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Insider Chinese Restaurant Recipes for Home Chefs

If you're a lover of Chinese cuisine, you know that there's nothing quite like the flavours and textures of your favourite Chinese restaurant dishes. From savoury egg rolls to spicy Kung Pao chicken, there's something for everyone when it comes to Chinese food. But what if you could recreate these dishes at home, with your own personal touch? With a few essential ingredients and some basic cooking techniques, you can make your own delicious Chinese restaurant dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen.

A bustling Chinese restaurant kitchen, with woks sizzling and chefs expertly chopping fresh vegetables and meats for traditional recipes

To get started, it's important to have the right ingredients on hand. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce are just a few of the staples you'll need to create authentic Chinese flavours. You'll also need fresh vegetables like bok choy, snow peas, and bean sprouts, as well as protein sources like chicken, beef, and tofu. With these ingredients, you can create a range of popular Chinese dishes like stir-fries, fried rice, and dumplings.

Cooking Chinese food can seem intimidating at first, but with a few tips and tricks, you'll be a pro in no time. One of the most important things to remember is to cook quickly over high heat, which helps to preserve the texture and flavour of the ingredients. You'll also want to use a wok or a large, flat-bottomed pan to ensure even cooking. With these basics in mind, you'll be able to create your own delicious Chinese restaurant dishes that are sure to impress your family and friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Essential ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil are key to creating authentic Chinese flavours.
  • Cooking quickly over high heat and using a wok or large, flat-bottomed pan are important techniques to keep in mind.
  • With a little practice and experimentation, you can create your own delicious Chinese restaurant dishes at home.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cuisine

Fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, and traditional sauces arranged on a wooden table. A wok sizzles on a flaming stove, filling the air with mouthwatering aromas

If you're looking to cook Chinese restaurant recipes at home, there are a few essential ingredients that you should have in your pantry. Some of these ingredients may already be familiar to you, while others may be new. Here are some of the most important ingredients you'll need:

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine and is used in many dishes. It adds a salty and savoury flavour to food. There are two types of soy sauce: light and dark. Light soy sauce is saltier and has a lighter colour, while dark soy sauce is sweeter and has a darker colour. You can use either type of soy sauce in your cooking, depending on the recipe.

Garlic and Ginger

Garlic and ginger are often used together in Chinese cooking. Garlic adds a pungent flavour to dishes, while ginger adds a spicy and slightly sweet flavour. They can be used fresh or dried, and are used in marinades, stir-fries, and soups.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is a fragrant oil that is used to add flavour to dishes. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavour and is often used as a finishing oil in stir-fries and salads.

Oyster Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

Oyster sauce and hoisin sauce are both thick, dark sauces that are used to add flavour to dishes. Oyster sauce is made from oysters and has a salty and slightly sweet flavour, while hoisin sauce is made from soybeans and has a sweet and savoury flavour. Both sauces are used in marinades, stir-fries, and dipping sauces.

Shaoxing Wine

Shaoxing wine is a type of Chinese rice wine that is used in marinades and sauces. It has a strong, nutty flavour and is used to add depth to dishes.


Cornstarch is used as a thickener in Chinese cooking. It is often mixed with water to create a slurry and is added to sauces and soups to thicken them.

Bok Choy and Bean Sprouts

Bok choy and bean sprouts are both commonly used vegetables in Chinese cooking. Bok choy has a mild flavour and can be stir-fried or steamed, while bean sprouts add a crunchy texture to dishes and are often used in stir-fries and soups.

Sugar and Salt

Sugar and salt are both used to balance flavours in Chinese cooking. Sugar is often used to balance out the saltiness of soy sauce and oyster sauce, while salt is used to enhance the flavour of dishes.


Water is used in many Chinese dishes to create sauces and soups. It is important to use clean, fresh water to ensure the best flavour in your dishes.

Popular Chinese Restaurant Dishes

A table set with popular Chinese dishes: steaming dumplings, sizzling stir-fry, aromatic fried rice, and colorful sweet and sour chicken

Are you craving authentic and delicious Chinese food? Look no further than your own kitchen! With these popular Chinese restaurant recipes, you can recreate your favourite dishes at home.


Start your meal off right with some classic Chinese appetisers. Egg rolls and potstickers are always a hit, and you can easily make them at home with this recipe. If you're in the mood for soup, try making egg drop soup – it's simple and satisfying.

Main Courses

When it comes to main courses, there are plenty of options to choose from. Sesame chicken, orange chicken, and kung pao chicken are all popular choices that pack a flavourful punch. If you're in the mood for beef, try making some Mongolian beef or beef and broccoli. And of course, no Chinese meal is complete without some sweet and sour pork.

Vegetarian Specials

Vegetarian? No problem! There are plenty of vegetarian options available at Chinese restaurants. Moo goo gai pan is a classic dish made with mushrooms, snow peas, and other vegetables. For something a bit more unique, try making sticky sesame cauliflower – it's a delicious vegetarian alternative to sesame chicken.

Rice and Noodle Staples

No Chinese meal is complete without some rice or noodles. Chicken fried rice is a popular choice, but you can also make beef or vegetable fried rice if you prefer. If you're in the mood for noodles, try making chicken lo mein or vegetable lo mein. And don't forget to whip up a batch of homemade stir-fry sauce to really bring your dish to life.

Whether you're in the mood for something savoury or sweet, there's a Chinese restaurant dish for everyone. With these recipes, you can recreate your favourite dishes at home and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.

Cooking Techniques and Tips

Sizzling wok, chopsticks, and steaming bamboo baskets. Stir-frying, dumpling folding, and noodle pulling. Aromatic spices and sauces fill the air

Chinese cuisine is known for its unique cooking techniques and delicious flavours. If you want to make restaurant-quality Chinese food at home, it's important to master the essential cooking techniques used in Chinese cuisine. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Marinating and Seasoning

Marinating is an important step in Chinese cooking, especially when it comes to meat and seafood. To make a delicious marinade, you can use soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese five spice powder, salt, sugar, and other seasonings. Simply mix the ingredients together and let the meat or seafood marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help to infuse the meat with flavour and make it tender.

Stir-Frying and Frying

Stir-frying and frying are two of the most popular cooking techniques used in Chinese cuisine. To stir-fry, you'll need a wok and high heat. Heat up some oil in the wok, then add your protein and vegetables. Stir-fry them quickly until they're cooked through, then add your sauce and seasonings. For frying, you can use a deep fryer or a wok. Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding your food to ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn't absorb too much oil.

Steaming and Boiling

Steaming and boiling are two other important cooking techniques used in Chinese cuisine. To steam food, you'll need a steamer basket or a bamboo steamer. Simply place your food in the steamer and let it cook over boiling water. This is a great way to cook seafood, vegetables, and buns. Boiling is another popular technique used to make soups and stews. To make a delicious Chinese soup, you can use a combination of protein, vegetables, and water. Add some seasonings and let it simmer until everything is cooked through.

By following these easy-to-follow tips and techniques, you can make delicious Chinese food at home. Don't be afraid to experiment with different flavours and ingredients to find the perfect recipe for you.

Health and Nutrition Information

A chef prepares traditional Chinese dishes with fresh, colorful ingredients while displaying health and nutrition information on a wall

Chinese cuisine is known for its bold and complex flavours, but it's often associated with being high in calories and fat. However, there are many healthy options available that are both delicious and nutritious.

Calories and Macronutrients

Some of the healthiest Chinese dishes are steamed or stir-fried with vegetables and lean protein such as chicken, fish, or tofu. These dishes are lower in calories and fat than deep-fried options like sweet and sour pork or General Tso's chicken.

For example, a serving of steamed fish or seafood with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce contains around 200-300 calories and is high in protein and healthy fats. A serving of beef and broccoli stir-fry contains around 350-400 calories and is a good source of protein, fibre, and vitamins.

Vitamins and Minerals

Chinese cuisine is also rich in vitamins and minerals. Many dishes are made with vegetables like bok choy, snow peas, and Chinese broccoli, which are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and iron.

For example, a serving of chicken lettuce wraps is packed with veggies and contains around 250-300 calories. It's also a good source of protein, fibre, and vitamin C.

When ordering from a Chinese restaurant, keep in mind that many dishes can be high in sodium and sugar, so it's best to choose steamed or stir-fried options with lean protein and plenty of veggies. You can also ask for dishes to be prepared with less oil or sauce to reduce the calorie and fat content. By making smart choices, you can enjoy delicious Chinese cuisine while still maintaining a healthy diet.

Recipe Adaptations and Variations

Various Chinese dishes displayed on a table, including stir-fried noodles, dumplings, and Szechuan chicken. A chef's hat and apron are visible in the background

Chinese restaurant recipes are a great way to make delicious food at home. You can make adaptations and variations to suit your taste and dietary requirements. Here are some ideas for how to make changes to your favourite Chinese recipes.

Meat Substitutes

If you're looking to reduce your meat intake or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can easily substitute the meat in Chinese recipes. Chicken breast or thighs can be replaced with tofu or seitan. Ground pork can be replaced with mushrooms or lentils. Rotisserie chicken can be replaced with chickpeas or kidney beans. These substitutions will give you a similar taste and texture to the original recipe.

Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives

Chinese food is often a great option for vegetarians and vegans. Vegetable lo mein is a classic dish that is easy to make and can be customised to suit your taste. You can add any vegetables you like, such as broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. You can also add tofu or tempeh for extra protein. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin sauce are all great options for adding flavour to your dish.

Sauce Customisations

If you're looking to customise the flavour of your Chinese dish, you can experiment with different sauces. Stir-fry sauce is a great option for adding a sweet and tangy flavour to your dish. You can also try adding curry powder or sriracha for a spicy kick. If you're looking for a salty flavour, soy sauce is a great option. Oyster sauce is another great option for adding a savoury flavour to your dish.

In conclusion, Chinese restaurant recipes are a great way to make delicious food at home. You can make adaptations and variations to suit your taste and dietary requirements. Whether you're looking to reduce your meat intake, follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or customise the flavour of your dish, there are plenty of options available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bustling Chinese restaurant kitchen with chefs preparing popular dishes for customers

What's the secret behind that amazing flavour in Chinese restaurant chicken dishes?

Chinese restaurant chicken dishes are known for their unique and irresistible flavour. The secret behind this flavour is the use of a combination of sauces and spices. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil are commonly used in Chinese cooking. Additionally, garlic, ginger, and scallions are often added to enhance the flavour. The use of cornstarch in the marinade also helps to tenderize the chicken, giving it a soft and juicy texture.

Can you list some easy-to-make recipes from Chinese home cooking?

Yes, there are many easy-to-make recipes from Chinese home cooking that are both delicious and healthy. Some popular dishes include stir-fried vegetables, egg fried rice, and dumplings. These dishes are quick and easy to make, and can be customized to your liking.

What are the top dishes typically ordered at Chinese restaurants?

Chinese restaurants offer a wide variety of dishes, but some of the most popular ones include sweet and sour pork, Kung Pao chicken, and chow mein. Other popular dishes include hot and sour soup, egg rolls, and fried rice.

What ingredients are staples in a Chinese restaurant kitchen?

Chinese restaurants typically have a wide range of ingredients, but some staples include soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Additionally, Chinese restaurants often use a variety of meats, such as chicken, beef, and pork, as well as seafood, such as shrimp and scallops.

Could you suggest some quick Chinese recipes for a weekday dinner?

Sure, here are some quick Chinese recipes that you can make for a weekday dinner:

What traditional Chinese meals are surprisingly simple to prepare at home?

Many traditional Chinese meals are surprisingly simple to prepare at home, such as dumplings, steamed buns, and stir-fried noodles. These dishes require only a few ingredients and can be customized to your liking. Additionally, many Chinese dishes can be made in large batches and frozen for later use, making meal prep easier and more convenient.