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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Beat the Wheat: Kung Pao Chicken

Gluten-Free Kung Pao ChickenAKA: The Friday Night Special is Kung PaOMG Chicken 

For years I had a special Friday night ritual that involved a group of college and work girlfriends gathering at one of our apartments to order Chinese food, catch up on the week’s goings-on, thumb through gossip magazines, and share our latest dating horror stories and secret crushes. That lovely and much-needed ritual slowly unwound as some of the girls got married, had babies or moved away, but my need for Friday night Chinese hasn’t waned.

I subbed in Thai or Indian carryout for my Chinese fix for a while — most Thai and Indian dishes are naturally gluten-free, so it was an easy swap. Still, it wasn’t the same. And I really missed Chinese food, with the sweet and sour, the hot and spicy, the meats, vegetables, noodles and rice. I missed opening the little white boxes and watching the steam swirl up, missed eating the leftovers cold the next day. I wanted it all. Whenever I saw characters in movies or on TV calling for Chinese delivery, I’d wince. I bought a few cookbooks and a wok, but I never put them to use because it seemed like too much work. Boy, was I wrong.

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Meatless Monday: Fried Rice with Asparagus, Corn and Mushrooms

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?

Recreating your favorite takeout dishes can be a much healthier option than ordering delivery. Take for instance fried rice. I’d be scared to know the nutritional information from my go-to Chinese takeout joint. Making it at home, I control how much oil goes into the wok.

You don’t need a recipe for fried rice — you can throw in just about anything. But Ching’s recipe for Egg, Baby Asparagus, Corn and Shimeji Mushroom Fried Rice takes the classic takeout dish to another level. It’s loaded with flavor, even sans pork. The addition of asparagus and mushrooms brings an earthy element to the meal. Finely diced red chile brings just the right amount of heat and corn adds a sweet crunch. By cooking the eggs separately from the rice, you get fluffy pieces of egg which make for the best of bites.

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Meatless Monday: Vegetable Chow Mein

vegetable chow mein

The only “rule” for Meatless Monday is that you go meatless that day. Technically, you don’t have to cook; you could feast on meat-free restaurant fare the whole day if you wanted to. But though it’s tempting in a pinch, why would you order take-out when you can make the same food at home, for less money and in less time? Take Chinese food, for example. It’s never done in the 10 minutes promised. And I’m always skeptical of the mysterious broth and sauce that gets ladled into my stir-fry — is it really meatless?

In the time it takes you to pick up the phone and order, and then fetch your meal, you can whip up your own authentic Chinese dinner at home. Ching-He Huang‘s Chow Mein recipe is easy to make (her shows are called Chinese Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco, after all), it uses ingredients you can find in any grocery store and you have total control over the ingredients so you can be sure it’s meatless. And if you really don’t want to miss out on the take-out experience, pack up your leftovers in a Chinese take-out container and enjoy them for lunch the next day.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese

Black Pepper Beef and Stir-Fry

You can have Ching's veggie-packed Black Pepper Beef and Stir-Fry on the table in 35 minutes.

Cooking Channel chef Ching-He Huang simplifies and lightens up Chinese food in her TV shows Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco (find great recipes from her shows here). In her new cookbook, Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese, Ching gives her special touch to Chinese takeout favorites and traditional foods, delivering more than 100 quick, easy and healthy Chinese recipes.

Ching’s cookbook is organized and reads like your favorite Chinese takeout menu, stepped up a notch or two. It starts with a few breakfast offerings (Pork, Ginger and Duck Egg Congee) and then dives into soups and appetizers (Pork and Shrimp Fried Wontons). Main dishes are divided into poultry (Kung Po Chicken); beef, pork and lamb (Cantonese-Style Sweet-and-Sour Pork); fish and shellfish (Spicy Sweet Jumbo Shrimp); and then vegetarian dishes. There’s even a section with “Specials,” or special occasion foods for get-togethers, like Chili Bean Braised Beef.

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Chinese New Year Gifts

Fruit such as kumquats, oranges, pomelo and mandarin orange symbolize happiness, good fortune and good health.

Part of the Chinese New Year tradition is the act of graciously giving and graciously receiving.  I remember making the rounds as a kid in Hong Kong – my parents would present baskets of fruit, a special dish or a bottle of wine; and all the kids got Red Envelopes or “hong bow.” If you’re invited to someone’s house to celebrate Chinese New Year, there are certain gifts that symbolize wonderful things — and then there are the no-no’s.

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Chinese New Year 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese New Year Recipes: Sesame Noodles with Chicken (left), Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad (top right), and Zesty Chile Tiger Prawns (bottom right)

I’ve never been the lucky sort, lottery tickets aren’t my thing and I can’t even recall winning a single game of Bingo. Las Vegas is all about the food, not the slots and I don’t even bother entering sweepstakes. That’s why when Chinese New Year rolls around the beginning of each year, I don’t count on luck to carry me through 12 months, but rather go the Chinese route — eat my way to please the gods of good fortune.

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Wok This Way

Wok

Use a wok to cook up quick and easy stir-fry dinners.

Stir-frying is cooking small bits of meat and veggies over high heat for a short amount of time and, since it doesn’t require much fat or oil, it’s a good healthy-cooking technique to pick up. Sure, you can stir fry in a regular frying pan or even in a pot, but a wok can turn any ho-hum weeknight dinnertime into a dramatic, choreographed stir-frying event.

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Cooking the Channel: Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein from <em>Chinese Food Made Easy</em>

Chicken Chow Mein from Chinese Food Made Easy

Join our cooking club! We’re excited by the eclectic Cooking Channel show lineup and the great-looking recipes flooding our site, so we’re working our way through the shows, one recipe at a time…

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Chinese Food Made Easy: 5 Quick Wok Tips

Ching-He Huang (and friend) -- Chinese Food Made Easy

Ching-He Huang (and friend) -- Chinese Food Made Easy

Given the array of spices, sauces and condiments that color the landscape of Asian cuisine, it’s easy to forget that Chinese cuisine needn’t be difficult. That’s where Ching-He Huang comes in…

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