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The best cookware that won’t break your bank this 2016

Looking for a great set of cookware can be tough especially if you are a beginner cook. If you are a fan of cooking, but would not want to break the bank for good cookware, then one of the best cookware 2016 would be the T-fal E918SC Cookware set. At $108.39 as retail price, you would definitely get your money’s worth on this set.
One of the stellar functions of these babies is that they come with heat indicator which signals the cook when the pan is already preheated. At normal temperatures, you’d have to take a closer look at the indicator, but at very high temperatures, they show clearly. Another thing I love about this cookware set is that it is indeed speaks true about its durable and non-stick surface. You can use metal utensils with this pan. Not even my mightiest fork can scratch through it.

It’s also dishwasher safe, so if you would rather not hand wash the pans after a tiresome cooking session then you could just put them in the dishwasher and not have to worry about it being damaged. This cookware set heats pretty well, in fact, I don’t really get over burning with it. It’s also oven safe for up to 350 degrees. It comes with an anti-warp base so you wouldn’t have to worry about your pans warping. It also aids in heat distribution to give you the best results when you cook.

The handles are riveted silicone and you would never have to worry about your handles heating up. In addition, they’re also very comfortable to hold and quite easy to clean. On the overall, with its durability and all the additional special features, there is no doubt that the T-fal E918SC is one of the best cookware sets around!


Popular Chinese Cooking Methods


Chinese cooking is renowned throughout the world. Chinese food has a distinctive culinary style all of its own. The emphasis is on fresh, seasonal ingredients, prepared with a minimum amount of fuss and beautifully balanced as far as color, texture, and presentation are concerned.

There are several cooking methods. All seek to preserve the flavor and nutrients. Each of the techniques is briefly described below.

1. Stir-Frying

Black pepper beef fillet is a typical stir-frying dish.

Stir-frying is the classic Chinese cooking method. Stir-frying is quick and easy, tasty and flavorful.

Related post: Secret of chinese stir frying

Cooking Utensils Used

The cooking utensils are a wok and wok spatula. Stir-frying is typically done on a gas stove, although an electric stove can be used if preheated to a high heat.

Ingredients That Can be Cooked in This Way

Stir-frying typically uses a combination of meat or seafood, vegetables, and tofu. All ingredients are thinly sliced or cubed. The meat or seafood is marinated using soy sauce, salt, and other seasonings.

Steps for Stir-Frying

1. All ingredients should be ready prior to heating up the wok. (The food to be cooked should be finely sliced or shredded into similar sized pieces using a very sharp knife or Chinese cleaver.)

2. When the wok is hot, a small amount of oil is added.

3. The meat or seafood is quickly stirred and turned until semi-cooked. It is then removed from the wok and set to one side.

4. More oil is added to the wok, if necessary. The vegetables and/or tofu are added and quickly stir-fried.

5. The meat or seafood is added back midway through cooking, the seasonings are adjusted if necessary, and the dish is stirred until done. It should be served immediately.

Deep-frying stinky tofu in high-boiling-point oil

2. Deep-Frying

Deep-frying is used to produce crisp-textured food. It is usually used to fry a variety of meats and vegetables in oil heated to a high temperature.

Cooking Utensils Used

Deep-frying is done with a deep saucepan or a deep fryer, a Chinese scoop strainer (used to contain foods in a deep fryer and to strain foods when removed from the oil), and long chopsticks.

3. Steaming

Steaming food by using bamboo steamers

Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. It is considered to be the healthiest cooking technique.

Steaming can make dishes taste more fresh and delicious. It can retain various nutrients in the food and reduce nutrient loss to a large extent. Therefore, it is widely used for cooking a variety of ingredients.

Cooking Utensils Used

Chinese people steam food by using bamboo steamers, which can be stacked one on top of the other, allowing several kinds of foods to be cooked at once, thus saving time and fuel.

Dishes requiring the most cooking time are placed on the bottom layer near the boiling water, while those requiring less are placed on the top layer. The water should be kept at a slow boil until the food is done.

Famous Steamed Dishes

The most famous examples of steaming are dim sum, dumplings, buns, and steamed fish.

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My Spicy Garlic Eggplant Recipe

eggplantI’m not very creative when it comes to cooking eggplant, usually I poke a few holes with a fork and roast until soft. The poking is important – it prevents the eggplant from exploding in the oven. Go ahead, ask me how I know!

We grow both Chinese and Japanese eggplant in the garden, both of which are less-bitter than the standard fat Globe variety. I’ve heard cooks needing to “salt” the eggplant and let it sit to release its bitter compounds. Not needed for the Asian variety!

The skin of Japanese and Chinese eggplant is much thinner as well.

While this is a Chinese stir-fry recipe, I used Japanese eggplant variety (my Chinese plant was towards the end of its life cycle and was only poppin’ out eggplant runts).

Other than just simple roasting, this is really the only other way I cook eggplant often – it’s a wonderful flavor party – chiles, garlic, soy sauce and a touch of black vinegar to balance the flavors out.

The translated Chinese name for this dish is “Fish-Fragrant Eggplant” which is so unfortunate. I’m sure it’s deterred many cooks from even trying the recipe. The reason it’s called this is because the dish originates from Sichuan province of China.

Sichuanese cooking has so many different descriptors for its 56 distinct cooking methods and 23 “official” Sichuanese flavoring combinations. The “Fish-Flavored” refers to the combination: salty+sweet+sour+spicy+garlic+ginger+green onion. Don’t worry – the sauce doesn’t taste fishy, nor the does the recipe contain any fish at all.  It’s a sauce that goes GREAT with many Sichuan fish dishes – thus the funny translated name.

If you like Sichuanese cooking, pick up “Land of Plenty: Authentic Sichuan Recipes Personally Gathered in the Chinese Province of Sichuan” cookbook by Fushsia Dunlop. Fushsia is a celebrated cookbook author specializing in Chinese cookery. She’s lived in Sichuan and was the first foreigner to study full-time at the province’s famous cooking school.

I’ve been cooking this dish since my college days – my recipe doesn’t include Sichuanese Chili Bean Paste like Fushsia’s recipe – it’s not a common ingredient in standard supermarkets and I have trouble finding the bean paste even today outside of Asian supermarkets.

Here are a couple other tips:

1. If you can find Chinese bean paste – add 1 tablespoon to the stir-fry and cut the soy sauce to just 1 teaspoon.

2. The original Chinese recipe uses Chinese Black Vinegar – which is very similar to young balsamic vinegar. You can use either. The balsamic vinegar should be tart, not sweet – so don’t use the expensive super-aged super-thick sweet stuff (save that for your strawberries).

3. If you can’t find Chinese or Japanese eggplants, just use globe eggplant! Cut in similar sized strips. Baby globe eggplant is really good too. No need to salt. Just rinse, cut into thin wedges.

Here’s the video:

Click here for the recipe.