Effortless Chinese Dinners: Quick and Easy Recipes for Beginners – Seaco Online
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

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

Effortless Chinese Dinners: Quick and Easy Recipes for Beginners

A table set with simple ingredients, a wok, and a recipe book open to easy Chinese dinner recipes for beginners

If you're looking for a way to explore new flavours, Chinese cuisine is a great place to start. With its diverse range of dishes, Chinese cooking offers a wide variety of options for anyone looking to try something new. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced cook, there are plenty of easy Chinese dinner recipes that you can make at home.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cooking

Chinese cooking relies on a few essential ingredients that you should have in your pantry. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil are all staples in Chinese cuisine. You'll also need ginger, garlic, and scallions, which are used in many Chinese recipes. If you're looking to add some heat to your dishes, you can use Sichuan peppercorns or dried chillies.

Easy Starter Recipes

If you're new to Chinese cooking, there are plenty of easy starter recipes that you can try. Fried rice, stir-fry, and chow mein are all classic Chinese dishes that are quick and easy to make. You can also try your hand at making dumplings, which are a fun and delicious way to explore Chinese cuisine.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese cooking relies on a few essential ingredients, such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
  • Easy starter recipes like fried rice, stir-fry, and chow mein are great for beginners.
  • Seafood can be a great addition to Chinese dishes, with options like shrimp, scallops, and squid.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cooking

A table with various Chinese cooking ingredients: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili paste

Chinese cuisine is known for its unique blend of flavors and textures that are achieved through the use of a variety of ingredients. As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to know which ingredients to use and how to use them. Here are some essential ingredients that you will need to get started with Chinese cooking.


Proteins are an important part of Chinese cuisine, and there are many options to choose from. Beef, chicken, pork, tofu, and seafood are all popular choices. When it comes to seafood, you can use prawns, shrimp, scallops, or fish.


Vegetables are an essential part of Chinese cooking, and they are used in almost every dish. Some popular options include ginger, garlic, green onion, and a variety of leafy greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and spinach. Other vegetables that can be used include broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and mushrooms.

Sauces and Seasonings

Sauces and seasonings are what give Chinese cuisine its unique flavor. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce are all commonly used. Other seasonings that can be used include salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.


Staples such as rice and noodles are a staple in Chinese cuisine. Rice is typically served with most meals and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Noodles are also a popular option and can be served in soups or stir-fried.

When cooking Chinese cuisine, it is important to have a well-stocked pantry with these essential ingredients. By having these ingredients on hand, you can easily create a variety of dishes that are both delicious and easy to make.

Basic Techniques in Chinese Cooking

A wok sizzles over a gas flame. Ingredients like ginger, garlic, and soy sauce sit ready nearby. A chef's knife and cutting board are prepped for slicing and dicing

Chinese cuisine is famous for its bold and rich flavours that come from using a variety of ingredients and cooking techniques. Below are some basic techniques in Chinese cooking that every beginner should know.


Stir-frying is a quick and easy method of cooking that involves cooking small pieces of food in oil over high heat. It is typically done in a wok, which is a deep, round-bottomed pan that allows for easy stirring and tossing of food.

To stir-fry, you will need to prepare your ingredients in advance, as the cooking process is fast and requires constant attention. You can use a variety of ingredients for stir-frying, including vegetables, meats, and seafood.


Steaming is a healthy way of cooking that involves cooking food by exposing it to steam. It is a popular method of cooking in Chinese cuisine, especially for delicate ingredients like fish and seafood.

To steam food, you will need a steamer basket or a bamboo steamer. Simply place your food in the steamer, cover it, and let it cook over boiling water. Steaming is a gentle cooking method that preserves the natural flavour and nutrients of the food.


Marinating is a technique of flavouring food by soaking it in a mixture of ingredients. It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine to add flavour to meats and seafood.

To make a marinade, you can use a variety of ingredients, including soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, garlic, and sugar. Simply mix the ingredients together and let your food soak in the mixture for a few hours or overnight.

When using seafood, it is important to choose the right type of seafood that can withstand marinating without falling apart. Some great options for marinating include shrimp, scallops, and squid.

By mastering these basic techniques in Chinese cooking, you can create delicious and healthy meals at home. Try incorporating seafood into your recipes for an added boost of flavour and nutrition.

Easy Starter Recipes

A table set with simple Chinese dishes, ingredients, and cooking utensils. A beginner-friendly recipe book open to easy dinner ideas

If you are new to cooking Chinese food, it is best to start with easy and beginner-friendly recipes. In this section, we will introduce you to some delicious and straightforward starter recipes that you can try at home.

Chicken Dishes

Chicken is a popular protein in Chinese cuisine, and there are many easy and delicious chicken dishes that you can make at home. One of the easiest and most popular chicken dishes is chicken fried rice. It is a simple stir-fry dish that combines cooked rice, chicken, eggs, and vegetables. You can also add seafood such as shrimp or crab to make it more flavourful.

Another popular chicken dish is sweet and sour chicken. It is a tangy and sweet dish made with crispy fried chicken, bell peppers, onions, and pineapple. This dish is perfect for those who love a balance of sweet and savoury flavours.

Beef Specials

Beef and broccoli is a classic Chinese dish that is easy to make and tastes delicious. It is a stir-fry dish that combines tender beef, broccoli florets, and a savoury sauce. You can also add other vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, and peppers to make it more nutritious.

If you are a seafood lover, you can also try making beef and seafood stir-fry. This dish combines tender beef, shrimp, scallops, and squid with a variety of vegetables and a savoury sauce. It is a flavourful and nutritious dish that is perfect for seafood lovers.

Vegetarian Delights

Vegetarian dishes are a great way to explore Chinese cuisine, and there are many easy and delicious vegetarian recipes that you can try. Mapo tofu is a popular Sichuan dish that is made with tofu, minced meat, and a spicy sauce. However, you can easily make a vegetarian version by omitting the meat and using vegetable broth instead.

Another easy and delicious vegetarian dish is stir-fried vegetables. You can use any vegetables that you like, such as broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and peppers. Simply stir-fry them with garlic, ginger, and a savoury sauce for a quick and healthy meal.

In addition to these dishes, you can also try making egg drop soup, dumplings, and other stir-fries. With a little practice and experimentation, you can become a master of Chinese cuisine in no time.

Building Flavours

A wok sizzles with stir-fried veggies and tofu. Steam rises from a pot of fragrant rice. A chef's knife chops fresh ginger and garlic. Soy sauce and sesame oil sit on the counter

Creating Umami

Umami is a savoury taste that is often described as meaty or brothy. It's an essential flavour in Chinese cuisine and can be found in ingredients such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, and broth. To create umami in your Chinese dinner recipes, use these ingredients generously.

Seafood is also a great source of umami. Shrimp, scallops, and squid are just a few examples of seafood that can be used to add a delicious savoury flavour to your dishes. Try adding some shrimp to your stir-fry or using scallops in your fried rice.

Balancing Sweetness and Spice

Chinese cuisine is known for its balance of sweet and spicy flavours. To achieve this balance in your dinner recipes, use ingredients such as chili oil, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns.

Chili oil is a great way to add some heat to your dishes, while star anise and Sichuan peppercorns provide a unique flavour that is both sweet and spicy. When using these ingredients, be sure to taste your dish as you go to ensure that the sweetness and spiciness are balanced.

Seafood can also be used to balance sweetness and spice in your dishes. For example, adding some prawns to your dish can help to balance out the heat from the chili oil.

By using umami-rich ingredients and balancing sweetness and spice, you can create delicious Chinese dinner recipes that are sure to impress.

Finishing Touches

A table set with colorful dishes, chopsticks, and steaming bowls of easy Chinese dinner recipes for beginners


Garnishing your dish is an important step to enhance its appearance and flavour. Green onions, sesame seeds and coriander are commonly used in Chinese cuisine as garnishes. Simply chop the green onions and sprinkle them over your dish to add a pop of colour and flavour. Toasted sesame seeds can be sprinkled on top of stir-fries or rice dishes to add a nutty flavour and crunch. Fresh coriander leaves can be used to add a fresh and fragrant touch to your dish.

Serving Suggestions

Chinese dumplings and dim sum are popular appetizers that can be served alongside your main course. They can be steamed or pan-fried and are often filled with pork, chicken or seafood. If you want to add more seafood to your meal, consider adding shrimp or scallops to your stir-fry or rice dish.

If you prefer to enjoy your meal at home, you can recreate the experience of Chinese takeout by serving your dish in takeout containers. This can be a fun way to add some novelty to your meal and make it feel more authentic.

Overall, garnishing and serving suggestions can make a big difference in the presentation and taste of your dish. Experiment with different ingredients and find what works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table set with various Chinese ingredients and cooking utensils, with a recipe book open to "easy Chinese dinner recipes for beginners" highlighted

What are some simple Chinese dishes I can start with as a beginner?

If you're new to Chinese cooking, it's best to start with simple dishes that require minimal preparation and ingredients. Some easy Chinese dishes that beginners can try include stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, and chow mein. These dishes are quick to prepare and can be customized to your taste.

Can you suggest easy vegetarian options for a Chinese dinner?

For vegetarians, Chinese cuisine offers a variety of options. You can try stir-fried vegetables, tofu dishes, or vegetable fried rice. If you're looking for a protein substitute, you can use tofu or mushrooms instead of meat. Seafood can also be added to some vegetarian dishes, such as vegetable stir-fry with prawns.

Which Chinese chicken meals are best for novices to try at home?

If you're new to Chinese cooking and want to try chicken dishes, you can start with simple recipes like sweet and sour chicken, kung pao chicken, or chicken stir-fry. These dishes are easy to prepare and require minimal ingredients.

What traditional Chinese recipes are suitable for first-time cooks?

If you're interested in traditional Chinese recipes, you can try dishes like dumplings, spring rolls, or wonton soup. These dishes may require more preparation time, but they are worth the effort. You can also experiment with different sauces and spices to customize the taste.

Could you recommend some straightforward Chinese noodle dishes for a quick dinner?

Chinese noodle dishes are perfect for a quick and easy dinner. You can try dishes like chow mein, lo mein, or stir-fried noodles. These dishes can be customized with your favourite vegetables or protein. Seafood can also be added to some noodle dishes, such as prawn chow mein or seafood stir-fried noodles.

What easy Chinese desserts could I make to finish off a meal?

Chinese cuisine offers a variety of desserts that are easy to prepare. Some popular Chinese desserts include sweet red bean soup, sesame balls, or mango pudding. These desserts can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you're ready to serve them.