6 Better-Than-Takeout Chinese Recipes

Asian Beef & Noodle Stir Fry. Photo: Bite Me More

These better-than-takeout Chinese recipes are so full of flavour and freshness, they’re going to put delivery guys out of business!

Start your Chinese feast by shaking up these Lychee & Berry Martinis!

Chicken and vegetable lo mein in a Chinese takeout box with a pair of red chopsticks laying beside it.

1. Chicken & Vegetable Lo Mein

A plea to Irish rockers U2. Just once, don ‘t you think you could sing it my way? try it. “Where the Sheeps Have Lo Mein.” Catchy and delicious. our saucy Chinese noodles, with veggies and chicken abounding, are a guaranteed #1 hit and will curb any craving for the take-out carton. So, for your next tune, Bono, how do you like “Someday, buddy, Someday?”


1 (14oz/400g) package fresh lo mein, chow mein or other Chinese noodles
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cups chopped bok choy
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
11/2 cups chopped celery
3 cups deli roasted chicken breast, shredded or cubed


1) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to low and add fresh noodles. Stir to loosen the noodles and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the mirin. Add cornstarch mixture to broth mixture whisking well to combine. Set aside.

3) In a wok or a large skillet, heat peanut oil over high heat. Add bok choy, red peppers and celery. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables have softened slightly. Add chicken, softened noodles and broth mixture. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

Serves 6

Chicken lettuce wraps sitting on a white plate.

2. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t put your feet on the table. That’s pretty much the extent of my rules governing dining etiquette. When it comes to eating I like to take my cue from the Indian culture, hands-on. Fiddling with my food since childhood, these moo-shu-like lettuce wraps are another great excuse to hold dinner in the palm of my hand. Now I just have to remember: napkin, not sleeve.


Asian Sauce

1/2 cup sushi vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cornstarch

Chicken Filling

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
2 (1.1oz/30g) packages dried portobello mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water for 20 minutes, rinsed well,
patted dry and chopped

Crunchy Topping

1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 (3oz/85g) packages ramen noodles, crushed
Iceberg lettuce leaves
6 tbsp hoisin sauce


1) For the sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk sushi vinegar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Set aside.

2) For the chicken, in a food processor, pulse chicken breasts until finely chopped. Place in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together white wine, cornstarch, egg whites and salt. Pour over chopped chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.

3) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour chicken and marinade into boiling water and stir constantly to break up lumps. Cook 4-5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain chicken mixture into a strainer. Set aside.

4) In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, water chestnuts, red peppers, carrots and mushrooms, stirring until softened. Add chicken mixture and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add reserved sauce to skillet, turn heat to high and stir until sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.

5) For the topping, in a small skillet, brown almonds and noodles over medium heat until golden.

6) To serve, divide chicken mixture among lettuce leaves topping each with 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce and sprinkle with almonds.

Serves 4-6

Vegetable fried rice recipe with a pair of black chopsticks sticking out.

3. Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

Fried rice is the yin and yang of Chinese cooking – flexible AND firm. On the one hand you’re free to improvise – feel like adding some broccoli or chicken? Go right ahead. On the other hand there is a science to achieving the perfect fried rice, a rule we always adhere to: cold rice. When stir-fried, warm rice will result in a mushy mountain, whereas hardened, day-old grains will remain separated. Must be an ancient Chinese secret, but this one- dish meal is successfully laid back and regimented all at once.


Asian Sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
Dash of hot pepper sauce, optional

Vegetable Rice

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup frozen green peas
4 cups cooked long grain white rice, chilled


1) For the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger and hot sauce (if using). Set aside.

2) Over medium heat, heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or wok. Pour eggs into the skillet and cook without stirring for 30 seconds. Break egg into smaller pieces, cooking 1 minute more. Transfer to a small plate.

3) Using the same skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until just softened, 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots and red peppers, continuing to cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and frozen peas and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cooked rice, reserved egg and soy sauce mixture to the vegetables, stirring well to combine and cooking for 1 minute to heat through.

Serves 6-8

Chinese chicken salad in a white bowl.

4. Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese chicken salad wasn’t the glorious creation of a steamed-out Shanghai kitchen – it came from big box, suburban restaurant chains that keep you waiting hours to eat their gooey food. That doesn ‘t mean we don’t like them but let’s just say this, our homemade healthful rendition – a towering salad topped with peanuty chicken, crunchy baked noodles and golden almonds tossed in a sweet hoisin dressing – beats a trip to the mall any day.


Peanut Butter Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Hoisin Peanut Dressing

6 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Crunchy Noodles

1 (3oz/85g) package ramen noodles, crushed
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp melted butter

2 cups snow peas, trimmed and cut on the diagonal
2 cups peeled and grated carrots
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
12 cups shredded iceberg lettuce


1) For the chicken, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 11×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place cubed chicken in baking dish.

2) In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and ginger. Pour sauce over cubed chicken and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before adding to salad.

3) For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk hoisin, rice vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, sesame oil and ginger. Set aside.

4) For the crunchy noodles, preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, toss ramen noodles, slivered almonds and melted butter until evenly coated. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until toasted. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add snow peas, turn off heat and cover saucepan for 3 minutes. Drain snow peas and rinse under cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain and set aside.

6) On a large platter, top shredded lettuce with snow peas, carrots and corn. Pile cooked chicken in the center of the platter. Scatter noodle and almond mixture on top of the lettuce, vegetables and chicken. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.

Serves 8

 A plate of beef and noodle stir fry with a pair of red chopsticks beside it.

5. Asian Beef & Noodle Stir Fry

Forget takeout. We’ve got a fast and fantastic Asian Beef & Noodle Stir Fry that’s got all the flavour and none of the fat! Lean flank steak is marinated for 20 minutes in a sweet and savoury combination and then is stir-fried in a homemade sauce along with sugar snap peas, carrots and onions. You can put down the takeout menu and pick up the chopsticks because this stir fry is so simple to make!


6oz rice vermicelli noodles

Asian Beef

1lb sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Stir Fry Sauce

¼ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sake
2 tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 cups sugar snap peas
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Sesame seeds, for garnish


1) To prepare the rice noodles, add to a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions, about 6-7 minutes, until softened. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

2) Place the sliced sirloin or flank steak in a medium bowl. Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil. Toss with sliced beef and let sit for 20 minutes.

3) For the stir fry sauce, in a small bowl, whisk chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sake and cornstarch. Set aside.

4) Using a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Drain marinade from beef and add beef in 2 batches, cooking 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and wipe out wok or skillet. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add sugar snaps, carrots and onion. Cook, stirring until they begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cooking 1 minute more. Reduce heat to medium and stir in beef, noodles and stir fry sauce. Stir until everything is coated and sauce begins to bubble and thicken slightly. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Shrimp and tofu peanut butter noodles in a white bowl with a pair of red chopsticks beside it.

6. Shrimp & Tofu Peanut Butter Noodles

You know when you come across a sauce that you could stick a straw in and drink? Well, this is it. Sweet and salty, this Peanut and Hoisin Sauce coats udon noodles, shrimp, tofu and veggies, making this a winning dish.


Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1 (14oz/400g) package fresh udon noodles

2 cups cold cooked shrimp, chopped
1 cup diced extra firm tofu
3/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
3/4 cup snow peas, trimmed and cut on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


1) For the sauce, in a small saucepan, whisk peanut butter, hoisin, lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2) Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 3 minutes and gently loosen noodles. Drain well.

3) In a large bowl, toss noodles with peanut sauce, shrimp, tofu, red peppers and snow peas. Garnish with peanuts, parsley and sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 6



Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.