I was casting about for something different to cook when I landed on Chinese cuisine.

I am probably one of very few people who would even think about making Chinese food, instead of ordering take-out. After all, there is an amazing array of dishes from which you can select directly from a take-out restaurant menu or restaurant website.

But, I wanted to make my own.

So, I went on a bit of a quest to first try to find authentic Chinese recipes. I must admit, this was not an exhaustive search.  I probably visited two dozen websites. These included websites for recipes that I would class as ‘fine food’ to YouTube sites, where you are both entertained and shown how to make the recipe, and finally, just searching for good, original Chinese recipes.

Certainly, a common theme evolved. The ingredients used in the majority of recipes that I looked at were hoisin or oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, grated ginger, grated garlic, scallions, chilies, sugar and corn starch. After this, it was a choice of pork, beef, fish, chicken, vegetables, dumplings, wontons or noodles. The cooking techniques were mainly deep fried, stir fried, steamed or pan fried.

But I like different.

I kept looking until I found a handful of recipes which incorporated ingredients over and above the standard list, and which in my mind and to my taste, would set the dishes a little outside of the norm.  Here is my small collection:

Daddy Wu’s Chinese Chicken

Lettuce Cups

Spicy Orange Beef Stir-Fry

King Prawns with Soy Sauce

Stir Fried Asparagus with Shitake Mushrooms

My favorites are the Lettuce Cups, which I make on a regular basis, and Daddy Wu’s Chinese Chicken. The chicken recipe comes by way of Rachel Ray, one of her staff, and of course Daddy Wu.  Daddy Wu’s Chicken has a really delicious sauce and is reminiscent of sweet and sour chicken, but much, much better.

Preparing any of the above recipes requires very little effort, and it may be worth your while to try one or two of them when you get a craving for Chinese food.

But in the end, I think buying is better than making for this cuisine.

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