7 Recipes for Chinese Food

Chow on 04.05.13
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Photo: Linda Grove/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

My book club always reads food related books, and sometimes we get together and see food related films. This week we went to see Ang Lee's 1994 Taiwanese film Eat Drink Man Woman. Food is pretty much one of the characters in the film and the scenes of food preparation were breathtaking to me. By the time I left the theatre at 10:00 pm it took all of my strength to keep from stopping at the 24 hour grocery to buy the ingredients for a Chinese banquet that I wanted to make right that minute. As it was, I made myself a bowl of noodles before I went to bed, which I have never done before in my life.

To say I have been obsessed with Chinese food since that viewing would be a wild understatement. My husband is deliriously happy, because Chinese food is his all time favourite cuisine. Luckily for me, I have Fuchsia Dunlop's new cookbook Every Grain of Rice, so my obsession can be paired with new recipes to try. Last night I made red braised pork which I will share with you this weekend and hopefully tonight I will make some dumplings.

I have posted many, many recipes for Chinese food over the years, but I have lost most of the older photos, so I am rounding up some more recent posts, many of which come from Fuchsia Dunlop's three cookbooks, Land of Plenty, The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

1. Beef Slivers with Cilantro

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Like so many recipes for Chinese food, the greatest time allotted for this recipe of beef slivers with cilantro is in the chopping beforehand. The actual cooking time is quite minimal, and you can have this meal on the table mid-week in less than half an hour. If you love cilantro, this is the recipe for you.

2 Sesame Green Beans

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I can remember when my nephew was a little guy (he's 30 now!) his mother used to say "eat five green beans and then you can have dessert". I think he might have even eaten six of these sesame green beans. I often make extra green beans because I like them cold in a mustard sauce, and this was a cold salad. I think it would be equally delicious hot.

3. Hunan Style Tofu

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I like this recipe for Hunan style tofu because you cook the tofu first to make it a bit crispy and then add the sauce, so it has a slightly different texture than usual. If your kids aren't big fans of tofu, you can always use chicken for this recipe. You might find the Thai chilies a bit hot for the kids, so you can always reduce them amount, or leave them out entirely.

4. Golden Coins

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This recipe for golden coins was a revelation to me. The hard boiled eggs puff up and get crispy on the outside while remaining soft and eggy in the middle. This is a really beautiful recipe for a light lunch, and they are lovely to look at as well.

5. Should Pole Carrying Noodles

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I've made this old family favourite of shoulder pole-carrying noodles so many times, I could do it in my sleep. It's such a perfect recipe for the family because the seasonings are placed into each bowl, so mom and dad can have a spicier version without any extra effort. It is still the recipe I make when I've had a particularly busy day and don't want to have to think about what to have for dinner.

6. Dan Dan Noodles

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I love Chinese noodles and I love them even more when someone else makes them for me. My future daughter-in-law made these dan dan noodles for me, adapting the recipe using tofu to make it vegetarian. If you like you can use ground pork instead of tofu, either way, this is a fantastic dish.

7. Mushroom and Kale Wontons

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

Watching Eat Drink Man Woman, I realized that I will never get the oil in my wok hot enough to do the serious deep-frying that happens in the film. You really need a commercial range to get enough heat, but I still try from time to time. Although I don't fry a lot, there are some things that just cry out for it. These mushroom and kale wontons fit the bill. This is a great recipe to make with kids who are interested in helping out in the kitchen. They are really easy to make, but a bit time consuming, so set them a little work station and have them manufacture these little wontons themselves.

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