Trying to define Chinese food is like trying to nail down what makes American food "American." China is an enormous country, and each region has its own cuisine. Stir-frying is popular throughout, of course, but intensely spiced Szechuan fare made with chicken, pork, or shrimp is a world apart from the sweet and sour flavor profiles found in the Hunan province. To re-create authentic dishes, look for quality ingredients (hint: food made with ketchup will taste like ketchup) and try to mimic cooking techniques as closely as possible (a well-seasoned wok really does boost flavor, whether you're making noodles or fried-rice). Feel like experimenting? Opt for dim sum, so you can sample a wide range of flavors. With the right tools and ingredients, your Chinese dishes will almost certainly trump the takeout around the corner.See Popular Chinese Cuisine Recipes
Joanne Chang's mother used to make this sweet-and-spicy shrimp stir-fry all the time. When she was old enough to cook, Chang asked her mom for the recipe. "She hemmed and hawed until she finally gave it to me, revealing her secret ingredient: ketchup."
Puff pastry shells are filled with a flavorful combination of seasoned sliced pork tenderloin and fresh vegetables to make a refined, Asian-inspired dish.
Nothing's more American than Chinese takeout. And nothing is easier to make, despite the fact that we're dealing with a "foreign" cuisine. Forget it.
This enjoyable stir-fry allows the flavor and texture of fresh vegetables to shine, especially when glazed with an appealing sauce featuring hints of soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
For chef Suzanne Tracht's noodle dish here, we use marinated pork in place of Chinese sausage.
Steamed asparagus is good, but this stir-fried asparagus is even better. Seasoned with hints of soy sauce, garlic and ginger, this flavorful side is easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes.
Inspired by the Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-Ki, Pierre Gagnaire's ingenious and surprisingly simple dish looks like a brush dipped in magenta paint.
Wendy Leon gives this classic Chinese squid dish a fun twist by flavoring it with five-spice powder (typically a ground mixture of cinnamon, star anise, black peppercorns, fennel, and clove). "It's her version of a Super Bowl snack," says her son Humberto. "Most kids eat chips; we grew up eating squid."
Whole-wheat spaghetti is one of Melissa Rubel Jacobson's favorite pastas because it is a good source of fiber and has an appealing chewiness. Here, she updates sesame noodles, a Chinese take-out classic, by giving the peanut sauce a hit of fiery red curry paste.
Instead of ordering Chinese takeout tonight, try making it yourself. These dumplings burst with flavor: cabbage, cilantro, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onion, and chile pepper. Bonus: They are better for you, too.
This fast chicken and vegetable stir-fry dinner beats takeout any day!
Asian street-food carts sometimes serve food in banana leaves instead of using plates or bowls. Look for them at Asian markets. Here, Melissa Rubel Jacobson wraps the leaves around silky Chinese noodles.
As a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Top Chef winner Hung Huynh learned to cook with the Chinese trinity -- GGS, or ginger, garlic, and scallions. He uses all three here to flavor his earthy, mushroom-and-bacon-studded clay pot rice.