• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

annachan

Make ahead Chinese dishes

23 posts in this topic

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Introduction
       
      I spent the weekend in western Hunan reuniting with 36 people I worked with for two years starting 20 years ago. All but one, 龙丽花 lóng lì huā, I hadn’t seen for 17 years.  I last saw her ten years ago. One other, 舒晶 shū jīng, with whom I have kept constant contact but not actually seen, helped me organise the visit in secret. No one else knew I was coming. In fact, I had told Long Lihua that I couldn’t come. Most didn’t even know I am still in China.
       
      I arrived at my local station around 00:20 in order to catch the 1:00 train northwards travelling overnight to Hunan, with an advertised arrival time of 9:15 am. Shu Jing was to meet me.
       
      When I arrived at the station, armed with my sleeper ticket, I found that the train was running 5 hours late! Station staff advised that I change my ticket for a different train, which I did. The problem was that there were no sleeper tickets available on the new train. All I could get was a seat. I had no choice, really. They refunded the difference and gave me my new ticket.
       
       

       

       
      The second train was only 1½ hours late, then I had a miserable night, unable to sleep and very uncomfortable. Somehow the train managed to make up for the late start and we arrived on time. I was met as planned and we hopped into a taxi to the hotel where I was to stay and where the reunion was to take place.
       
      They had set up a reception desk in the hotel lobby and around half of the people I had come to see were there. When I walked in there was this moment of confusion, stunned silence, then the friend I had lied to about not coming ran towards me and threw herself into my arms with tears running down her face and across her smile. It was the best welcome I’ve ever had. Then the others also welcomed me less physically, but no less warmly. They were around 20 years old when I met them; now they are verging on, or already are, 40, though few of them look it. Long Lihua is the one on the far right.
       

       
      Throughout the morning people arrived in trickles as their trains or buses got in from all over China. One woman had come all the way from the USA. We sat around chatting, reminiscing and eating water melon until finally it was time for lunch.
       

       
      Lunch we had in the hotel dining room. By that time, the group had swelled to enough to require three banqueting tables.
       
      Western Hunan, known as 湘西 xiāng xī, where I was and where I lived for two years - twenty years ago, is a wild mountainous area full of rivers. It was one of the last areas “liberated” by Mao’s communists and was largely lawless until relatively recently. It has spectacular scenery.
       
      Hunan is known for its spicy food, but Xiangxi is the hottest. I always know when I am back in Hunan. I just look out the train window and see every flat surface covered in chilis drying in the sun. Station platforms, school playgrounds, the main road from the village to the nearest town are all strewn with chillis.
       

       

       
      The people there consider Sichuan to be full of chilli wimps. I love it. When I left Hunan I missed the food so much. So I was looking forward to this. It did not disappoint.
       
      So Saturday lunch in next post.
    • By liuzhou
      I was recently asked by a friend to give a talk to a group of around 30 first-year students in a local college - all girls. The students were allowed to present me with a range of topics to choose from. To my joy, No. 1 was food! They wanted to know what is different between western and Chinese food. Big topic!
       
      Anyway I did my best to explain, illustrate etc. I even gave each student a home made Scotch egg! Which amused them immensely.

      Later, my friend asked each of them to write out (in English) a recipe for their favourite Chinese dish. She has passed these on to me with permission to use them as I wish. I will post a few of the better / more interesting ones over the next few days.

      I have not edited their language, so please be tolerant and remember that for many of these students, English is their third or fourth language. Chinese isn't even their first!

      I have obscured some personal details.

      First up:

      Tomato, egg noodles.

      Time: 10 minutes
       
      Yield: 1 serving

      For the noodle:

      1 tomato
      2 egg
      5 spring onions

      For the sauce:
       
      1 teaspoon sesame oil
      1 tablespoon sugar
      ½ teaspoon salt

      Method:

      1. The pot boil water. At that same time you can do something else.

      2. Diced tomato. Egg into the bowl. add salt and sugar mixed. Onion cut section.

      3. Boiled noodles with water and cook for about 5 minutes.

      4. Heat wok put oil, add eggs, stir fry until cooked. Another pot, garlic stir fry the tomato.

      5. add some water to boil, add salt, soy sauce, add egg
       
      6. The tomato and egg sauce over noodle, spring onion sprinkled even better.
       


      More soon.
    • By zend
      I just bought these greens from the neighborhood Asian grocery. Had them once in China as a salad, and they tasted exceptional - a bit peppery like arugula, yet much more subtle and fresh, with hints of lemon.
      Store lady (non-Chinese) could not name them for me other than "Chinese greens".
      Any help identifying them is greatly appreciated
       

    • By liuzhou
      China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50%
       
      I wish them well, but can't see it happening. Meat eating is very much seen as a status symbol and, although most Chinese still follow a largely vegetable diet out of economic necessity, meat is still highly desirable among the new middle classes. The chances of them willingly giving it up, even by 50%, seems remote to me.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.