Chinese Pantry

Pickled Cucumber

I grew up eating these pickled cucumbers with my congee for breakfast. Congee is rice porridge. Its rice that is cooked with a large amount of water for about an hour until it thickens. When eating congee, my mother would have condiments on the table for us to  eat with our rice. Usually consist of salted eggs, dried pork, cured anchovies, and an egg that is cooked like a pancake.

The taste of these pickled cucumbers tend to be sweet, not so acidic compare to western brands. Also, the size of the cucumber is same as a shape of coin.

Buy it and have fun with it! I put on my eggs and sandwiches.


Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Pickled Chiles

My dad introduce me to this new product that I haven’t worked with before. I have not seen it in my house until this year, so I guess you can still learn from the old-folk sometimes.

The  pickled chiles is great way to make a dish taste fresh and spicy without using the usual hot bean paste to do so. Plus, the red colors of the chiles gives a dish a bright visual appearance that many people don’t associate Chinese food with.

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Spice Bags

This is really cool to have in your pantry. Inside this bag are small bags containing spices of cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cumin, and cloves. It’s tea bags for food!  This is what I added to my hot garlic sauce, instead of the spices I mentioned.

These bags are great for making infused oils, marinating meats, and poultry.

You can find this in any local chinese store. I just happen to live next to one.

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Chili Garlic Sauce

This is a great condiment to have in your arsenal of culinary skills. Bascially, it is a bright red, hot sauce made from chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

The sauce can be used in dishes that you want to have some spice to it. Also, its great for dumplings as a dipping sauce with soy suace, sugar, and vingear to mix.

Sometimes, I combine it with mayo for a sandwich.

Happy Eats!

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

“La Gan Ma” aka Spicy GodMother

La Gan Ma is a type of brand of chili oil, which my family and I always have on hand. Inside the chili oil is fermented black beans and chili. You can either just use the oil, or use the ingredients inside as well. It’s great for sauces, dressings, and soups, especially wonton soup when you need a kick.

We usually make our own secert family chili oil. I can’t tell you what it is because my brother will kill me if I do.

Here is a basic recipe that you can make your own

  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 tbsp dried red chilies
  • 1 tbsp whole unroasted Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans

Heat the wok with the oil. When it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to low. Add the chilies, peppercorns and black beans and cook gently for about 15 minutes. It’s okay if the chilies turn a little black, you want that. It’s flavor baby!

Allow the mixture to cool and then pour it into a jar. Leave it to stand for tow days then strain the oil. It will keep indefinitely.

Chinese Pantry

Foundations of Flavor

Here are some standard Chinese items that are a great way to start your Chinese pantry for everyday cooking.

It is important that you never purchase, for example, Hoisin sauce that has high fructose corn syrup. Its not natural, and I don’t think the founder of the sauce had corn syrup in his mind when he was making it in China.

For now, I’m just going to list the items and save the descriptions for future post.

  1. Soy sauce
  2. Dark soy sauce
  3. Shaoxing rice wine
  4. White wine vinegar
  5. White sugar
  6. Sesame oil
  7. Hoisin sauce
  8. Oyster sauce
  9. Dried red chillies
  10. Holy Trinity: garlic, ginger, and scallions