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The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home by Diana Kuan

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Notes about this book

  • ellabee on September 20, 2013

    Diana Kuan's biography and blog are at http://appetiteforchina.com/about/diana-kuan/

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Stir-fried sesame chicken

    • LaurenB on April 18, 2017

      Super simple prep and cooking was a breeze. I usually like a lot of sauce, so doubled the amount, but it wasn't necessary at all. Only added half of called for chili sauce, but will significantly increase that next time, as it needed more spice.

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      Another excellent meal from Ms. Kuan. Marinated chicken is quickly stir fried with garlic and peas (we subbed pea pods) and then finished with a delicious sauce. Very easy to put together. In the time it takes the rice cooker to make the rice, I was able to make the rest of the meal.

  • Crab Rangoon

    • BethNH on June 05, 2014

      Absolutely terrible! What a waste of ingredients. The filling was simply too much crab and not enough cream cheese and the end result was just awful.

  • Kung pao chicken

    • BethNH on November 19, 2014

      Delicious but not for the faint of heart! The recipe is very well written. The different parts of the recipe - marinade, sauce, and main ingredients - are separated on the side bar which makes it really easy to prepare each part of the recipe. Although there are many ingredients, they come together easily. While the chicken marinates, it's easy to pull together the sauce and additional ingredients. I doubled this recipe to feed my family of five and hesitated to double the dried red chilies called for. The recipe calls for 8-10 and I went with 10ish. Everything else in the recipe was doubled. Thank goodness I didn't double the red chilies because this dish was HOT! It was delicious but very spicy. It was hilarious to watch the sweat break out on the brows of my family. We all loved the dish but agreed that next time we'd cut the number of peppers in half. The chicken was very flavorful and the sauce nicely covered everything. We'll definitely eat this again with one minor change.

  • Cashew chicken

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      Very nice cashew chicken. The recipe is well organized and includes a marinade and sauce. Once the chicken is marinating, there is time to put on a pot of rice and cook the rest of the ingredients. This is basically a stir fry of peppers, onions, chicken and cashews with a delicious sauce. Serving sizes are small and need to be doubled for my family of 5.

    • rivergait on June 28, 2013

      Chinese "American", like take out....a very GOOD takeout. Kids 7 and 13 loved it. I added zucchini cubes and celery chunks, served over rice. Three chicken thighs I boned and skinned myself served 4 people, with 1 lunch leftover.

    • darylm503 on October 06, 2017

      Based upon the other two notes, I must be doing something wrong. All three times I have made this it has come out much too salty. The sauce isn't especially flavorful or distinctive either. I'll give it another try but will probably tweak the recipe to try to reduce saltiness.

  • General Tso's chicken

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      Another excellent recipe from Ms. Kuan. This cookbook has yet to fail me. That being said, this may not have been the best recipe for me to tackle at the last minute on a week night. The chicken is first marinated, then coated in a corn starch mixture, and then deep fried. I should have spread the chicken on a cookie sheet to coat in the corn starch because it kind of clumped together. Once in the oil, it spattered everywhere! Ugh. What a mess. I followed the suggestion of frying the chicken twice to get it extra crispy and that worked really well. Finally, the chicken was put in another pan with a sauce that thickened and covered the chicken nicely. It was sweet and spicy and crispy and delicious. As always, I doubled the recipe to have enough to feed my family of four. Served with rice and stir fried green beans this was a delicious recipe. Thank God my husband does clean up duty.

    • Rachaelsb on January 20, 2018

      Agree...this is not a recipe to make for your first time under pressure. Several steps and the cornstarch can get clumpy. Lots of oil too! But it has a nice pungent, sweetness to it. Just a lot of mess! I also added brocolli to it...add more than you think you need to balance sauce.

  • Beef with broccoli

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      In celebration of Chinese New Year, we tried another recipe from this cookbook. Like the other recipes in the book that I've tried so far, this one starts with a marinade and a sauce that are made with basic Chinese pantry staples. Once those are made the flank steak is marinated while the broccoli is blanched. Finally, everything is stir fried together and the sauce is added to coat. I would actually give this recipe a 3.5. It was delicious but somewhat salty. The flank steak was very tender and the broccoli was nicely cooked. My husband and middle son each gave the dish and 8 while my youngest gave it a 6. It was good, and I'd make it again, but it wasn't as good as the chicken recipes we've tried from this same book.

    • Rachaelsb on January 10, 2018

      The meat on this is incredibly flavorful and tender. A great comfort food dinner. Very straightforward in flavors.

  • Sichuan dry-fried beef

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      Excellent! Full of flavor and just the right amount of spice. Plenty hot but not so hot as to make my middle son break out in a sweat. The beef was very tender. The whole meal comes together in the time it takes to make a pot of rice. A perfect week night meal.

  • Chinese barbecued pork

    • BethNH on January 19, 2017

      p. 97 Maybe it was the pork belly I got but this recipe was terrible. I made this for our Christmas Eve dinner and there was nothing good about it. The pork was simply too fatty to enjoy and it never got crispy or blackened no matter what I tried. We definitely won't try this again.

  • Steamed mussels with five-spice seasoning

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      The woman behind the fish counter offered me a free bag of mussels today while I was buying fish. Who could resist? A quick search on EYB turned up this recipe from one of my most used cookbooks. I assembled everything only to realize I didn't have any five-spice powder. It turns out it didn't matter. There was so much flavor from the aromatics, soy sauce and oyster sauce that we didn't miss the spice. My boys have never had mussels before and both were willing to try them. The middle boy really enjoyed them and ate a bunch. The youngest liked them more once my husband suggested he could put sriracha on them. I can't wait to have these again.

  • Dan dan noodles

    • BethNH on May 08, 2015

      College son and his girlfriend made this for dinner for us last night. As with every recipe in this book they doubled the ingredients to feed 6 of us. This recipe was delicious in every possible way. It was flavorful and quite spicy. We all loved it.

  • Yangzhou fried rice

    • BethNH on November 19, 2014

      A very yummy fried rice which is hearty enough to serve as a main course. In addition to the rice there is both ham (or Chinese barbecued pork) and shrimp. I made a few adjustments to the recipe. I used one medium onion instead of scallions and I used honey ham from the deli. I doubled everything except the peas. It was odd that there was no flavoring added to this rice so I added the flavoring for the rice recipe on the next page - soy sauce and sesame oil. If you have cold rice on hand this whole dinner comes together in no time.

  • Sweet and sour pork

    • rivergait on October 25, 2013

      Just like takeout, kids loved it (me too). Maybe not authentic Chinese, but recognizable and quite delicious. I used fresh pineapple instead of canned...much better, not too sweet. For color, add red or green peppers, scallions, steamed carrots.

  • Garlic shrimp with broccoli

    • DolphinSquirrel on June 10, 2013

      Very tasty. Wasn't as garlicky as we expected from the title, however the sauce was good. Next time may add cashews or peanuts for a little crunch. Omitted the sliced ginger as we didn't have any, don't think it would have made a huge difference. Made enough for 2 largish dinners and one lunch portion as leftovers.

    • mnelsen74 on April 04, 2018


  • Stir-fried sesame baby bok choy

    • Rinshin on May 05, 2014

      These were average. I think I prefer baby bokchoy steamed and sauced instead of stir fried and sauced.

  • Cold sesame noodles

    • May3 on October 28, 2014

      These were delicious. Have tried several variations on this recipe and really like balance of flavor in this version. Used thin spaghetti. Next time will get all the prepping done in advance and mix it together just before serving. Made it early in the day and the noodles soaked up the sauce and it was a little dry. Will also cut back a little on the sesame oil - my brand is very potent!

  • Hot and sour soup

  • Moo shu pork

  • Taiwanese beef noodle soup

  • Buddha's delight

    • swegener on February 23, 2015

      This was kind of meh for me, the sauce lacked punch and the whole thing was fungusier than I would have thought. It did taste better the second day.

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Reviews about this book

  • Serious Eats

    The Chinese Takeout Cookbook has recipes for just about anything you'd order for delivery... Most of the recipes are fast (besides the duck) and all are fairly easy. None contain food dyes or MSG...

    Full review
  • Epicurious

    Q&A with author, Diana Kuan.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 034552912X
  • ISBN 13 9780345529121
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Dec 11 2012
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 208
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ballantine Books
  • Imprint Ballantine Books

Publishers Text

America’s love affair with Chinese food dates back more than a century. Today, such dishes as General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Egg Rolls are as common as hamburgers and spaghetti. Probably at this moment, a drawer in your kitchen is stuffed with Chinese takeout menus, soy sauce packets, and wooden chopsticks, right?
But what if you didn’t have to eat your favorites out of a container? 
In The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, Chinese food blogger and cooking instructor Diana Kuan brings Chinatown to your home with this amazing collection of more than eighty popular Chinese takeout recipes—appetizers, main courses, noodle and rice dishes, and desserts—all easy-to-prepare and MSG-free. Plus you’ll discover how to
• stock your pantry with ingredients you can find at your local supermarket
• season and master a wok for all your Chinese cooking needs
• prepare the flavor trifecta of Chinese cuisine—ginger, garlic, and scallions
• wrap egg rolls, dumplings, and wontons like a pro
• steam fish to perfection every time
• create vegetarian variations that will please everyone’s palate
• whip up delectable sweet treats in time for the Chinese New Year
The Chinese Takeout Cookbook also features mouthwatering color photos throughout as well as sidebars that highlight helpful notes, including how to freeze and recook dumplings; cooking tidbits, such as how to kick up your dish with a bit of heat; and the history behind some of your favorite comfort foods, including the curious New York invention of the pastrami egg roll and the influence of Tiki culture on Chinese cuisine. So, put down that takeout menu, grab the wok, and let’s get cooking!

Here for the first time—in one fun, easy, and tasty collection—are more than 80 favorite Chinese restaurant dishes to make right in your own kitchen:
• Cold Sesame Noodles
• Kung Pao Chicken
• Classic Barbecue Spareribs
• Beef Chow Fun
• Homemade Chili Oil
• Hot and Sour Soup
• Chinatown Roast Duck
• Moo Shu Pork
• Dry-Fried String Beans
• Black Sesame Ice Cream
• And of course, perfectly fried Pork and Shrimp Egg Rolls!

“Diana Kuan chronicles America’s love affair with Chinese food. The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is the perfect reason to throw out those menus cluttering your kitchen drawers!”—Patricia Tanumihardja, author of The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

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