Cooking Essentials You Need to Prepare Authentic Chinese Food at Home, According to Chef Jing Gao

Chinese cuisine, and Sichuan food in particular, is all about balance, flavor, fragrance and mouthfeel, working in conjunction to dance across the palate. Its chefs have always been known to do more with less, creating dozens of flavor profiles with limited seasonings, and chopping, dicing and paring any number of ingredients with just a single cleaver. In the same way, the home cook can create much more than they think, with just a few key kitchen and pantry items. Here are my must-haves in a Chinese kitchen.

Lodge Pro-Logic Wok

One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 14 Inch Cast Iron Wok Large handles and flat base for easier handling Unparalleled heat retention and even heating Pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil Use to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, or grill Use in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire Great for induction cooktops.

9-inch Kitchen Knife Professional Chef Knife

My favorite cleaver is a hand-made one by artisans in a village outside Chengdu, but with travel being out of reach these days, this one should do.

Fly By Jing The Triple Threat

These flavors have you covered for your next Sichuan themed dinner. Sichuan Chili Crisp goes as well in a stir fry as it does as a condiment, Zhong makes for a great dumpling or noodle sauce and Mala Spice Mix will marinade and dust any protein you roast or fry.

3 Year Aged Doubanjiang

Often called the ‘soul’ of Sichuan cooking, doubanjiang, or preserved fava bean paste, is at the heart of many of the province’s signature dishes like Mapo Tofu, Twice-Cooked Pork, etc. The longer they are aged, the darker and more complex in flavor they become. This 3 year doubanjiang is one of the best in existence, with deep umami flavors slowly built over time, completely natural with no additives.

SHINHO Liu Yue Xian Premium Soy Sauce

Light soy sauce is a bit saltier and used to add savoriness to dishes, a little often goes a long way. I like this round umami flavor of this brand.

SHINHO Liu Yue Xian Premium Braised Soy Sauce 500ml - Yamibuy.com

Dark soy sauce is less salty and more concentrated in color, resulting in a dark amber color that adds nice depth and lustre to long braises.

Chinkiang Zhenjiang Vinegar

Zhenjiang Black Vinegar – an indispensable part of Chinese cooking, it’s the equivalent of the addition of lemon in every dish in the West.

Kadoya 100% Pure Sesame Oil

A drizzle of sesame oil is essential for me as a finishing touch on most dishes. Kadoya brand is the most commonly found brand.

Jing Gao, the founder and CEO of Fly By Jing is a chef, entrepreneur and a renowned expert on Chinese cuisine on a mission to bring uncensored Chinese flavors to the table. Her work has been featured in the NYTimes, BBC, CNN, Fast Company, Fortune, and previously founded an award-winning modern-Chinese fast casual restaurant in Shanghai.