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Savoury Suppers: Simple Chinese Dinner Recipes for Hectic Evenings

When you're in need of a fast and straightforward dinner idea bursting with taste, Chinese cooking stands out as a superb choice. By having a handful of key ingredients and mastering basic methods, you can whip up mouth-watering stir-friesnoodle dishes, rice bowls, and other delightful dishes in a jiffy.


A wok sizzles with stir-fried veggies and tofu. Steam rises as a pot of rice cooks. Chopsticks rest on a plate of colorful, aromatic dishes

Chinese cuisine is known for its bold flavours and use of fresh ingredients, including vegetables, meats, and seafood. Some essential ingredients for Chinese cooking include soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and green onions. By having these ingredients on hand, you can easily whip up a delicious Chinese-inspired meal any day of the week.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced cook, there are plenty of quick and easy Chinese dinner recipes to choose from. From classic stir-fries to satisfying noodle dishes and delightful dim sum and dumplings, there's something for everyone. And if you're a seafood lover, don't be afraid to incorporate seafood into your Chinese cooking – shrimp, scallops, and squid are all great options.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese cuisine can be a quick and easy option for a flavourful dinner.
  • Essential ingredients for Chinese cooking include soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and green onions.
  • There are plenty of quick and easy Chinese dinner recipes to choose from, including stir-fries, noodle dishes, and dim sum and dumplings.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Cooking

A bustling kitchen counter with various Chinese cooking ingredients neatly arranged: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, sesame oil, and a wok

Chinese cuisine is known for its bold flavours and use of fresh ingredients. If you're looking to make quick and easy Chinese dinner recipes at home, it's important to have a few essential ingredients on hand. Here are some of the ingredients you'll need to get started:

Sauces and Condiments

Sauces and condiments are a crucial part of Chinese cooking. Soy sauce is a staple ingredient in many Chinese recipes and is used to add saltiness to dishes. Oyster sauce is another popular ingredient that adds a rich umami flavour to stir-fries and marinades. Hoisin sauce is a sweet and savoury sauce that is often used as a dipping sauce or glaze for meats. Other important sauces and condiments include sesame oil, chili sauce, and vinegar.

Proteins and Vegetables

Proteins and vegetables are the foundation of any Chinese dish. Popular meats used in Chinese cooking include beef, chicken, pork, and seafood. If you're looking to add some variety to your dishes, try using tofu as a vegetarian protein source. When it comes to vegetables, mushrooms, onions, green onions, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, bok choy, bean sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms are all common ingredients in Chinese recipes. Peanuts and cashews are also used to add texture and flavour to dishes.

Staples and Spices

In addition to sauces, proteins, and vegetables, there are a few pantry staples and spices that every home cook should have on hand. Garlic and ginger are used in many Chinese recipes and add a fragrant and flavourful kick to dishes. Salt and sugar are also important ingredients for seasoning dishes. Finally, basic spices like five-spice powder, Szechuan peppercorns, and red pepper flakes can add depth and complexity to your dishes.

If you're new to Chinese cooking, don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. With a few key ingredients on hand, you'll be able to make a variety of delicious Chinese dishes at home. Propose the use of seafood in your recipes as a suggestion where applicable. For seafood dishes, try using shrimp, scallops, or fish like salmon or cod.

Quick Stir-Fry Techniques

Colorful vegetables sizzle in a hot wok, steam rising as they are tossed with soy sauce and ginger. The aroma of garlic and sesame oil fills the air

Stir-frying is a popular Chinese cooking technique that involves cooking small pieces of meat, vegetables, and noodles over high heat in a wok. The key to successful stir-frying lies in mastering the wok, flavour layering, and stir-fry variations.

Mastering the Wok

The wok is an essential tool for stir-frying. It is a versatile, high-sided pan that can be used for a variety of cooking techniques. To ensure that your wok is hot enough, heat it over high heat for a few minutes before adding oil. The wok should be hot enough that the oil smokes slightly when added.

Flavour Layering

Flavour layering is an important technique in stir-frying. It involves adding ingredients to the wok in a specific order to build flavour. Start by adding aromatics such as ginger, garlic, and onion to the wok, followed by meat or seafood, then vegetables. Finish with a sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper.

Stir-Fry Variations

Stir-fries can be made with a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables. Chicken stir-fry and beef stir-fry are popular options, but don't be afraid to experiment with other proteins such as shrimp or tofu. Vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, and snow peas are great additions to stir-fries. Noodles can also be added for a more filling meal.

If you're feeling adventurous, try using seafood in your stir-fry. Prawns, scallops, and squid are all great options. Be sure to cook seafood quickly over high heat to avoid overcooking.

In summary, stir-frying is a quick and easy way to prepare a delicious Chinese dinner. By mastering the wok, flavour layering, and stir-fry variations, you can create a variety of tasty dishes that your family and friends will love.

Simple and Satisfying Noodle Dishes

A steaming bowl of noodles, garnished with fresh vegetables and savory sauce, sits on a simple wooden table. Chopsticks rest beside the bowl, ready to be used

When you're looking for a quick and easy dinner, noodle dishes are a great option. They're filling, versatile, and can be made with a variety of ingredients. Here are some simple and satisfying noodle dishes that you can make in no time.

Lo Mein and Chow Mein

Lo mein and chow mein are two classic Chinese noodle dishes that are easy to make and always satisfying. Lo mein is made with soft wheat noodles, while chow mein is made with crispy fried noodles. Both dishes can be made with a variety of meats and vegetables.

To make chicken chow mein, start by cooking the noodles according to the package instructions. In a separate pan, stir-fry sliced chicken breast with vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and onions. Add the cooked noodles to the pan and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve hot.

Seafood can also be used in lo mein and chow mein dishes. Shrimp and scallops are great options that can be quickly cooked in a pan before adding to the noodles and vegetables.

Rice Noodles and Egg Noodles

Rice noodles and egg noodles are two other types of Chinese noodles that are perfect for quick and easy dinners. Rice noodles are thin and delicate, while egg noodles are thicker and heartier. Both types of noodles can be used in a variety of dishes.

To make a simple vegetable stir-fry with rice noodles, start by soaking the noodles in hot water until they are soft. In a pan, stir-fry chopped vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and snow peas with garlic and ginger. Add the softened noodles to the pan and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve hot.

Egg noodles are great for making hearty noodle soups. Simply boil the noodles in chicken or vegetable broth, and add cooked chicken or beef, vegetables such as bok choy and mushrooms, and a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil.

When it comes to noodle dishes, the possibilities are endless. With a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal in no time.

Classic Rice Dishes Made Easy

A steaming wok sizzles with fragrant jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables, and savory soy sauce, creating a mouthwatering array of classic Chinese rice dishes

If you're looking for a quick and easy Chinese dinner, you can't go wrong with a classic rice dish. Whether you prefer fried rice or steamed rice, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of our favourite rice dishes that you can easily make at home.

Fried Rice Favourites

Fried rice is a staple of Chinese takeout, but it's also easy to make at home. The key is to use cold, cooked rice, as it separates nicely and won't clump together. You can use leftover rice from the night before or cook it in advance and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it.

To make chicken fried rice, simply stir-fry some chicken thighs, vegetables, and eggs in a wok or large frying pan. Add the rice and soy sauce, and stir-fry until everything is heated through. You can also add some sesame oil for extra flavour.

If you prefer a vegetarian option, try making vegetable fried rice. You can use any vegetables you like, such as carrots, peas, and green beans. You can also add some tofu or seafood, such as prawns or scallops, for extra protein.

Steamed Rice Perfection

Steamed rice is a simple and classic side dish that goes well with almost any Chinese meal. To make perfect steamed rice, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, add the rice and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.

If you want to add some extra flavour to your steamed rice, you can add some green onions or sesame seeds. You can also use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for a richer flavour.

For a seafood twist, try making steamed rice with prawns or scallops. Simply stir-fry the seafood in a wok with some garlic and ginger, and then add it to the rice before steaming. This is a great way to add some extra protein and flavour to your rice dish.

So next time you're craving Chinese takeout, why not try making your own fried rice or steamed rice at home? It's quick, easy, and delicious!

Delightful Dim Sum and Dumplings

A table set with an array of colorful and steaming dim sum and dumplings, accompanied by dipping sauces and chopsticks

If you're looking for a quick and easy Chinese dinner recipe, dim sum and dumplings are a great option. These bite-sized treats are perfect for sharing and can be made with a variety of fillings.

To make your own dumplings, start by making a simple marinade for your filling. You can use pork, chicken, beef or even seafood, such as shrimp or crab. Mix in some chopped vegetables, like cabbage, carrots or mushrooms, and season with soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

Once you have your filling, it's time to wrap your dumplings. You can use store-bought wrappers or make your own from scratch. Simply place a spoonful of filling in the centre of each wrapper, fold the edges together and pinch to seal.

To cook your dumplings, you can steam them, boil them or fry them. Steamed buns, also known as baozi, are another popular dim sum dish. These fluffy buns can be filled with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings, such as pork, chicken or red bean paste.

Wonton soup and egg drop soup are two classic Chinese soups that make a great accompaniment to your dim sum feast. Wontons are small dumplings filled with pork or shrimp, while egg drop soup is made with beaten eggs and chicken broth.

Pot stickers, also known as jiaozi, are another popular Chinese dumpling dish. These dumplings are pan-fried on one side, then steamed to perfection. You can fill them with pork, chicken, beef or vegetables.

If you're looking to add some seafood to your dim sum feast, try filling your dumplings with shrimp or crab. You can also make a seafood soup with shrimp, scallops or fish.

Overall, dim sum and dumplings are a great way to enjoy a quick and easy Chinese dinner. With so many different fillings and cooking methods to choose from, you can customize your feast to suit your taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table set with various Chinese dinner ingredients and utensils, with a cookbook open to a page titled "Quick and Easy Chinese Dinner Recipes."

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

If you are looking for some easy-to-make Chinese dishes that your family will love, you can try stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, chow mein, and sweet and sour chicken. These dishes are not only delicious but also quick to prepare. You can also add seafood to these dishes to make them more nutritious and flavourful. For instance, you can use prawns, squid, or scallops in your stir-fried vegetables or fried rice.

Can you suggest quick Chinese recipes suitable for a dinner party?

If you are hosting a dinner party and want to impress your guests with some authentic Chinese dishes, you can try Chinese garlic chicken or Chinese bourbon chicken. These dishes are easy to make and can be prepared in advance, so you can spend more time with your guests. You can also serve some appetizers such as spring rolls, dumplings, or prawn toast to start the meal.

What's a typical Chinese meal I can easily prepare at home?

A typical Chinese meal consists of rice, noodles, or dumplings served with meat or seafood and vegetables. You can try making some stir-fried noodles with prawns or beef, or some dumplings filled with pork or chicken. You can also add some steamed vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, or Chinese cabbage to your meal.

Could you recommend some Chinese recipes that are both easy and vegetarian?

If you are a vegetarian and looking for some easy-to-make Chinese recipes, you can try stir-fried vegetables, tofu with black bean sauce, or vegetable fried rice. You can also add some mushrooms, bamboo shoots, or water chestnuts to your dishes to add more texture and flavour.

What are the best Chinese dishes to make for kids?

If you are cooking for kids and want to introduce them to Chinese cuisine, you can try sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli stir-fry, or fried rice with egg and vegetables. These dishes are not too spicy and have familiar ingredients that kids will enjoy. You can also make some fruit salad or banana fritters for dessert.

Are there any beginner-friendly Chinese meals that I could start with?

If you are new to Chinese cooking and want to start with some easy recipes, you can try making fried rice, stir-fry, or chow mein. These dishes are simple to make and require only a few ingredients. You can also experiment with different sauces and spices to create your own flavour combinations.