What are some good Chinese cooking tips

Asian cooking for beginners : Easy recipes from China and Japan

The Chinese and Japanese cuisine is well known to us thanks to many restaurants that are getting better and better. But if you want to cook an Asian wok dish at home in a hurry, you have reached your limits. Nothing works intuitively, you need sensible recipes. And then the ingredients. You usually have soy sauce at home now, but what about miso paste, bonito flakes and oyster sauce?

Two new cookbooks, published as licensed editions by Dorling Kindersly Verlag, provide recipes that are easy to cook and that can be mastered without deeper understanding. But there is no avoiding an increase in the pantry.

But both authors recommend economically, omit the overly special, replace ingredients that are not available from us with useful alternatives, in short: They are based on the everyday kitchen and enrich it with simple instructions that do not freeze in awe.

Chinese Cooking by Ross Dobson

There is no such thing as one Chinese cuisine, so author Ross Dobson starts with his simplifications in the title - and also remains true to the recipes. This is exactly the strength of his cookbook: He combines a manageable number of ingredients that are not too exotic with the most important condiments to create varied dishes that do not overwhelm the palate. Sometimes even a non-cook. Even those who don't want to add a few basic ingredients to their pantry.

Do you want to get to know foreign country kitchens? Here you can find 28 restaurants in Berlin that bring the vastness closer to us in culinary terms.

But if you want to cook Asian, you need basic ingredients such as soy and oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice wine and others in order to be able to experience the real taste. It works here. And many of these ingredients are also needed for dishes from the following cookbook. Ross Dobson therefore divides his list of goods into "fresh ingredients" and "from stock".
Incidentally, Dobson is a China expert. He proves this in the introductions to the regional kitchens of China as well as in the product knowledge. And how to get a fairly accurate Peking duck with common household means, that is already the finest of the smallest denominators.

Recipe 1: Steamed fish with ginger and spring onions

Fresh ingredients for 4 people
1 fish with firm white meat (about 1.2 kg, e.g. snapper or sea bass), ready to cook
3 spring onions, cut into fine sticks
20 g ginger, peeled and cut into fine sticks
1 handful of coriander greens, roughly chopped

from stock
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil


Wash the fish inside and out and pat dry. Then cut three to four times on each side up to the bones so it cooks evenly. Prepare a large wok or pot with a large bamboo steamer basket. Fill halfway with water and bring it to the boil.
Place the fish on a heat-resistant plate, drizzle with rice wine and soy sauce and sprinkle with spring onions and ginger.
Place the plate with the fish in the steamer basket, put the lid on and steam the fish until translucent for 15 minutes. The fish meat should then be easy to remove from the bones with a fork. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Heat the vegetable oil very strongly (up to the smoke point) in a small saucepan. Pour the smoking oil quickly and carefully over the fish so that the spring onions and ginger start to sizzle.
Sprinkle the fish with coriander greens and serve immediately. It goes well with steamed rice and chili sauce.

Recipe 2: broccoli and beef wok with oyster sauce

Fresh ingredients for 4 people
600 g fillet of beef, cut into thin strips across the grain
200 g broccoli, divided into florets
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 piece of ginger (5 cm), peeled and grated

from stock
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
60 ml oyster sauce

Mix the meat with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce in a bowl. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
In a second bowl, pour boiling water over the broccoli florets and let them steep for 2 minutes so that the broccoli becomes tender and light green. Drain into a sieve, rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or in a large pan, swirling the wok or pan so that the walls are also covered by the oil. Place the meat slices side by side in the wok and fry for 3 minutes without stirring. Then stir-fry for 1 minute until the meat is browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
Add broccoli, remaining soy sauce (1 teaspoon) and oyster sauce. Mix everything thoroughly and serve with steamed rice while still hot.

Japanese cooking by Harumi Kurihara

Harumi Kurihara is Japan's most famous cookbook author because she began early on to simplify the complicated, traditional cuisine for non-Japanese and thereby encouraged Japanese people to cook.
The dishes that she presents in her new book are a little more complicated than in her excellent bestseller “Harumi's Japanese Cuisine”. But the ease with which it replaces complex techniques with simple tricks that even use the microwave is still convincing.
The ingredients are also chosen so that they are easy to get. This is at the expense of authenticity, but not taste.

Goes well with Japanese and Chinese cuisine: sake. Here you can find a report by Ulrich Amling about Berlin sake pioneers and where you can get good rice wine in Berlin.

However, you will not be able to avoid preparing the Dashi fish and algae brew and purchasing some new seasoning ingredients. But it's worth it. It's best to start with something simple - beans with minced meat, spinach with peanut sauce or tofu lasagna (see recipe below) - before facing the deep-fried salmon marinated in Nanbanzu brew.

Recipe 3: tofu lasagna

This recipe is suitable if you have bolognese sauce left over, or - which is always recommended - have prepared a large saucepan with it and then frozen it in portions.
But Harumi also provides its own recipe for minced meat sauce, which is mainly characterized by the omission of Italian herbs. It doesn't taste like Italy, it's a little more elaborate, but it's worth it. If you make more of it, you can freeze the sauce and serve it with pasta with fresh Italian herbs if necessary. We start with Harumi's minced meat sauce.

ingredients for 4 persons
50 g bacon
1 onion
½ small carrot
½ celery stalk
100 g mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
500 g minced meat (mixed)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
100 ml red wine
290 ml meat stock (demi-glace concentrate)
200 ml of tomato juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp ketchup

Finely chop the bacon. Peel the onion and carrot, wash the celery and pat dry. Finely dice the vegetables. Clean and finely chop the mushrooms. Peel the garlic and chop in to fine slithers.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic and bacon in it over medium heat. Add the minced meat and fry until it turns brown.
Season with salt and pepper, then add the onion, carrot and celery. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry everything.

Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil, then add the demi-glace and tomato juice and simmer the sauce for 20-25 minutes.
Add Worcestershire sauce and ketchup and season again with salt and pepper.

Tofu lasagna
ingredients for 4 persons
700 g silken tofu
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
150 grams of cheddar
1 recipe for minced meat sauce
50 g whipped cream

Drain the tofu and wrap it in kitchen paper. Set aside for about 15 minutes so that the excess water is absorbed. Then remove the paper towel and cut the two blocks of tofu into five slices each.

Put the olive oil in a pan and heat it up. Brown the tofu slices on both sides one after the other over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Take out of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 230 ° C (gas mark 8). Grate the cheese.
Spread a thin layer of minced meat sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Top with a layer of tofu. Pour half of the whipped cream on top, then add a second layer of sauce, tofu and whipped cream. Scatter the grated cheese on top. Bake the lasagne in the oven for 15–20 minutes.

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