Although I think its incidence may have been exaggerated over the past couple of weeks, it's clear to me that Chinese and related cuisine is a very regular part of my diet, but that I almost never attempt to cook it at home. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, experience: I am confident I know more or less what I'm doing with European dishes generally. Meats and fish turn out fine, pasta and risotto probably better than the average decent restaurant over here (although some notches below the best). On the other hand, my occasional attempts at Chinese dishes are unarguably worse than the average decent restaurant. Of course, this is related to the relatively tiny amount of experience I have.
The main issue here is fear of the wok. This may be partly rational, viz. the widespread line that you can't cook well with a wok on a domestic gas hob. Related to this is the speed of cooking: I am used to tasting throughout the process and adjusting amounts, speed and heat accordingly. Wok-cooking seems more like Superman in the telephone kiosk: when do you get to respond to what's happening? Then there's the sheer number of ingredients that seem to be involved in many Chinese recipes, versus European ones. Concerns here include both managing the increased number of variables and simply managing to control a decent larder of useable ingredients.
Then there's the fact I don't have a rice cooker ...
Firstly, then, is this something I should be pursuing, or is it best left to the several good-to-very-good restaurants within comfortable walking distance of where I live? And if so, am I best just continuing to bash along until I improve, in which case can somebody recommend a good book to work through, or should I think about an evening course or something?
Edited by Kikujiro, 21 December 2002 - 06:54 AM.