Tender-crisp asparagus and firm tofu tossed in a fiery-sweet Sichuan-style vinaigrette made with roasted chilies and Sichuan peppercorns.
'Chinese' on Serious Eats
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.
Smoky chilies, cumin, and anise combine with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, cilantro, and scallions for flavor that just won't quit on these crispy, juicy oven-fried chicken wings. The key to their perfect crunch without having to break out the deep fryer? An overnight rest with baking powder and salt.
There's something very comforting and satisfying about a meal served and cooked in one pot. One of my favorite one-pot meals is clay pot rice. For this version, I wanted to use an ingredient that's not normally seen in clay pot rice: spicy Italian sausage. Combined with slivers of chicken, marinated dried mushrooms, and a sweet and savory sauce, this speaks comfort to me.
Congee is nothing more than a simple rice porridge, but man can it be comforting! It's an Asian breakfast staple, a dim sum classic, and a blank canvas to add your own flavors. Traditionally white rice is used, but sometimes I like to use brown rice for a heartier, healthier porridge with a subtle nutty flavor. Heartier vegetables such as kale, escarole, shiitakes, leeks, and even Brussels sprouts are perfect in it. One of my favorite combos is this recipe: marinated strips of beef, dried shiitake mushrooms, and garlic chips.
Smooth and a little sweet with a mild soybean flavor, fresh bean curd skin is a delicacy. At dim sum houses, it's often stuffed with a mixture of ground pork with mushrooms and ginger, then bathed in a mild yet rich chicken-stock-based sauce. While it's typically a breakfast item, these rolls also make a good dinner dish when served with rice alongside.
Plump and juicy, with chunks of shrimp barely visible through translucent dough, har gow are one of the most widely recognized dim sum classics. Ours enhance the shrimp with bits of pork fat in a stretchy, delicate wrapper.
Though they're a dim sum classic, braised chicken feet (A.K.A. phoenix claws) can be a challenge for those unused to eating them. It takes a little while to get used to the plump claws sticking out of a little bowl, and a bit of work to get at the meat in between the tiny bones, but the flavor-packed rewards are well worth the mental and physical effort.
A staple for breakfast and lunch in many Asian countries, congee is rice and water (or broth) cooked down into a thick porridge. Everyone does it slightly different. It can be cooked using different grains of rice, different kinds and amounts of liquid, and different cooking times. Every choice can affect the final flavor and consistency. After much trial and error, I've arrived at the ideal recipe for a congee that's silky and comforting instead of sludgy or overly heavy.