There's a saying in China that goes, "Dot the eyes of a dragon to set it alive." And that's how we see sauces working. A dot and a dash of something sweet, spicy or sticky can add a touch of magic to everyday ingredients - and put some fire in your belly.
There are heaps of Chinese sauces you can experiment with, each with its own look, aroma and taste. But you don't have to use them all at once. Start with these three main groups:
Chop off the root then wash each stem, looking out for specks of soil that can hide around the base. Slice into stir-fry-friendly 3-inch pieces.
- Stir-fry, steam or blanch.
- Introduce it to minced garlic that’s been sizzled in hot oil.
- Swiftly stir-fry beef strips before adding your bok choi.
- Drop in a tablespoon of Oyster Sauce right at the end of stir-frying for a rich taste.
- Top bok choi dishes with mushrooms, stir-fried or braised in Oyster Sauce.
Strip away any damaged outer leaves – you don’t want to use these. Then cut off the root. Separate the crispy, crunchy leaves you’re going to be using and give them a good wash.
- Stir-fry, with tangy garlic, braise in chicken stock or pair with Chinese ham.
- Shred and sprinkle into soup.
- Or use as a natural wrap - just steam to soften, fill and roll 'em.
Turn on the cold-water tap and give them a wash. If there’s time, top and tail each shoot for a neat look and feel. If you can’t wait, just use them as nature intended.
- Blanch in boiling water then drop straight into icy water for the ultimate crunch.
- Slice your favorite meat and stir-fry together.
- Drizzle Lee Kum Kee Oriental Sesame Dressing over just-cooked crunchy bean sprouts for a wonderful warm salad.
- Mix with stir-fried wheat, egg or rice noodles
Chinese Broccoli/Kale (Kai Lan)
Strip away the outer leaves – they’re a bit tough. So are the stalks, so peel them too.
- Best blanched in a salted boiling water or flavor-filled stock
- Stir-fry with minced garlic for a sharp hit of flavor or stir in a bit of ginger juice
- Drizzle with Double Deluxe Soy Sauce or Premium Oyster Sauce and Pure Sesame Oil before serving
Less is more with broccoli. Cut a “big tree” into lots of little florets and drop them into salted boiling water. Get them to the half-cooked stage, so they’re ready for whichever dish you choose. Keep the stems and thinly slice them – you can often use them too.
- Crushed garlic is the perfect sauté partner
- Take things one step further and stir-fry the florets or stems with beef strips or slices marinated in Premium Oyster Sauce
Fuzzy Melon (Chinese Zucchini)
Peel, rinse, and chop. Roughly 2 x 1-inch slices or wedges are the best.
- Start with a swift sauté with minced garlic, then pour in some water and braise with marinated spare ribs
- Stop before you chop and shred the melon into thin strips instead. That’s the ideal shape to cook with glass noodles (mung bean rice noodles) and dried shrimps.
It’s easy – just trim off the wood ends and rinse under water
- For a vegetarian-friendly dish, stir-fry with minced garlic and add Oyster Sauce
- Or go for the classic Chinese dish of stir-fried beef and asparagus
- Take your stir-fry up a level with XO sauce by sprinkling it on top or mixing into your stir-fry.