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Travel Guide 2   >   China   >   Recipes


Chinese Recipes

Chinese meals are generally based around two main elements: firstly, a starchy "main food" (Mandarin Chinese: Zhushi) dish such as noodles, rice or steamed buns ("mantou"), and secondly, accompanying meat, seafood or vegetables (Mandarin Chinese: Cŕi).

Chinese meals

It would wrong however to think of China as simply being home to a single cuisine. Each region of the country has developed its uniquely culinary style, and additionally overseas Chinese communities around the world have both adapted traditional Chinese dishes, and developed entirely new dishes.

Some popular Chinese dishes include:
  • Baozi (xiaolongbao) - Steamed buns usually containing meat soup (sometimes seafood or vegetables may be used instead). The buns are initially prepared using a meat gelatin filling, but when the bun is steamed, this melts and becomes soup.

  • Congee - A porridge, usually made from rice, although sometimes barley, cornmeal, millet or sorghum may be used instead.


  • Guotie - Fried dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • Jiaozi - Steamed dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • Shuijiao - Boiled dumplings containing ground (minced) meat and/or vegetables.

  • General Tso's chicken - Deep-fried chicken in a sweet-spicy sauce. This dish is very popular in Canada and the US, but is virtually unknown in China.

  • Kung Po chicken - Chicken cooked with Sichuan peppercorns, Shaoxing wine, and nuts (peanuts or cashew nuts). In Western countries, the dish has been adapted to local tastes and ingredients (for example, by using bell peppers), and additionally other meats, or seafood, may be used instead of chicken.

    Kung Po chicken (Westernized version)

  • Mantou - A steamed bun. One of the staple dishes of North China.

  • Peking duck - Originally from Beijing (which used to be known as "Peking"), Peking duck is one of the most famous Chinese dishes. A duck is glazed with a syrup and roasted, it is then carved in front of diners, and eaten by wrapping the duck meat, with scallions or cucumber, and plum sauce, into small steamed pancakes (Mandarin Chinese: pinyin). In the UK, the duck is generally prepared using more spices, fried instead of roasted, and known as "cripsy aromatic duck".

  • Soy egg - A hard-boiled egg in soy sauce, sugar and water, flavored with herbs and spices.

  • Tea egg - A hard-boiled egg, soaked or stewed in tea.

  • Zhajiang mian - Thick wehat noodles with ground pork, stired-fried with fermented soybean paste.

  • Zongzi - Bamboo leaves filled with glutinous rice and other fillings. Zongzi are boiled or steam before eating.
Here are some recipe books and cookbooks for Chinese food:

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Books about Chinese Cooking and Recipes

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The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home

By Diana Kuan

Ballantine Books
Released: 2012-12-11
Hardcover (208 pages)

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home
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  • Ballantine Books
Product Description:
America’s love affair with Chinese food dates back more than a century. Today, such dishes as General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Egg Rolls are as common as hamburgers and spaghetti. Probably at this moment, a drawer in your kitchen is stuffed with Chinese takeout menus, soy sauce packets, and wooden chopsticks, right?
But what if you didn’t have to eat your favorites out of a container? 
In The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, Chinese food blogger and cooking instructor Diana Kuan brings Chinatown to your home with this amazing collection of more than eighty popular Chinese takeout recipes—appetizers, main courses, noodle and rice dishes, and desserts—all easy-to-prepare and MSG-free. Plus you’ll discover how to
• stock your pantry with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket
• season and master a wok for all your Chinese cooking needs
• prepare the flavor trifecta of Chinese cuisine—ginger, garlic, and scallions
• wrap egg rolls, dumplings, and wontons like a pro
• steam fish to perfection every time
• create vegetarian variations that will please everyone’s palate
• whip up delectable sweet treats in time for the Chinese New Year
The Chinese Takeout Cookbook also features mouthwatering color photos throughout as well as sidebars that highlight helpful notes, including how to freeze and recook dumplings; cooking tidbits, such as how to kick up your dish with a bit of heat; and the history behind some of your favorite comfort foods, including the curious New York invention of the pastrami egg roll and the influence of Tiki culture on Chinese cuisine. So, put down that takeout menu, grab the wok, and let’s get cooking!

Here for the first time—in one fun, easy, and tasty collection—are more than 80 favorite Chinese restaurant dishes to make right in your own kitchen:
• Cold Sesame Noodles
• Kung Pao Chicken
• Classic Barbecue Spareribs
• Beef Chow Fun
• Homemade Chili Oil
• Hot and Sour Soup
• Chinatown Roast Duck
• Moo Shu Pork
• Dry-Fried String Beans
• Black Sesame Ice Cream
• And of course, perfectly fried Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls!

“Diana Kuan chronicles America’s love affair with Chinese food. The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is the perfect reason to throw out those menus cluttering your kitchen drawers!”—Patricia Tanumihardja, author of The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites

By Naomi Imatome-Yun

Imatome Yun Naomi
Paperback (150 pages)

Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites
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  • Essential Wok Cookbook A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir Fry Dim Sum and Other Restaurant Favorites
Product Description:
All the Recipes You Need to Enjoy Comforting Chinese Food at Home

Ordering Chinese takeout is easy--but it's definitely not the healthiest or most affordable way to enjoy Chinese comfort food at home. With this simple cookbook in your kitchen and a mighty wok in your hand, Chinese favorites are now quicker, healthier, and cheaper than delivery.

The Essential Wok Cookbook is your guide to mastering the wok, the versatile pan that makes possible all of the Chinese restaurant dishes you love--no extra salt, oil, or MSG required. Beyond tips for selecting, seasoning, and caring for your wok, this cookbook also provides:
  • Step-by-step illustrations for how to fold a dumpling, egg roll, and wonton 
  • Fun features on the origin stories and American reinventions of foods such as egg drop soup and fortune cookies 
  • Recipe labels to help you decide what to make when you're short on time (30 minutes or less) and tight on cash (under $10) 
  • Recipe tips to swap ingredients, save time, make a dish more healthy, or kick up the heat 
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, start cooking today with your wok and see just how far The Essential Wok Cookbook will take you.

Fire up the wok with recipes like Perfect Pork Pot Stickers, Easy Vegetable Stir-Fry, Lighter Egg Foo Young, Sweet Chili Shrimp, General Tso's Chicken, Better Beef with Broccoli, and many more!

Best Chinese Take-out Recipes from Mama Li's Kitchen

By Sarah Spencer

The Cookbook Publisher
Released: 2015-03-09
Kindle Edition (148 pages)

Best Chinese Take-out Recipes from Mama Li s Kitchen
Product Description:

Prepare delicious Chinese take-out food with Mama Li’s best secret recipes! From Mama Li’s Kitchen to yours.

The beauty of Chinese cuisine lies in its simplicity. With a few ingredients rightfully chosen and flavorful spices, you can create the most amazing fresh meals in no time. You don’t need to be an exceptional cook or have an immense pantry to enjoy your favorite takeout dishes fresh from your own kitchen. With a few simple ingredients, a couple of tools, and the desire to make your own Chinese takeout cuisine, you can soon be crafting these dishes for yourself.

It has become a tradition in our family to cook like Mama Li. In this book, you will find a collection of her best Chinese take-out recipes from her restaurant.

Mama Li showed me everything I know about cooking Asian foods. One of the warmest memories I have from Mama Li was the patience she showed toward me when she hired me to assist in her restaurant’s kitchen. She would carefully explain and show me how to choose the right ingredients at the market, handle the knife and chop quickly the fresh produces, prepare the secret sauce with just the right amount of spices and ingredients, stir-fry with the most amazing pan in my kitchen, the wok, how to use a bamboo steamer and so much more. I learned so much for those two wonderful years working for Mama Li. Since, then I have continued cooking like Mama Li showed me while adapting the recipes to my own family’s preferences.

In this book, you will find everything you need to know about making at home delicious Chinese take-out dishes including:

•Appetizing take-out soups like Traditional Hot and Sour Soup.
•Classic take-out appetizers like the Traditional Pork Egg Rolls and Shrimp Toasts.
•Vegetable to Go like Eggplant in garlic Sauce.
•Memorable rice and noodle dishes like the Yang Chow Fried Rice or Chicken Lo Mein.
•Chinese chicken and pork masterpieces like General Tso’s Chicken or the Twice Cooked Pork.
•Beef take-out favourite recipes like Szechwan Beef or Kung Pao Beef
•Memorable seafood dishes like Mu Shu Shrimp
•Mama Li specialities such as the Orange beef or Lake Tung Ting Shrimp
•And even desserts including the famous Fortune Cookies

So let’s get cooking! Roll back up and grab your copy today!

Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen

By Margaret Li & Andrew Li

Roost Books
Released: 2019-02-05
Hardcover (256 pages)

Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen
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Product Description:
Wildly inventive Chinese-American home cooking from the siblings behind Boston’s acclaimed Mei Mei restaurant.

Too intimidated to cook Chinese food at home but crave those punchy flavors? Not anymore. Put down that takeout kung pao chicken and get in the kitchen! Full of irresistible recipes that marry traditional Asian ingredients with comforting American classics and seasonal ingredients, Double Awesome Chinese Food delivers the goods. The three fun-loving Chinese-American siblings behind the acclaimed restaurant Mei Mei take the fear factor out of cooking this complex cuisine, infusing it with creativity, playfulness, and ease.

Take the Double Awesome: flaky scallion pancakes stuffed with two oozy eggs, sharp cheddar, and garlicky pesto; could there be anything better? Ridiculously delicious and unexpected dishes like Cranberry Sweet and Sour Stir-fried Pork and Red Curry Frito Pie will become new staples for your cooking lineup. Throw a hands-on dumpling-making party and let your friends decide whether to serve them chewy and pan-seared or crackly and deep-fried. Packed with pro-cooking tips, sauces to amp up any meal, sustainable sourcing advice, and over 100 delicious recipes, this book is your ticket to making the Chinese food of your dreams any night of the week.


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