Phil's International Flair

Greetings! This month I chose to feature some Chinese recipes in addition to sharing some ideas about how to cook in the Chinese Style.

Every country has its own style of cooking and the Chinese style is perhaps one of the most popular. Most of us have, at one time or another, ordered Chinese food to go and looked forward to having the leftovers as a snack. This usually is one of our special meals in the month that family members look forward to eating.

Chinese cooking is not just an array of recipes. Rather, it is a style of cooking that can be applied to everyday cuisine. The recipe for Chinese Pork Chops demonstrates how one can take a simple dish and easily convert it to Chinese style. Stir fry is another example applied in the Chinese style that is not restricted to Chinese recipes. One can use stir fry to prepare many vegetables or meats very quickly with a variety of sauces. In preparing the recipes below, you will get some flavor as to how the Chinese style of cooking can improve your culinary skills.

Most of the work in cooking Chinese style is preparation. Since Chinese food is traditionally eaten with chopsticks, Chinese cooks usually cut up in bite sized pieces prior to cooking. This not only makes cooking faster, it also makes the food easier to eat and reduces the need for knives at the table.

In future Phil's International Flair columns, more recipes and more of the Chinese style techniques will be shared. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests. I have an extensive library of recipes that I would be happy to share with those interested, and if I don't have the recipe you are looking for, I would be happy to find it for you (and me!). Be well and good eating!

Chinese Full Course Meal

Won Tons and Egg Rolls

These are classic Chinese side dishes which can also be used as an appetizer. You can prepare your own wrappers, or you can use prepared wrappers purchased from the market.
  • Bean sprouts
  • Sliced Chinese cabbage (optional)
  • 1/2 lb. cooked diced pork
  • 1/2 lb. cooked small shrimp
  • 1/2 can diced water chestnuts
  • 3 diced green onions
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • White of one egg

Mix the pork, shrimp, chestnuts, and green onions in a bowl. Add the salt, corn starch and pepper. This mixture can be used as is for making won tons, or you can put the mixture into egg roll wrappers and add a few bean sprouts or Chinese cabbage to make egg rolls.

To make won tons, put one teaspoon of the mixture into a 3" square wrapper, fold the corners over, and seal or paste the edges together with egg white. The won tons may then be used in soup, or they may be deep fried for use as appetizers. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

To make the egg rolls, use the 8" square wrappers. Arrange two teaspoons of the mixture in the wrapper in a line and add some bean sprouts and Chinese cabbage on top of the mixture. Roll the ingredients into a cylinder shape and paste the ends and edge together with the egg white. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown, drain and serve.

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Use these directions to make your own won ton or egg roll wrappers:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. cold water
  • 2-1/2 cups sifted flour

Mix the eggs, salt and water. Stir in the sifted flour. Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll out each of the sections on pastry cloth or wax paper which is coated with flour. Roll until the dough is almost paper thin and cut into squares, 3 inches on a side for won tons or 8 inches on a side for egg rolls.

  • Serves: 8 or more
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Egg Flower Soup

This is probably one of the simplest and quickest soups that one can prepare. Presented here is the basic recipe, however the variations on this soup are many. A few hints are provided to make this soup unique should one decide to serve it more than once during the week.
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 chopped green onion

Empty can of chicken broth into a suitable pot and add one can of water. Heat over medium heat until the broth just begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to very low. Now crack the egg into a bowl, puncture the yolk, stir it with a fork slightly, and slowly dribble it into the broth, stirring the broth very gently while doing so. Be sure not to stir the broth too vigorously or the egg will dissolve. Add the diced green onion and serve.

Variations:

A few celery leaves, some chopped water chestnuts, or some Chinese peas will add some variety and color to the soup. A little shredded pork, beef or small shrimp will make the broth richer if you put it in at the beginning. Some watercress in place of the green onion will turn this soup into a delightfully different dish. Some slivered green beans, asparagus, squash or other vegetables will also add color and flavor. Use your imagination and use whatever you happen to have on hand. It is hard to go wrong with this recipe. Keep it simple and only add a little of the meat or vegetables so as to enhance the flavor rather than dominate.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation Time: 6 minutes

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a favorite addition to any Chinese based meal. The variations on fried rice are limited only by the imagination. One can base this rice dish on barbecued pork, chicken, bacon, shrimp, or any other combination thereof. I prefer using fried bacon because of the flavor that it provides, and then adding other ingredients that are fresh such as Chinese peas or bean sprouts.
  • White or brown rice (2 cups)
  • Two eggs
  • Sesame oil, and/or bacon grease
  • Barbecued pork, chicken, shrimp, fried bacon, or combination thereof
  • Diced green onions
  • 4 T. soy sauce
Optional:
  • Fresh or frozen peas
  • Bean sprouts
  • Diced steamed carrots
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chinese peas
  • Sliced water chestnuts

Steam or boil the rice per the direction on the package (approximately 25 minutes). While the rice is cooking beat the eggs in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste, and fry in a greased skillet over medium heat, turning once after the top begins to get translucent. Remove the eggs from the skillet when fully cooked and dice into pieces. Also, fry the bacon, if you choose to use bacon in this dish, and slice or prepare any other ingredients to be used while the rice is cooking.

After the rice is cooked, heat a large skillet or wok, add oil (or use some of the bacon grease), and proceed to fry the rice, turning frequently. Once the rice has been thoroughly mixed, add the soy sauce and stir thoroughly. Next, add the bacon (crumbled), diced eggs, and any other ingredients that appeal to you. Garnish the dish with the chopped green onions and stir them in before serving.

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Sweet Broccoli with Pork

This stir fry dish has become a favorite in our family when we are in the mood for Chinese food. This dish makes broccoli a vegetable which children and those with a sweet tooth really enjoy. Try this one on picky children who don't seem to like vegetables.
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 lb. lean pork (chops or roast can be used)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cream sherry
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 slices fresh ginger root (slivered)
  • 1/4 cup oil or bacon grease

Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the sugar, soy sauce and sherry in a bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil with the garlic and ginger. Put the pork into the hot oil and stir fry for five to eight minutes, or until the pork is done. Next, add the broccoli and stir fry until the broccoli turns a bright green. Do not overcook the broccoli. Stir the mixture of soy sauce, sugar and sherry and pour over the broccoli and stir briefly. Reduce the heat to a minimum and cover. Wait one minute and serve. This dish is excellent with fried rice.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Chinese Peas with Shrimp

This is a colorful and flavorful stir fry dish to serve as an accompaniment to any Chinese style meal. It is especially popular among those who like seafood. It is easy to prepare and fast to make.
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1/2 lb. Chinese peas
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 T. corn starch
  • 3 T. sherry (I prefer Cream Sherry)
  • 3 T. sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Shell and remove the veins from the shrimp. Also remove any stems from the Chinese peas and wash. In a wok or skillet, heat the sesame oil and garlic for about 1 minute. Put the shrimp into the hot oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir fry for approximately three minutes over high heat. Add the sherry and stir until the shrimp are all translucent. Add the water chestnuts and Chinese peas while continuing to stir. Dissolve the cornstarch into the chicken broth and add to the wok. Stir constantly until the broth thickens and serve immediately. You may also garnish this dish with a little Chinese parsley (Cilantro) or some slivered green onions if desired.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Chinese Pork Chops

This recipe is an example of how one can take a traditional dish and convert it to Chinese style by the cooking method. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to prepare pork chops.
  • 1 lb. pork chops (allow 1 or 2 per person)
  • 3 T. sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry
  • 5 T. soy sauce
  • 5 green onions, sliced diagonally about 1/4 inch thick

Salt the chops to taste and add the sesame oil to the skillet. Heat the oil over medium to high heat for 1 minute and then add the pork chops to fry, approximately 5 minutes per side depending on thickness. After the pork chops are thoroughly cooked on both sides, pour the soy sauce over the top of the chops and stir them around for about 30 seconds. Turn the chops over and continue stirring for another 30 seconds and then add the sherry. Stir and turn one more time and top with the green onions. Turn heat off, stir once again and serve.

As a variation, add 1/4 cup Oyster sauce along with the sherry for a thicker gravy-type of sauce.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation Time: 12 minutes

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