All Out Chinese Take Out at Home

Here we are, poised on the eve of National Chinese Take Out Day. Yep, tomorrow is Chinese Take Out Day. Last year, I shared a recipe for Crab Rangoon with a Dipping Sauce and explained why we don’t do Chinese Take Out. It’s not that we have anything against Chinese Take Out per say, but generally speaking, we aren’t a Take Out kind of family.

With all the craziness of dine-in limitations, especially here in the strictly controlled state of California, take out became more than just an option. In many places, it was the only option. You could cook at home or do Curbside pickup. Eventually, we were allowed to eat outdoors. Restaurants that had the space set up tables in their parking lot. Let me tell you, in Central California in the summer, an asphalt dining room when it’s 110 degrees outside really isn’t an option. Only recently were limited indoor dining options allowed. Even then, some restaurants opted to maintain it’s outdoor option for those not yet ready to come inside.

For whatever reason, the Chinese Restaurants in our neck of the woods didn’t reopen for dine-in outdoor customers. They downsized their selection and offered strictly take out service. It came down to Chinese Take Out or no Chinese at all. That is unless you were willing to cook from scratch or warm something from the freezer section. With a bit of “magic” Orange Chicken made from a box of frozen nuggets can be quite tasty.

Back in the day before the world was turned upside-down, Chinese meant sharing. Whenever we went out for Chinese, we liked to order one pork, one beef and one chicken entree. Then share everything since there’s always more than enough. So naturally, I wanted to give those same options now. Which is another reason to get a jump on Chinese Take Out if you’re doing all the cooking.

While I’m not suggesting you make the entire menu for a single meal, this might be fun as a group affair. In our house, we have a four-burner stove, two built-in ovens, three portable burners, two portable roasting ovens and two barbecue grills. (And a partridge in a pear tree). So when it comes to cooking a multitude of dishes simultaneously, we’ve got it covered. For us, setting up cooking stations for a family-affair supper isn’t out of the realm of possibility. And I haven’t even mentioned my four slow cookers or my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. You would think I like to cook, wouldn’t you?

Another possibility for Chinese Take Out at Home is to pick a couple of dishes and prepare those. Sweet and Sour Pork or Spicy Beef Stir-Fry with Sticky Rice is a nice combination. Or Sweet Chili Chicken Bites and Spicy Vegetable Stir-Fry Noodles might just hit the spot. Do it all, do a few but whatever you do, don’t skip the Fortune Cookies.

And in case you were wondering, in China there are no fortune cookies served at the conclusion of the meal. Americans except something sweet, and the Japanese crescent cookies did the trick. By making your own cookies, you can personalize the fortunes inside. Wouldn’t that be great for a gender reveal? Just a thought.

All Out Chinese Take Out at Home Menu
Sweet and Sour Pork
Spicy Beef and Pepper Stir-Fry
Sweet Chili Chicken Bites

Spicy Vegetable Stir-Fry Noodles
Sticky White Rice

Personalized Fortune Cookies

Sweet and Sour Pork

1-1/2 lb Pork Tenderloin
1 teaspoon  Salt
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1-1/2 cups Flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
1-1/4 cups Water
3-1/2 cups Peanut Oil or Vegetable oil, for frying

Cut the pork into 3/4-inch cubes.

In a large bowl, mix together cornstarch, flour and salt.

Add the egg, 1 tablespoon oil and water. Whisk until smooth. The mixture will be thick like pancake batter.

Add the cubed pork to the mixture and toss to coat.

Heat the oil to 350-degrees in a deep-fryer or medium saucepan. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet, and set aside.

Add the pork in batches and deep fry for about 5 minutes until golden and crispy.

Remove to the rack with a slotted spoon, and repeat for remaining pork. Keep warm.

Stir-Fry Vegetables
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 medium White Onion
1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
1 cup  Pineapple Chunks

Peel and mince garlic, set aside. Stem, core bell peppers, remove seeds. Cut bell peppers into 1-inch pieces. Set aside. Peel onion, cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the oil.

Sauté onion, bell peppers and pineapple in the pan for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add garlic, cook for about 30 seconds longer.

Now make the sauce in the wok with the vegetables.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Asian Banana Sauce or American Ketchup
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Water

Add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and Banana Sauce or ketchup. Bring to a simmer.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Slowly stir slurry into the wok. Simmer for 90 seconds or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the vegetables.

Add in the cooked pork and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Spicy Beef and Pepper Stir-Fry
1 lb Round Steak or Flank Steak
1 large Red Bell Pepper cut in at least 1/2 inch strips
1 large Green Bell Pepper cut in at least 1/2 inch strips
1 large White Onion diced
1 Broccoli Crown separated into large bite size pieces
3 Garlic Cloves finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh Ginger
2/3 cup Soy Sauce
2/3 cup Water
3 tablespoons Mirin
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3 teaspoons Cornstarch
3 tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
3-1/2 teaspoons Sriracha, or to taste

Trim visible fat from steak, cut into thin bite-size pieces. Set aside. Stem, core and remove seeds from bell peppers. Cut peppers into 1/2-inch strips, set aside. Peel onion, dice into bite-size chunks, set aside. Separate Broccoli Crown into large bite-size pieces, set aside. Peel and finely mince the garlic and fresh ginger, set aside.

In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, fresh ginger, garlic powder and cornstarch. Pour half of the mixture into a large Ziploc bag and add beef strips and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 90 minutes.

Heat wok with 2 tablespoons oil until smoking. The wok needs to be very hot. Swirl to coat the wok. Shake the beef in the marinade distribute the cornstarch mixture again. Remove the beef from the marinade and carefully add to the wok. Discard the marinade. Cook beef for about 3-1/2 minutes stirring halfway through. Remove the steak, cover and keep warm.

Add another tablespoon of oil over high heat. Swirl again to coat the wok. Add the broccoli and cook for about 1-2 minutes stirring once. Add the peppers and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.. Remove all veggies from wok, cover and keep warm.

Whisk the the remaining soy sauce mixture and add to the wok and bring to a low-boil. Stir until slightly thickened. Add the sriracha 1/2 teaspoon at a time and taste. Once desired heat level is reached, add the cooked beef and vegetables back to the wok. Stir and heat through for 1-2 minutes and serve.

Sweet Chili Chicken Bites
Tempura Battered Chicken
1 lb boneless Chicken Thigh, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Egg Whites
1 cup Flour sifted
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup ice-cold Water
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
Canola Oil for frying

Remove visible fat deposits from thighs. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Separate egg whites from yolks. Reserve yolks for another use. In a large bowl, lightly beat whites until foamy but not stiff. Sift flour, cornstarch, and baking powder into the bowl with the egg whites. Add cold water and sesame oil. Whisk well.Fill a pot with enough oil to fry chicken pieces in batches without touching the bottom of the pan. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

Working in batches, mix chicken pieces into the batter. Using a slotted spoon drain the batter as much as possible, transfer chicken pieces to the oil oil. Break apart the chicken after the crust starts to form and cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place cooked chicken on a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Keep warm.

Sweet Chili Sauce
3 Garlic Cloves
3 Green Onions
1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Once the last batch of chicken has been fried, and the pot is empty, discard almost all the oil, leaving just a couple of tablespoons. Set pot aside

Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Cut and discard roots from the green onions. Thinly slice both green and white part of onion, set aside.

Return pot to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and green onions to the pan and cook it on medium heat for 20-30 seconds.

Add the chicken back in along with the sweet chili sauce and crushed red pepper. Toss to combine.

Finishing Touches
White Sesame Seeds to taste
2 Green Onion Tops

To serve, transfer chicken to a platter. Garnish with sesame seeds and snips of green onion tops.

Spicy Vegetable Stir-Fry Noodles
8 oz Spaghetti
1 cup White Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Snow Peas
4 Green Onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
3/4 cup shredded Carrots
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds, toasted

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms, set aside. Trim snow peas, bias cut into 1/2-inch pieces, cut green onions into 1-inch pieces, set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.

In a large wok heat oil over medium-high Saute the mushrooms, snow peas, shredded carrots and green onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar and cayenne. Drain pasta. Add pasta and soy sauce mixture to wok and toss to coat. Heat through.

Transfer to a warm serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Instant Pot Sticky White Rice
1-1/2 cups White Rice
1 tablespoons Butter
1-1/2 cups Water

Rinse rice under cold water for a few minutes, until water is only a little cloudy.

Place rice in the insert of the pressure cooker. Add butter and water.

Lock lid in place, select Rice setting, white rice. Press start. Depending upon pressure cooker, rice should begin cooking after about 10 minutes, and will pressure cook for another 12 minutes.

Let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.

Fluff with a fork, transfer to serving bowl and serve.

Personalized Fortune Cookies
1 large Egg White
3 tablespoons Butter, softened
3 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Almond Flour

Note: All-purpose flour will also work if Almond Flour is not available.

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Write fortunes on small 3-1/2 by 1/4 inch strips of paper; set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a pencil, draw two 3-1/2-inch circles on a sheet of parchment. Place paper, pencil marks down, on a baking sheet; set aside.

Separate egg white from yolk. If desired, retain yolks for another purpose. In a small bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg white and vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Spread 1 tablespoon batter over each circle. Bake 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Slide parchment paper onto a work surface. Cover one cookie with a kitchen towel to keep warm. Place a fortune in the center of the other cookie; loosen cookie from parchment with a thin spatula. Fold cookie in half over fortune strip so the edges meet; hold edges together for 3 seconds.

Place center of cookie over the rim of a glass; gently press ends down to bend cookie in middle and create the half-moon fortune cookie shape. Cool 1 minute before removing to a wire rack. Repeat with second cookie. If cookies become too cool to fold, return to oven to soften for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter and fortunes.

Repeat with remaining batter in 2-cookie batches until all the batter has been transformed into fortune cookies.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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