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Dinner Rush! Char Siu BBQ Pork + Sesame-Roasted Broccoli

It’s pronounced “shar-see,” and, yes, it’ll change your life. Char siu is a popular Chinese version of barbecued meat, most typically pork nowadays. The tender cut of meat is slow-roasted with a sauce made of hoisin, five-spice powder, soy sauce and Shaoxing wine (a popular Chinese rice wine).

Many of us are familiar with char siu’s knockoff cousin, those boneless pork ribs you get from the Chinese restaurant. They’re a curiously vibrant red color, kind of sticky and taste vaguely meaty. I promise once you’ve tried this version, you’ll be hard-pressed to go back to that white paper carton. This sauce is sweet and savory with an awesome kick from the five-spice powder.

Go ahead, test the waters with this single recipe to make sure you like it. Once you’re hooked, make a double or triple batch of the sauce, then keep it on hand in the fridge for a quick weeknight flavor bomb for anything from cooked meats to simple roasted vegetables.

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Dinner Rush! Cold Ginger Soba Noodles

There’s a hole in my heart left behind by the recent closure of my favorite local Chinese restaurant. The Mill House Panda was a Poughkeepsie, NY, institution for decades, with cold sesame noodles unrivaled across three counties. While these aren’t exactly its version (not even close, in fact), a yearning for my long-lost Tuesday night take-out has inspired me to pick myself up, dust myself off and create a new cold Asian noodle to call my own.

A sneak peek down the page to the photos and ingredients listed below should raise eyebrows (and hopefully pique interest) that these aren’t your run of the mill cold sesame noodle. Being the fan of fiber that I am, these noodles are doubled down with shredded kale and a surprise kick from some chopped dried plums — which, as an aside, sound so much more pleasant than a bowl full of prunes, don’t they?

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Party in Five: DIY Dim Sum Party


We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

Dinner parties can be a lot of work, but when you invite guests to get involved with the preparation of the meal, you can significantly reduce your party prep time (and stress). I recently hosted a Dim Sum party and welcomed a few friends into the kitchen to learn how to make Chinese dumplings. The interactive entree was the perfect focal point of a festive dinner full of modern, eye-catching Asian-inspired details. And since guests spent the evening socializing in the kitchen, I didn’t have to miss out on a single moment.

To host your own Dim Sum party, you’ll need five essential ingredients:

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Meatless Monday: Hot and Sour Fresh Noodles


Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Thinking about ordering in for dinner tonight? Instead of reaching for the take-out menu of your neighborhood Chinese restaurant, head to the kitchen and start heating up the wok. You can whip together your favorite Chinese noodles in well under an hour.

Ching’s recipe for Hot and Sour Fresh Noodles is lighter than what you would typically order at a restaurant so you’ll feel better about polishing off a big bowl.  It’s the perfect balance between spicy and tangy, and the crisp zucchini adds a nice contrast of texture to the soft noodles. The fresh ginger, chilies and garlic combined with the soy sauce and vinegar make for a fragrant dish you’ll crave time and time again.

This recipe is flexible. You can easily add in as many veggies as you want for some extra crunch. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, scale back on the amount of chilies and chili oil you add. Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar can be found in most grocery stores and are worth having in your pantry.

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Dinner Rush! Carrot-Ginger Wonton Soup

Not unlike the rest of the free world, I haven’t been feeling so hot this last week. Congestion, light coughing and a perpetual need for multiple layers of blanketing – who loves flu season! So, in an edible effort to get myself back on the right track, I whipped up some of my favorite sick time comfort food: wonton soup.

When I’m feeling down, nothing brings me back like a big bowl of soup. I live in a curious little black hole where all of the Asian restaurants around me have nailed most Americanized Chinese delicacies with the exception of wonton soup – it’s just not very tasty in my neck of the woods. Needless to say, I’ve gotten pretty decent at making it at home.

Whenever going at wonton soup on my own, I save a boatload of time by using frozen pot stickers for the wontons. I start with a XXL dose of ginger to make a nice spicy base, and then simmer the pot stickers in the infused broth just until they’re tender. It’s a delicious meal for those ailing and healthy alike that’s done before the delivery man could even make it to your door.

Carrot-Ginger Wonton Soup

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Happy Chinese New Year! and Congrats on Not Being Eaten Alive

Chinese New Year Recipes

Ever wonder who came up with the idea that “everybody’s Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day? Whoever it was, I think most of America owes them a huge thank you, or at least a shot of Jameson. But why stop there? Isn’t it time we open ourselves up to the traditions and cuisines of other cultures — especially when the cuisine is insanely delicious? Today is Chinese New Year and it’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to “be Chinese” for a day.

Tonight at 8pm ET on Ching’s Chinese New Year, host Ching-He Huang will share her “blueprint” for a fun and fortuitous Chinese New Year celebration, giving you the inside scoop on decorations, firecrackers and a mouthwatering Chinese feast that’s sure to bring you good luck in the year of the snake. Now, if you live in a city like San Francisco or New York, chances are you’re somewhat familiar with the loud and colorful festivities of Chinese New Year. (It’s hard to miss a huge red dragon marching down Main Street.) But why all the flare, you ask? It’s a holiday steeped in tradition and superstition, and it all begins with one fantastic legend. Gather around children; it’s story time:

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Dumplings Recipe for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Dumplings
Photo by Kankana Saxena
It is common knowledge that dumplings are considered to be lucky and are eaten for the Chinese New Year (lunar calendar), usually celebrated in February. But have you ever wondered why? “My mother is from Hong Kong,” says home cook Andrew Schrage, co-owner of MoneyCrashers.com, a financial fitness blog, “so I have always been very superstitious and cognizant of Chinese traditions. I’ve heard that the shape of dumplings resembles the gold coins of ancient China, symbolizing prosperity.”

Schrage says making dumplings was serious business in his family when he was growing up, and for the longest time only his mother was allowed to do it. “It was only after a lot of practice that my older brother or I would be allowed to help prepare the dumplings for our New Year’s meal. It was almost a rite of passage,” he says. Though it is traditional to make dumplings for New Year’s celebrations, Schrage enjoys eating them so much that now he makes them year-round.

Chef Chris Yeo serves a delicate array of dim sum at his restaurant Sino in San Jose, California, and says, “Dim sum, a type of dumpling, means ‘a little something from the heart’ and symbolizes fortune and good luck. They are small and shaped like coins, further emphasizing the good luck symbol.” He adds that dumplings resemble the ingots that once were China’s currency, so eating them brings hope of an auspicious and fortunate year. Some cooks stuff a lump of sugar in a dumpling to ensure sweetness! And there is even a tradition of hiding a coin in a dumpling now and then. “If you don’t break a tooth [when you eat the coin-filled dumpling], you are considered lucky for the year,” says Yeo.

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Dinner Rush! Miso-Honey Shrimp Stir-Fry

Miso-Honey Shrimp Stir-Fry

As a nerdy, husky jeans-clad teenager growing up in Northern New York, I always had a soft spot for Chinese takeout night. Like clockwork each week, origami cardboard containers of exotic concoctions like moo goo gai pan, boneless beef spare ribs, lo mein, and chicken with cashews would arrive in a sawed-off cardboard box and be subsequently devoured, funny-shaped flavorless cookies and all. It wasn’t until many years later — when I actually began to study the flavors and cooking methods of East Asia — that I realized how truly awful most of it was. I was just a hungry, hungry little hippo. What was I supposed to know? Knowledge can be a funny thing that way.

Which is why Chinese takeout night still rocks the party in my house. My husband and I crave the Iron Chef-esque challenge of taking the greasy, over-sauced memories of yesteryear and re-creating them over a couple of Tsingtaos or sake margaritas.

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Summer Fest: Broccoli Stir-Fry

The final week of our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2011 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We hope we’ve helped you to enjoy all of summer’s best produce. We’ve delved into eggplant, peaches, cucumbers, cherries and corn. Now say goodbye to the season with: broccoli.

You can avoid a lot of unnecessary oil and still get a ton of flavor by making stir-fry at home. In season broccoli is a great stir-fry staple, since it keeps its crunch while still absorbing your sauce.

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