When you're hungry and staring at a menu from a Chinese restaurant, everything looks good. It's easy to end up ordering too much food for delivery. However, that can leave you with a lot of leftovers. The question is, how can you reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day and have them taste just as good as they did the night before? Take a look at three ways to reheat Chinese food that will help you enjoy the leftovers as much as you enjoyed the original meal.
Wok or Skillet
A wok is the ideal kitchen tool for reheating Chinese food, but if you don't have a wok, you can achieve the same result by using a good skillet.
The method is simple – give the wok or skillet a light coating of oil, turn the heat on high, and add the food. Use a spatula or spoon to toss the food in the hot oil. This will perk up the ingredients without detracting from the original flavor.
You can reheat almost any Chinese food this way – it works for meat, vegetables, and even rice. This method of cooking works best if you can cook the different components separately, but if you're in a hurry, you can throw everything into the same skillet. Just keep an eye on it to ensure that everything heats evenly.
The oven isn't usually what you think of when you think of cooking Chinese food, but as a reheating method, it's not bad. Some items, like egg rolls, spring rolls, and fried meats actually crisp up better in the oven than they might on the stove top. This method is also a little easier than using the skillet or wok. However, it does take some time, so preheat the oven a little in advance of when you want to eat.
For best results, heat the oven to 425 degrees and put the food in an oven-safe pan covered with aluminum foil. If you're reheating fried items like egg rolls or chicken wings, make sure the aluminum foil is loose – you're going to want to pull it off a few minutes before you're done. Put the food on the lowest rack, closest to the heat, and let it stay there for somewhere between two and ten minutes. You may need to stir saucy food to make sure that the sauce is evenly distributed.
The microwave is not the ideal way to reheat Chinese food – it often heats unevenly, and can make rice and noodles dry and rubbery. But sometimes you're in a hurry and need a hot lunch quickly. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your results.
Sprinkle rice or noodles with water before you put them in the microwave. This will help prevent them from drying out and taking on that rubbery consistency. Separate fried foods from anything wet or saucy – they probably won't come out crispy, but keeping them dry will help prevent sogginess. Cover the foods with loose fitting lids or plastic wrap to trap heat and moisture in. Turn the plate periodically during heating to prevent uneven heating and hot and cold spots in the food.
Reheated Chinese food can be just as tasty the day after it's delivered as it was the first day. Use these tips to ensure that you enjoy your Chinese food delivery for as long as it lasts.