...The one thing I still have difficulty with when cooking at home is getting that certain characteristic taste good Chinese cuisine seems to have. Must be some kind of secret spice or infused oil they use.
*psst* Lee Kum Kee soya sauce - but no more than a tablespoon for 200g meat, a tablespoon of a nice red wine for beef/pork or ‘Chinese Rice Wine’ same quantity for chicken, dash of white pepper, if you’re not adding any other strong flavours to the dish then a small pinch of Chinese Five Spice (it’s a brown powder that smells vaguely of cinnamon), corn starch to seal, and a teaspoon or so of sesame oil to avoid sticking - a hot wok, a few ears of garlic just before putting the meat in, cook fast and very hot (in the case of beef, no more than 30s to sear both sides - which is why it has to be fairly finely sliced)... works for me .
When you start getting fancy, you’ll be looking for ‘wok hei’. Normally imparted to green vegetables when frying, it’s a tricky combination to achieve (I certainly can’t do it ‘on demand’, but when you do hit it, you’ll know )... it depends on the humidity of the day, heat of the wok, heat of the oil, size/quality of the vegetables, when you add the salt, and how soon you sit down to eat afterward. Most (overseas “Choinese”+) restaurants don’t hit this mark, because they can’t get the dishes out to the tables fast enough (the magic flavour fades in a few minutes after the dish is served from the wok).
+: referring here to the ones that serve the ‘expected Westerner tastes’ food - takeaway, radioactive spring rolls, fluorescent sweet & sour pork, fried rice, sugar in everything, etc etc.