Challenge 5: Cook an Authentic Chinese Dish


As you know, the food we get from Chinese takeaways has as much relationship with real chinese food as instant coffee does to a coffee bean. It’s been processed to suit western palettes, which usually means it’s very sweet and sticky. And deep fried.

Well it’s time to treat yourself to some real Chinese food – cooked by your own fair hands!

Your challenge is to cook a Chinese dish using a proper Chinese recipe. You’ll find that most Chinese food is extremely easy and quick to make (although some requires a bit of preparation). In my experience the Chinese don’t like to wait for their food!

Another aspect of authentic Chinese food is that it is a social activity – shared with friends and family, or undertaken publicly on the street or in large, noisy restaurants.

So my advice is don’t do this on your own. Get your team together for some cooking, or meet up with each of you contributing a dish and sharing what you’ve all created. (Coordinate so you all bring something different, and cook the rice at the time – plenty of it).

Alternatively, rope in your housemates or family. While you’re at it, do some research in to Chinese cooking and dining. Eating is actually an important part of socialising and doing business in China, and there are some customs and niceties that are worth knowing about (e.g. where to put your chopsticks when you’re not using them…)

Document the cooking and the eating and present your challenge as a recipe illustrated with images or, if you fancy yourself as the next Jamie Oliver or Sophie Dahl, a video.

Extra marks* for using chopsticks!

You can find lots of recipes online but I also recommend the book Chinese Cooking Made Easy (Amazon link) and the author’s other books. She explains what the various oils and spices contribute, and recommends the right type of rice and wok, among other things. Check the module Dropbox for some useful resources.

All the ingredients you need can be found in the Chinese supermarket that is now temporarily located behind the university on Hawkhill Road. The Riverside Tesco also has many of the spices and oils. Pool your resources if you want, but chances are anything you but like cooking alcohol will be used up once you’ve got the bug.



(*there are no marks)

3 thoughts on “Challenge 5: Cook an Authentic Chinese Dish

  1. Do you recommend any specific recipes online? When you’re experimenting it’s hard to tell what authentic from what’s not…

    • This site has a few good ones and this one. I like the look of this site too!
      I recommend getting a good book of recipes like the one I mentioned – there’s a DVD to accompany it. She really communicates how easy it is to cook this food (more complex dishes can wait!)
      Another good thing about it is that she recommend what should be in your larder in terms of spices and oils. Once you get the idea of what spice does what, you can improvise quite easily. No need to follow recipes except for set pieces like dumplings.

      • Thanks. I will take a look at these websites and the book this week. I really like the idea of explaining what we should have in terms of spices and oils, instead of buying specific ingredients for specific recipes. Thanks for the very helpful reply.


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