It's not entirely clear where Singapore noodles—the stir-fried curried rice noodles with shrimp, pork, and vegetables—come from, though it's unlikely Singapore is the source. Regardless, they're a stir-fry classic, and are easy to make at home. Here's what you need to know, from how to choose the right rice noodles to how to make the stir-fry work on a home burner.
'Chinese' on Serious Eats
Cucumbers might make you think of salads and pickles, but they're excellent as the main ingredient in stir fries as well. Exposed to the wok's intense heat, they become silky smooth with a juicy, meaty bite. In this easy recipe, they're paired with spicy ground pork.
A ding dish is any Chinese stir-fry in which the chicken and vegetables are diced into little cubes, and crunchy ingredients like nuts are added for texture. Kung Pao Chicken is perhaps the best known example, but Cashew Chicken Ding isn't far behind. In this version, the chicken is stir-fried with mushrooms, jicama, celery, bell pepper, and cashews.
Tired of the same old vegetarian stir fry? Buddha's Delight is just what you need. A celebratory mixture of multiple vegetables and protein sources (wheat gluten, bean-curd skin, bean-curd puffs, and more), noodles, and a flavorful sauce infused with mushrooms, it's a reminder that vegetarian stir-fries don't have to be the same old ho-hum dish every time.
Sichuan cuisine is famous for its stir-fried lamb, combining the hot and tingly flavors of Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chilies with plenty of cumin and other spices. So we asked ourselves, why not take those very same flavors and rub them all over a glorious roast leg of lamb? The results were phenomenal.
Xiao long bao, Shanghai-style soup dumplings, have become legendary for good reason, but so far their doughier pan-fried cousins called sheng jian bao remain much less well-known here in the States. If you love XLB, you need to try sheng jian bao. Here's how to make them, from the flavorful pork filling to the dough wrapper and combo pan-frying and steaming method.
Lo mai gai, the dim sum classic of steamed lotus leaves stuffed with sticky rice and all sorts of delicious goodies, are irresistible from the moment you unwrap one fresh from the steamer and a chorus of aromas hits your nose. The biggest task is gathering all the ingredients, like the lotus leaves and glutinous rice, as well as Chinese sausage, cured pork belly, and salted egg yolks. Once you've got them rounded up, though, it's a relatively easy and extremely delicious at-home dish.
Tender-crisp asparagus and firm tofu tossed in a fiery-sweet Sichuan-style vinaigrette made with roasted chilies and Sichuan peppercorns.
Beef with broccoli is a staple of North American Chinese fast food joints, but the real version of this dish uses Chinese broccoli (gai lan), not the broccoli florets you might be more accustomed to. Gai lan is mildly bitter, with tender leafy sections and juicy stalks, and it pairs perfectly with the strips of marinated beef, shallots, garlic, and oyster sauce.
Siu mai, the Chinese steamed pork and shrimp dumplings, are one of the most popular items at dim sum parlors. But you don't have to go out just to enjoy them, because they're one of the easiest dumplings to make at home.
Chinese fermented black soy beans are eye-bulgingly salty and all kinds of funky. Here, its fermented tang is transformed into a delicious dipping sauce with the help of maple syrup, creamy peanut butter, and a little chili oil for some warm heat. It's perfect as a dip for dumplings, and is also delicious with roasted chicken and seared pork chops.
Sweet and savory. Slippery and slick. Juicy and tender. Hot and sour. Garlicky. So. Freaking. Good. These are all words that should enter your head as you slide back a bowl of suanla chaoshou, the Sichuan-style wontons that come coated in an intensely aromatic sauce made with vinegar, garlic, and roasted chili oil.
Gan bian si ji—Sichuan-style dry-fried green beans with chilies and pickles—are one of the best and most mistranslated vegetable dishes in the world. Today that dish and I are on a road trip back to authenticity, and we're going to be driving that minibus over some uncharted territory.
Every year, families celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with an impressive feast called Reunion Dinner, and among the many plates on the table is abalone in a rich sauce with dried oysters, shiitakes, and an algae called black moss. Inspired by that dish, this recipe is a vegetarian take with easier-to-find ingredients, like tofu and both fresh and dried mushrooms. Even without the seafood it still delivers on the richness and flavor of the original.
Food served during the Chinese Lunar New Year is full of significance, and one of the most important dishes is a whole fish. It symbolizes plentiful prosperity for this year and the next. It's also one of the most simple dishes to make. Here, it's steamed, then topped with fermented black beans, garlic, chili flakes, cilantro and ginger for plenty of fresh, deep flavor.
Sichuan Shirataki Sesame Noodle Salad With Cucumber, Sichuan Peppercorn, Chili Oil, and Peanuts (Vegan)
Slick shirataki noodles are perfect for cold noodle salads where their slippery texture helps keep each strand separate while simultaneously picking up plenty of flavor from a sauce of Sichuan peppercorn and chili-infused oil, black vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, and peanuts.
Studded with Chinese sausage, Chinese bacon, and shiitake mushrooms, this steamed (and then, optionally, pan-fried) daikon radish-based snack is a classic at both the Chinese New Year, and also on dim sum tables year-round.
Shanghai-style Lion's Head meatballs have a name that sounds intimidating, but they couldn't be easier to make. In this recipe, ground pork is mixed with mashed tofu (for tenderness), minced water chestnuts (for crunch), seared until golden, and then simmered in broth with vermicelli noodles, cabbage, and bok choi.
Despite its translation—"fish fragrant eggplant,"—yu xiang qie zi actually contains no seafood or meat products whatsoever. It gets its name from the combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors that are typically served with fish in its native Sichuan. Smoky eggplant is stir-fried until tender, then tossed with a quick sauce flavored with chilies, black vinegar, sugar, and ginger, and garlic for a hearty, flavor-packed dish that comes together in one wok with minimal effort.
Chinese hot pot is truly communal: Not only do you sit down to eat with all your companions, but you cook the food together in the same pot of simmering broth.