hinese New Year celebrations begin today which means that we enter the Year of the Ox. Aside from bringing stability and good fortune to those born in under this sign, the celebrations are also a chance to enjoy the tasty cuisine. But ditch the takeout for fakeaway with these yummy recipes for your own homemade Chinese takeaway!
Chinese food is delicious, packed full of flavour and super affordable. And although it may look complicated, cooking your own Chinese takeaway is easy.
HOMEMADE CHINESE TAKEAWAY – STARTERS
At a Chinese banquet, you’ll find a veritable feast of dishes, many of which come in small, tantalising portions. Create your own Chinese banquet with these tasty morsels to start your celebration off in fine culinary style.
Blend to a paste 200g of peeled prawns, 1 egg white, 1 garlic clove, 3 teaspoons of chilli sauce, 1 tablespoon of cornflour, 2 spring onions and a pinch of ginger. Season with salt and pepper.
You’ll have enough paste to cover several slices of bread (remove the crusts). Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the paste, cutting each slice into triangles. Fry in a frying pan in shallow oil for around 1 minute, lift out ad drain on kitchen paper. Serve with a sweet chilli dip.
Prawn toast is delightful when eaten hot or cold and so for something different in your lunchbox, add a slice or two! Other Chinese starter ideas include spring rolls and soups, including the delicious Chinese Noodle Soup.
HOMEMADE CHINESE TAKEAWAY MAINS
Chinese takeaway dishes reflect the fact that many dishes are based on pork, chicken or duck, and are accompanied with rice. There are also many noodle-based dishes to wow your guests with.
The secret to Chinese cooking is in the fast cooking of dishes – from pan to plate is often within minutes – and so having your ingredients prepped ready is key to success, as well as having a good quality wok. Gather all the ingredients, making sure you have chopped, diced and sliced everything before you start to cook.
And investing in a good set of knives and practising your chopping and slicing skills wouldn’t go amiss either.
PORK AND NOODLE STIR FRY
After your starter, serve a tasty main dish such as a pork and noodle stir fry with a sweet and spicy sauce.
- 6 spring onions, chopped into chunky lengths
- 2 tbsp of sunflower oil
- 300g broccoli, cut into small florets
- Half a packet of thick or medium noodles
- 450g of lean pork, suitable for stir-frying
- 100g mushrooms, preferable flavoursome ones such as shiitake or chestnut
- 180g of Cantonese sweet and spicy stir fry sauce
- 300g bean sprouts, a common ingredient in Chinese food
- A handful salted cashew nuts
Start by bringing a large pan of water to the boil and add the noodles. In a wok, heat the sunflower oil and tip in the broccoli when the oil is hot but not smoking. Keep moving it around the pan.
After two minutes, add the pork strips to the pan and fry until the meat is cooked. Keep the food moving around the pan. Now add the spring onions and mushrooms (quarter chestnut mushrooms if using but leave the shitake whole) and fry until they begin to soften and release their aroma.
Stir in the sauce and reduce the heat slightly whilst you drain the noodles. Add to the beansprouts to the pan – these don’t need cooking as such but heating through.
Add a pile of noodles to four dishes, piling on the stir fry. If you keep some of the green stems of the spring onions, chop these and use as a garnish.
DUCK PANCAKE ROLLS
Other Chinese main courses are just as easy to make. Duck pancake rolls, for example, a popular choice from the Chinese takeaway menu but are super easy to make.
For the price of a whole duck (around £8), you can get more pancakes for your money. If you don’t want to roast a whole duck, you can pan fry duck breasts instead and then ‘pull’ the meat between two forks ready for your pancakes.
People are often nervous about roasting a whole duck as they believe it to be very greasy and messy. For crispy skin, you’ll need to pour over boiling water and then roast it on a rack as per the package instructions.
HOW TO SERVE
Roast duck pancakes are served with hoisin sauce which has smoky, plum depths to it. You can buy ready-made sachets at the supermarket or you can make your own is less than five minutes.
In a blender, add four tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, one tablespoon of dark brown sugar and two teaspoons of rice wine vinegar. To this, add a crushed garlic clove, two teaspoons of sesame oil and a dash of hot sauce. Finally, add a grind or two of black pepper. Whizz it all together to a smooth paste. This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Serve the sauce alongside the hot pulled roasted duck, Chinese pancakes and shredded spring onion and finely sliced cucumber. Place all the ingredients in the centre of the pancake and roll.
Like Indian cuisine, Chinese menus are rarely heavy when it comes to dessert selection. There are a few sweet treats however but as with the other courses, the dishes are light.
Nian Gao are sweet, brown sugar cakes that are wrapped in pastry. Chinese banana fritters combine fruit with batter and then fried, thus keeping the fruit intact. Delightful light, they are served with caramel sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
And then, of course, there is the fortune cookie. These are not an authentic Chinese dessert but an American-Chinese invention that everyone looks forward too. You can make your own fortune cookies, complete with your own ‘fortunes’ in them!
Chinese cuisine is light but flavoursome, and is wonderful to savour all year round but why not try your hand at some tasty homemade Chinese takeaway dishes during the Chinese New Year 2021?
For more tasty recipes, explore the Food section of our blog.
Food photo created by stockking – www.freepik.com