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Why home wok-cooked dishes are sometimes not as good as those in the Chinese restaurant?

Even assuming that your cooking talents and ingredients match those of a professional Chinese chef, your stir-fried food can't have the same intense color, elegant flavor, and crisp texture. A difference in the heat power available to you explains the disparity. A typical home stove-top gas burner generates fewer than 10,000 British thermal units. (A BTU defines the quantity of heat required to raise 2 cups (1 pound) of air-free, 60F water by 1F at normal atmospheric pressure.)

The BTU output for a gas range in a first-rate Chinese restaurant is at least twice as high because of the stove's special design features. It has much more gas to burn because the gas line that supplies the fuel to the burner is much larger in diameter. Moreover, the heating unit itself consists of many concentric burner rings; the normal home gas burner has but one. Finally, the restaurant burner apparatus is normally several times wider.

The higher heat more effectively seals in the juices of the ingredients and therefore helps lock in flavor and nutrients. Just as important, since fewer of the internal juices in the cooking food emerge, the pan sauce better clings to the food, making the dish more appetizing. A crisper texture results because the higher heat firms the surface of the food before the interior becomes over-cooked. In addition, the higher heat more effectively triggers the chemical reactions that heighten the color of the vegetables as they start to cook. And because the cooking period is very brief, the vivid colors developed do not have a chance to fade.

03:38:11 on 03/01/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -