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Anyone know and good Chinese food recipes?

I recently bought a wok and I've been craving to make some of my favorite Chinese dishes like Chicken and Broccoli, pork fried rice, wonton soup, egg/spring rolls. So far I've made General Tso chicken but it didn't seem to taste as good as the kind in restaurants and the sauce was a way to gelatin like. I'm also interested in some good dumpling recipes.
The one thing that concerns is that I have Sherry and some require dry sherry, seeing as they're both liquids, what's the difference?

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  1. milk and coffee are both liquids too.

    sweet sherry and dry sherry don't taste the same. Chinese recipes generally call for dry sherry.

    1. Starting with the last, there is a large range of sherries. "Dry" sherry usually means manzanilla, the driest, or fino, the next driest. Amantillado is called for in some recipes, but not in Chinese cooking, in my experience. Any other kind of sherry is useless for any cooking I would do. Do not be misled: "Dry Sack" is not a dry sherry, it is merely drier than the dessert sherries.

      The best dumpling recipe is in Henry Chung's Hunan Style Chinese Cookbook, now hard-to-find.

      Since you are new to Chinese cooking, I recommend you get a copy of Chang and Kutscher's Encyclopedia of Chinese Food and Cooking. It contains hundreds of basic Chinese recipes.

      1. Fuchsia Dunlop has some recipes online that are quite good. Look on Fuchsia's website for Gong Bao Chicken (kung pao chicken). I also like that recipe using beef or shrimp, although I skip the sichuan pepper. She also has a recipe on AARP's website called Cumin Beef. I usually skip the scallions in that recipe and use cilantro instead.

        I started with these books plus lots of youtube videos :

        Nancy McDermott- Quick and Easy Chinese.
        Grace Young- Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.
        Fuchsia Dunlop- Land of Plenty.

        Books give good advice on technique, buying ingredients, etc. I'd be lost without cookbooks.

        1. I suggest looking at the Steamy Kitchen blog. I tried a couple of her recipes that turned out nicely.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dave_c

            Very good rec. I'm pretty sure that's where I learned how to make XLB.

            A few years ago a friend of mine wanted a simple, basic Chinese cookbook, not much money. He knew I was going to SF and asked me to look. I found one at the Wok Shop. Oops, just searched and can't find the particular one. But I'm sure OP can find something online at least. And, yes, Dunlop and Andrea Nguyen have things on line.

          2. Esteemed poster mamachef gave us all a Chinese cooking lesson awhile back: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8343...

            3 Replies
            1. re: GretchenS

              I should have clicked your link before posting below Gretchen!! I didn't realize mamachef had posted that FoodNetwork Magazine recipe here. It's really is a good one and for whatever reason it doesn't seem to be on the FN site though a number of bloggers have posted it (no surprise!!) I've photocopied it several times to share w friends and co-workers.

              If anyone still has their old FN magazines that recipe is called "11,375 Stir-Fries" and is in the March 2010 edition and I actually think it's on p. 75 as I've made a note in my online recipe file. If you don't have the magazine you can still get an electronic copy on Zinio or, if you Google "11,375 Stir-Fries" you'll find lots of bloggers have shared it and, made a number of great recipes from it.

              I'm not much of a fan of the FN magazine now but for whatever reason, that was a good one. It also had a mini cookbook on pizzas inside and that too is good.

              Thanks for posting a link to that thread on Chinese Take-out Gretchen, I've saved it to my profile so I can read through it sometime. It was through a similar thread that I found links to some of my favourite websites for Asian recipes.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                I didn't post it as the FN mag. recipe, Breadcrumbs, which is probably why you missed it. I posted it with some revisions that are a bit more to my taste, but yes; the format is essentially theirs.

                1. re: mamachef

                  I don't know mamachef, I'm thinking I'd have missed it anyway because I'm finding the search function here on CH to be pernickety since the recent "upgrade"!!

                  It's great to have it here on CH though...such a great recipe!

                  ETA: In case folks are interested I'll paste a link to the original here since you've made your revisions mamachef. That's the joy of cooking isn't it!!:


            2. No need to purchase a pricey sherry for Chinese cooking. I've been using "Taylor's Dry Sherry" (around $6/bottle) for decades now, & have made quite a few pretty damn authentic Asian dishes using it. If you want to go authentic, see if you can find Chinese rice wine from a local liquor store, but I've used it, & frankly it doesn't taste all that different from Taylor's Dry Sherry. As for using pricier dry sherries for wok cookery? Don't waste your money. Even if it isn't up to the par of what other's here wouldn't use in "any cooking they would do". ;)

              As for getting the exact flavor(s) you want, the secret is practice & experiment. There must be HUNDREDS of recipes for "General Tso's Chicken" - none exactly the same. Just get yourself a few cookbooks from the library, online, or a bookstore & start experimenting. Once you get your sea legs, you'll find yourself adding your own touches & your own flavors. That's what makes cooking - especially stir-fry cooking - so enjoyable.

              1. It may be best to watch the experts. Google stir fry and select videos.

                FWIW I reckon that adding rather more garlic and ginger than a recipe calls for is never a bad thing. Also Kikkoman brand soy sauce does it for me.

                1. You would do well to investigate the sites and authors I list below for information, recipes, ingredients and technique of cooking with a wok and Asian cuisine in general. I highly recommend the following:

                  Grace Young
                  Wok expert and Chinese cook/teacher par excellence. Two of her books have been COTMs here...

                  Fuchsia Dunlop
                  She has been described as ‘The best writer in the West… on Chinese food’ by the Sunday Telegraph (UK). Chowhounds have cooked 2 of her books as COTM and also from her newest book, "Every Grain of Rice." She's our idol.

                  Bee Yinn Low
                  A pan-Asian blog with over website with over 500 easy Asian recipes... also a cookbook just published

                  Andrea Nguyen
                  Expert on Vietnamese cuisine and a terrific teacher with an equally great cookbook... which was a COTM

                  1. I just went to K-Town to the super market to by some common ingredients used for some of my favorite chinese dishes, I couldn't find Dry Sherry. I noticed that some recipes call for Dark/Light Soy sauce which I couldn't find. Is it ok to just use regular/all purpose soy sauce, since I believe the differences are consistencies and the amount salt a long with color

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: UnrealCaker

                      You'll be just fine with all purpose for most uses. Just pick up bottles of light and dark when the opportunity arises.

                      1. re: UnrealCaker

                        "Dark" (or black) soy sauce can only be found in an Asian grocery, not in a regular supermarket.

                        Correction: According to Chang & Kutscher, there are three types — "light," "dark" (with added coloring), and "heavy" (or black).

                        1. re: GH1618

                          It was an Asian grocery store I went to

                          1. re: UnrealCaker

                            Then it wouldn't likely have sherry. There is a Chinese wine similar to sherry, which is why recipes in English usually call for sherry.

                          2. re: GH1618

                            I can find both light and dark soy sauces at my regular grocery stores, and I do not live in an area with an especially high Chinese population at all. In fact, I can find multiple brands of each.

                          3. re: UnrealCaker

                            Any liquor store should have dry sherry. If you can buy wine in grocery stores, it should be there as well.

                            1. re: sr44

                              I only have sherry cooking wine, is that any good?

                              1. re: UnrealCaker

                                The "sherry cooking wine" has salt added so be careful of how much soy sauce you use. I would buy regular dry sherry at a liquor store. Better yet, buy Chinese rice wine at your Asian market to use in your favorite Chinese dishes....

                                1. re: Gio

                                  lucky me I bought some rice wine, but is it a good substitute for dry sherry?

                                  1. re: UnrealCaker

                                    After your question re: "cooking wine", exactly what type of "rice wine" did you buy & from where?

                                    If you bought "Mirin" from your local supermarket, that's a sweetened rice wine that's used in specific Japanese recipes - none of which you've been talking about.

                                    And honestly - "dry sherry" IS A SUBSTITUTE for a good rice wine - not the other way around. You're obviously very confused here. In fact, you're confusing me.

                                    What exactly is it you want to know?

                                    I think I'm having a meltdown. And over something as simple as dry sherry, no less. Lol!

                                    1. re: UnrealCaker

                                      It's what sherry is a substitute for. Go for it.

                                      1. re: sr44

                                        So long as the OP actually bought Chinese Rice Wine & not "Mirin". I'm not so sure she knows the difference, & Mirin is definitely not a substitute for Chinese Rice Wine or dry sherry.

                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                          I'm a guy, I also have Rice Vinegar which I think I just wasted money on cause some people say the difference between them isn't very big and you can substitute one another in recipes, I haven't seen any dishes I like that call for mirin so I think I'm good. I don't know what Chili sauce/paste to get since all these recipes call for different national types, I want a Chili sauce/paste that can be used for more than one recipe/dish

                                          1. re: UnrealCaker

                                            The Chili sauce I like is called Chili Garlic Sauce and is made by Huy Fong Foods. It's actually a Vietnamese sauce, but I use it in Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes which call for Chili sauce. It can be used as a substitute for Siracha sauce, too. It comes in a plastic container with a green lid and has a picture of rooster on the side. The company's website is www.huyfong.com

                                            1. re: UnrealCaker

                                              If you're cooking Asian foods a lot, rice vinegar is worth having - it's got a milder flavour than white distilled vinegar. Plus, vinegar's not going to expire quickly and doesn't need to be refrigerated, so you can keep it around for a while.

                                              Look for shaoxing rice wine for Chinese cooking (紹興酒) - this is what the original recipe will be calling for.

                                              As far as basic ingredients go, I always have rice wine, soy sauce, white rice vinegar, and sesame oil on hand as absolutely essential, and pick up the various pastes as I need them - it depends on what kind of dishes you want to make.

                                              1. re: UnrealCaker

                                                Sorry about the gender blunder!!

                                                As others have mentioned, look for the "rooster" brand - aka Huy Fong - as far as Asian chili sauces go. While decades ago one had to get it at strictly Asian markets, these days pretty much every supermarket carries it.

                                                I find that the Chili-Garlic Sauce is the most versatile, although they also make the infamous Sriracha, as well as a chili sauce without garlic. Again, the Chili-Garlic Sauce will give you more bang for your buck as far as cooking versatililty. They used to also make a sambal that contained fried onions instead of the garlic, but I guess that wasn't a top seller & was discontinued. It was kind of nice to add to soups & Indian curries.


                                          2. re: UnrealCaker

                                            UnrealCaker, the "rice wine" you bought is perfect for Chinese cooking. Dry sherry is only a substitute for rice wine. Rice wine is the ingredient to use. So you did well to buy it.

                                            Also... let me describe the soy sauces you ought to be buying when you get a chance:

                                            1. All-Purpose soy sauce: such as Kikkoman or Pearl River Bridge Light Superior Soy Sauce...
                                            This is also called Light soy sauce. Kikkoman is the Japanese version and Pearl River is Chinese. This is OK to use for everything but the next two soy sauces add a more distinct flavor to whatever it is you are cooking.

                                            2. Dark or black soy sauce: such as Koon Chun Black Soy Sauce...
                                            This has a stronger flavor than others. It is enhanced with molasses, not added coloring. Use it in braises and stews.

                                            3. Sweet soy sauce: such as: ABC Sweet Soy Sauce...
                                            This is called Kecap Manis in Indonesia. Use this for noodles, stews, meats, and stir-fries. Can also be used as a dipping sauce straight from the bottle.

                                        2. re: UnrealCaker

                                          Re: "Sherry Cooking Wine" or ANY "cooking wine" - the answer is no, No, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!

                                          Good grief - you might as well just add battery acid to your dish. It's horrible stuff that isn't even remotely related to "wine". Want to ruin your dish?? Buy & use disgusting "cooking wines" from your local supermarket.

                                          For heaven's sake - Taylor's dry sherry (or any comparable domestic brand) costs $5-$6 a bottle, & lasts forever in the pantry. PLEASE do not buy "cooking wine" from the supermarket & expect to turn out any meal that's edible.

                                          I think I'm having a meltdown - lol!!!

                                      2. re: UnrealCaker

                                        The rice wine you need is this stuff:


                                        It's not expensive and lasts quite a while in the fridge after opening. Dry sherry is a pretty good replacement.

                                      3. I got a wok and a wok burner way back in 1991, and couldn't make any Chinese Food I really liked until I discovered that you have to use ingredients you don't "like" to make it taste authentic. Also, that it is hard to make a Chinese feast (like a restaurant), but you don't have to make the entire meal in the wok. Steamed rice and one stir fry are fine for home cooking.

                                        A book that made it all very easy was Ken Hom’s Quick & Easy Chinese Cookery (Chronicle Books, 1990). He has other books as well, and some recipes on the internet, but this book is a great place to start.

                                        1. I have 2 great posts to point you to:

                                          1. David Rosengarten did a great feature for the HufPost entitled "The Secrets Of Chinese Stir-Frying: Why Does It Always Seem To Go Wrong At Home?" In this he includes step by step instructions, photos, tips etc:


                                          2. Stir Fry Variations: In 2010 the Food Network Magazine did a great feature on Stir-Fry Variations. They gave you recipes for different sauces etc. It's great because you can work with whatever you happen to have on hand and come up w completely different recipes - just veggies, spicy, sweet it has you covered. For the sauces FN did specify Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Sherry. I've used both with good results:


                                          ETA: The FN Feature was entitled: 11,375 Stir-Fries from March 2010 Food Network Magazine

                                          1. Oh does anyone know the recipe to this chicken, I have some dipping sauces I wanna try it out on

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: UnrealCaker

                                              That is chicken breasts sliced into strips, coated with a batter, and fried. Google: Chicken Fingers...

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Those are not chicken fingers. Yes they are breaded and fried chicken of some kind but the batter is different from whatever recipe you will get by typing "chicken fingers" into google.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Right, there are differences as you just pointed out with the two different links... so maybe if they had googled korean chicken fingers they would get a recipe similar to the what appears in the picture. That was my point.

                                              2. re: UnrealCaker

                                                Gio provided you with a link to an amazing website up-thread called RASAMALAYSIA. This site has lots of recipes for a wide variety of Asian dishes. I'd encourage you to take a look around there and search for some of your favourites.

                                                The photo you've shared looks like Sweet & Sour Chicken with sauce on the side to me. If that's the case, Rasamalaysia has a recipe here:


                                                The frying technique that David Rosengarten describes and photographs in the link I shared up-thread would work very well for this recipe.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  I've never had one of Bee Yin Low's recipes fail, ever. If I google a dish, and that website comes up for it, that's the one I'll make.

                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                    Her "Szechuan/Sichuan Roasted Chicken" is absolutely delicious...

                                                    I love everything we've cooked from her blog. I'm ordering her new cookbook!

                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                      I did like the rasamalaysia blog but a while back she seemed to start using a lot of ready-made sauces from her sponsors, which put me off a bit. Would be interested in seeing her book though as I like the early recipes.

                                                  2. re: UnrealCaker

                                                    That looks like british sweet and sour chicken to me. (Probably the US have the same thing). If you follow any chinese recipe for sweet and sour chicken, you are unlikely to get what you want. They don't taste anything like chinese sweet and sour chicken.

                                                  3. Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cuisine has two recipes for General Tso's chicken. I made the one described as less sweet (Changsha version?) and it was killer. I see that one can find "adapted" versions of this recipe on the internets.

                                                    1. Since you are just beginning to cook Chinese, my suggestion is that you buy the source ingredients that a Chinese cookbook author recommends. This is especially true regarding the sauces (i.e, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoi sin sauce, plum sauce, chili sauce with garlic, and the various vinegars) as the taste can vary widely. For example, Kikkoman soy sauce differs from the Pearl River brand and there are premium brands of oyster sauce that taste better than the 99-cent specials. There are publications (including those available on line) that have pictures of the products recommended and I would start with that.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: honu2

                                                        The only thing out of those I'm missing is dark/light soy sauce, plum sauce, chili sauce. However I don't think I'll be using any of those except the soys (but only to keep myself from using up all the regular soy sauce) since the dishes I like don't seem to use them. The brand of Soy Sauce I bought was Sempoi Jin's which taste just like the soy sauce in the little packets yo get from Chinese restaurants which I like. Last time I had soy sauce I bought store brand from Target and it tasted awful. I don't like the taste of Kikkoman either.

                                                      2. +1 on Quick and Easy Chinese, it is a good starter book. I love Grace Young's books too.

                                                        Some dishes are not going to taste like Chinese restaurant food, Some places use premade sauce for General Tso's chicken. It has corn syrup and artificial ingredients; however, once you start cooking some of the other dishes you'll develop an appreciation for fresher and natural ingredients.

                                                        1. You might think about dumping the sherry in favor of a bottle of Shao Xing wine. You can pick it up in ANY Asian market, it's not pricey, and best of all, it's the real thing. I use about a bottle every six weeks, and it's much better than sherry.

                                                          As for recipes and cookbooks, Google is your friend! TONS of recipes there. When you're more convinced of what flavors and types of recipes interest you, that's the time to buy cookbooks.

                                                          1. Basic Ingredients for Chinese Cooking
                                                            By Martin Yan


                                                            1. It looks like you may be looking for a cookbook like this. I have no experience with this cookbook, other then seeing it in the bookstore and finding it on amazon.


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                Good call Beetlebug! Diana Kuan has a blog...and many recipes from the book are included:

                                                                Here's the Recipes page:

                                                              2. Thanks for all the suggestion guys, I'm going to be making Sesame seed chicken, pork egg/spring rolls, stir fried rice, shanghai noodles, and maybe some potstickers tomorrow.
                                                                rasamalaysia seems to be ideal, since looking at some of the recipes there seem to have really positive reviews and I found some new things like Firecracker shrimp that I wanna try out.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: UnrealCaker

                                                                  Er, that's a pretty ambitious menu. You might want to start with just one and see how it goes. Especially if you're going to use your wok for the egg rolls and potstickers as well as the stir-fry item. Just a thought.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    I agree. You may want to re-think your menu unless you're just making it for yourself & not for guests.

                                                                    Even the most ambitious Chinese cookbooks advise that with multiple-course meals, you should have various cooking styles to avoid disaster. As in only one or two stir-fry items, one or two braised items, steamed items, etc., etc. You can't be in all places at all times.

                                                                    Better to make one or two dishes well, than a large number poorly.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I agree. I spend a few hours on potstickers, counting shopping.

                                                                    2. re: UnrealCaker

                                                                      That is way too ambitious a menu to start out with since you are familiar with neither the ingredients or the methods and timing is important.

                                                                    3. I'm a very inexperienced cook, but I recently bought a copy of 'Easy Chinese Recipes' and have managed to produce several fine meals from it. If you don't want to get the book, she has many recipes on her website:

                                                                      1. This ought to keep you and your wok busy for awhile!

                                                                        1. I hope you're still interested in Chinese recipes that taste as good as what you get in their restaurants. I've always loved a particular dipping sauce that was served with dumplings. I tasted this same exact sauce in 2 different restaurants. I searched for dumpling sauce recipes all over the internet. I tried them all. No luck. Years went by. I still searched for that recipe. Then one day... I FOUND IT!!! I will share it with you.

                                                                          In a plastic bowl place:
                                                                          7 - tablespoons water
                                                                          1 - tablespoon soy sauce
                                                                          dash of garlic powder
                                                                          1/4 - teaspoon molasses
                                                                          a few drops of vinegar
                                                                          1/4 - teaspoon powdered beef bouillon (I use 1/4 of a crushed beef bouillon cube)

                                                                          Heat this (water, soy sauce, etc.) mixture in your microwave till it's hot, then set aside.

                                                                          In a small pot place:
                                                                          1 - tablespoon oil
                                                                          2 - tablespoons sugar
                                                                          4 - pieces of ginger (peel the ginger, then cut it into 4 thick coin shaped rings)

                                                                          Over medium heat cook the oil, sugar, ginger mixture till the sugar turns golden brown. You will need to stir this as it cooks. It takes some time for the sugar to start to brown.

                                                                          When the sugar has browned slightly, add the hot water/soy sauce mixture to the pot. Be careful. It splatters and makes a lot of noise when you add the water. Continue to cook over medium heat and stir. You will feel the sugar on the bottom of the pan, but it will dissolve. Once the sugar has dissolved, let it simmer for 5 minutes.

                                                                          Now your dipping sauce is ready. It's delicious. On occasions I have had sauce left over and placed it in the refrigerator to use the following day. It does not taste as good the next day. Even warmed up a bit. So I now make a fresh batch each time I have dumplings.

                                                                          1. One of my my favourite Chinese food is black pepper beef. You don't really see it in western Chinese restaurants, but i fell in love with it in Beijing. The recipe is one my wife has perfected and it reminds us both of Beijing. I copied the link from her blog, which is found at http://chelseyschinacookingchallenge....

                                                                            Black Pepper Beef

                                                                            1 Lb. Beef Tenderloin

                                                                            Beef Marinade
                                                                            1 tsp. meat tenderizer
                                                                            1 tsp. starch
                                                                            1 Tbsp. egg white
                                                                            1 Tbsp. cooking wine
                                                                            2 Tbsp. soy sauce
                                                                            1 tsp. oil

                                                                            Black Pepper Sauce
                                                                            1 Tbsp. ketchup
                                                                            1 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar (can sub. balsamic vinegar
                                                                            )1 Tbsp. black bean sauce
                                                                            1 cup beef broth
                                                                            1 Tbsp. sugar
                                                                            1 tsp. starch
                                                                            1/2-1 tsp. salt (according to taste)

                                                                            1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
                                                                            5 cloves of garlic minced (at least)
                                                                            2 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
                                                                            1/2 onion cut in cut on angles
                                                                            1 cup green and red pepper cut on angles

                                                                            drop of sesame oil

                                                                            Tenderize the beef (the back of a clever works well for this) and slice thinly against the grain. This is easiest if the beef is slightly frozen. Mix meat tenderizer, starch, egg white, cooking wine, and soy sauce with the beef and let it marinate for 1-2 hours. After it is done marinating mix in the oil. Mix black pepper sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat a saucepan or wok and stir-fry beef pieces until the meat is no longer pink, no longer. Cooking it too long will prevent those tasty beef juices from seeping out and flavoring the overall dish. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil and fry garlic onions and peppers until tender crisp, then add the black pepper and stir-fry until fragrant (a few seconds). Deglase the pan with cooking wine the add beef sauce ingredients. Add the beef with juices back in and stir all together. Finally stir in a drop of sesame oil and turn off the heat. Serve with rice or noodles.

                                                                            1. Seriouseats.com has some great articles on Chinese cooking! Check them out.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: maradol

                                                                                'Youtube' Asking for Chinese food recipes is like asking if anyone has any good French classic recipes. The subjects are so vast they really needs a lot of study.
                                                                                I've been seriously trying to 'cook' descent regional chinese dishes for decades. IMO the only way anyone truly learns to cook any classic cuisine is to be born to it.
                                                                                No Caucasian with access to ingredients in Duluth is going to turn out anything close to what the average Chinese is eating in China.
                                                                                I now have three dishes I would be OK with serving to a visiting Chinese family in my home. One of them is basic 'sticky rice'. Another is egg and tomatoes:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRfLN...