Many home cooks are surprised to learn that restaurant-quality Chinese cooking can be extremely easy.

The secret lies in using foolproof recipes, premium ingredients and high-quality prepared sauces that do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Now’s the perfect time to give it a whirl. The 15-day Chinese New Year festival began on Monday, which we celebrated with a recipe for Steamed Fish With Hot Oil.

Start by visiting the Asian section of your supermarket or natural and organic food store. You’ll find numerous ready-to-use sauces, from the traditional flavors of teriyaki, sweet and sour, and soy to more exotic options like ponzu (citrus-spiked soy sauce). These timesavers are expertly blended and balanced for authentic Asian flavor.

If you have a round table, this is the time to use it. It’s a sign of wholeness in Chinese culture. Decorate it with red and gold accents to represent good luck and prosperity.

Supplement the meal with symbolic foods like a bowl of tangerines or oranges. Their Chinese names sound like the words for “luck” and “wealth.”

For Your Organic Bookshelf

Chinese Cooking for Dummies
My Grandmother’s Chinese Kitchen: 100 Family Recipes and Life Lessons
The Take-Out Menu Cookbook: How to Cook In the Foods You Love to Order Out

Photo courtesy of Kikkoman