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Chinese Vegetables and Chinese Spices - Exploring Chinese Cooking Ingredients

Continuing from previous part Chinese cooking ingredients, this section is on Chinese vegetables and Chinese spices. Of course, like before, there's no way to list every single ingredient, so we cover some of the most common and popular Chinese vegetables and Chinese spices.

Chinese Vegetables

There are many varieties of Chinese vegetables, which aren't used often in the western kitchen; however you've probably had them in Chinese restaurants or seen them in the super markets.

Chinese broccoli - This is probably the most well know Chinese vegetable. By the name of it, you'd think it's similar to a regular broccoli, but not even close. It looks different, and tastes different. Chinese broccoli has long leafs and a thick stem. Best way to cook them is to boil them and serve with oyster sauce, or stir-fry with garlic.

Chinese cabbage - Also called sui choy, this vegetable isn't like the regular cabbage either. It has light green leafs and thick, white stems. It's good for making soups, and stir-frying.

Yu Choy - This Chinese vegetable is relatively unknown and unused in the west. It has large green leaves and long green stems. Best for stir-frying with dry chilies.

Bok Choy - Bok Choy is well known around the world, and there are many types including baby bok choy, and Shanghai bok choy. Baby and Shanghai bok choy are relatively small - only about 4 to 5 inches long. They're best used for making soups, stir-fry, and stewing.

Click here to learn a variety of ways to cook Chinese vegetables and use Chinese spices

Chinese Spices

Chinese cooking uses many different types of spices. Some are borrowed from other cuisine, and some are native Chinese spices.

Some of the most common Chinese spices include Szechuan peppercorns, 5-spices powder, cumin, star aniseed, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper etc..

Szechuan peppercorns are 'numbing' - what they do is they bring a numbing sensation to your tongue. They're used extensively in Szechuan cooking.

5 spices powder - as the name says, it's a combination of 5 types of spices grinded up. It has a very strong aroma and taste, so use sparingly in cooking.

Ginger and Garlic are common in all types of cooking. They not only make your food taste better, but they also are very beneficial to your health. (Garlic fights cancer, lowers blood fats, ginger improves digestive health, among other functions)

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