Chinese Cuisine


Chinese Cooking Wine: Special rice wine has the effectiveness in the marination of meats, particularly in chicken. It is a meat tenderizer and flavour promoter.

Tapioca Starch: Very fine white tapioca powder similar to cornstarch but more starchy and turns any food from a dull colour to an attractive glossy look. Used frequently to thicken sauce or gravy. It has a mild tenderizing effect on meats, therefore it is used in various marinations.

Sesame Oil: Reddish-brown oil has the effect to add flavour to any kind of dishes. To be used in terms of drops only. It has a strong smell of sesame, sold in small bottles and does not require refrigeration.

Hoi Sin Sauce: A highly seasoned sauce, brown in colour, made from Chinese pumpkin, sugar, spices and soy sauce. Used in barbecuing, steaming and stir frying. No substitute.

Oyster Sauce: A thick brown sauce with strong oyster taste. Sold in bottles or cans. Can be kept for a long time without refrigeration. A delicious sauce. No substitute.

Light Soy Sauce: An important item in Chinese cooking as salt is to American cookery. It adds distinctive flavour in marination. Light brown in colour, salty but does not stain vegetables in cooking.

Dark Soy Sauce: Usually found in Chinese specialty shops. Dark brown in colour, has a sweet taste and is used frequently for stewing and food colouring in Chinese cooking.

Salted Black Beans: Soft, fermented black beans sold in plastic bags. An ingredient in Chinese cooking that produces an exotic and delicious flavour. They can be kept indefinitely in a covered container if stored in a refrigerator.

Five-Spice Powder: A combination of five ground spices (anise seed, fennel, clove, cinnamon and Szechwan pepper) sold ready-mixed in Chinese specialty stores. Store at room temperature in tightly-covered container. Substitute allspice.

Bean Sprouts: Young sprouts of the mung bean. Refrigerate fresh sprouts in water in covered jar for up to 2 weeks. After opening canned sprouts, drain and store in fresh water in a covered jar in refrigerator - they will keep for 2 to 3 days. No substitute.

Bamboo Shoots: Ivory-colored, conical-shaped shoots of tropical bamboo. Sold in cans. Large wedges packed in water are best. After opening, drain and store in fresh water in covered jar in refrigerator, changing water daily. Can be kept for about 10 days. Kohlrabi or celery hearts will aproximate the texture but not the flavour.

Egg Rolls

An authentic but popular dish for snacks and party meals. Delicious fillings are encased in a crispy sheet of wrapper. Served by itself or with plum sauce. Can be prepared ahead of time and kept frozen for later use. Just deep fry again in hot oil or reheat in oven before serving.

½ lb minced pork
1 cup diced cooked shrimp
1 lb bean sprouts
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded bamboo shoots
½ cup shredded onion
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 cup shredded celery
1 tbsp cooking wine (rice wine)
2 tbsp tapioca starch
drops sesame oil
1 pkg of Egg Roll Wrappers, 40 pieces
4 slices ginger, then minced

Marinate pork with wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Use high heat, 2 tbsp oil, brown ginger and onions for a minute, then stir fry shrimps and pork for a minute. Put in all the vegetables and salt. Cover with a lid and cook with high heat for 5 minutes.

When done, add starch and ¼ cup of water into mixture. Cook for another minute and remove to tray for cooling.

Fill a cup half with cold water and get a large plate for the wrapping.

Take out wrapper one piece at a time and place it on top of plate.

Spoon 2 tbsp of filling into center of wrapper, spread out lengthwise towards two corners. Pick up the lower corner and start folding it like a parcel. Smear the edges with water to make sure they are sealed. Make it long but narrow with a rectangular shape.

Heat up 6 cups of oil in wok and deep fry egg rolls until golden brown. Serve hot with plum sauce.

Stir-Fried Duck in Hoi Sin Sauce

This is a refreshing way to cook a small amount of duck meat in delicious Hoi Sin sauce. Can be prepared ahead of time and kept warm in oven.

1 lb duck meat, cut into slivers across grain of meat
1 tbsp cooking wine
dash pepper
drops sesame oil
¼ tsp Chinese 5 spices
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
4 slices ginger
2 garlic coves, crushed and skinned
4 tbsp Hoi Sin Sauce
4 celery stalks, cut diagonally

Marinate duck meat with wine, pepper, sesame oil, 5 spices and soy sauce for 15 minutes.

Use high heat to heat up a wok. When wok is hot, use 2 tbsp of oil to brown garlic and ginger for 1 minute.

Add duck meat, sugar, Hoi Sin sauce and ½ tsp salt. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

Then add celery and stir fry for another 2 minutes. When done, add starch solution made with 1 tbsp of tapioca starch and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil and serve hot.

Pork Strips with Oyster Sauce

This simple to prepare dish provides an outstanding variety to serve pork strips in succulent oyster sauce. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and can be frozen after cooked. An economical and delicious way to serve with plain steamed rice.

1 lb lean pork tenderloin, cut at ½-inch thickness across grain
1 medium onion, cut into sections or wedges
4 to 6 slices ginger root
2 garlic cloves, crushed and skinned
4 to 6 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Tapioca starch
drops sesame oil
2 tbsp green onion, chopped

Use a hot wok and 2 tbsp of peanut oil. Put in garlic, ginger and onion to sauté for few seconds.

Add pork strips to stir fry for few seconds, then Chinese cooking wine, 5 spices, sugar, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and ¼ cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook with medium to high heat for 10 minutes.

Dissolve starch in ¼ cup of water and sesame oil. Add to the pork and bring the sauce to a boil. Garnish with green onion before serving.

Chicken Balls with Pineapple

Tender chicken cubes are encased in a crispy coating and served with fruity pineapple and sauce. An appetizing dish for all occasions.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp Light soy sauce
drops sesame oil
½ cup pineapple chunks
1 tbsp Tapioca starch
1 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 small green pepper, cut into small squares
Batter mix (recipe follows)

Marinate chicken cubes with wine, light soy sauce and sesame oil for 10 minutes.

Prepare batter mix in a bowl. Dip chicken in batter mix and deep fry in hot oil for 5 minutes.

While waiting, use a saucepan to prepare sauce with tapioca starch, ¾ cup water, vinegar, sugar. Bring to a boil, then add pineapple, green pepper and battered chicken cubes. Mix well and serve hot.

Note: For better results, pineapple juice can be used instead of water when making the sauce.

Batter Mix:

1 egg, beaten with dash of salt
1 cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ to 1 cup water

Chop Suey

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 lb pork shoulder, cubed
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups celery, 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, each cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp molasses
2 cups boiling water
2 cups bean sprouts
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
3 cups steamed rice

Place oil, salt, and pepper in pan. Cook pork over low heat, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes.

Add soya sauce and mix well, then celery, onions and cook another 3 minutes.

Mix together molasses and boiling water and pour over mixture. Cover and cook over low heat for 10-20 minutes.

Add bean sprouts and cook another 3 minutes.

Blend cornstarch with the cold water. Add to chop suey and cook, while stirring, until sauce thickens and becomes transparent, for 3-4 minutes.

Serve with warm rice. Makes 6 servings.

Peking Duck

This is a well-known dish in Chinese banquet. When done properly, the skin is crispy, the meat is tender and tasty. It can be served in slices wrapped in rice pan-cakes or served in bite-size pieces with bone in. Preparation time is long.

1 (6 to 8 pound) duck, freshly killed with head on
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
5 tbsp honey
4 tbsp Hoi Sin sauce
¼ tsp sesame oil

Pull out the excessive fat, wash the duck and then dry with paper towel.

Place 2 pieces of small splinters inside the duck to give better support during roasting.

Close tightly the bottom cavity with skewer and wind it tight with a piece of twine firmly to ensure tightness.

Loosen skin of duck at the opening near the neck, and insert a narrow tubing between the flesh and skin. Blow into the tube until duck is inflated to almost double the size. Tie the neck cavity tightly with a twine. Make sure air is not leaking, otherwise the skin will not be crispy after roasted.

Place duck in sink with breast side up, pour slowly boiling water over duck. Repeat procedure three times on the breast and twice on the back of the duck. Dry with paper towel and hang the duck with a string around the neck. Hand in draughty cold place for 8 to 10 hours to make sure duck is completely dry.

When duck is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients with 10 tablespoonfuls of water. Stir and mix well. Rub over the skin of the duck to ensure all areas are covered with the mixture.

Put roasting rack over a pan about 2 inches high. Put duck with back side down and roast for 10 to 14 minutes until skin is golden brown. Turn it over carefully and roast for another 10 minutes. Do not use fork to do the turning, otherwise the skin will be broken and air will leak out. This will affect the crispy result.

Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, turn the breast side up again, and roast for 25 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 250 degrees and roast for another 25 minutes.

To serve, slice the skin of duck into bite-size pieces. Put in the center of a thin pan cake, add green onion, Hoi Sin sauce. Wrap up the pan cake and eat with fingers.

Sweet and Sour Pork

An outstandingly colourful and delightful dish that is so famous and welcome by people all over the world.

1 lb pork, boneless butts or steaks, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp light soy sauce
drops sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup pineapple chunks
1 carrot, skinned and thinly sliced
1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1/3 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Tapioca starch
1/2 of a small can tomato paste

Batter mix:

1 egg, beaten with dash of salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup water

Marinate pork with light soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt for 15 minutes.

Mix batter into a thick paste, then dip pork in and put into hot oil. Deep fry all pork until golden brown in colour. Remove from oil and drain.

Use the wok and high heat to make sauce with vinegar, sugar, starch, tomato paste and 1 cup of water. Stir constantly until cooked. Add all vegetables and pork to wok. Mix and serve hot.

Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

This is a very simple way to prepare green broccoli in outstanding colour. The authentic oyster sauce adds a special flavour to such a vegetable, making it most delicious in taste and very nutritious. An excellent dish for vegetarians.

1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/4 tsp baking soda
few drops sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp peanut oil, boiled

Wash broccoli and split stem into 4 long sections.

Use high heat to boil about 8 cups of water in wok.

When water comes to a boil, add baking soda into water, then broccoli. Allow to boil for 1 minute.

While waiting, use a bowl to mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, peanut oil. Stir and keep warm in oven.

Drain broccoli and arrange lengthwise on a platter.

Drain again and make sure there is no more water in platter. Add sauce mixture gently on top of broccoli. Serve immediately.

Egg Foo Yong

1 cup finely diced, cooked ham, roast pork or chicken
1 cup bean sprouts
¾ cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ to ½ tsp salt (reduce if using ham)
6 eggs, slightly beaten
fat or oil (about 2 tbsp or enough for 1/8 inch layer)
Foo Yong sauce (recipe follows)

Mix ham, sprouts, onion, soy sauce and salt. Stir in eggs.

Heat oil in large wok. Drop a fourth of mixture in hot oil to form a patty. Cook about 5 minutes, or until browned on one side; turn and brown other side.

Remove patty from wok; drain over oil a few seconds. Keep warm in 200F oven while cooking rest.

Pour hot sauce over patties and serve with hot fluffy rice. Makes 4 servings.

Foo Yong Sauce:

Blend 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp cold water, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 tsp molasses in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil 3 minutes or until thickened. Keep hot. Yield ¾ cup of sauce.

Chinese Chicken Wings


½ cup cornstarch
2 eggs
dash of garlic salt
¼ cup milk

Dip wings in batter and deep fry until brown.


½ cup white sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup

When wings are deep fried, arrange them on cooking tray, pour sauce over chicken wings.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for ½ hour, and turn and baste often.

Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls


1 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
dash pepper
¾ cup water
1 egg

Sift dry ingredients. Add water and egg. Combine. Coat cooked chicken cube. Deep fry for 5 minutes at 350, or until golden brown.

Boil chicken breasts until tender with salt, pepper and onion. Cut into cubes. (any leftover chicken will do)

Sweet & Sour Sauce:

2/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp cornstarch
cold water

Combine sugar, water and vinegar in saucepan over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in ketchup and then whisk in cornstarch mixed with cold water. Bring to low boil until thickened. Add pineapple tidbits, if desired.

Zesty Lemon Chicken

6 to 8 tbsp mild-flavoured honey
5 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemon pulp
2 tbsp plum sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
¾ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
¼ cup cornstarch
1/3 cup cooking oil
½ tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Make sauce by whisking honey, lemon juice, zest and pulp together in small bowl until blended. Stir in plum sauce, pour into small saucepan; set aside.

In small bowl, combine egg with salt and white pepper. Lightly coat chicken with cornstarch; dip into egg mixture and coat in cornstarch again. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Shake off excess cornstarch prior to cooking.

In a wok, heat oil until hot. Cook chicken a couple pieces at a time, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat; add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.

Cut chicken across the grain into 1/2-inch slices. Place chicken on serving plate. Pour sauce on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

YIELD: 4 servings

Moo Goo Gai Pen

Serves 4

3/4 pound chicken breasts
1 cup fresh button mushrooms
½ cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
½ cup canned water chestnuts, sliced
1 slice ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup chicken stock
1-2 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
few drops sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch

Oil for stir-frying

Cut chicken breasts into strips. Add seasonings in the order given and marinate chicken for about 15 minutes.

While chicken is marinating, prepare vegetables. Rinse and slice bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Slice and chop ginger, and peel and mince garlic clove.

Prepare sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat wok and add oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it changes colour. Remove and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for several seconds, then add bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Stir-fry briefly. Give the sauce a quick restir, then make a well in the middle of the wok and add sauce. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened. Return chicken to wok. Mix together and serve hot.

Beef with Broccoli

Serves 3 to 4

3/4 lb (375 g) lean beef, sliced thinly into bite-sized pieces

Marinade for Beef:

1 egg
1/3 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cooking wine
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water

1-½ Tbsp oil

1-½ lb (750 g) broccoli, flowerets removed, slice on the diagonal into thin slices
1 cup cooking oil
2-½ Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
¾ Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
a few drops of sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp cornstarch (if desired)

Slice beef and mix together marinade ingredients. Add marinade to beef and marinate for 30 minutes. Add 1-½ tablespoons of oil to beef, mix in thoroughly, and marinate beef for another 30 minutes. While beef is marinating, prepare the vegetables.

Heat wok and add 1 cup of oil. When oil is ready, add beef and stir-fry until it is nearly cooked. Remove beef and set aside on a plate. Drain the wok and wipe clean with a paper towel.

Add ½ cup water to wok. Bring the water to a boil and add the broccoli. Cover and cook until broccoli is cooked through. Drain the wok.

Heat wok and add oil (about 2 tablespoons). Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add vegetables and beef and mix together. Make a well in the middle of the wok and add the sauce ingredients. Add cornstarch, stirring to thicken. Mix sauce together with other ingredients. Serve hot.

*Add carrots and onion if desired. Boil in the wok with the broccoli (you’ll need to add more water).

Hoi Sin Dipping Sauce

Serves: 4

1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 cup Hoi Sin sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon (or more) hot sauce or red pepper flakes

Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant.

Stir in remaining ingredients, except peanuts, bring to a light boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

Divide among individual bowls. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Sweet and Sour Sauce with Brown Sugar

(A quick and easy recipe that can be poured over a dish or used as a dipping sauce.)

1/3 cup white vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken.

Serving Suggestions:

If desired, you can add 1 green pepper, cut into chunks, and pineapple chunks as desired after adding the cornstarch. For a thicker sauce, increase the cornstarch to 4 teaspoons while keeping the water constant.

Oyster Sauce

(Oyster sauce is found in many Cantonese stir-fry dishes. Refrigerated, this sauce will keep for several months)

Yield: about 4 cups

2 cups of fresh oyster meat
3 cups of water
1 cup of bottled clam juice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 clove garlic
1 green onion, white portion only
1 slice of fresh ginger, 1/8-inch thick
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Prepare meat and vegetables: Wash and drain the oyster meat, and peel and crush the ginger.

In a saucepan, bring the oyster meat, water, clam juice, salt, garlic, green onion and ginger to a boil on medium-high heat. Adjust the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and 3 tablespoons of water.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the saucepan and gradually add the cornstarch/sugar/soy mixture, stirring as you do so. Simmer for about another 10 minutes, stirring periodically.

Set a strainer (sieve) over a large bowl and pour the oyster mixture through it, keeping the liquid and getting rid of the solids (this includes the cooked oysters).

Refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar.

Chinese BBQ Sauce

½ cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 clove garlic – , minced

Combine all ingredients and heat until smooth and bubbly.

Hot & Spicy Wontons

8 ounces ground beef
6 ounces ground pork
1 onion, finely chopped
red pepper flakes, to taste
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 package of wonton wrappers

Sauté meats and onion in small amount of vegetable oil. Add red pepper flakes and grind the mixture coarsely in a food processor. Add shredded cheese and when cook, fill the wonton wrappers.

Heat oil and deep fry wontons in small batches until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve with plum sauce for dipping.

To Fill:

Place a scant teaspoon of filling in center of each wrapper. Fold up one corner and roll and fold in the outside corners to incase the filling. Continue rolling until you have a compact mini-cigar shape. Brush the edges of the wrappers with water to seal, making sure there are no openings for oil to get in.

**NOTE: You can also omit the cheese and red pepper flakes in the filling, and serve fried wontons with a honey garlic sauce.