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Make ahead Chinese dishes

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22 replies to this topic

#1 annachan

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:05 PM

Having some friends come around for dinner on Sunday and I somehow agreed to make Chinese dishes. Before dinner, we'll be spending time out of the house.

I want to have some dishes ready to heat up and keep the cooking to minimal while friends are over. I'm thinking 3 dishes: 2 meat and a veg. She'll be bringing a chicken dish over.

What are some dishes that are good to make ahead? One dish I can think of is lion's head meatballs. Anything else? There will be teenagers who aren't adventurous eaters. So, nothing on the bone, nothing to fatty (pork belly, etc.), no seafood, no offal. They also don't care for veg so I'm making a separate veg dish for the adults.

Another thing is, I want to stay away from stir-fry dishes (other than the veg dish). My wok isn't quite seasoned yet and everything tends to stick, no matter how much oil or how hot I heat the oil up. Don't quite want to have food stuck to my wok in front of guests. :wacko:

Help?

#2 Will

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:14 PM

Just a few thoughts....

* Shanghai style kau fu (served room temperature or cold)
* Cucumber salad
* 5 spice doufu gan salad, either in flat slices with oyster sauce or in strips with blanched bean sprouts and chili oil
* Liang mian or liang fen

I know you said no stir-fry dishes, and it's not exactly make-ahead (but it's quick), but I bet the old classic tomato and egg would be well received by both teens and adults, and probably won't make your wok stick, though the tomato might strip off some of the seasoning.

#3 TheTInCook

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:22 PM

Somehow, I don't think liangfen will be a big hit.

I'd go for a braised dish, like 3 cup chicken. Add the basil when you're heating it for service.

#4 rarerollingobject

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:28 PM

I'm thinking red braised beef, or pork (shoulder if belly is too fatty).

Other than that, maybe some dan dan mian? You could cook the toppings etc beforehand and then just boil the noodles at the last minute. Ribs - everyone loves ribs, maybe black bean spareribs or plum sauce, or honey garlic. Gong bao/kung pao that you make mild and sub pork for the chicken (since you already have a chicken dish) could work too.

Or make up a big pile of wontons/jiaozi and boil them at the pass. Don't know about your equipment setup, but a steamboat or hotpot could be fun? Prep all the ingredients beforehand and let 'em go at it. If you have a rice cooker, you could steam up some claypot rice with pork etc.

No seafood?? That's unusual for Australians, even teenagers. Hmm....maybe char siu? That'd be OK reheated.

Other than that, you could branch into the wonderful world of Aussie Chinese dishes, like black bean beef/lamb, or black pepper beef, or a decent version of sweet and sour pork.

Also, for some amazing Cantonese inspiration, checkout hzrt8w's pictorial thread, here.

Lastly, I know they're not Chinese, but some of the Malaysian mild rendang curries or Vietnamese caramel braised dishes are absolute stars to make ahead and reheat.

#5 annachan

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 12:18 AM

Seafood - the family moved to Australia recently from England....so....yeah....

I was going to do hot pot originally, but decided against it as one adult in the party has recently started the Dukan diet (kind of like Atkin). He'll bring his own food. I just thought it would be too painful for him to watch us enjoy hot pot all night!

I'm thinking ribs as well. Some sort of sweet, sticky ribs. Maybe something that can be done in the slow cooker or cooked in advance then heat up in a sauce. Any idea/recipe?

I'm also thinking a salt and pepper dish, but haven't figured out how I can prepare the protein ahead (morning of) and have it taste fresh.

I love and do make Vietnamese caramel braised pork belly. What other protein would work well being reheated?

#6 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 03:25 AM

I know you said nothing on the bone, but I can't imagine a pile of chicken wings (perhaps red braised or braised with soy, black beans, etc.) would sit untouched.

As for ribs, my favorites are the ones braised (steamed), once again, with black beans...pai gwat.
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#7 Darienne

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:19 AM

My take on Chinese food is not knowledgeable at all, but Egg Foo Yung is a dish which can be set up ahead of time, kept in the fridge, and cooked in a trice.

The use of crock-pots in Chinese food is one that we use at our annual Chinese feast in Utah, especially for Hot and Sour Soup. The pots keep things warm nicely for a gang.

Sichuan Orange Beef is a good one to make ahead of time I think. For our purposes anyway.
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#8 dcarch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:52 AM

Somehow I think the entire concept of Chinese cooking is to have food served fresh made. Anything pre-made and reheat will always be just eating leftovers.

However, having all ingredients prepared ahead of time is different. Or having the food partially cooked.

Maybe cold sesame noodles is an exception, and cold cut appetizer platter?

dcarch.

#9 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:21 AM

Somehow I think the entire concept of Chinese cooking is to have food served fresh made. Anything pre-made and reheat will always be just eating leftovers.
dcarch.

I totally disagree as far as braised dishes are concerned. The same with cold appetizer dishes like pickled things.
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#10 Darienne

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:44 AM

I do agree to a large extent with dcarch. I always refuse to serve Chinese when we have guests although DH would love it if I did. It's too busy at the end, and if the cook is going to eat with the guests, then it's not Chinese in this house.

The main exception is our 'feast' in Moab. There are several cooks in this tiny chaotic kitchen and it's for fun basically.
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#11 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:35 AM

I could quote numerous sources from Chinese cookbooks which basically state that there should be dishes that are prepared in a variety of ways, including dishes which take well to reheating.

But I'll just quote Fuschia Dunlop, from Land of Plenty:

...there will probably be a few cold dishes on the table when you arrive...perhaps some deep-fried peanuts...some cold meats, or a cucumber salad...the cook will still be in the kitchen for a while, keeping an eye on the braised meat stew...


And perhaps Irene Kuo, from The Key to Chinese Cooking:

Except in restaurants, where menus are predominantly the fast stir-fried dishes, one never would find four stir-fried dishes. Cooking a Chinese meal is not difficult if it is well planned, and a well-planned meal involved different techniques...they enable you to synchronize the stages of cooking at a relatively leisurely pace.


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#12 dcarch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:03 AM

I could quote numerous sources from Chinese cookbooks which basically state that there should be dishes that are prepared in a variety of ways, including dishes which take well to reheating.

But I'll just quote Fuschia Dunlop, from Land of Plenty:

...there will probably be a few cold dishes on the table when you arrive...perhaps some deep-fried peanuts...some cold meats, or a cucumber salad...the cook will still be in the kitchen for a while, keeping an eye on the braised meat stew...


And perhaps Irene Kuo, from The Key to Chinese Cooking:

Except in restaurants, where menus are predominantly the fast stir-fried dishes, one never would find four stir-fried dishes. Cooking a Chinese meal is not difficult if it is well planned, and a well-planned meal involved different techniques...they enable you to synchronize the stages of cooking at a relatively leisurely pace.



We probably are talking about the same thing.

Yes, cold cut appetizers (including smoked fish) are very acceptable.

I often precook dumplings, then fry them for pot stickers and serve hot. Same with eggrolls. I sous vide pork first in advance, and make roasted pork (char siu) and serve hot from the grill.

dcarch

#13 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:06 AM

I sous vide pork first in advance, and make roasted pork (char siu) and serve hot from the grill.

Ancient Chinese secret :wink: .
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#14 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:06 AM

Don't forget dishes like cold-poached chicken with a nice spicy dipping sauce.
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#15 dcarch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:11 AM

Don't forget dishes like cold-poached chicken with a nice spicy dipping sauce.


Drunken chicken is served cold.
In the old days, Spam is considered classy and served cold.

dcarch

#16 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:49 AM


Don't forget dishes like cold-poached chicken with a nice spicy dipping sauce.


Drunken chicken is served cold.

Which is a perfect Make ahead dish!
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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#17 cslin

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:34 PM

Hmm...Three cups chicken is a relatively simple dish to make. Just use boneless thighs if you want it boneless and saute it with soaked chinese dried mushrooms, ginger, soy sauce and a bit of sugar until its done. Add basil at the end turn the heat on high to thicken the sauce and get the water out of the basil. You can even make it ahead of time and heat it up when the guests arrive

#18 annachan

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 03:58 PM

I do love cold dishes, like thin sliced pork with garlic sauce. Do keep in mind that we're in the middle of winter here, so hot food is preferred.

Come to think of it, even though we're not doing hot pot, it doesn't mean I can't bust out the portable stove. What claypot dishes are good to make ahead and can sustain being on tabletop stove to keep warm? I guess I need something relatively saucey so it won't dry out and burn while being kept hot.

About 3 cup chicken: does it have a strong ginger taste? My husband does not like ginger....

#19 Will

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:34 PM

About 3 cup chicken: does it have a strong ginger taste? My husband does not like ginger....

Most times whole pieces of dry ginger are left in, but (based on vegetarian versions, at least), I don't find the dish to have a strong ginger taste, as long as you don't eat the slices of ginger themselves.

#20 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:38 PM

I do love cold dishes, like thin sliced pork with garlic sauce. Do keep in mind that we're in the middle of winter here, so hot food is preferred.

Come to think of it, even though we're not doing hot pot, it doesn't mean I can't bust out the portable stove. What claypot dishes are good to make ahead and can sustain being on tabletop stove to keep warm? I guess I need something relatively saucey so it won't dry out and burn while being kept hot.

About 3 cup chicken: does it have a strong ginger taste? My husband does not like ginger....

Any of the red-cooked dishes; I particularly like red-cooked pork (using shoulder).
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#21 runwestierun

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:19 PM

Bao! Bao bao bao! I have never found a kid who didn't like them, once they were forced to try them. There are 2 Asian things I always make and keep in my freezer, ready for a quick steam: bao and siu mai. They both keep in the freezer really well. I made 200 bao this past weekend, just because I love having them out on the deck for lunch in the summer. They go from the freezer into a bamboo steamer for about 11 minutes and they're perfect. Same with the siu mai.

#22 Big Joe the Pro

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:08 PM

Yes, bao zi (steamed dumplings) are awesome anytime and are easily frozen / reheated. There are some recipes here:
www.china.org.cn/english/food/26602.htm

Edited by Big Joe the Pro, 13 July 2011 - 07:18 PM.

Maybe I would have more friends if I didn't eat so much garlic?

#23 jo-mel

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 05:57 PM

This is a little late for last Sunday's Chinese dinner, but when I saw the word "teen-agers" and make ahead food, I immediately thought of Zha Jiang Mian.

The sauce can be made ahead, and so can the noodles. If the noodles are oiled, they will reheat in the microwave quickly and easily.

Just a thought for future, similiar dishes.





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