into small, golf ball-sized portions. Roll out each portion into a round, flat wrapper with a rolling pin. Aim for wrappers that are about 3 inches in diameter.

Assemble the Dumplings:
5. **Fill the Dumplings**: Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold the dough in half to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal the dumplings. You can also pleat the edges for a decorative look.

Cook the Dumplings:
6. **To Boil**: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dumplings and boil until they float to the top and the dough becomes transparent, about 4-5 minutes.
7. **To Pan-Fry**: Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings and cook until the bottoms are golden brown. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Let the dumplings steam until the water is evaporated and the dumplings are cooked through.
8. **To Steam**: Place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer or on a plate in a steaming rack. Steam over boiling water for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve:
9. **Serve Hot**: Serve the dumplings hot with dipping sauce (a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and minced garlic or ginger works well).

Enjoy your homemade jiaozi!

Note: Feel free to get creative with the filling. Popular fillings include various combinations of meat, shrimp, tofu, and a wide range of vegetables. The ratios and seasonings can be adjusted to taste.

2. General Tso’s Chicken (左宗棠鸡 Zuǒ Zōngtáng jī) 😛

A sweet and spicy deep-fried chicken dish that’s popular particularly in North America. It’s often accompanied by broccoli and served with rice. Despite its popularity abroad, this dish is not traditionally consumed in China and has a more “American-Chinese” identity.

General Tso’s Chicken is a beloved dish in American-Chinese cuisine, known for its sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors paired with crispy chicken. Here’s a recipe to make General Tso’s Chicken at home:

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup cornstarch
– 2 large eggs, beaten
– Salt and pepper
– Oil for frying

For the Sauce:
– 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
– 3 tablespoons soy sauce
– 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water (to create a slurry)
– 7-10 dried red chili peppers (or adjust to your spice preference)
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon minced ginger

Instructions:

Prepare the Chicken:
1. **Season Chicken**: Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
2. **Dredge Chicken**: In a bowl, mix together flour and cornstarch. Dredge the chicken pieces in this mixture, shaking off any excess.
3. **Dip in Egg**: Dip the flour-coated chicken into the beaten eggs.
4. **Fry the Chicken**: Heat oil in a deep frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until they are golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Prepare the Sauce:
5. **Mix Sauce Ingredients**: In a bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
6. **Sauté Aromatics**: In a clean wok or large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add dried chili peppers, minced garlic, and ginger. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant but not burnt.
7. **Add Sauce**: Pour in the sauce mixture and bring it to a gentle simmer.
8. **Thicken the Sauce**: Stir in the cornstarch-water slurry. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens.
9. **Combine Chicken and Sauce**: Add the fried chicken pieces to the wok, tossing them in the sauce until well-coated.

Serve:
10. **Garnish and Serve**: Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired. Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

Enjoy your homemade General Tso’s Chicken! Remember, you can always adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add a bit more sugar, or increase the amount of chili peppers for more heat.

3. Sweet and Sour Pork (咕噜肉 Gū lū ròu) 😛

This dish consists of deep-fried pork chunks coated in a tangy and sweet sauce made from vinegar, sugar, and ketchup. The vibrant combination of sweet and sour flavors has made it a favorite in many Chinese restaurants around the world.

Gū lū ròu (also known as sweet and sour pork) is a classic Cantonese dish. Here’s a basic recipe to make it at home:

Ingredients:
1. **For the Pork:**
– 300g (about 10.5 oz) pork tenderloin or pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1/2 cup cornstarch (or as needed for coating)
– Oil for deep frying

2. **For the Sauce:**
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1/4 cup white vinegar
– 1/4 cup water or pineapple juice
– 2 tablespoons ketchup
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water (this is the slurry to thicken the sauce)

3. **Vegetables & Fruits:**
– 1/2 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/2 onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (canned or fresh)

Instructions:

1. **Preparation of Pork:**
1. Marinate the pork pieces with salt and white pepper.
2. Dip each pork piece into the beaten egg, then coat with cornstarch. Ensure each piece is well-coated.
3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or a large frying pan to about 350°F (175°C).
4. Deep fry the pork pieces in batches until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

2. **Preparation of Sauce:**
1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, water or pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.
2. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir continuously until the sauce thickens.

3. **Combining Everything:**
1. In a separate pan or wok, heat a bit of oil and stir-fry the bell pepper and onion until they are slightly softened but still crunchy.
2. Add the fried pork and pineapple chunks.
3. Pour the sauce over the pork and vegetables. Toss everything together quickly to coat the ingredients in the sauce.

Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Note: You can adjust the sweetness or sourness of the sauce according to your personal preferences.

It’s important to note that all these dishes might vary in preparation, presentation, and taste depending on the region of China or even if they are served in Chinese restaurants outside China. The vastness of Chinese cuisine means that many other dishes are equally, if not more, popular within different regions of the country.

#verynicedaybook
Photo by Marta Markes on Unsplash
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