Having leftover foods can be a lifesaver, especially for those dealing with the hurdles and bustles of life. It is convenient and also saves a lot of time.
But it’s one thing to store them properly and another to reheat the food and make it taste exactly like before. This article, Has a step to step guide on how to reheat Chinese food the best way.
Chinese foods are one of the best cuisines globally, and equally Chinese got the best take outs.
Whether you order Chinese foods or do your homemade Chinese food, somehow, you will have some leftovers that might need you to reheat.
First, you need to understand that Chinese foods come with a lot of intense flavors, textures, and tastes. This may make reheating the food a bit of a challenge.
However, this should be in the list of your worries as here you will find the best ways to reheat your Chinese food and make it taste and look as fresh as it was initially served. So stick around as we get started.
Storage reheating and leftover tips
You have to store leftover food in the fridge as soon as the food has cooled down or when it stops steaming.
However, do not leave your leftover food at room temperature for more than 2hours. Also, store your food correctly in the fridge with an airtight container and not leave it past 3 to 4 days.
Whether you are rushing with time or having the convenience of time, you should adequately reheat your food until it’s searing hot.
If you own a thermometer, use it to measure the temperature of the leftover food at the center. Additionally, you should not cool and reheat your food, not more than once.
Research on the leftover food you are dealing with. You will be surprised at the many adventurous ways you can add zest and flavors to your food.
The reason most people end up disposing of their leftovers it’s because they have not researched the leftover food they are dealing with.
The techniques for reheating Chinese leftovers
1. Reheat using oven
Using an oven is the best way to reheat your leftover food as, unlike a microwave oven, it is not efficient in terms of time, but if you need to retain your food’s texture, flavors, and taste, then use the oven to reheat your Chinese food.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and keep the temperatures of the oven low and slow so that the food can thoroughly reheat without having to dry out or burn food.
- Take your leftover food and place it on top of an oven safe-dish using aluminum foil to cover the top. Ensure to tighten the edges of the dish with the aluminum foil to prevent air from seeping out during heating.
For foods like chicken wings and egg rolls, do not tighten the foil. But towards the end, you can open up the foil for a few minutes to enhance the crispiness.
- Heat the Chinese food for 10minutes while you reduce the temperatures to 165 degrees. You can re-position the food time and again to make the heat reach all over the food.
Reheating Chinese food in an oven is especially proper if you have anything crispy like rolls and wings, but the case might be different for the kinds of seafood.
First, because kinds of seafood do not require too much heat as that would interfere with the consistency that may result in a rubbery texture; hence, it requires a shallow temperature and constantly checks to be evenly heated and warm.
2. Reheating using microwave
You can reheat your leftover Chinese food using the microwave. The microwave may come in handy when time is a significant factor.
However, you have to take precautions as not all foods do not hold up well with microwaves. It is notoriously known to ruin Chinese foods like the TSO chicken.
But still, some foods can be heated by microwaves. Find some of the foods that can be heated in a microwave. The foods include soups/stews, steamed vegetables, noodles, and rice.
Reheating your leftover foods in the microwave takes the shortest time, depending on the type of food. Here is how to reheat your leftover foods in the microwave
For any food type, in order for it to retain its texture and to make it moist during the heating, place a cup of water in the microwave together with the item being reheated.
Remember to place your food in a shallow bowl or plate. That way, the heat can spread out evenly. You can cover with a moist or damp paper towel to make the food moist and keep it from drying out.
This can be used instead of placing a water cup. Repeat the process until your food gets the right temperature
Foods like vegetables need extra care while heating because they can turn soggy if you overheat them in the microwave.
In that case, you should place the food in the microwave-safe dishes and cover the top with a paper towel.
Meat and breaded foods are not suitable for microwaves as it loses its texture.
When reheating your left over Chinese food in the microwave, you can use the automatic reheating option, and also, be sure to check the food every few minutes to make sure that you are not burning it or drying it up.
Reheating Using a stovetop
This is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to reheat your leftover foods. Using a stovetop to reheat your food allows you to rejuvenate the flavors as you can add in some flavors to your leftover Chinese foods like soy sauce, meat, egg, and veggies. They make your food taste much better.
- Place your stir-fry pan on the stove and drizzle either oil or water.
- Heat the pan on medium heat, then place the leftover food on the pan and stir. You can add water in bits as you proceed with stirring as this accentuate the flavors in the Chinese left over and prevent the food from burning.
Ensure to stir the food until the water evaporates. You might also want to continue adding more water, depending on the amount of leftovers.
- Your food should be ready in 5 to 8 minutes if you are reheating fried rice or vegetables. You can also add soy sauce to have more flavor, but you need to be cautious when adding the soy sauce as Chinese food is already too salty. You can add spring onions if you are reheating left over noodles.
- Take away the pan from the stove and serve
Reheating using an Air fryer
Reheating your Chinese left over in the air fryer could be one of the diversified ways of cooking. It is also a quick process and never interferes with the food’s flavors, texture, and taste.
When you reheat food in the air fryer, the food is tastier than in the microwave. You can heat your fried leftovers or breaded food stuff like chicken or eggrolls.
- If your food is frozen, you can dhow it first in the microwave since the fryer may not heat the center of the leftover foods.
- When it is ready, plug in the air fryer and allow it to heat up between 350-400 degrees. That should take around 4 to 5min.
- Add the leftover food to the bucket and return the basket to the air fryer. You can reduce the temperatures a little to allow your food to cook evenly and without burning. This should take at least 3 min.
- You can flip the food over and return the basket to the air fryer if it has not achieved the desired heat.
- Once the food is warm and crispy, you can remove the bucket from the air fryer and serve, then return the basket to the air fryer and switch it off or unplug
If you are heating large amounts of food, be sure to reheat in small bits as too much of the food might damage the machine, and also, you might end up using much time reheating the food.
How to reheat Chinese rice
The aim is to reheat the rice in a way that won’t cause food poisoning; hence every step is essential in making sure that the food does not make you sick.
- Please wash your hands with care and thoroughly to remove any possible bacteria and to expose your rice to it.
- Cook the rice properly to reach the right temperature making sure that it is free from reaching the danger zone. Also, after cooking, serve immediately.
- It would be best if you used the shortest time to cool your food to avoid bacterium growth. At least I hr is recommendable. You can also fasten the cooling process by considering putting the rice in shallow dishes and covering it with a lid.
At room temperature, the bacteria are said to be active between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. In that case, you have to store food below 40 degrees, and if the food is left exposed for 2hrs throw it away. Store your rice in the refrigerator between 3-4 days, after which you dispose of any leftovers. For the freezer, you can store food between 3-4 months.
Cover the rice in an airtight container and place it in the freezer or the refrigerator, depending on the length of time you want to store your rice.
To reheat your rice correctly, you have to make sure that the heat has reached the rice equally and the food is hot.
Therefore, here are the different techniques of ensuring that your rice is reheated properly, maintaining its quality and freshness as before.
Using a microwave
The microwave comes in handy when you consider the convenience and the need to heat your food in mere seconds. The leftover rice should be heated to 160 degrees beyond that. The food can either burn or lose its quality.
How to heat your left over rice using the microwave?
Open the storage container from the fridge and put all the contents in a microwave-safe bowl.
Add 1 to 2 spoons of water to the rice to prevent it from drying out.
Take a dump paper towel and put it on top of the bowl to ensure that the rice can re-steam.
Heat the rice for about 3-4 min taking 30seconds intervals until you are sure the food is hot. Heating at intervals enables the rice to retain its texture and also the quality of the rice.
Check to see that the interior temperature is 165 degrees. If you are unable to tell the temperature, you can use a food thermometer.
Once it’s ready, you remove the rice from the microwave and serve as you wish.
Reheating rice using an oven
Take an oven-safe baking dish, take the rice and add it with enough water to enable every grain in the rice to moisten. Make sure it does not turn the rice into a soup.
Use a fork to break any lumps that might have formed on the rice. Use aluminum foil to cover the tip of the rice, or use a tight lid.
Bake the rice for 300F for at least 20 minutes or until the rice is evenly reheated. You can remove the lid after 15 minutes of baking, so you let some of the steam escape in the next 4-5 minutes.
Reheating Using a stovetop
Take a saucepan and add water or oil to the pan. For example, you can use a tablespoon to add 1 to 2 spoons of oil, and for the water, take each cup of rice and add 1 to 2 spoons of water.
Take the lid and cover the top of the rice. Make sure you stir continuously until all the water in the rice has evaporated.
If you have a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature to make sure that it is 165Degrees.
Once the rice is evenly heated, you can remove it from the pan and serve the rice immediately when it is piping hot.
Myths and misconception
There are myths and misconception that goes around leftover foods. Never believe everything and anything you hear without doing a background search. Below are some of the myths and why you should not believe them.
Reheating rice can cause food poisoning
Rice is a typical Chinese food and can almost be found in any Chinese household. During the days when rice forms part of the meal, you will most likely encounter some leftovers, and you might want to reheat them the next time you are ready to serve.
There is a misconception that reheating rice might cause food poisoning. This is not the case. Rice, like any other food, if not left to cool properly before storage, can produce bacterias that are toxic and are the reason why you experience food poisoning.
In that case, you need to be keen during storage because that is where the mistake lies.
Left overs are safe until they smell
You cannot smell, taste, or see the bacteria that causes stomach upset. Though your five-sense application is necessary, you have to use the sixth sense, which is knowledge.
Which is disposing of foods that have been stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, and if you intend to store them longer, store them in freezer for up to 4months; however, food stored in freezer more than 4months might lose texture or flavor.
It‘s okay to eat cold food
As long the food is left to room temperature, be sure that your food might have already contacted bacteria, and the only way to kill it is by exposing it to high temperatures of 166 degrees. You can tell if your food has reached that temperature by using a thermometer.
Microwaves kill the bacteria
Microwaves add warmth to the food from the inside out. Therefore there is a possibility that the food being reheat may fail to heat specific areas; therefore, do not be too sure about microwaves.
If you want to heat your food safely in the microwave, then you have to cover it with a lid and take turns stirring the food from time to time.
Once the food is ready, let it cool for a few minutes, then use your kitchen thermometer and place it in the different parts of the dish to ensure that the food has reached at least 166 degrees.
Eat the leftovers right away after reheating.
When heating your food in the microwave, once it is ready for consumption, you have to leave it for 3 minutes for the food to cool before eating.
Because when the food is searing hot and has been removed from the microwave, it generates heat and cooks the dish, meaning the temperature might rise, and this is not safe.
If you have cooked too much food and do not know what to do with your leftovers, do not toss them off.
You could be wasting food with significant health benefits due to the chemical process during cooking, storage, and reheating. Consequently, reheating does not only relate to killing food nutrients but also enhances their health benefits in some instances.
Also, it saves you a significant amount of money and reduces the amount of litter in the environment.