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.
'stir fry' on Serious Eats
There are too many great meat dishes in the Korean canon to pick a favorite, but this one of stir-fried marinated pork with kimchi is definitely in my top five. Easy to make, it features thin strips of pork shoulder in a spicy-sweet blend of Korean chili paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil—plus a bit of Asian pear for both flavor and its tenderizing effect on the meat.
This quick and simple stir-fry features cod that's been water-velveted—an easy technique that guarantees tender, silky meat. Light, delicate and full of gently cooked vegetables, it's a perfect dish in a multi-course meat-heavy menu.
This quick and simple stir-fry features both fresh and dried mushrooms for maximum flavor and texture, and chicken that's been water-velveted—an easy technique that guarantees tender, silky meat.
This easy stir-fry of pork with vegetables and sweet-and-sour sauce uses a great, hassle-free water-velveting technique for tender, silky strips of meat.
Intensely beefy and buttery skirt steak is the star of this quick stir-fry, featuring sweet snap peas tossed in oyster sauce.
As much as I now love real-deal Sichuan kung-pao chicken, my absolute favorite Chinese dish as a kid was this mildly spiced Americanized version—and to be honest, I still love it today. Just because it's a Chinese-American standard, complete with slightly-gloppy-sauce and mild heat doesn't make diced chicken with peppers and peanuts any less delicious. Here's how to make it at home.
Crispy chunks of deep-fried battered chicken in a sweet, sour, and savory glaze with complex orange flavor. The Chinese take-out classic, made in your own kitchen.
Crispy chunks of deep-fried battered chicken in a sweet, sour, and savory glaze packed with sesame flavor. The Chinese take-out classic, made in your own kitchen.
This dish, from the Hakka Chinese community, is an offal lover's dream: snappy omasum (bible) tripe stir-fried with tart mustard greens, fermented black beans, and red chilies.
This quick-to-cook stir-fry of eggs with shrimp, Chinese chives, garlic, and ginger is popular among Cantonese home cooks for both its ease and wonderful flavor. It can be made with or without the shrimp, or with sliced roast pork in place of the shrimp.
Quick and easy stir-fried lo mein noodles with cabbage charred until sweet, sauteed mushrooms, and Chinese chives in a light sauce.
In this variation on Kung Pao chicken, firm white-fleshed fish such as catfish or tillapia is marinated with soy sauce and white pepper, then deep fried until golden. Afterwards, it's stir-fried with classic Sichuan flavors: spicy dried chilies, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, and garlic.
Hunanese food is famous for its fiery, chili-spiked dishes, and this quick and easy one with hand-torn cabbage, fresh red chilies, garlic, scallions, and bacon, is no exception. In fact, by Hunan standards, this dish is fairly tame. Slightly sour, thanks to the addition of black rice vinegar, the dish is great as part of a multi-course meal where the other dishes are even more intensely flavored and spicy.
Crunchy and tender baby bok choy goes for a spin with a punchy sauce made with lots of garlic and fermented black beans. It's a flavor-packed stir-fry with minimal prep and all the flavor, minus the gloppy sauce.
This dish, which is made up of equal parts beef and greens in a light but flavor-packed black bean sauce with garlic doesn't quite qualify as a side dish, and seeing as I'm using a mixture of kale and frisée—two decidedly Western greens—it doesn't quite qualify as "Chinese greens" either. But the basic techniques I use in ut—just a quick stir-fry with no blanching—is a method that works with any kind of hearty green leafy vegetable, whether it's Chinese or not.
Stir-frying in a light sauce flavored with a little soy sauce and a lot of garlic is my go-to method for cooking Asian greens. Quick, simple, and flavorful, it's really hard to go wrong, no matter which greens you decide to cook.
Thin, tender strips of lean marinated pork are tossed with Chinese chives and yellow chives in a light coating of soy sauce and Shaoxing wine seasoned with white pepper. This is a quick and easy dish that goes from fridge to table in about 30 minutes.
Perfect for feeding a crowd or fixing a solo meal on the fly, this simple home-style Taiwanese noodle-and-vegetable dish may look bland, but hidden within are layers of flavor, thanks to plenty of white pepper, black vinegar, and broth.
For me, a dim sum brunch isn't complete without a plate of Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein. A simple dish of stir-fried thin noodles cooked with bean sprouts and scallions, it's cooked with just a bit of thin, soy-based sauce that coats the noodles in a concentrated layer of flavor. I turn this snack into a meal by adding an array of colorful, crunchy vegetables and tofu.