Opening up a box of Chinese-American takeout food is a uniquely comforting experience. These familiar dishes may not be exactly authentic cuisine, but they are full of bold flavors that bring back fond memories for many diners. Colorado culinary arts students can find ways to put their own stamp on Chinese takeout by exploring the recipes for classic items:
Pack fresh ingredients into egg rolls
“Egg rolls are the ideal start to any takeout feast.”
Egg rolls are the ideal start to any takeout feast. Kitchen Explorers provided a simple recipe for capturing the fun of this beloved appetizer.
Start by combining ground pork with soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, garlic and ginger. Pour vegetable oil into a wok on medium-high heat. Add the pork mixture and cook until there is no pink left in the meat. Mix in shredded carrots and cabbage to cook another two minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Set a wrapper on a clean surface, and transfer some of the pork mixture into the center. Fold the bottom corner over the filling and tuck it in. Fold the sides in and roll. Moisten the top corner to seal the egg roll. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the pork mixture.
Set peanut oil on medium-high heat, and fry the egg rolls until they are golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and then serve.
Capture the tastes of sesame chicken
The key to many Chinese takeout standbys is frying chunks of poultry to a delightful crisp and pairing them with a flavorful sauce. Serious Eats explained how to accomplish this with sesame chicken, beginning with cutting thighs into half-inch pieces. Ready a marinade by whisking together beaten egg whites, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and vodka in a large bowl.
Transfer half the marinade to a small bowl. In the larger bowl, mix in cornstarch and baking soda before coating the chicken. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and set aside while you work on the dry coat and sauce.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt before adding the reserved marinade and mixing again. In a separate bowl, make the sauce by combining soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil and cornstarch.
Place vegetable oil, garlic, ginger and scallions in a skillet on medium heat. After about three minutes, pour in the sauce mixture and cook until it thickens. Add a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds before moving the sauce into a bowl.
Warm 1.5 quarts of oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a wok or Dutch oven. Take each piece of chicken from the marinade, covering it in the dry coat mixture. Then, fry the pieces of chicken, allowing each about four minutes to cook. Drain the pieces in a bowl lined with paper towel.
Move the chicken into the skillet you used to make the sauce, and pour the sauce back in. Use a spatula to toss the chicken, and finish by throwing in more sesame seeds.
Craft your own char siu bao
Steamed pork buns are a staple of Cantonese cuisine, and Saveur offered directions for making a batch. First, use a stand mixer to combine yeast and water, setting the mixture aside for 10 minutes. Sift together flour, cornstarch, sugar and baking powder before combining with the yeast and three tablespoons of lard in the mixer to form dough.
Create the filling by heating canola oil on medium-high before adding scallions, cooked pork, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. After the pork heats through, pour in a slurry made by dissolving cornstarch in water, and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
Form the dough into balls, folding around the filling. Set on parchment paper and allow an hour to rest. Use a bamboo steamer to cook the buns over a mixture of water, ginger and lemongrass until they puff up.