Chinese Cooking Technique: Thicken

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"Thicken", or "Thickening" is a very common technique used in both Chinese restaurants and household kitchens. It is very easy to prepare, but if not used properly, can really mess up the presentation. Below is a brief description of "Thickening". You can learn more about other Chinese cooking techniques in the Techniques section of our website.

Technique: Thicken

Thicken, or thickening, refers to the use of cornstarch as a part of the process of preparing a Chinese dish. Cornstarch is a very commonly used condiment in Chinese cooking. When used properly, it can really make your presentation stand out. Below are two important pointers:

  • Follow the recipe as given
  • Too much cornstarch can make the dish too pasty. Too little would make it too thin. After cooking a particular dish the first time, you can use the original recipe as a guide to increase or decrease the amount of cornstarch to add to your dish to your liking the next time (even though we are confident that you'll love the recipes we have on our website :).

  • Watch the timing and stir appropriately
  • Do not add cornstarch (and water) until the dish is cooked. You must also stir gently and quickly once it is added to the dish, as it tends lump up if not stirred immediately.

  • Pretty simple, right? Now, you can check out our recipes section and find a recipe to practice it on (wink).

    Helen Fan grew up in a family that has owned various Asian restaurants all over North America, from Vancouver (Canada), Houston (Texas), Decatur (Illinois), to Chicago (Illinois). She, and the rest of the Fan family are now sharing their decades of knowledge on the art of Chinese cuisine at http://www.ChineseHomeCooking.Com

    You can learn more about other Chinese cooking techniques at

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