Who doesn’t love Chinese food? The variety of dishes it offers from chowmein to fried rice, sweet and sour chicken to beef dry chili, not to forget the amazing sides of wontons, dumplings and soups. But, do you know how to properly reheat Chinese food?
With such a great variety, it is very easy to over order food that you won’t actually be finishing the same day. But don’t worry. Because it is actually quite easy to reheat Chinese food without turning it into a soggy mess. So don’t throw away your leftovers, instead learn these simple ways to enjoy them the next day.
How to Store Leftovers
Obviously, before you get to the reheating part, you have to store your leftovers so they don’t go bad before you can consume them later.
One mistake people make is to put the leftover food in the fridge in the same container it arrived in. This is a mistake, and can actually put you at the risk of foodborne illness. Also remember to store away any leftovers within two hours, as food left on room temperature longer than that can develop bacteria.
Put your leftover food in an airtight, resealable container, or wrap it in a heavy-duty plastic wrap making sure it is airtight. This will stay good in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can store leftover Chinese food in the freezer as well, and it will last up to 2 months. But it will lose its texture when you reheat it. So it is better that you store it in the fridge and consume it within 2 to 3 days.
How to Reheat Chinese Food
Whether you are warming up rice, noodles, soup, or any of the sides, follow these methods to reheat Chinese food so you can enjoy it as if it was made fresh.
Most people throw their Chinese leftovers in the oven or the microwave to reheat them, but you may be surprised to find out that the best way to reheat Chinese food is on the stove. This method retains the texture of the Chinese food the best.
- Place a large pan or wok on the stove on medium to high flame
- Add a little bit of oil to the pan, just enough to make sure nothing sticks to the pan
- Let it heat for a couple of seconds
- Add your leftovers to the pan
- Make sure to keep stirring them as they reheat
- The timing will depend on what you are reheating, so you will have to keep any eye on things and also make sure the food doesn’t burn. But generally speaking, 3 to 5 minutes is enough for anything
- Check to see if the food is heated properly
- Remove from the pan and enjoy.
This method may not retain the best texture, but it heats everything evenly and doesn’t dry out the food. It may actually heat sides like wontons and spring rolls better than the stove.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place your leftover Chinese food in a baking dish or tray. Make sure to use shallow dish for anything that contains gravy or could potentially fall out
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Fold the edges around the corners to make an airtight seal
- Put the dish in the oven and let it heat for a few minutes
- Depending on the volume of your food, it may take between 5 to 10 minutes to reheat evenly
- If you have dished with sauce, you can stir a couple of times for best results
- Open the aluminum foil in the last few minutes if you are reheating fried or breaded foods
- Remove from the oven and enjoy.
If you are in a hurry, then you can opt for a microwave. But only use this method if you have absolutely no time to spare. This isn’t an ideal method to reheat fried or breaded food, as it will turn it soggy.
- Spread your leftover Chinese food in a microwave-safe dish or container
- Cover it with a damp paper towel. This will prevent the food from drying out as it reheats
- Place the dish in the microwave and heat it in one-minute bursts
- Check the food after each minute and stir
- Keep repeating until the food has reach the desired temperature
- Remove from the microwave and serve.
You can try the above methods to choose what works best for you, as they all provide slightly different results when it comes to the taste and texture of the food.