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20 Easy Chinese Recipes That’ll Have You Swearing Off Takeout For Good

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20 Easy Chinese Recipes That’ll Have You Swearing Off Takeout For Good

If you love takeout Chinese food, but hate the effects of the sodium and MSG bomb, then you need to try some of these easy Chinese recipes.

 

Chinese food is tasty…damn tasty actually. But it can also be a nutritional nightmare.

For example, take PF Chang’s Walnut Shrimp with Melon. It sounds “clean” enough but packs a walloping 1,380 calories, 104 grams of fat and 1,830 milligrams of sodium. And the rest of their menu is full of similarly fattening and bloating dishes.

Well, there’s a better way to enjoy the delicious taste of Chinese food, including everything from potstickers to a honey walnut shrimp stir fry, and the following 20 easy Chinese recipes show you how.

Enjoy!

Potstickers

chinese postticker recipe Picture courtesy of Bee Yinn Low

Who says you have to go out for dim sum?

When you make potstickers at home, it’s fun to play around with a variety of fillings. If assembly seems tricky, get a step-by-step guide to fold and pleat Chinese dumplings in Easy Chinese Recipes: Family Favorites from Dim Sum to Kung Pao. The cookbook is by Bee Yinn Low of the popular food blog Rasa Malaysia.

chinese-recipe-cookbook

Serves 4 / Makes 24

Ingredients

1/2 lb. ground pork

5 medium shrimp

1 leaf Napa cabbage, finely cut

Handful chopped cilantro

1/4 tsp. white pepper powder

1 tsp. Shaoxing wine (or sake)

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. (about 2”) freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp. oil, for frying

1/2 cup water

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 161

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 1 gram

Fat: 10 grams

 

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Dan Dan Noodles

Chinese noodles recipe Picture courtesy of The Woks of Life

This spicy noodle dish, called dandanmian, is popular to order in Sichuan restaurants. Since you’ll need to make four different parts to assemble this authentic Chinese noodle dish, it’s no wonder.

While it’ll take a bit more work than ramen, it’s worth the time investment to slurp up a bowl of noodles that tastes a whole lot better. Plus, you can break down the work into several trips to the kitchen to make it less labor-intensive.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Chili Oil:

2 Tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns

1” cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 cup oil

1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes

Meat:

3 tsp. oil

8 oz. lean ground pork

2 tsp. sweet bean sauce (or hoisin sauce)

2 tsp. Shaoxing wine

1 tsp. dark soy sauce

1/2 tsp. five-spice powder

1/3 cup sui mi ya cai (Sichuan preserved mustard greens)

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. sesame paste (tahini)

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. five-spice powder

1/2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn powder

1/2 cup prepared chili oil (above)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup hot water from cooking the noodles

Noodles:

1 lb. Shanghai-style noodles (cu mian) or udon, medium thickness

1 small bunch bok choy (or spinach)

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (optional)

1 scallion, sliced (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 524

Protein: 17 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Fat: 43 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

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General Tso’s Chicken

healthy general tsos chicken Picture courtesy of Fav Family Recipes

Make Crock Pot Chinese chicken in the morning, and you won’t have to pick up take-out at night.

Place the chopped chicken in a plastic bag with flour, and shake to coat. While you brown it in a hot skillet real quick, stir the sauce together in the slow cooker. Then leave it all to set for a few hours. When your stomach starts rumbling, boil rice on the stove (or pop some frozen rice in the microwave).

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces

1 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp. (about 2/3”) freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 cup cornstarch (mixed with 1/4 cup water)

4 green onions, sliced

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 518

Protein: 48 grams

Carbs: 43 grams

Fat: 16 grams

 

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Chinese Sticky Honey Spareribs

chinese spareribs recipe Picture courtesy of Jeanette’s Healthy Living

If someone in your family has limited taste buds, trick them into eating Chinese food with these sweet and sticky ribs.

With only five, easy-to-find ingredients, these ribs are worth a try. They pair well with an Asian side dish like tofu noodle salad or stir-fried veggies, or you can go for an American barbecue classic like tangy coleslaw.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. lean spareribs, cut into roughly 1 1/2” long pieces

3 cups cold water

3 Tbsp. pure honey

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 503

Protein: 33 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fat: 37 grams

 

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Bok Choy with Hoisin Sauce

Chinese vegetarian recipe Picture courtesy of Rosellyn

How can a vegetarian stir fry be as filling as one with meat? With tempeh, a tofu alternative that uses the whole soybean during the fermentation process. That equals greater nutrition value, including higher protein content, more dietary fiber, and a larger amount of vitamins.

But tempeh also has a stronger flavor, which some prefer because it adds an umami element that’s close to mushrooms.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large bok choy

1/2 block (4 oz.) tempeh

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp. coconut oil

4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter)

1/2 Tbsp. pure honey

1 clove garlic

2 tsp. vinegar

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. water

Chili paste to taste (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 384

Protein: 22 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Fat: 26 grams

 

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Ginger Pear Glazed Chicken

Chinese chicken recipe Picture courtesy of All Day I Dream about Food

The pear and ginger is a classic combo, but you can just as easily use a citrus marmalade or plum sauce.

This recipe is a must-keep if you’re lucky enough to have a relative who loves canning homemade jam – but of course you can go to a gourmet grocery or farmers’ market to get awesome preserves too.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup pear preserves

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

2 1/2 lb. chicken thighs and drumsticks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 374

Protein: 35 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 23 grams

 

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Chinese Pork Sandwiches

Chinese pork sandwich recipe Picture courtesy of A Communal Table

If you’re having a backyard barbecue, there’s nothing like char sui, which you probably know as the insanely succulent Chinese pork.

This recipe makes use of small rolls so that the meat can go farther – so there’s room for juicy steak or sticky ribs too! These mini Chinese sandwiches are also a great lunch or snack that’s easy to pack.

Serves 24

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins (about 20 oz. each)

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2” slices

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed

24 King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced diagonally across the top

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 229

Protein: 17 grams

Carbs: 32 grams

Fat: 4 grams

 

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Healthy Beef Stir Fry

Chinese beef recipe Picture courtesy of iFood Real

For good reason, stir-fry is the most popular way to make your own version of Asian take-out. Once you get a feel for the technique, you can virtually (but not practically) prepare dinner with your eyes closed.

If you’re a beginner in the kitchen, get started with a simple stir fry like this Chinese beef, which requires little more than steak, frozen veggies, and a hot pan.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 package (16 oz.) frozen mixed veggies

1 lb. flank steak, sliced

1/3 cup hot water

4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. stevia

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 344

Protein: 36 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: 13 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

Honey Walnut Shrimp Stir Fry

Chinese shrimp recipe Picture courtesy of Rachel Cooks

Thanks to a unique stir fry sauce, this is shrimp like you’ve never tasted it before. And it doesn’t take more than a handful of ingredients.

The yogurt sauce is flavored with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and honey. And to enhance the walnuts, they’re tossed in a bit of Truvia (or real sugar). Aside from that, all you need to complete this Chinese shrimp dish is a bowl of rice or noodles.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup Truvia

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. pure honey

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 green onion, sliced (optional garnish)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 307

Protein: 30 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Fat: 15 grams

 

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Healthy Hot & Sour Soup

Chinese soup recipe Picture courtesy of Divine Healthy Food

If you get some soup on the stove during your weekend downtime, you won’t have to stop by the restaurant on the corner when a craving for sweet and sour hits.

This recipe can be made a few days ahead, or you can even freeze it for several months. If you’re always stocked up on homemade hot and sour soup, you’ll be prepared to weather any cold or flu that hits your household.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 Tbsp. (about 1”) freshly minced ginger

1 tsp. red chili paste

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

14 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1” cubes

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Leaves of 6 fresh cilantro sprigs

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 140

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 12 grams

Fat: 6 grams

 

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Fried Forbidden Black Rice with Snap Peas

healthy Chinese rice recipe Picture courtesy of Feed Me Phoebe

To increase the nutritional value of traditional Chinese fried rice, replace your average white rice with rare black rice.

Of course, brown rice is a good choice too because it’s less processed than white rice and therefore contains more fiber. But forbidden rice is another variety altogether, offering more antioxidants, iron, and phytonutrients.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

2 medium carrots, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced with white and green parts separated

1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. (about 1”) freshly minced ginger

3 cups cooked black rice (1 cup uncooked)

3 Tbsp. liquid aminos

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp. Sriracha

2 large eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. shelled hemp seeds

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 350

Protein: 12 grams

Carbs: 122 grams

Fat: 15 grams

 

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Sichuan Cabbage Stir Fry

Chinese cabbage recipe Picture courtesy of China Sichuan Food

An amazing stir-fry doesn’t need meat to be substantial. When you need a healthy, low-calorie dinner on a dime, this Chinese cabbage stir fry should be a go-to. It’s great to serve with fried rice, which has eggs for protein.

But if your inner carnivore needs to be sated, you can add your favorite type of pork to this dish, such as bacon or sausage.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium head cabbage, shredded

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1” fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 dried chili peppers (more to taste)

1/2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns

1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1/2 tsp. black vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 green onions, white parts chopped and green parts cut into 2” slices

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 194

Protein: 7 grams

Carbs: 30 grams

Fat: 7 grams

 

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Chinese Curry Sauce

Chinese curry recipe Picture courtesy of Tastes Lovely

You know Thai curry. You know Indian curry. But how about Chinese curry?

This sauce is good for multiple uses, from a dipping sauce to a way to liven up plain chicken breast. Either way, you’ll find it to be a delicious new take on curry made with beef stock, garlic, ginger, and paprika.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

13.5 oz. beef stock, hot

2 Tbsp. flour

1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Salt to taste

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. mild curry powder

1 tsp. sweet paprika

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 62

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 4 grams

 

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Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce

Chinese eggplant recipe Picture courtesy of The Iron You

Whether you’re serving a Chinese buffet, or need a quick vegetarian dinner, this spicy eggplant is a winner. It’s great as a side dish to barbecue tofu or tender beef, but it’s also tasty on its own over brown rice.

If you want a little more plant-based protein, you can have it over a bowl of quinoa instead.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

3 small Chinese eggplants, cut into long strips

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chili, finely chopped (or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes)

1 Tbsp. (about 1”) freshly grated ginger

1 scallion, green parts chopped

1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or coconut aminos)

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. coconut sugar (or pure honey)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 183

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 28 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 

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Peanut Lo Mein with Tender Pork

Chinese pork recipe Picture courtesy of The Fit Housewife

These healthy lo mein noodles are an awesome appetizer, light lunch, and picnic-worthy noodle salad. And you don’t really need the peanuts for it to be delicious; feel free to substitute almond butter, cashew butter, or sesame tahini.

Not only is it a cinch to assemble, but it’s also a quick dish to make a day or two ahead of time.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb. Chinese lo mein noodles

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. (about 1”) freshly minced ginger

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into strips

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 cup finely julienned carrots

1 cup snow peas, halved

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup hot water

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 519

Protein: 32 grams

Carbs: 69 grams

Fat: 13 grams

 

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Chinese Almond Pudding

Chinese dessert pudding recipe Picture courtesy of Christine’s Recipes

Almonds and rice are transformed into a delectable pudding with a bit of water, sugar, and patience. Altogether, this takes about 20 minutes and zero expertise to make.

But you’ll have to revisit the pudding recipe a few times until it’s done, first soaking the almonds and rice, then blending them together. The liquid is strained out and cooked with sugar until thick. Finally, the resulting Chinese pudding can be served hot immediately, or chilled to eat cold later.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup almonds

3 1/3 cups water

1/5 cup rice

2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1 egg white

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 167

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 25 grams

Fat: 6 grams

 

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Chinese Fish Toast

chinese fish recipe Picture courtesy of Ary Zauq

Bet you didn’t know how easy it is to make this Asian takeout appetizer at home.

As long as you have a food processor or blender, it takes just a few minutes to mix up the spread. Make a fish paste with flour, an egg, an onion, salt, and pepper. Spread it onto the bread, and quickly fry it in a pan of hot oil. Your quick snack or appetizer will be ready in mere minutes.

Serves 3

Ingredients

1/2 lb. fish

3 slices bread, diagonally sliced in quarters

1 large egg

1 small onion

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. oil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 243

Protein: 18 grams

Carbs: 15 grams

Fat: 12 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

Chinese Whole Steamed Fish

healthy chinese fish recipe Picture courtesy of Omnivore’s Cookbook

Cooking fish doesn’t have to be difficult. If you use this traditional Chinese technique, there’s no need to even remove the meat from the bones.

This is an especially great recipe if you’ve just returned from a fishing trip and can’t wait to dig in. Once you get everything prepped, the fish will take less than 10 minutes to steam to perfection.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 small head-on sea bass (about 20 oz.), scaled and gutted

1” fresh ginger, sliced

1 cup chopped green onion

2 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

2 dried chili peppers

1/2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn

2 Tbsp. seasoned soy sauce

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 353

Protein: 48 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fat: 15 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

Barbecued Tofu with Sesame Noodles

chinese sesame noodles recipe Picture courtesy of Tarla Dalal

To make tasty Chinese tofu, prepare a simple marinade, and toss it in a hot pan. It’s even easier than pan-frying meat because you don’t have to worry about it being undercooked.

All you need is to make sure all the sides are crisp and brown. To cook these noodles in the true Hakka style, gently toss them in the wok or frying pan while cooking, rather than just stir-frying them.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Noodle Salad:

2 cups cooked noodles

1 cup (8 oz.) firm tofu cubes

2 tsp. sesame seeds

1 cup julienned carrots

1 cup sliced green onion, white parts only

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Salt to taste

2 Tbsp. chopped green onions (optional garnish)

Marinade:

1 tsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. dry red chili flakes (or paprika)

Salt to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 274

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 17 grams

Fat: 25 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Tong Sui

chinese dessert recipe Picture courtesy of Elinluv’s Sweet Delights

If sweet potatoes are your favorite superfood, you’ll love to serve this unique sweet soup for dessert.

First, the broth is made by stirring crushed ginger, pandan leaves, and palm sugar into a pot of boiling water. Then, the special ingredient – sago, which can be found at an Asian grocery, or substituted with tapioca pearls – is added along with the cubes of purple sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Like many dessert soups, this one can be served hot or chilled.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. purple sweet potatoes, cubed and steamed

1 segment pumpkin (about 1 cup), cubed and steamed

1/4 cup sago (or tapioca pearls), cooked in boiling water until transparent

1” fresh ginger, crushed

3 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

1/4 cup palm sugar (or more to taste)

8 1/2 cups water

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 239

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 57 grams

Fat: < 1 gram

 

GET THE RECIPE

 

 

What did you think of these easy Chinese recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Tom

    That General Tsos looks like it will just about fit the bill to prepare for 6 post-workout meals. Given chicken vs. whey’s protein absorption rate, do you think it matters if this is where the protein comes from for post-workout? Or am I just nit-picking over great vs. wonderful and shouldn’t worry about it?

  • augarata

    I’ve decided to make a meal tonight. These noodles looks delish 🙂

  • I’ll definitely give a variation of this almond pudding a try! Would be great with some vanilla protein powder mixed in

  • Andrew

    This is just what I needed, thanks Mike! I tried the General Tso’s recipe by replacing half the sugar with stevia to make it a little healthier, and it tasted delicious!

    • Welcome! Glad it still tasted good substituting some of the sugar with stevia. Smart move!

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