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Help! Need a Chinese recipe...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello! I'm looking for a new way to eat chicken, tofu, or stirfry. I love all of the flavors that Chinese dishes are made with, but when I look up Chinese recipes it seems like you need tons of ingredients for every one. I'm on a pretty limited budget (college student) and I like to eat as healthy as possible... can anyone recommend a recipe or a few staple ingredients to make chicken or tofu with a Chinese spin on it? Thanks!!
post #2 of 21

Henry Chung’s Chicken and Ham Soup

This recipe is from Henry Chung’s Hunan Style Chinese Cook Book. It is not particularly spicy or hot, and is one of the simplest and quickest soups to prepare. It’s light, and is a great soup to make fresh after coming home from a day of errands or work, as it can be prepared quickly with off-the-shelf ingredients, especially when using chicken that you've prepared beforehand. It’s best to remove the chicken from the refrigerator while preparing the other ingredients as it will more quickly warm through.

Ingredients

4 Dried black mushrooms
2 ounces thin sliced chicken breasts
1 tsp corn starch (or 1 egg white)
1 tsp white wine
4 - 6 cups chicken broth
1 ounce sliced ham
2 two-inch squares sliced bean curd (optional)
1 cup leafy green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, Chinese celery cabbage tops)
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1Tbs chopped scallions (or green or spring onions)
½ tsp sesame oil (optional)

Preparation

Soak mushrooms in warm water 30 minutes or so, discard stems, slice the caps

Mix the chicken with cornstarch and wine. The coating seals in the juices and allows chicken to cook quickly. Place chicken in wok or sauce pan in boiling water or stock, let cook briskly for about one minute, then remove chicken to a soup bowl. Discard water, add broth to pot and bring to full boil.

Add ham, bean curd, mushrooms, and greens. Boil until greens wilt. Add salt to taste before pouring soup into bowl over the chicken.

Garnish with black pepper, scallions, and sesame oil, serve hot.
Larger batches of chicken can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Don’t worry if the chicken sticks together. You can use a store-bought stock or easily make your own.
post #3 of 21
Chineses like to use sesame seeds oil, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger, sherry .

Just put some of those seasoning when you cook chicken, tofu or vegetable, you will have Chinese flavor.
post #4 of 21
Ditto what Isabella said. I would add soya sauce to the list

You can use lots of cheap veg in chinese cooking - onions (doesn't have to be scallions), bell peppers, celery, cabbage (again doesn't have to be chinese cabbage, just the normal type does well), carrots are great, even frozen green runner beans - dirt cheap but go well in stir fries. Don't ignore canned foods either -corn, peas, mushrooms - they have the bonus of already being cooked, they're affordable, and best of all - no chopping required. Just add them at the end to heat through.

Peanuts (if you're not allergic), pine nuts or cashews if you feel like splashing out.

I love fish sauce - you need very little as its so strong so it lasts a long long time (DON'T put it in the fridge - it keeps well in the cupboard and crystallises in the fridge).

Of course rice and noodles can be used as a base, it will make the meals stretch much further. Noodles make a great base for a soup too - if you use the instant ones with the sachet you've got an instant stock for flavouring and they are very affordable. Just cook them as usual with the flavour sachet (don't drain them) and toss in a few veg for 30 seconds at the end and you have an easy meal, add some soy and oyster sauce at the same time -yum! And don't forget pepper -you won't need salt if you use soy. Or try beating an egg and swirl it in once you take the pot off the heat -really nice.

Always try to balance the sweetness and sourness of the dish - adding a little sugar/honey works well.


But you can keep it simple and you don't need 5,000 ingredients. The beauty of this type of cooking is the short time needed to cook it. Yes, there's a bit of prep, but there is with any type of cooking really. Just stick to a few simple ingredients, bit of spice, keep your sauces handy and you'll be right.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 21

Fish Sauce

I lived among Chineses in Vietnam, ate their food never saw them using fish sauce . Guess how surprise I was when I found Fish Sauce in Seattle which was made in China . It seems to me they don't use it but make it to sell anyway .
post #6 of 21
I am wrong about that Isabella. I stand corrected :) But i do like the taste. Fish sauce (Nam Pla) is used in Thai cooking generally.

There are many styles of Asian cooking, with some things being more common in different countries. Pepper/heat is favoured is some cuisines, sourness in others, sweetness in some. It is a widely varied area, although sometimes people group it as one cuisine. It is so much more than that. So many delicious flavours..... :bounce:
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #7 of 21

Spicy Orange Chicken Wings with Sesame Seeds

I looked through my recipes for any that had smaller amounts of ingredients and found this one. Easy to make and hardly any mess to clean up. Can also be cooked outdoors over a grill. It's more of an appetizer but don't college students still like to get together with friends and eat? :smiles:

3 lbs. chicken wings, about 15 pieces
1/2 cupp Szechuan stir fry sauce
2 Tbls brown sugar
Grated rind of 1 medium orange
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbls sesame seeds

Rinse wings. In a large plastic zipper bag with a tight-fitting seal, combine stir fry sauce, brown sugar, orange rind and garlic. Add wings. Shake to coat wings well in mixture. Place bag in a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight or up to two days. Turn bag one or two times to marinate wings evenly.
Heat oven to 375*. Pour off marinade and discard. Place winds in a baking pan; sprinkle with sesame seeds.. Roast 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until mahogany brown and crisp. Remove to serving platter. Serve hot or cold.

You could also substitute a spicy lemon stir fry sauce and grated rind from a medium lemon in place of the Szechuan sauce and orange rind.
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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post #8 of 21
Mapo Daofu (Homestyle tofu) here's a link with others: Free Chinese recipes and tips for cooking Tofu – Bean curd Chinese-style

And also try Congee
Congee Recipes

There's a million good cheap ones.
Get a chicken or roaster when it's on sale and cook it whole with some veggies. Cool the chicken and then strip the meat. You'll have meat and chicken broth that can last you a week for a variety of meals if you're creative!
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #9 of 21
A basic marinade I use in all meats including pork is as follows:

For every pound of meat, add
1 heaping tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp oil, veg, cannola, corn, something neutral
white ground pepper to taste
optional minced garlic and/or ginger

Cook up the meat first, stir fry in some veg (broccoli, snow or sugar snap peas, string beans, bean sprouts, all go great keeping in with the whole Chinese theme) and/or diced tofu, and serve it over some jasmin rice. Everything is basically a staple in Chinese cooking so they're all easy to find, inexpensive, and will last you. Try this with some Chinese bittermellon, its a bit of an aquired taste but use sugar to counter the mellon's bitterness or soak the mellon sliced in water with a bit of sugar.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks!!

Wow, thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this thread... you guys are great! :)
post #11 of 21
Yes, Fish sauce is good if you don't mind the smell . The Vietnameses cannot live without Nampla . When the Tsunami hit Thailand, there was a rumor that fish sauce will be tainted and the US will not allowed the import of the sauce, many Vietnamese in my city hoarded it . One woman I know bought 24 bottle of the sauce.
post #12 of 21
Oyster sauce is also nice with seafood stir-fry, especially with scallops, in my experience.
post #13 of 21
Try making one of your signature Chinese dishes. A few hours before, marinate some raw minced garlic (maybe 2 cloves) and 1 minced Thai chili in 5 or 6 tablespoons of fish sauce. Be sure to squeeze in some lime juice, and maybe even a little palm sugar. Use this as a dipping sauce for your Chinese dish.
post #14 of 21
I know I just posted, but I wanted to add my approval of fish sauce.

It is one of the most flavorful salt tastes you can add. And it doesn't have to be for Asian food. My Thai sweetheart would kill me if she knew, but I used fish sauce (and Penzey's chili powder) to flavor a batch of taco meat the other day. (She loved it:D)
post #15 of 21
Fish sauce is strange in that it does smell when you sniff the bottle but once it's cooked/added to the dish it tastes so good. Like shrimp paste. Stinks in the jar but a lovely flavouring.

Wow - 24 bottles - she must love it!

I can see it going well in a taco mix - its a bit like any spicy or salty sauce in what it gives to a dish. Little bit like melting anchovies into a sauce or using Worcestershire sauce.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #16 of 21
Chinese style cooking doesn't have to be complicated, as folks have said. A couple of my favorites are pretty simple - strips of chicken and red onion stir fried with curry, and diced pork fried with peanuts, green onion and soy sauce.

One thing I usually do is put the oil into the wok, throw in a couple cloves of garlic, peeled and halved. Turn on the heat, and then when the garlic is nice and brown, pull it out, discard and then you know the oil is hot enough to start cooking the other stuff.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #17 of 21
Chinese recipes are really something special.

I must say they make some extraordinary veg dishes.
post #18 of 21

asian recipes

Hi
I stock up on fish sauce, oyster sauce, hosin sauce, sambal chili, soy sauce, sesame oil, dried shitake mushrooms

You can use soy sauce, oyster sauce as a liquid marinade for most chicken such as thighs, boneless breast, or even wings. Try adding dried chili to give it a kick.

When I stir fry, I would mince garlic, sliced onions before tossing in the boneless diced chicken breast or whatever to want, even tofu. Then I would taste and add sugar or fish sauce as I go.

I am Vietnamese, so we only use mainly a few ingredients: fish sauce, sugar, garlic, onion, and thick soy sauce (our version of molasses for coloring). We usually cook things that have bones such as thighs on low heat and covered. Then taste and season. Not much ingredients to buy. We then cook our vegetable soup on the side.

Most dishes are economical esp for college students. Some are Pho (chicken and pork bones simmered for a long time until the marrow makes a broth sweet) then we would top it off with brisket meat, chicken or meatballs. Garnish with lemon, parsley and basil. Make it on a weekend and you have your meals made for a few days.

We also like to make soup dishes that are cooked for long hours but feeds a family for days such as Pho (pronounced fuh), spicy beef noodle, beef stew with french bread, etc. We also like ginger and lemon grass and tons of basil!
vale
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vale
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post #19 of 21
Basically Chinese food is made with bits and pieces, that's why all the prep work. If you can get together with flat or apartment mates they can contribute some ingredients for you to play with and you provide them with a little taste. lol
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
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Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
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post #20 of 21
Pastrycake,

Vietnamese do not use soy sauce for coloring . We darkened syrup or coconut milk (the clear one) to color many dishes . However, I use molasses since it is convenience .
post #21 of 21
There are a few tofu recipes you can try from this website (OrientalCookbook.co.uk). Hope you like it.

Chinese Shrimp & Tofu Soup

orientalcookbook.co.uk/chinese.php?recipe=22

Chinese-spice Tofu and Baby Leaf Salad

orientalcookbook.co.uk/chinese.php?recipe=52

Fried Tofu and Plum Sauce (Tuw Hu Tod)

orientalcookbook.co.uk/thai.php?recipe=63

Mushroom Pork Houses (Had Huom Nuing Tow Hu)

orientalcookbook.co.uk/thai.php?recipe=59
The Oriental Cookbook - OrientalCookbook.co.uk
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The Oriental Cookbook - OrientalCookbook.co.uk
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