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Chinese Style Recipes: Easy and Delicious Dishes to Try at Home

If you're looking for a cuisine that is rich in flavour and has a long history, Chinese cuisine is a great place to start. Chinese style recipes are famous for their unique blend of spices and ingredients, which create an explosion of flavour in your mouth. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a beginner, there are plenty of Chinese dishes that you can try at home.

A table set with traditional Chinese dishes, including steamed dumplings, stir-fried vegetables, and rice, surrounded by ornate chopsticks and teacups

To make authentic Chinese recipes, you need to have the right ingredients. Essential ingredients for Chinese cooking include soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. You'll also need a variety of spices, such as ginger, garlic, and Szechuan peppercorns. These ingredients are used in many popular Chinese dishes, such as Kung Pao chicken, stir-fried vegetables, and hot and sour soup.

Cooking Chinese food can be intimidating, but with a little practice and the right techniques, you can master this cuisine. Chinese cooking techniques include stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, and braising. Each technique requires a different approach, but with practice, you'll be able to create delicious dishes that will impress your family and friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese cuisine is famous for its unique blend of spices and ingredients, which create an explosion of flavour in your mouth.
  • Essential ingredients for Chinese cooking include soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
  • Chinese cooking techniques include stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, and braising.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cooking

A variety of fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, and traditional sauces are neatly arranged on a wooden table, ready for Chinese cooking

Chinese cuisine is known for its bold and complex flavours. While there are many ingredients that can be used in Chinese cooking, there are a few essential ingredients that are commonly used in most dishes. In this section, we will explore the essential ingredients for Chinese cooking, including sauces and condiments, proteins and vegetables, and staple grains and noodles.

Sauces and Condiments

Sauces and condiments are a crucial part of Chinese cooking, as they add flavour and depth to dishes. Some of the most commonly used sauces and condiments in Chinese cooking include:

  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce is a staple in Chinese cooking and is used to add saltiness and umami to dishes. Use light soy sauce for seasoning and dark soy sauce for colouring.

  • Oyster sauce: Oyster sauce is a thick, rich sauce made from oysters, soy sauce, and sugar. It is commonly used in stir-fries and marinades.

  • Sesame oil: Sesame oil is a fragrant oil made from toasted sesame seeds. It is used as a finishing oil to add flavour and aroma to dishes.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in Chinese cooking. It is commonly used to thicken sauces and marinades.

Proteins and Vegetables

Proteins and vegetables are the building blocks of Chinese dishes. Here are some of the most commonly used proteins and vegetables in Chinese cooking:

  • Chicken breast and thighs: Chicken is a versatile protein that can be used in a variety of Chinese dishes. Use boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs for stir-fries and soups.

  • Tofu: Tofu is a popular protein in Chinese cooking, especially for vegetarian dishes. Use firm tofu for stir-fries and soups.

  • Bok choy: Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable that is commonly used in Chinese cooking. It has a mild flavour and a crisp texture.

  • Carrot: Carrots are a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of Chinese dishes. They add sweetness and colour to stir-fries and soups.

  • Garlic and onion: Garlic and onion are essential aromatics in Chinese cooking. They add flavour and depth to dishes.

Staple Grains and Noodles

Staple grains and noodles are the backbone of Chinese cuisine. Here are some of the most commonly used staple grains and noodles in Chinese cooking:

  • Rice: Rice is a staple in Chinese cooking and is used as a base for many dishes. Use long-grain rice for stir-fries and short-grain rice for sushi.

  • Noodles: Noodles are a versatile ingredient in Chinese cooking and can be used in a variety of dishes. Use egg noodles for stir-fries and soups.

  • Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are commonly used as a garnish in Chinese cooking. They add flavour and texture to dishes.

  • Salt and sugar: Salt and sugar are used to season and balance the flavours in Chinese dishes.

  • Black pepper: Black pepper is used sparingly in Chinese cooking to add a hint of heat to dishes.

  • Green onion and cilantro: Green onion and cilantro are commonly used as garnishes in Chinese cooking. They add freshness and colour to dishes.

When cooking Chinese style recipes, consider incorporating seafood for added flavour and variety. Shrimp, scallops, and squid are excellent choices for stir-fries and soups.

Popular Chinese Dishes and Their Secrets

A table spread with popular Chinese dishes: dumplings, fried rice, hot pot, and stir-fried noodles. Ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic are visible

Chinese cuisine is known for its diverse range of dishes, each with its unique blend of flavours and textures. Here are some of the most popular Chinese dishes and their secrets that you can try making at home.

Classic Meat Dishes

Chinese cuisine has a wide variety of meat dishes, and some of the most popular ones include Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Orange Chicken. These dishes are typically made with chicken or pork, which is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and spices, and then stir-fried with vegetables like peppers and onions.

For an extra crunch, you can add crispy Chinese chicken or char siu pork to your stir-fry. These meats are marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce and then roasted until they are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Vegetarian Delights

Vegetarian Chinese dishes are just as flavourful as their meat counterparts. Some of the most popular vegetarian dishes include Mapo Tofu, Stir-Fried Vegetables, and Dumplings. Mapo Tofu is a spicy dish made with tofu, minced meat, and Sichuan peppercorns. For a vegetarian version, you can substitute the meat with mushrooms or other vegetables.

Dumplings are a staple in Chinese cuisine and are often eaten as a snack or served as an appetizer. They can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, tofu, and meat substitutes.

Seafood Specialties

Chinese cuisine is also known for its seafood dishes. Some of the most popular ones include Shrimp Chow Mein, Twice-Cooked Pork, and Crispy Fried Fish. Shrimp Chow Mein is a dish made with stir-fried noodles, vegetables, and shrimp. You can use any type of seafood, such as squid or mussels, to make this dish.

Twice-Cooked Pork is a dish made with sliced pork belly that is first boiled and then stir-fried with vegetables and spices. For a seafood version, you can substitute the pork with shrimp or scallops.

Crispy Fried Fish is a dish made with whole fish that is deep-fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You can use any type of fish, such as tilapia or cod, to make this dish.

By incorporating these popular Chinese dishes into your cooking repertoire, you can impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Don't be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavours to create your own unique Chinese-style recipes.

Cooking Techniques and Tips

A wok sizzles over high heat, as a chef tosses vegetables and meat with precision. Steam rises as the aroma of ginger and garlic fills the air

Chinese cuisine is renowned for its unique cooking techniques that result in delicious and flavourful dishes. Here are some tips and tricks to help you master the art of Chinese cooking.

Stir-Frying Mastery

Stir-frying is a classic Chinese cooking technique that involves cooking small pieces of food over high heat in a wok or frying pan. To achieve the perfect stir-fry, you need to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. This means chopping your vegetables, slicing your meat, and measuring out your sauces.

When stir-frying, it's important to use a high smoke point oil such as vegetable oil or peanut oil. Heat your oil until it's hot but not smoking, then add your ingredients in batches, starting with the aromatics like garlic and ginger. Cook each batch until it's just cooked through before adding the next batch.

To add flavour to your stir-fry, use sauces like light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and garlic sauce. These sauces add depth and complexity to your dish and can be used to create a variety of different flavour profiles. If you're using seafood in your stir-fry, try using prawns or scallops for a delicious twist.

Steaming Essentials

Steaming is another popular Chinese cooking technique that is often used to cook whole fish and vegetables. To steam your food, you'll need a steamer basket or a bamboo steamer. Place your food in the steamer basket or on a plate and place it in the steamer. Steam your food for the recommended time until it's cooked through.

When steaming fish, it's important to use a whole fish and to leave the head and tail intact. This is because the head and tail are the most flavourful parts of the fish. Season your fish with salt and pepper, and add aromatics like ginger and spring onions to the cavity for extra flavour.

If you're looking for a low-carb alternative to rice, try making cauliflower rice. Simply pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice, then steam them for a few minutes until they're cooked through.

Deep-Frying Do's and Don'ts

Deep-frying is a technique that is often used to make crispy, golden brown dishes like spring rolls and fried chicken. When deep-frying, it's important to use a neutral-flavoured oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil or peanut oil.

To ensure that your food cooks evenly, make sure that your oil is at the correct temperature before you start cooking. Use a thermometer to check that your oil is at 180°C. If your oil is too hot, your food will burn, and if it's too cold, your food will be greasy.

When deep-frying, it's important to drain your food on a wire rack or paper towels to remove any excess oil. Serve your deep-fried dishes with a dipping sauce like sweet chilli sauce or soy sauce for an extra burst of flavour.

In conclusion, mastering Chinese cooking techniques takes practice and patience. With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to create delicious and authentic Chinese dishes at home.

Chinese Takeout Favourites at Home

A table set with various Chinese takeout dishes, including fried rice, lo mein, and orange chicken. Chopsticks and fortune cookies sit on the side

Craving Chinese takeout but don't want to leave the comfort of your own home? No problem! With these copycat recipes, you can recreate your favourite Chinese takeout dishes right in your own kitchen. Plus, we've included some healthier alternatives so you can indulge without the guilt.

Copycat Recipes

Love crab rangoon? Try making it at home with this recipe from You'll need cream cheese, crab meat, wonton wrappers, and a few other ingredients to make these crispy, creamy appetizers. And if you're a fan of potstickers, you'll want to try this recipe from It calls for ground pork, cabbage, and ginger, but you can easily swap in your favourite protein and veggies.

For a classic Chinese chicken dish, you can't go wrong with chicken lo mein. This recipe from is easy to follow and customizable to your preferences. You can add in whatever veggies you like and even swap out the chicken for beef or seafood if you prefer.

Healthier Alternatives

If you're trying to eat healthier but still want to enjoy Chinese takeout flavours, try making these dishes at home with some healthier substitutions. For example, instead of ordering takeout sweet and sour chicken, try this recipe from It uses skinless chicken breast and a homemade sauce made with less sugar and no corn syrup.

And instead of ordering greasy fried rice, try making this recipe from It calls for brown rice, which is higher in fibre and nutrients than white rice, and plenty of veggies like carrots, peas, and bell peppers. You can also add in some shrimp or other seafood for added flavour and nutrition.

With these recipes, you can enjoy all your Chinese takeout favourites without leaving the house. Plus, by making them at home, you can control the ingredients and make healthier choices.

Celebrating Chinese Culture Through Food

A table adorned with traditional Chinese dishes, steaming dumplings, and colorful stir-fries, surrounded by vibrant red lanterns and decorative chopsticks

Chinese cuisine is a celebration of diversity, balance, and harmony. Whether you are exploring street food vendors in Beijing or enjoying a formal banquet in Shanghai, there is always something new to discover in Chinese cuisine.

Chinese New Year Feasts

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is one of the most important festivals in the Chinese culture. It is a time for family reunions, exchanging gifts, and most importantly, feasting. During this time, Chinese families prepare a variety of traditional dishes that are believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

One popular dish during Chinese New Year is fresh fish. In Chinese culture, fish symbolizes abundance and prosperity. It is often served whole, with the head and tail intact, to represent completeness. Another classic dish is Chinese dumplings, which are believed to bring wealth and good fortune. These dumplings are usually filled with pork, cabbage, and other vegetables, and are shaped like gold ingots.

Fortune cookies, although not originally from China, have become a staple in Chinese New Year celebrations in the West. These cookies contain a strip of paper with a fortune or a lucky number, which is believed to bring good luck to the person who receives it.

Regional Specialities

China is a vast country with many different regions, each with its own unique cuisine. Some popular regional dishes include Taiwanese beef noodle soup, which is a hearty and flavourful soup made with beef, vegetables, and noodles. Another favourite is hot and sour soup, which is a tangy and spicy soup made with mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots.

Noodle dishes are also a staple in Chinese cuisine. From thin and delicate rice noodles to thick and chewy wheat noodles, there are endless possibilities when it comes to noodle dishes. Some popular noodle dishes include chow mein, lo mein, and dan dan noodles.

If you are looking to add some seafood to your Chinese-style recipe, you can try using prawns, scallops, or squid. These seafood options are commonly used in Chinese dishes and can add a delicious flavour to your meal.

Overall, Chinese cuisine is rich in culture and history, and is a wonderful way to celebrate and explore Chinese culture through food.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bustling Chinese marketplace with vendors selling traditional ingredients and cooking utensils, while customers browse through recipe books and ask questions

What's the simplest way to whip up a Chinese-style meal at home?

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to make a Chinese-style meal at home, stir-fries are the way to go. All you need is some protein, vegetables, and a few basic seasonings such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. You can also use pre-made sauces to save time. Serve with rice or noodles, and you're good to go.

Can you list some must-try traditional Chinese dishes?

There are many traditional Chinese dishes that are worth trying. Some of the most popular ones include Kung Pao Chicken, Chow Mein, Stir-fried Vegetables, Dumplings, and Fried Rice. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try some regional specialties such as Sichuan Hot Pot, Cantonese Dim Sum, or Beijing Roast Duck.

How do I make a vegetarian Chinese-style dinner?

Chinese cuisine has a rich tradition of vegetarian cooking, so there are plenty of options for those who prefer plant-based meals. Some popular vegetarian dishes include Mapo Tofu, Stir-fried Vegetables, Braised Mushrooms, and Vegetarian Dumplings. You can also substitute meat with tofu or seitan in many recipes.

What are some quick Chinese recipes suitable for kids?

Kids love Chinese-style dishes, so here are a few quick and easy recipes that they'll enjoy: Sweet and Sour Chicken, Chicken Fried Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, and Wonton Soup. You can also make some fun and creative dishes such as Vegetable Spring Rolls, Chicken Satay Skewers, or Fried Rice Balls.

Which Chinese dishes are considered the classics for a dinner party?

If you're hosting a dinner party and want to impress your guests with some classic Chinese dishes, here are a few suggestions: Peking Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Fried Rice, Steamed Fish, and Braised Pork Belly. These dishes are sure to be a hit with your guests and will make your dinner party a memorable one.

Could you suggest some Chinese-style chicken recipes that are crowd-pleasers?

Chicken is a versatile and popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine, and there are many delicious recipes to choose from. Here are a few crowd-pleasers: General Tso's Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, and Cashew Chicken. If you want to add some seafood to your chicken dish, you can try adding some shrimp or scallops to Kung Pao Chicken or Cashew Chicken.