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Travel Guide 2   >   China   >   Recipes

   
 

Chinese Recipes


Chinese meals are generally based around two main elements: firstly, a starchy "main food" (Mandarin Chinese: Zhushi) dish such as noodles, rice or steamed buns ("mantou"), and secondly, accompanying meat, seafood or vegetables (Mandarin Chinese: Cŕi).

Chinese meals

It would wrong however to think of China as simply being home to a single cuisine. Each region of the country has developed its uniquely culinary style, and additionally overseas Chinese communities around the world have both adapted traditional Chinese dishes, and developed entirely new dishes.

Some popular Chinese dishes include:
  • Baozi (xiaolongbao) - Steamed buns usually containing meat soup (sometimes seafood or vegetables may be used instead). The buns are initially prepared using a meat gelatin filling, but when the bun is steamed, this melts and becomes soup.

  • Congee - A porridge, usually made from rice, although sometimes barley, cornmeal, millet or sorghum may be used instead.

    Baozi

  • Guotie - Fried dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • Jiaozi - Steamed dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • Shuijiao - Boiled dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • General Tso's chicken - Deep-fried chicken in a sweet-spicy sauce. This dish is very popular in Canada and the US, but is virtually unknown in China.

  • Kung Po chicken - Chicken cooked with Sichuan peppercorns, Shaoxing wine, and nuts (peanuts or cashew nuts). In Western countries, the dish has been adapted to local tastes and ingredients (for example, by using bell peppers), and additionally other meats, or seafood, may be used instead of chicken.

    Kung Po chicken (Westernized version)

  • Mantou - A steamed bun. One of the staple dishes of North China.

  • Peking duck - Originally from Beijing (which used to be known as "Peking"), Peking duck is one of the most famous Chinese dishes. A duck is glazed with a syrup and roasted, it is then carved in front of diners, and eaten by wrapping the duck meat, with scallions or cucumber, and plum sauce, into small steamed pancakes (Mandarin Chinese: pinyin). In the UK, the duck is generally prepared using more spices, fried instead of roasted, and known as "cripsy aromatic duck".

  • Soy egg - A hard-boiled egg in soy sauce, sugar and water, flavored with herbs and spices.

  • Tea egg - A hard-boiled egg, soaked or stewed in tea.

  • Zhajiang mian - Thick wehat noodles with ground pork, stired-fried with fermented soybean paste.


  • Zongzi - Bamboo leaves filled with glutinous rice and other fillings. Zongzi are boiled or steam before eating.
Here are some recipe books and cookbooks for Chinese food:


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Books about Chinese Cooking and Recipes


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Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen

By Margaret Li & Andrew Li

Roost Books
Released: 2019-02-05
Hardcover (256 pages)

Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen
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Wildly inventive Chinese-American home cooking from the siblings behind Boston’s acclaimed Mei Mei restaurant.

Too intimidated to cook Chinese food at home but crave those punchy flavors? Not anymore. Put down that takeout kung pao chicken and get in the kitchen! Full of irresistible recipes that marry traditional Asian ingredients with comforting American classics and seasonal ingredients, Double Awesome Chinese Food delivers the goods. The three fun-loving Chinese-American siblings behind the acclaimed restaurant Mei Mei take the fear factor out of cooking this complex cuisine, infusing it with creativity, playfulness, and ease.

Take the Double Awesome: flaky scallion pancakes stuffed with two oozy eggs, sharp cheddar, and garlicky pesto; could there be anything better? Ridiculously delicious and unexpected dishes like Cranberry Sweet and Sour Stir-fried Pork and Red Curry Frito Pie will become new staples for your cooking lineup. Throw a hands-on dumpling-making party and let your friends decide whether to serve them chewy and pan-seared or crackly and deep-fried. Packed with pro-cooking tips, sauces to amp up any meal, sustainable sourcing advice, and over 100 delicious recipes, this book is your ticket to making the Chinese food of your dreams any night of the week.

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home

By Diana Kuan

Ballantine Books
Released: 2012-12-11
Hardcover (208 pages)

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home
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  • Ballantine Books
Product Description:
America’s love affair with Chinese food dates back more than a century. Today, such dishes as General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Egg Rolls are as common as hamburgers and spaghetti. Probably at this moment, a drawer in your kitchen is stuffed with Chinese takeout menus, soy sauce packets, and wooden chopsticks, right?
 
But what if you didn’t have to eat your favorites out of a container? 
 
In The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, Chinese food blogger and cooking instructor Diana Kuan brings Chinatown to your home with this amazing collection of more than eighty popular Chinese takeout recipes—appetizers, main courses, noodle and rice dishes, and desserts—all easy-to-prepare and MSG-free. Plus you’ll discover how to
 
• stock your pantry with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket
• season and master a wok for all your Chinese cooking needs
• prepare the flavor trifecta of Chinese cuisine—ginger, garlic, and scallions
• wrap egg rolls, dumplings, and wontons like a pro
• steam fish to perfection every time
• create vegetarian variations that will please everyone’s palate
• whip up delectable sweet treats in time for the Chinese New Year
 
The Chinese Takeout Cookbook also features mouthwatering color photos throughout as well as sidebars that highlight helpful notes, including how to freeze and recook dumplings; cooking tidbits, such as how to kick up your dish with a bit of heat; and the history behind some of your favorite comfort foods, including the curious New York invention of the pastrami egg roll and the influence of Tiki culture on Chinese cuisine. So, put down that takeout menu, grab the wok, and let’s get cooking!

Here for the first time—in one fun, easy, and tasty collection—are more than 80 favorite Chinese restaurant dishes to make right in your own kitchen:
 
• Cold Sesame Noodles
• Kung Pao Chicken
• Classic Barbecue Spareribs
• Beef Chow Fun
• Homemade Chili Oil
• Hot and Sour Soup
• Chinatown Roast Duck
• Moo Shu Pork
• Dry-Fried String Beans
• Black Sesame Ice Cream
• And of course, perfectly fried Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls!

“Diana Kuan chronicles America’s love affair with Chinese food. The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is the perfect reason to throw out those menus cluttering your kitchen drawers!”—Patricia Tanumihardja, author of The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking: A Cookbook

By Kian Lam Kho

Random House USA Inc
Released: 2015-09-29
Hardcover (368 pages)

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking: A Cookbook
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  • Random House USA Inc
Product Description:
Create nuanced, complex, authentic Chinese flavors at home by learning the cuisine's fundamental techniques.
 
Winner of the 2016 IACP Julia Child First Book Award

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees offers a unique introduction to Chinese home cooking, demystifying it by focusing on its basic cooking methods. In outlining the differences among various techniques--such as pan-frying, oil steeping, and yin-yang frying--and instructing which one is best for particular ingredients and end results, culinary expert Kian Lam Kho provides a practical, intuitive window into this unique cuisine. Once one learns how to dry stir-fry chicken, one can then confidently apply the technique to tofu, shrimp, and any number of ingredients. 

Accompanied by more than 200 photographs, including helpful step-by-step images, the 158 recipes range from simple, such as Spicy Lotus Root Salad or Red Cooked Pork, to slightly more involved, including authentic General Tso's Chicken or Pork Shank Soup with Winter Bamboo. But the true brilliance behind this innovative book lies in the way it teaches the soul of Chinese cooking, enabling home cooks to master this diverse, alluring cuisine and then to re-create any tempting dish they encounter or can imagine.

Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites

By Naomi Imatome-Yun

Imatome Yun Naomi
Paperback (150 pages)

Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites
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  • Essential Wok Cookbook A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir Fry Dim Sum and Other Restaurant Favorites
Product Description:
All the Recipes You Need to Enjoy Comforting Chinese Food at Home

Ordering Chinese takeout is easy--but it's definitely not the healthiest or most affordable way to enjoy Chinese comfort food at home. With this simple cookbook in your kitchen and a mighty wok in your hand, Chinese favorites are now quicker, healthier, and cheaper than delivery.

The Essential Wok Cookbook is your guide to mastering the wok, the versatile pan that makes possible all of the Chinese restaurant dishes you love--no extra salt, oil, or MSG required. Beyond tips for selecting, seasoning, and caring for your wok, this cookbook also provides:
  • Step-by-step illustrations for how to fold a dumpling, egg roll, and wonton 
  • Fun features on the origin stories and American reinventions of foods such as egg drop soup and fortune cookies 
  • Recipe labels to help you decide what to make when you're short on time (30 minutes or less) and tight on cash (under $10) 
  • Recipe tips to swap ingredients, save time, make a dish more healthy, or kick up the heat 
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, start cooking today with your wok and see just how far The Essential Wok Cookbook will take you.

Fire up the wok with recipes like Perfect Pork Pot Stickers, Easy Vegetable Stir-Fry, Lighter Egg Foo Young, Sweet Chili Shrimp, General Tso's Chicken, Better Beef with Broccoli, and many more!

Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen: Discover Authentic Flavors with Vibrant, Modern Recipes

By Shirley Chung

Page Street Publishing
Released: 2018-10-23
Paperback (192 pages)

Chinese Heritage Cooking From My American Kitchen: Discover Authentic Flavors with Vibrant, Modern Recipes
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Cutting-Edge Chinese Dishes for the Home Cook


From growing up in Beijing to attending culinary school in California, to making her name in the restaurant world and on Top Chef, today Shirley Chung is dishing out new and dazzlingly delicious takes on Chinese cuisine. These recipes are fresh and inspired, yet approachable for home cooks. Here are a few you won’t want to miss: Sweet-and-Sour Baby Back Ribs, Five-Spice Seared Duck Breast with Kumquat Mustard, Scallion Pancakes with Hazelnut Pesto, Seared Scallops with Spicy Black Bean Sauce, Spinach Egg Drop Soup and Beijing-Style Hot Pot.


These recipes use simple ingredients and techniques, but have the standout flavor and texture you expect from top-notch restaurants―no wok required! Plus you’ll find fascinating history and chef’s tips tucked away in the headnotes and instructions that will make you a better cook. Shirley brings the same lively energy to her book that made her a fan-favorite on Top Chef. She’ll make you excited to cook, and her recipes―each with a gorgeous photograph―will have you drooling over the pages. With Shirley in your kitchen, every meal becomes a fun and delicious celebration.

The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook: Fresh Recipes to Sizzle, Steam, and Stir-Fry Restaurant Favorites at Home

By Charmaine Ferrara

Rockridge Press
Released: 2017-05-23
Paperback (192 pages)

The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook: Fresh Recipes to Sizzle, Steam, and Stir-Fry Restaurant Favorites at Home
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Product Description:

Want to make easy, healthy Chinese food? Go for a wok.

In the time it takes to call for takeout, you could make a delicious Chinese dinner at home! The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook shows you how to create nourishing, satisfying versions of Chinese restaurant favorites using just a wok. With this one versatile pan, you can stir-fry meats, steam veggies, simmer soup, and more.

This Chinese cookbook uses lower sodium and sugar, heart-healthy oils, lean cuts of meat, and fresh produce―no deep-fryer or MSG in sight. Many recipes include substitutions and variations, so you can experiment with ingredients and customize flavors just the way you like them.

In The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook, you’ll find:

  • A complete wok walk-through―Master the techniques and tools for cooking Chinese cuisine in just one piece of cookware―a wok.
  • 88 favorite recipes―Using this Chinese cookbook, recreate popular restaurant dishes like Orange Chicken and Honey-Walnut Shrimp, or cook up Chinese family comfort food like Yangzhou Fried Rice and Steamed Egg with Ground Pork.
  • Stir-fried, not deep-fried―Keep meals nutritious by stir-frying―one of the healthiest cooking methods, since it uses lots of vegetables and very little oil.

Skip the takeout and enjoy quick, healthy Chinese food with The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook.

Essential Chinese Cooking: Authentic Chinese Recipes, Broken Down into Easy Techniques

By Jeremy Pang

Quadrille Publishing
Released: 2016-09-06
Hardcover (160 pages)

Essential Chinese Cooking: Authentic Chinese Recipes, Broken Down into Easy Techniques
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  • Quadrille Publishing
Product Description:
In Essential Chinese Cooking, acclaimed teacher and School of Wok founder, Jeremy Pang brings the authentic flavors of traditional Chinese cooking into your own kitchen. Throughout the six chapters Jeremy outlines the fundamental techniques of Chinese cooking, focusing on a range of delicious, simple-to cook, yet authentic Chinese recipes. It includes simplified techniques such as the Wok Clock, which is a revolutionary way of organizing your ingredients before you start to cook, that will help you turn out exceptional Chinese food in your own home—day in, day out.

A Chinese Cookbook for Kids (Cooking Around the World)

By Rosemary Hankin

PowerKids Press
Paperback (32 pages)

A Chinese Cookbook for Kids (Cooking Around the World)
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China is the fourth-largest country in the world, and it is home to one of the broadest-reaching culinary traditions. However, students will be interested to find that the food found in most Chinese restaurants has little resemblance to the traditional dishes of China. This engaging, fact-filled book explores the foods associated with five of the best-known food destinations in the country. Simple recipes from each region are presented in easy-to-follow steps and photographs. Familiar foods like sweet and sour chicken are shown alongside lesser-known fare, like Lions Head Meatballs, providing something for adventurous eaters and reluctant readers alike. A gorgeous introduction to one of the planets most diverse, and delicious, food traditions.


 
 
 

 
 
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