Better Than Chinese Takeout Recipes
Dan Dan Noodles with Shrimp
Skip takeout and make these delicious, healthy dan dan noodles with a sesame-soy sauce, shrimp and peanuts in just 30 minutes. The Sichuan preserved vegetables add a bright pop of tangy, slightly fermented flavor. Look for them at an Asian market if you want the most authentic flavor or use more commonly available kimchi.
General Tso's Chicken
In this healthy version of a General Tso's Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.
Pork Chop Suey
Chop suey is often made with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts--add them to this recipe if you wish. Serve with: Udon noodles.
Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice
In about the time it takes to order and pick up Chinese takeout, you can make this much healthier version of sweet & sour chicken. Our version loses all the saturated fat that comes from deep-frying, along with the extra sugar and salt. If you prefer, use tofu instead of chicken, and use your favorite vegetables; just be sure to cut them into similar-size pieces so they all cook at about the same rate.
Szechuan Braised Meatballs
We braise these spicy beef meatballs and Chinese cabbage in a bit of beef broth. Make it a meal: Ladle over brown rice or noodles with steamed broccoli and carrots on the side.
Kung Pao Tofu
Tofu and lots of fresh vegetables are stir-fried in just a bit of oil in this traditional Chinese dish. In the Sichuan province of China where this dish originates, the tofu wouldn't be deep-fried like it is so often in America. Similarly, in our version of this takeout favorite we stir-fry the ingredients in only a little bit of oil.
Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps
Based on a popular Chinese dish, these fun wraps also make appealing appetizers for entertaining. Make it a meal: Serve with chile-garlic sauce and rice vinegar for extra zip; toss diced mango and strawberries with lime juice for a quick dessert.
Brothy Chinese Noodles
This dish was inspired by Chinese Dan Dan noodles--ground pork and noodles in a spicy broth. We use ground turkey and omit the traditional Sichuan peppercorns for convenience, but add hot sesame oil. Use toasted sesame oil instead if you want mild noodles.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Nothing could be easier than this light version of fried rice. We've used instant brown rice, but if you have leftover cold rice or can pick some up at a Chinese restaurant on the way home, use that instead and skip Step 1.
Sichuan-Style Chicken with Peanuts
The piquant Sichuan Sauce (which doubles easily) works well with almost any stir-fry but particularly enhances dishes with meat, fish and poultry. When stir-frying chicken, always spread the pieces in the wok and let them cook undisturbed for 1 minute before stirring. This allows the chicken to sear and prevents sticking. To smash the ginger, use the side of a cleaver or chef's knife.
Spicy Beef with Shrimp & Bok Choy
Oyster sauce and rice wine give this speedy stir-fry a rich flavor that balances the clean, sweet crunch of bok choy. Make It a Meal: Rice noodles or brown basmati rice and a Tsing Tao beer will make you feel like you're eating in your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Salt & Pepper Prawns
Spice-crusted stir-fried shrimp top a cool, crisp Asian-style slaw for an easy supper. Many traditional versions of this recipe use Sichuan peppercorns. We've opted to use Chinese five-spice powder, which contains Sichuan peppercorns and is more readily available. Make it a Meal: Serve with rice noodles or brown rice and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
Sweet & Sour Tofu
This Chinese-restaurant standard is a simple dish to prepare at home. If you like, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or chile-garlic sauce to give the sauce a little heat.
Chinese Pork & Vegetable Hot Pot
The richly flavored red braises characteristic of Chinese cooking make warming winter meals that can be adapted to a slow cooker. Typically, seasonings of anise, cinnamon and ginger distinguish these dishes. Pork shoulder becomes meltingly tender during the slow braise. Serve over noodles or brown rice, with stir-fried napa cabbage.
Tofu & Broccoli Stir-Fry
We like broccoli best in this tofu stir-fry, but any mixture of vegetables you have on hand will work. One way to get great tofu texture without deep-frying is to toss the tofu in cornstarch before stir-frying. Let it cook for several minutes without stirring to help it develop a little crust. Serve with: Chinese egg noodles or rice noodles and a glass of Riesling.
Chinese cooks typically stir-fry shrimp in their shells for a more flavorful dish. You can do the same, but we recommend first removing the tiny legs. While rice may seem like the logical side, braised greens, such as chard or spinach, are actually just as traditional.
Elise's Sesame Noodles
Whole-wheat pasta bolsters fiber and nutrients in this popular Asian noodle salad. The recipe is from Annelise Stuart of Germantown, New York.
Moo Shu Vegetables
This vegetarian version of the classic Chinese stir-fry, Moo Shu, uses already-shredded vegetables to cut down on the prep time. Serve with warm whole-wheat tortillas, Asian hot sauce and extra hoisin if desired.
Chinese Braised Mushrooms & Tofu
Ma Po Tofu, a classic dish from the Sichuan province of China, inspired this recipe. The original is made with soft tofu and ground pork or beef with plenty of heat from dried chile peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Portobello mushrooms stand in for the meat in our vegetarian version and convenient jarred chile-garlic sauce gives it plenty of kick. Serve with brown rice.
Scallop & Shrimp Dumplings
People along the Yangtze River enjoy dumplings with a variety of fillings, from seafood to red meat, eggs to vegetables. In Wuhan, dumplings may be served at any meal. Crisp, pan-fried dumplings don't have to be loaded with fat. Cooking them in a mix of water and oil makes them crisp on the bottom, tender and juicy inside.
Vegetarian Hot Pot
Quick to prepare, this Asian-style noodle soup has all the makings of a one-pot meal. To punch up the heat, add a dab of chile-garlic sauce.
Red-Cooked Tofu with Mushrooms
“Red-cooking” is a traditional Chinese braising technique, using soy sauce, that turns the food a gorgeous reddish brown color. A quick version of the technique is used here to transform mushrooms and tofu into a rich, earthy, saucy dish. Serve over steamed brown rice or as a soup. To make this stir-fry vegetarian, see Vegetarian Variation below.
Baked Egg Foo Yong
Egg foo yong is a Chinese omelet filled with vegetables, bean sprouts and sometimes meat. Our vegetarian egg foo yong recipe is packed with vegetables and baked in a muffin tin for ease. Serve with a mixed green salad tossed with sesame dressing.
Shrimp Fried Rice
This healthy shrimp fried rice recipe is packed with vegetables and makes 4 generous servings, so you'll need to use a large skillet that is at least 12 inches wide. A large wok also works well. If you have cooked rice on hand, omit Step 1 and add 2 1/2 cups cooked rice to the pan in Step 5.
This healthy shrimp-and-cabbage dumpling recipe makes a big batch, so you can eat some for dinner and freeze some for later. To vary the dumpling filling, try ground turkey instead of the shrimp. Look for wonton wrappers in a refrigerated case--usually near tofu. Serve with reduced-sodium soy sauce or mix up this quick dipping sauce recipe: 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil.
Turkey Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu is a traditional Chinese recipe usually made with ground pork. This delicious, healthy version uses ground turkey to cut saturated fat and calories and adds mushrooms for extra veggies. Serve with brown rice and make it extra special with a drizzle of sesame oil just before serving.
Cantonese Chicken & Bok Choy Fried Rice
In this healthy fried rice recipe, chicken, bok choy and carrots are tossed with Cantonese oyster sauce for a delicious one-bowl dinner. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
Easy Fried Rice
Mixed frozen vegetables make this healthy fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
Spicy Vegetable Lo Mein
Skip takeout and make a healthier Chinese lo mein at home that's packed with vegetables. Make sure you drain your noodles well before adding them, as wet noodles will turn your stir-fry into a soggy mess. For a less spicy option, omit the sriracha hot sauce.
Classic Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Classic sesame noodles become a healthy meal with lean chicken and tons of veggies in this quick recipe for Asian noodles. Be sure to rinse the spaghetti until it's cold, then give it a good shake in the colander until it's well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie “noodles” for the cooked pasta.
Spaghetti Squash Lo Mein
Swap regular noodles for veggie "noodles" in this low-calorie, healthy spaghetti squash recipe. For a fun presentation, serve the lo mein in the hollowed-out spaghetti squash boat. If you like it hot, serve with extra Sriracha.