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Do you have a lot of Chinese food left in the fridge for the next meal? If you do, then this article will try to help you find the best way to reheat Chinese food like they’re good as new. You don’t have to worry about mushy leftovers after trying all these tricks.
I put this list together after having a lot of Chinese food leftovers the other day. Since it will be a waste to throw them in the garbage, I keep them in the fridge and search for better ways to reheat them when they’re needed. If you’re curious to know, check the list below.
Option 1: The Oven
If your Chinese food leftovers are meat and seafood, then the oven is a great option as gentle heat doesn’t overcook or dry them out. Fried foods, like spring rolls and breaded chicken, also have a high chance of re-crisping in the oven.
Some of the Chinese food dishes that I tried reheating in the oven include shrimp fried rice, Mongolian beef, and orange chicken.
As compared to other options on the list, the oven takes the longest to reheat. If you’re very hungry, you may need to prepare ahead of time.
For this option, all you’ll need are your baking dish, aluminum foil, and digital cooking thermometer. Here is the list of instructions in reheating Chinese food in the oven.
1. Preheat The Oven
Preheating the oven takes a long time to reach the proper temperature, so this should be the first thing you’ll do. Electrical ovens often require 10-15 minutes of preheating. Has ovens preheat faster in about 5-10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re flash heating, preheat to 425 degrees.
2. Prepare Leftovers For The Oven
In a baking dish or any oven-safe container, place your leftover Chinese food. Fried rice, noodles, sauce-covered meats and seafood, should be contained in a shallow baking dish. Next, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Fold the edges to make an airtight seal around the baking dish.
Fried or breaded foods, like fried wontons, spring rolls, and chicken should be covered with the foil loosely. You’ll need to open the foil in the last minutes to allow the food to crisp up.
3. Reheat For Several Minutes
Now, place the baking dish covered with foil inside the oven. Position your baking dish on the rack nearest to the heat source. Depending on the size and volume of your food, reheat it for 2-10 minutes or until the food is heated thoroughly.
According to the New York State Sanitary Code, food poisoning can be prevented if the internal temperature of your reheated food reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may want to stir sauce-covered meats occasionally to reheat food evenly. Remember to open the foil in the last few minutes of reheating for fried or breaded foods.
Option 2: The Microwave
If you’re in a pinch, then the microwave is your best friend. Although the microwave is undeniably fast, the texture of some Chinese food can be compromised in the process. Any food that’s crisp on the outside, like breaded chicken, shouldn’t be reheated in the microwave because its intense heat will turn the crispy food soggy.
Some Chinese that can be reheated well in the microwave are soups, stews, stir-fries, steamed vegetables, and noodles. What you’ll need for this option are a microwave-safe container, damp paper towel, and spoon. Here is the complete list of instructions.
1. Prepare Leftovers For The Microwave
Place your Chinese food leftovers in a microwave-safe container. Unless it’s BPA-free, it’s not advisable to use a plastic container because the high temperature of the microwave might leach some harmful chemicals into your food.
If possible, use ceramic, glass, or any container that’s labeled as microwave-safe.
Now, spread the food out evenly and cover with a damp paper towel. The dampness will somehow create a steam while heating and prevent the food from drying out. If your food has dried out in the fridge, consider dripping or flicking some water to replace any moisture lost.
2. Heat In One-Minute Bursts
Once your food is prepared, place it inside the microwave. The best way to reheat your Chinese food leftovers is to microwave in short one-minute bursts.
The short bursts allow you to monitor the food so it doesn’t overcook. Going in one-minute intervals also prevent the food from exploding messily when steam bursts from one portion of food.
3. Check The Food And Stir
Once, one minute has passed, take the bowl out from the microwave and stir using a spoon. This will remove any cold spots and help reheat the food evenly. Do the stirring even with soups.
Since the microwave tends to heat the food faster in places where water is more concentrated, there will be some parts in the soup that are still cold. Your bowl of soup might have a hot broth but warm vegetables.
You might see some stream and think that your Chinese food is done, only to realize that its middle part is still stone cold.
Option 3: The Stovetop
If you want to retain the texture of your Chinese food leftovers as much as possible, then the stovetop is your best option. The stovetop works great in reheating foods with a lot of moisture, such as stews and soups.
This is also the best option to get experimental by adding some ingredients that you want, such as mushrooms and soy sauce.
To learn how to revamp your Chinese food leftover, watch this video.
Your choice of cookware may depend on the type of food you’re reheating. Sauteed foods and stir fries should be reheated in a shallow pan. Meat should be reheated in a cast iron pan. For soups and stews, a saucepan or pot will suffice. Here is the list of instructions.
1. Heat Up the Pan
Except for soups and stews (proceed to step 3), heat up your pan over medium heat before you reheat your Chinese food leftovers. This will prevent the food from sticking into the cooking surface. After 2-3 minutes, add a small amount of oil to the pan.
2. Add Your Leftovers
Now add your Chinese food leftovers in the pan. You have the option to reheat the rice or mix them together with the rest. You can also opt to reheat the meat first since it tends to reheat slower than vegetables.
At this point, you may get experimental. You can add mushrooms or add soy sauce into the mix for flavor. If you’re working on rice and noodles, don’t forget to add water to keep it from drying out. Add water a little at a time.
3. Heat For A Couple Of Minutes
You can warm your vegetables, rice, or noodles in a few minutes over low heat. This will prevent your food from getting soggy. Meat needs to be reheated in cast iron pan over high heat. This will perk for your food up, restoring the texture even better than a microwave. You can leave the edges a little charred if you want.
Stir the food constantly to reheat evenly. The stirring motion will remove any hot spots that might develop. For soups and stews, cover your pot with a lid while heating to trap in the moisture.
Have you decided which between the three options is the best way to reheat Chinese food? Thanks to these three reheating options, I can still be drawn with my Chinese food leftovers. You can use any of the three options, depending on your preference and convenience.
If you’ve tried reheating Chinese food, tell us the results and how you do it in the comments section. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family who love Chinese food.