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Colour

Colour is particular to each ingredient. It can change during cooking. At the same time the power of colour can alter according to the colour of the accompanying ingredients in the bowl.

Aroma

Aroma and flavour are very linked inextricably. The most common ingredients in Chinese cooking which bring out the aroma of ingredients are garlic, ginger, spring onions and wine.

Flavour

Every school of cuisine has its own specific flavours; but there are five primary flavours: sweet, sour, savoury, bitter and piquant.

Texture

There are often believed to be five key textures in Chinese cuisine: crunchiness, crispiness, tenderness, smoothness and softness. The choice of contrasting textures is as central as the selection of various flavours.

Not many Chinese dishes have just one ingredient since this would offer little contrast and therefore no opportunity to harmonise. This is against the ethos of Yin and Yang. Therefore normally there will be a central ingredient and a number of supporting ingredients. The colour of pork is pink and its texture is tender. It is probably to be found with a green vegetable which is perhaps crispy or crunchy such as celery (crunchy) or green peppers (crispy).

The idea of harmonisation doesn't end with individual dishes, but is carried through the entire meal. No meal consists of a single dish. Instead, dishes are served in pairs, and sometimes in fours. Likewise, the order in which food is served is dictated by the necessities of harmony. Homogeneity is to be avoided, and comparable types of food are not served one after the other. From the single dishes to the sequence of serving, the meal must be in harmony.

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