The variety of Chinese food dishes and Chinese food recipes available today is wider than in any previous decade. One can easily find Chinese food recipes for Chop Suey, which is not an authentic Chinese dish, along side of Hunan Beef. It is interesting to note that what many refer to as Chow Mein noodles is really a simpler crunchy version of the real thing.
In centuries past when the Chinese still used forks and knives is when the foundation for modern day Chinese cooking was formed. This is back when the cutting techniques and delicate flavors came together to form healthy hearty meals.
This is also when the three primary Chinese cooking techniques were formed.
The first Chinese cooking technique is stewing. Stewing can be either red or clear and is the simplest of the three methods. In clear stewing the clear liquid is brought to a boil and then allowed to simmer until the food is just tender. In red stewing a small amount of sugar and soy sauce is added which gives the stewed food a reddish tinge.
The second Chinese cooking technique is steaming. Steaming can be either wet or dry. The Chinese have used steaming as a primary cooking method for over 3000 years. Before ovens were common place steaming was a preferred method which allowed for moist flavorful food that retained most of its nutrients.
Frying is the third of the traditional Chinese cooking techniques. Frying can be either deep frying in oil or sautéing. When deep frying the food is submersed in hot oil and allowed to cook until it floats. In sautéing the meat, vegetables and garnishes are cooked quickly over high heat in a small amount of fat.