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Better-Than-Takeout Chinese Recipes

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Sure, it’s tempting to immediately turn to DoorDash or UberEats, but it IS possible to make your favorite Chinese takeout dishes at home. Some of them, like the pork buns or pot stickers, are weekend project-type recipes that will give you enormous satisfaction at creating yourself. But others, like egg drop soup or stir-fried beef and broccoli, are quick and easy enough to whip up for a weeknight dinner. So what are you waiting for?

  • Kung Pao Chicken
    Recipe

    Kung Pao Chicken

    Sichuan peppercorns give this chicken stir-fry a distinct citrusy aroma and earthy flavor.

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  • Pork and Scallion Pot Stickers
    Recipe

    Pork and Scallion Pot Stickers

    In China, pot stickers symbolize wealth, as their purse-like shape is believed to mimic gold ingots. (In some parts of China, coins are placed in the center of dumplings. Whoever bites into one with a coin is meant to have an exceptionally lucky year.) While stuffing options are many and varied, this version features one of the all-time favorites in Western culture: classic pork and scallion.

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  • Recipe

    Egg Drop Soup with Crab, Baby Corn, and Peas

    This Chinese restaurant mainstay becomes a light and lovely supper with the addition of crab, baby corn, and peas.

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  • Recipe

    General Tso’s Chicken

    This version of General Tso’s Chicken resembles the original created by Peng Chang-Kuei in Taiwan. Strictly speaking it is not a traditional Hunan dish, but the technique and flavors are inspired by the chef’s Hunan background. It is not as sweet as the standard American version, and is laced with lots of garlic.

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  • Recipe

    Mapo Tofu

    This searingly spicy tofu dish is quintessentially Sichuan with its mala (spicy hot and numbing) flavors. This recipe is a very spicy version of the dish, close to the original, but the heat level can be adjusted downward by reducing the amount of red chile powder.

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  • Recipe

    Classic Chinese Sesame Noodles

    If you think you’ve tasted great sesame noodles, think again. Toasted sesame paste gives these an incredibly deep, nutty flavor, while homemade hot pepper oil adds gentle spicy heat. A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce can be used instead, if you like.

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  • Recipe

    Hot-and-Sour Soup

    This classic Chinese soup probably originated in northern China, near Beijing, even though Hunan and Sichuan Provinces both claim it as their own. The essential flavor balance comes from spicy pepper oil (hot) and red rice vinegar (sour). Be sure to freeze the bean curd the day before you plan to serve the soup; doing so will change its texture from silky to marvelously spongy.

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  • Recipe

    Stir-Fried Chili Beef with Bell Peppers and Snow Peas

    This spicy dish gets its deep, nuanced flavor from Asian hot bean sauce, which contains soybeans in addition to chiles. It’s a rich, complex flavor worth seeking out, but if you can’t find it in an Asian market or your supermarket, you can use chili garlic sauce or Sriracha instead.

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  • Recipe

    Wonton Soup

    Shredded romaine adds fresh flavor and a little crunch to this Chinese restaurant classic. Look for wonton wrappers in the produce section of the market. For ideas on using leftover wrappers, see the wonton ingredient profile.

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  • Recipe

    Steamed Pork Buns

    Authentic Chinese steamed pork buns are a dim sum classic. Watch the video for Eileen's step-by-step demonstration of how to make the dough, the filling, and how to shape the buns.

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  • Recipe

    Stir-Fried Beef & Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce

    You won’t believe how good this Chinese take-out classic can be when you make it at home. It's easily adaptable to serve meat-lovers and vegetarians alike: see the variation below to serve one vegetarian, or check out the totally meatless version: Broccoli and Shitake Stir-Fry with Black Bean Garlic Sauce.

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  • Recipe

    Shrimp Fried Rice (Chau Fan)

    Unless you’re shopping in a Chinatown liquor store, it’s hard to find a good-quality white rice wine. Most supermarkets and even Chinese food markets offer only “cooking wines,” and these tend to be of poor quality. If that’s all you can find, use gin instead.

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