Focused on minimal fuzz and maximum impact, all Chinese recipes incorporate seasonal and fresh vegetables, fish/meats, rice, and noodles. The result is perfectly balanced, flavourful, delicious, fragrant and wholesome meals, which keep you coming back for more, no matter how many times you have eaten it.

It is for this reason that the popularity of Chinese food has spread rapidly worldwide. With the Chinese takeaway being the ethnic staple on the high streets of cities internationally.

So when you pick up the phone, to call your local Chinese restaurant, with your stomach rumbling and preparing for the joys of the meal to follow, it is unlikely that you think about when the dish was invented.

Much of China's cuisine has been cultivated over thousands of years and has now created a melting pot of cooking styles, techniques, and flavours.

  • Stir-fried foods; which creates easy and flavourful dishes in minutes, Stir-Frying create recipes like Egg fried rice that has great texture.
  • Steaming; which is considered to be an extremely healthy way to cook is used in many recipes such as Dim Sum.
  • Boiling; which is one of the simplest ways to cook creates dishes such as Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce.
  • Deep frying; is the key to tasty and crispy textures and creates dishes like spring rolls stuffed with veggies or fried noodles.
  • Roasted meats; done over a hot fire or in the oven reveal crispy skin and soft succulent meat beneath such as the famous Peking duck.

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A Wok frying foods
Fast Chinese food ready in minutes. Photo source Unsplash.

The Essential Chinese Food Ingredient List

Chinese cuisine is full of a diverse collection of unique flavours, which blend together and enhance each other to create the delicious Chinese recipes that we have come to know and love. When eating Chinese food you may not always recognise the different tastes but some of the essential ingredients are:

Essential Chinese Ingredients:

  • Dark Soy sauce, which has a slightly sweeter and less salty taste than other kinds of soy sauce. Made from soybeans.
  • Fresh Ginger adds heat to your dish, tenderises meat and deodorises fish.
  • Chilli sauce, adds a spicy kick to your meal.
  • Toasted sesame oil is the key flavour of many dishes most commonly drizzled sparingly to garnish a dish.
  • Black Vinegar which has a colour close to that of soy sauce but it has a woody, malty and pungent flavour.
  • Oyster sauce is a popular Chinese sauce that has unique fragrant flavour enhancing properties, used often in marinades.
  • Chinese Five-spice powder has a powerful flavour.
  • Monosodium glutamate a natural flavour enhancer.

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Spoons full of spices and ingredients
Ingredients for Chinese cooking

The rich flavours in Chinese food recipes which were once a mystery, difficult to buy and intimidating to cook, are no longer restricted to just to the Chinese restaurant, takeout or kitchen. You can now buy previously top-secret ingredients at your local supermarket. Chinese pre-prepared meals and off the shelf products are fast and make it easy to recreate the takeaway experience at home.

When I was younger my favourite day of the week was always Friday, not because it was the end of the school week. But because Friday was the day that we ordered Chinese takeout and ate purely Chinese dishes, I have grown up eating Chinese noodles, Stir fried rice and sweet and sour everything.

I have always loved Chinese cooking, the fragrant flavours of the ginger, spring onions, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli. On Fridays, I was allowed to pick any 4 dishes to add to the table. I would always take a long time to look at the colourful Chinese menu, and read through the exhaustive list of items. I don't know why, because I almost always choose to order the same thing; shrimp fried rice, fried noodles, egg rolls or spring rolls with sweet and sour chicken.

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A close up of fried rice.
A favourite on the Chinese food Menu. Photo source Pixabay.

My parents were much more experimental. They would order lots of new things from the menu like flavourful black bean duck, roasted crab, Chinese fried rice and there were always cashews, veggies like bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Not to mention the different kinds of sticky rice, sweet and savoury.

The taste of the red glistening sweet and sour sauce covering Chinese, makes my mouth water even now, it could perhaps be my favourite Chinese sauce. I always took hours to eat my saucy chicken, and taste every last drop. 4The interesting thing is that when I went to my friends or families house’s, I noticed that when they ordered Chinese food, they always ordered similar items to my family.

A chinese restaurant on the highstreet.
Chinese restaurants have filled our bellies with delicious Chinese food for centuries. Photo source Pixabay.

There was always the fried rice dish like egg or chicken fried rice, the fried noodle dish like prawn chow mein, the starter like spring rolls, the saucy dish like sweet and sour pork or prawns, and who can forget the thick chicken and corn soup. My mouth is watering again just thinking about it.

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Chinese menus are full of delicious selections. The mix of diverse ingredients being turned into any number of new dishes has secured the flavourful Chinese food menu, as a firm favourite on the tables of people worldwide.

Easy Chinese Recipes You Can Make At Home

Even if you are not a confident cook, these recipes are easy quick and taste great. All of the ingredients will be available at your local supermarket or your local Asian supermarket and after you have made it once you will be able to gain confidence to make it time and time again. You will be the talking point of every dinner party when people taste your authentic Chinese food flavours and want to know your 'secret'.

If you enjoy these recipes and want to try even more Chinese food recipes, visit the BBC, They offer Chinese recipes that you can try at home.

Recipe for Chinese Chicken And Sweetcorn Soup

  1. 1/2 a boiled or steamed chicken breast
  2. 1 can of  green giant sweetcorn
  3. 1 beaten egg with a pinch of salt
  4. 300ml water
  5. 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  6. Salt, pepper and/or MSG to taste
  7. Optional: Garnish with Spring onions (scallions) and toasted sesame oil
  8. Optional: Add some rice noodles to have more of a noodle soup
  • Cooking Time: Less than 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 people

Cooking Instructions for Chicken And Sweetcorn Soup

  1. Add a tablespoon of oil to a hot wok or frying pan over a high heat.
  2. The chicken should be stir fried but not browned.
  3. Add the water to make a broth.
  4. Add the sweetcorn and the seasoning then Boil for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the cornstarch very slowly until it becomes a loose thick paste. Stir well.
  6. Add the egg bit by bit, stirring infrequently until egg ribbons are formed.
  7. Remove from the fire.
  8. Top with spring onions (scallions) and drizzle a few drops of sesame oil on top.

You will now enjoy one of the most satisfying textured Chinese soups. If you want to be creative you could also use this as a Chinese sauce for veggies or rice.

A bowl of Chinese Chicken and Sweetcorn soup.
Simple Chinese recipe ready in less than 15 minutes. Photo source Pixabay.

Recipe for Chicken Chow Mein (Fried Noodles)

  1. 400g cooked egg noodles or rice noodles
  2. 1/2 small white onion
  3. Chop a vegetable or two (optional)
  4. 1 boiled or steamed chicken breast
  5. 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon of MSG (or 1 small spoon of light soy sauce)
  8. A hand full of bean sprouts
  9. Vegetable oil
  10. Chilli flakes to garnish
  • Cooking Time: Less than 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 people

Cooking Instructions for Chicken Chow Mein

  1. Add oil to a hot wok or frying pan over a high heat.
  2. When you have hot oil add the onion and make sure it is stir fried well.
  3. Add the chicken. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and the noodles. Fry for a few minutes until loose.
  5. Add soy sauce or MSG and the bean sprouts.
  6. Garnish with spring onions.

Another easy chicken dish, these chicken noodles will have you wanting seconds so double the recipe so you don’t miss out.

Chinese Chicken Chow Mein.
How can you resist trying to make Chinese food recipes. Photo source Pixabay.

Recipe for Sweet and Sour Chinese Pork

Pork Marinade - Prepare the Pork 1 day before

  1. 250 grams of your favourite cut of pork
  2. 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  3. 1/4 tsp of salt
  4. 1/2 tsp of baking powder

For the stir-fried ingredients

  1. 2 Eggs
  2. 1/2 cup of plain flour
  3. 1 tbsp of garlic
  4. 1 cup of your chosen vegetable
  5. 2 cups of a colourful bell pepper
  6. 2 cups of pineapple

Sweet and sour Chinese Sauce

  1. 1/4 cup of ketchup
  2. 1/4 cup of water
  3. 1/4 cup of sugar
  4. 1/4 cup of vinegar
  5. 2 tbsp of plum sauce
  6. 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  7. Pinch of salt or to taste
  8. If you like it spicy you can add some chilli
  • Cooking Time: Less than 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 people
  • Tip: If you want to replace the Pork and make sweet and sour chicken you need to follow the same process.

Cooking Instructions for Sweet and Sour Chinese Pork

  1. Cut the pork into small cubes and add to a bowl.
  2. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce. 1/4 tsp of salt. 1/4 tsp of baking soda.
  3. Mix and let it marinade overnight to make it tender.
  4. Whisk 2 eggs. Dip each piece of tender pork cube into the egg and then coat it with flour, do this twice.
  5. Heat the oil in the deep fryer (preferable) Wok or Frying pan to 350 Degrees until you have very hot oil.
  6. Deep fry your pork twice.
  7. Remove from the fire.
  8. Add all of the ingredients for the sauce to a pan.
  9. Cook on medium heat whilst stirring.
  10. Once it is bubbling, turn the heat to low, until it feels sticky.
  11. Remove from the fire.
  12. Heat up your wok (Frying Pan).
  13. Add 1 tbsp of oil, and 1 tbsp of garlic.
  14. Add the bell peppers and pineapple. Stir for 3 minutes.
  15. Add the pork and the sauce.
  16. Mix well and remove from the fire.

Your Chinese pork dish is served

Sweet and sour pork garnished with vegetables and pineapple.
A popular Chinese pork recipe is sweet and sour Pork. Photo source Pixabay.

Recipe for Vegetarian Egg Stir Fried Rice

  1. 250g of Leftover rice
  2. Dark Soy Sauce
  3. Your choice of chopped vegetable
  4. An Egg
  5. Tofu (optional)
  6. Salt, pepper and/or MSG to taste
  • Cooking Time: Less than 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 people

Cooking Instructions for Egg Stir Fried Rice

  1. Add some dark soy sauce to your day old rice.
  2. Mix very well until all of the leftover rice is coated.
  3. Whisk your egg.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a hot wok (frying pan) over a high heat.
  5. The pan needs to be extremely hot for best results.
  6. Add the egg and scramble it quickly. Add your rice and chosen veggies.
  7. Must be stir fried energetically for 5 minutes, make sure all of the rice gets heated by moving it actively in the pan.
  8. Remove from the fire.

A flavourful Chinese dish

A plate of Chinese egg fried rice.
Perfectly balanced Chinese food - Egg fried rice. Photo source Pixabay.

Faster Than Calling Your Local Chinese Food Takeaway

Many of the Chinese dishes and recipes can be made in less than 20 minutes, so it is perfect for a treat after a hard day at work because it is so easy. Or why not surprise your family or friends, no matter what the occasion. Have a look around your local supermarket for some of the ingredients listed above, experiment with texture – crispy, crunchy, Chinese sauce, dried ingredients, toss in nuts like peanuts and cashews, go with what you find, taste everything and enjoy the journey.

All you need is a love for food, confidence that anything you make will be great and the assurance that you will get better with practice.  With this mindset, you cannot fail to create delicious and authentic better than takeout Chinese recipes.

For a truly authentic experience eat your meal with chopsticks.

It’s time for a feast


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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.