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Flavor, Seasoning and Condiments of Chinese Food

Seasoning and condiments of Chinese foodare very necessary in cooking various dishes, create special dish flavors when used either singly or blended. Even a skilled cook, let alone a beginner, needs seasonings to cook any dish especially delicious dish with distinctive flavor and attractive color. Many people say that they are eating seasonings instead of dishes, because even delicious ingredients can taste bland and uninteresting without appropriate seasonings. Th efollowing are some basic Chinese Food Ingredients, which should be present in your Chinese shelf and are used to prepare some of the most common Chinese Food Recipes.

Soy Sauce
There is a light soy sauce and a dark soy sauce, make sure you use the kind your recipe calls for. We normally use the dark sauce for cooking and season meats. The light soy sauce can be served on the table for dipping spring rolls or dim sum for example.

Oyster Sauce
Oysters and soy sauce are the main ingredients. The brown sauce, although made from oysters, it doesn't have a strong fishy taste, its taste is rather mild and is used for cooking meats and vegetables and very popular in Cantonese dishes. There is also a "vegetarian" version made with mushrooms.

Polyunsaturated oils
They are preferred for Chinese cooking. Chinese consider peanut oil as being the most flavoursome, but corn, safflower, and soya oils are used. Butter, margarine, and olive oil are never used for Chinese wok cookery.

Five Spice Powder
It is made of ground peppercorns, star anise, cloves, fennel and cinnamon and sometimes coriander seeds. It is a mix of flavors, from sweet to hot, fragrant, salty and pungent and used to condiment meats, fish, poultry and vegetables.

Chili PasteChili Paste
Made from chili peppers and soybeans, it's a staple in Szechuan and Hunan spicy dishes. Fragrant when cooked, a tiny bit goes a long way.

White Sugar
Made from sugar cane or sugar beet, white sugar is white crystal, pure and with high-intensity sweetness. Basically, it helps increase the sweetness, lighten the sourness and color the ingredients especially all kinds of meat. It is particularly a necessity in cooking sweet and sour dishes and dishes in hot toffee. It is also used to make the surface of the food glassy or frosty.

Rice Vinegar or Chinkiang Vinegar
It is very popular for its strong smoky flavor. This dark rice vinegar is made of glutinous rice and can be added to soups, dipping sauces and braised dishes.

Plum Sauce
This is a sweet and sour sauce usually served for dipping deep-fried foods: pieces of meat/duck/chicken, spring rolls, fried wontons, etc.

Cinnamon
From the bark of cinnamon tress, cinnamon is one of the earliest used spices. It is employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material. It is always tube-shaped and reddish-brown. Having a powerful aroma, cinnamon can help make the dishes not so fishy or greasy, necessary when cooking meat. Adding some cinnamon can help to prevent diabetes and to cure hyperplasia of the prostate.

GarlicChinese Garlic
Garlic has been used in China for over 5,000 years. Not only in the kitchen but also in Chinese Traditional Medicine as it is considered to have medicinal properties. You will find that Garlic is used throughout Chinese cooking, one of the most common uses is with stir-fries.

Ginger
Ginger is along with garlic the most common Chinese Food ingredient used for flavoring. Ginger is popular with Cantonese dishes as well as the more spicy Szechuan recipes. Besides fresh ginger, you can also find it ground and pickled.

Monosodium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate is a white crystalline seasoning, easily soluble in water. It can be used in dishes, soups and all sorts of sauces.

Green Onions
Green Onions or Spring Onions Green Onionsare used liberally either cooked to add flavor or raw as garnishings. A staple in most stir-fry dishes.

Hot Bean Sauce
Add to any recipe that yearns for extra zip. Made from Soy and Kidney Beans, fresh Szechuan Chilies, Sesame Oil and seasonings, this spicy condiment offers a delightfully complex flavor.

Chilies
Fresh Chilies can be added chopped, sliced, crushed or whole for that extra zing! There are many kinds of chilies, some are hott