The Chinese Pantry

These ingredients offer authentic flavor for Chinese cooking. You can find many of them in large supermarkets, and all of them in an Asian grocery.

Sesame Oil

Lee Harrelson

Sesame Oil

You’ll find two varieties: light, which has subtle flavor and a high smoke point that makes it ideal for stir-frying, and dark, which has a nutty flavor and aroma, and is typically used to finish a dish or a dipping sauce.

View Recipe: Stir-Fried Shrimp with Garlic and Chile Sauce

Dried Mushrooms

Lee Harrelson

Dried Mushrooms

We used readily available shiitake mushrooms (also called Chinese black mushrooms) for recipe testing. But try any variety or combination of Asian dried mushrooms, such as wood ear, cloud ear, and Chinese black. (Left to right: cloud ear, shiitake, wood ear)

View Recipe: Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Lettuce with Mushrooms

Shaoxing

Lee Harrelson

Shaoxing

This fermented rice wine (pronounced shaow-SHEEN) is produced in northern China. If you pick up a bottle labeled “Shaoxing Cooking Wine,” know that it might contain added salt, so you may need to cut back on salt in the recipe. Substitute dry sherry in a pinch.

View Recipe: Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

Chinese Black Vinegar

Lee Harrelson

Chinese Black Vinegar

This assertively flavored rice vinegar is often used in stir-fries. Substitute: balsamic vinegar.

View Recipe: Chinese Potstickers

Hoisin Sauce

Lee Harrelson

Hoisin Sauce

Made from soybeans, sugar, garlic, Chinese five-spice powder, and chiles, this thick sauce lends sweet flavor and a reddish hue to stir-fries and other dishes.

View Recipe: Hoisin Pork and Snow Pea Stir-Fry

Oyster Sauce

Lee Harrelson

Oyster Sauce

Redolent with the briny essence of oysters, this smoky-sweet sauce has a thick texture and dark-brown color. It is used in noodle dishes and stir-fries.

View Recipe: Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fried Rice

Soy Sauce

Lee Harrelson

Soy Sauce

Made from fermented soybeans and roasted wheat or barley, this condiment lends a meaty saltiness to Asian fare. We call for low-sodium soy sauce to keep sodium in check, along with dark soy sauce, which has richer flavor and color.

View Recipe: Salt-Baked Chicken

Noodles

Lee Harrelson

Noodles

A noodle dish is crucial to Chinese New Year celebrations, since long pasta represents a long life. You’ll often find several types of dried Asian noodles at supermarkets, and all manner of dried and fresh varieties at Asian groceries. Just follow the package directions for cooking the noodles before adding them to a stir-fry. Sturdy wheat noodles with added egg, such as e-fu, lo mein, or Shanghai-style noodles, are good candidates. (Back to front: fresh lo mein, Shanghai-style, dried lo mein)

View Recipe: Long-Life Noodles

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http://www.cookinglight.com/food/world-cuisine/chinese-pantry-00400000037997/