Cheap Eats: Easy Chinese Recipes on a Budget – Seaco Online
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

You might like
Promotion
Read more
Seaco-online.com completes revamp of our website to bring you a better seafood buying experience!

Cheap Eats: Easy Chinese Recipes on a Budget

Chinese cuisine is renowned for its tasty flavours and distinct spice combinations. Yet, a common misconception is that cooking Chinese food at home entails costly ingredients and extensive preparation time, which can intimidate many. The reality is that you can easily whip up easy Chinese recipes in your own kitchen with easy, budget-friendly recipes.

A wok sizzles with stir-fried vegetables and tofu. Steam rises as a chef adds soy sauce and ginger. A bowl of rice sits nearby

Essential ingredients for Chinese cooking include soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger. These ingredients can be found in most supermarkets and are relatively inexpensive. With these staples in your pantry, you can create a variety of Chinese dishes in no time.

Staple Chinese recipes include fried rice, stir-fries, and dumplings. These dishes are easy to make and can be customized to your liking. For example, you can add your favourite vegetables and proteins to a stir-fry for a quick and healthy meal. If you're in the mood for something more indulgent, try making your own fried rice with leftover rice and whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese cooking can be easy and affordable with the right ingredients.
  • Staples like soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar are essential for creating authentic Chinese flavours.
  • Quick and easy dishes like stir-fries and fried rice can be customized to your liking with your favourite ingredients.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cooking

A cluttered kitchen counter with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and green onions. A wok sizzles on the stove, ready for Chinese cooking

When it comes to cooking Chinese food, there are a few essential ingredients that you should always have on hand. These ingredients can be used in a variety of dishes and will help you achieve that authentic Chinese flavour. Here are some of the most important ingredients you'll need:

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one of the most important ingredients in Chinese cooking. It's used to add flavour and colour to dishes and can be found in almost every Chinese recipe. Regular or light soy sauce is recommended for most dishes, but you can also try using dark soy sauce for a richer flavour.

Ginger and Garlic

Ginger and garlic are two of the most commonly used ingredients in Chinese cooking. They add flavour and depth to dishes and can be used in everything from stir-fries to soups. Fresh ginger and garlic are recommended, but you can also use dried versions if you don't have fresh on hand.

Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, are a staple in Chinese cooking. They add a fresh, oniony flavour to dishes and can be used in everything from stir-fries to dumplings. They can be used raw or cooked, and are often used as a garnish.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is a fragrant oil that's often used in Chinese cooking. It has a nutty flavour and is used to add depth and flavour to dishes. It's often used in marinades, dressings, and sauces.

Oyster Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

Oyster sauce and hoisin sauce are two flavourful sauces that are commonly used in Chinese cooking. Oyster sauce is made from oysters and has a salty, umami flavour. Hoisin sauce is made from soybeans, garlic, and chilies and has a sweet and tangy flavour. Both sauces can be used in stir-fries, marinades, and as a dipping sauce.

Rice and Noodles

Rice and noodles are two staples in Chinese cuisine. Rice is used as a side dish or as a base for stir-fries and other dishes. Noodles can be used in soups, stir-fries, and other dishes. You can use any type of rice or noodles, but jasmine rice and egg noodles are popular choices.

Tofu

Tofu is a protein-rich ingredient that's commonly used in Chinese cooking. It's made from soybeans and has a mild flavour that absorbs the flavours of other ingredients. It can be used in stir-fries, soups, and other dishes.

Sesame Seeds and Chilies

Sesame seeds and chilies are often used as garnishes in Chinese cooking. Sesame seeds add a nutty flavour and can be sprinkled over dishes. Chilies add heat and can be used in sauces, marinades, and stir-fries.

Vinegar and Cornstarch

Vinegar and cornstarch are two ingredients that are often used in Chinese cooking. Vinegar is used to add acidity to dishes and can be used in sauces and marinades. Cornstarch is used as a thickener and can be used in sauces and stir-fries.

Chicken Stock and Pantry Staples

Chicken stock is often used as a base for soups and stews in Chinese cooking. You can make your own chicken stock or use store-bought. Pantry staples like salt, sugar, and cooking oil are also important ingredients to have on hand.

If you want to add seafood to your Chinese dishes, you can use shrimp, scallops, or squid. They can be used in stir-fries, soups, and other dishes. Make sure to cook them properly to avoid overcooking or undercooking.

Staple Chinese Recipes

A table set with various Chinese dishes, including stir-fried noodles, sweet and sour chicken, and steamed dumplings. Chopsticks and soy sauce on the side

If you're looking for some easy and cheap Chinese recipes that you can make at home, look no further than these staple dishes. These recipes are packed with flavour, and are sure to impress your family and friends.

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and broccoli is a classic Chinese dish that is both sweet and salty. To make this dish, you'll need some beef, broccoli, and a few other ingredients. You can use either beef or chicken thighs for this recipe, but beef is the more traditional choice.

To make the dish, you'll need to marinate the beef in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Then, you'll stir-fry the beef in a wok or large skillet until it's browned. Next, you'll add the broccoli and stir-fry it until it's tender-crisp. Finally, you'll add a sauce made from oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and water, and stir-fry everything together until it's coated in the sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken is a spicy and flavourful Chinese dish that is sure to please. To make this dish, you'll need some chicken thighs, peanuts, and a few other ingredients. You can also use pork or tofu instead of chicken if you prefer.

To make the dish, you'll need to marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Then, you'll stir-fry the chicken in a wok or large skillet until it's browned. Next, you'll add some diced peppers, peanuts, and a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch. Finally, you'll stir-fry everything together until it's coated in the sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken is a classic Chinese dish that is both sweet and tangy. To make this dish, you'll need some chicken thighs, peppers, and a few other ingredients. You can also use pork or tofu instead of chicken if you prefer.

To make the dish, you'll need to marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Then, you'll stir-fry the chicken in a wok or large skillet until it's browned. Next, you'll add some diced peppers and a sauce made from ketchup, sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch. Finally, you'll stir-fry everything together until it's coated in the sauce.

Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu is a spicy and flavourful Chinese dish that is made with tofu and ground pork. To make this dish, you'll need some tofu, pork, and a few other ingredients.

To make the dish, you'll need to brown the pork in a wok or large skillet. Then, you'll add some diced peppers and a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch. Finally, you'll add the tofu and stir-fry everything together until it's coated in the sauce.

If you're looking to add some seafood to your Chinese recipes, you can try using shrimp or scallops in place of the meat in any of these recipes. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Quick and Easy Stir-Fries

A sizzling wok filled with colorful vegetables and strips of meat, surrounded by bottles of soy sauce and sesame oil. Smoke rises as the ingredients are tossed together in a quick and easy stir-fry

Stir-fries are a staple in Chinese cuisine and are a quick and easy way to whip up a delicious meal in under 30 minutes. Here are a few simple and tasty stir-fry recipes that you can make at home.

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken stir-fry is a classic Chinese dish that is both delicious and easy to make. To make this dish, simply stir-fry some chicken with green onions, garlic, and ginger. Add some soy sauce and sesame oil for flavour, and finish off with a sprinkle of pepper. You can also add some vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers to make it a more nutritious meal. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add some seafood like prawns or scallops to give it a unique twist.

Beef Stir-Fry

Beef stir-fry is another classic Chinese dish that is both easy and affordable to make. To make this dish, simply stir-fry some beef with green onions, garlic, and ginger. Add some soy sauce and sesame oil for flavour, and finish off with a sprinkle of pepper. You can also add some vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions to make it a more filling meal. If you're a seafood lover, you can also add some shrimp or squid to give it a seafood twist.

Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

If you're a vegetarian, tofu and vegetable stir-fry is a great option for you. To make this dish, simply stir-fry some tofu with your favourite vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. Add some soy sauce and sesame oil for flavour, and finish off with a sprinkle of pepper. You can also add some garlic and ginger for extra flavour. If you're a seafood lover, you can also add some fish or prawns to give it a seafood twist.

In summary, stir-fries are a quick and easy way to make a delicious meal in under 30 minutes. Whether you're a meat lover, vegetarian, or seafood lover, there's a stir-fry recipe for everyone. So why not give it a try and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills?

Noodles and Rice Delights

A steaming bowl of noodles and rice surrounded by various Chinese ingredients and cooking utensils

If you're looking for a quick and easy Chinese meal, look no further than noodles and rice dishes. These dishes are not only affordable but also delicious and can be made with a variety of ingredients.

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken fried rice is a classic Chinese dish that is easy to make and perfect for a quick meal. To make this dish, start by cooking rice according to package instructions. Once the rice is cooked, heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add some oil and stir-fry some diced chicken until cooked through. Add some green onion, eggs, and cooked rice to the pan and stir-fry until everything is heated through. Season with soy sauce to taste.

For a seafood twist, try adding some cooked shrimp or crab meat to the dish.

Chow Mein

Chow mein is another classic Chinese dish that is easy to make and perfect for a quick meal. To make this dish, start by cooking some noodles according to package instructions. Once the noodles are cooked, heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add some oil and stir-fry some diced chicken or char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) until cooked through. Add some vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts, to the pan and stir-fry until tender. Add the cooked noodles and season with soy sauce to taste.

For a seafood twist, try adding some cooked shrimp or squid to the dish.

Lo Mein

Lo mein is a popular Chinese dish that is similar to chow mein but uses a different type of noodle. To make this dish, start by cooking some lo mein noodles according to package instructions. Once the noodles are cooked, heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add some oil and stir-fry some diced chicken or char siu until cooked through. Add some vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts, to the pan and stir-fry until tender. Add the cooked noodles and season with soy sauce to taste.

For a seafood twist, try adding some cooked shrimp or scallops to the dish.

Overall, noodles and rice dishes are a great option for a quick and easy Chinese meal. They are versatile and can be made with a variety of ingredients, including seafood. So why not try making one of these dishes tonight?

Dim Sum and More

A table set with an array of steaming dim sum dishes and traditional Chinese condiments

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to enjoy some Chinese cuisine, then Dim Sum is the way to go. Dim Sum is a traditional Chinese meal that consists of small dishes shared with hot tea. It's usually served around brunch time, making it a perfect meal for a lazy Sunday morning.

Pot Stickers

Pot stickers are a type of Chinese dumpling that are pan-fried on one side and steamed on the other. They are a popular Dim Sum dish that is easy to make and delicious to eat. Pot stickers are made with a dough that is filled with various fillings such as pork, chicken, or vegetables. You can also add seafood such as prawns or scallops to the filling for added flavour.

To make pot stickers, you'll need to make the dough and the filling separately. Once you have both, you can fill the dough with the filling and cook them in a pan until they are golden brown on one side. Then, add some water to the pan and cover it with a lid to steam the pot stickers until they are cooked through.

Wonton Soup

Wonton soup is a classic Chinese soup that is perfect for a cold winter day. It's made with wonton dumplings that are filled with pork, prawns, or a combination of both. The dumplings are then cooked in a clear broth that is flavoured with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

To make wonton soup, you'll need to make the wonton dumplings and the broth separately. Once you have both, you can add the dumplings to the broth and cook them until they are cooked through. You can also add some vegetables such as bok choy or carrots to the soup for added flavour and nutrition.

Chinese Dumplings

Chinese dumplings are another popular Dim Sum dish that is easy to make and delicious to eat. The dumplings are made with a dough that is filled with various fillings such as pork, chicken, or vegetables. You can also add seafood such as prawns or scallops to the filling for added flavour.

To make Chinese dumplings, you'll need to make the dough and the filling separately. Once you have both, you can fill the dough with the filling and cook them in a pot of boiling water until they are cooked through. You can also pan-fry the dumplings for a crispy texture.

Overall, Dim Sum is a great way to enjoy some Chinese cuisine without breaking the bank. With just a few simple ingredients, you can make delicious dishes such as pot stickers, wonton soup, and Chinese dumplings. Add some sweet and sour chicken, char siu, or Chinese BBQ pork and steamed rice to complete your meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful array of fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, and traditional Chinese cooking utensils laid out on a rustic wooden table

What are some simple Chinese dishes to cook for a family dinner?

If you're looking for easy Chinese dishes to cook for a family dinner, you can try making Kung Pao chicken, sweet and sour pork, or beef and broccoli stir-fry. These dishes are simple to prepare and are sure to please everyone at the table. You can also add seafood such as shrimp or squid to your stir-fry for an added flavour.

How can I prepare vegetarian Chinese meals on a budget?

Preparing vegetarian Chinese meals on a budget is easy. You can make vegetable stir-fry with tofu, vegetable dumplings, or vegetable fried rice. You can also add mushrooms, carrots, and bell peppers to your dishes for an extra flavour.

What's the easiest Chinese recipe for someone who's just starting out?

If you're new to Chinese cooking, you can start with making fried rice. It's a simple dish that only requires a few ingredients such as rice, eggs, and vegetables. You can also add meat or seafood if you like. Another easy recipe is stir-fry, which involves cooking vegetables and meat or seafood in a wok with some oil and seasoning.

Could you suggest some budget-friendly Chinese meals for two?

If you're cooking for two, you can try making chicken chow mein, vegetable lo mein, or egg fried rice. These dishes are easy to prepare and are budget-friendly. You can also add shrimp or other seafood to your dishes for a more flavourful meal.

What are the staple ingredients I need for basic Chinese home cooking?

Some staple ingredients you'll need for basic Chinese home cooking are soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. You'll also need ginger, garlic, scallions, and Chinese five-spice powder. These ingredients can be used in a variety of Chinese dishes and can be found in most grocery stores.

Which Chinese takeaway dishes can I easily recreate at home?

You can easily recreate Chinese takeaway dishes such as sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli stir-fry, and vegetable fried rice at home. These dishes are simple to make and can be customized to your liking. You can also add seafood such as shrimp or squid to your dishes for an added flavour.