Hello again! It took me a little longer than expected to put up this post, due to the influx of submissions at the eleventh hour, but here it is!
At the beginning of February, I organized a Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck as a fun way to both celebrate Chinese New Year and to get readers cooking from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. Participants would receive a copy of the cookbook to keep or give away. In addition, they would be entered in a drawing for other great prizes, including a Le Creuset French oven, set of 6 Random House cookbooks, GrubKit recipe kits, and Edgeware graters.
The turnout was even better than expected: 41 of you wonderful bloggers cooked, photographed, and shared your thoughts on 7 dishes from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook for Chinese New Year. I loved reading all your posts on shopping for Chinese ingredients, introducing your family to new year foods and traditions, making ingredient substitutions to suit your lifestyle, and even getting a little creative in reinterpreting the original recipes.
See all the entries below!
Cold Sesame Noodles
- A Cedar Spoon - Cold Sesame Noodles — "Making my own Chinese food, or 'Chinese takeout', is a way to control exactly what goes into the dish, and use things like low sodium soy sauce to help control the sodium."
- JustCook NYC - Cold Sesame Noodles — "Some recipes are too heavy on the sesame, some too much on peanut butter, some too salty, and some too sweet. Often they’re too gloppy. Then I tried Diana’s recipe. It’s just right, and maybe more important, it’s easily adaptable." Justin had also written previously about the Kung Pao Chicken (for fun, not related to the potluck.)
- Forage & See - Cold Sesame Noodles — "I used gluten-free brown rice pasta, made my own sesame paste (toasted sesame seeds with olive oil in a food processor), and subbed sriracha for the chili paste. It turned out great and my friends enjoyed it as well. "
- All Our Fingers in the Pie - Cold Sesame Noodles — "I had to use tahini with sesame oil rather than Chinese sesame paste and sriachi rather than chili paste. I had Szechuan peppers and used just a touch. This had just the right amount of heat."
- Love & Onions — Cold Sesame Noodles and Chinese Barbecued Pork - "I really liked the faint astringent note that the sesame paste added to the dish, balancing out some of the sauce’s richness."
- Let's Eat First — Cold Sesame Noodles - "The smell of the freshness of the cucumbers…the aroma of ginger and garlic was just mouth watering. All the flavors blended beautifully together! "
- Slice of Life — Cold Sesame Noodles - "I knew it would be a great option for kids lunches, adult lunches and snack time too!"
(Photo: Alyssa Brantley, Everyday Maven)
Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs
- Cooking with Books - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — " I am 100% in love with these eggs...While the eggs simmer, you won’t need any aromatic candles on because the combination of salty soy with warm cinnamon, and spicy pepper will have you craving for them to be done ASAP!"
- ABCD's of Cooking - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "I chose to make the marbled tea eggs because 1) they look amazing and 2) the ingredients used to color the eggs reminded me of how I flavor my chickpeas actually in making channa masala with a tea bag and cinnamon."
- Everyday Maven - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — Alyssa points out that the eggs are tasty as well as Weight Watchers-friendly. "Not only are they ridiculously easy, but so unique, beautiful and really delicious. They are a perfect addition to a party or Chinese themed feast, made in advance, only 2 Points Plus each and pure protein."
- This Italian Family - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "This used to be one of those foods I ate all the time when we lived in China...They make a great snack and are so delicious!"
- Thinking about Languages - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "I left the rest of the eggs in the pot (with the stove off) to soak up some more of the tea mixture. The marbling became more intense, and I could taste the tea mixture in the egg white. Yum!"
- Thoughts from My Stomach - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "Tea eggs are my IDEAL comfort food. You can make a big batch of them with ingredients you have lying around your house, and you can eat them with a bowl of rice. Perfect."
- The Canadian Egg - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "These were easy to make and I'm excited that street vendors are no longer my sole supplier of tea eggs."
- The Saucy Gander - Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs — "They were snapped up like that. Quite a few guests talked about these eggs til the end of dinner, and a couple of them still talked about it when I saw them a couple of weeks later."
General Tso’s Chicken
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories - General Tso’s Chicken — "I decided to be adventurous and try deep frying in the wok. I am more than excited about how this chicken turned out, and it was really easy. We served it with rice and a salad, and it was a wonderful meal."
- Red Cooking - General Tso’s Chicken — "You may have ordered General Tso’s Chicken countless times from your local Chinese takeout. But with this recipe from Diana Kuan you can make it at home just like Chef TT Wang made during the 1970’s when it was first introduced to the American public."
- Mad Rantings of a Middle Class Mom - General Tso’s Chicken — "With a blizzard underway here in New York, I wanted comfort food but not a soup or stew. I made her General Tso's Chicken. It was fast and easy and incredibly delicious."
- The Experimental Gourmand - General Tso’s Chicken — "The crispy chicken had the perfect balance of sweet-tart-spicy when dressed in the sauce. It was difficult for me not to munch on the searing hot chicken pieces the moment they came out of the fragrant sauce, leaving nothing to plate for the photo. "
- Here’s What I Cooked - General Tso’s Chicken — "The recipe was so clear that my two kitchen helpers were able to measure out and mix all the ingredients without any issues."
- 30 Pounds of Apples - General Tso’s Chicken — Kristi decided to make a pan-fried version of General Tso's instead, with fabulous results. "As I tasted my first bite of this spicy, tangy meal, I wondered why it took me so long to try it out. I’m guessing it won’t be very long at all before I make it again."
Kung Pao Chicken
- The Spiced Life – Kung Pao Chicken — On using Sichuan peppercorns: "Don't be afraid of their heat — it is a numbing, tingly heat rather than a tongue-burning heat, and my kids honestly did not even notice it (I did reduce the number of dried chili peppers though)." Prompted by the potluck, Laura was also inspired to buy a wok to make more Chinese dishes in the future!
- Omavore - Kung Pao Chicken — "I was pleased to see that the Kung Pao looked a lot like the dish we ate in China. And if memory serves, it tasted almost just like it, too."
- Perfect-Imperfect Domestic Gal — Kung Pao Chicken - "The balance of heat from the chiles with the sweetness of the sauce was pretty much spot on."
- Living Rancho Deluxe — Kung Pao Chicken - "I was surprised on how easy the dish was to make and enjoyed the praise from my husband with every bite he took."
- Dave’s Kitchen - Kung Pao Chicken — " It took well under an hour to prepare, start to finish, rice and all, even though I was making this dish for the first time."
- Splinternet — Kung Pao Tofu, a vegetarian variation. "I am always interested in recreating the foods most think they can only get at restaurants (it’s an easy way to wow dinner guests)."
Dan Dan Noodles
- Principia Gastronomica - Dan Dan Noodles — For a Chinese New Year's dinner, Jessica made dan dan noodles with ground lamb, as well as the Chinese marbled tea eggs, vegetarian mapo tofu, and Sichuan cucumber salad from the cookbook. "The dan dan noodles were the star of the show at dinner, however: springy Chinese noodles topped with lightly crisped ground meat in a vinegary sauce infused with the floral heat of Sichuan pepper. I though there was no way we would make it through the whole bowl of noodles considering how many other dishes I had made—but by the end of the meal we were scraping the bowl clean."
- Dash of East - Dan Dan Noodles — Melissa tried dan dan noodles with ground chicken. "With a name like “dan dan,” how could you not be curious and want to try the dish, right?...Traditionally this noodle dish is made with ground pork or beef, but for my variation, I used ground chicken and added some baby napa cabbage for an extra bit of veggie goodness."
- Adventures of a Dog Mom - Dan Dan Noodles — "The beef was slightly crisp, the sauce was tangy and spicy, the noodles were cooked perfectly and the addition of peanuts and scallions on top provided a bit of crunch. "
- Oiishi Rasoi – Dan Dan Noodles — Samar reflects on how the versions of dan dan noodles make use of Sichuan pepper. "What they (the good ones at least) had in common is the mala that is a characteristic of Sichuan food. This rendition definitely has that in abundance!"
- Consult the Couple - Dan Dan Noodles — "If you’ve ever been to a Szechuan (Sichuan) restaurant, you will definitely see this item on the menu. Its rich aroma and taste are irresistible! Thanks to Appetite for China‘s recipe, we can now make these at home!"
- Appetitive - Dan Dan Noodles — "We had some more meat sauce left so the next day for lunch, I poured it over white rice, it was just as yummy and hearty!" Lily also made Chinese Barbecued Pork and Chinese Tea Eggs for the potluck.
- Jeanette’s Healthy Living - Dan Dan Noodles — Jeanette made a gluten-free version using rice noodles and gluten-free soy sauce. "I’m so glad I was able to try this version of Dan Dan Mien and share it with my sister – we had lots of fun trying to figure out what the difference between the various versions of Dan Dan Mien."
- Spicebox Travels - Dan Dan Noodles — "My verdict, as a former resident of Sichuan? These are the real deal."
Chinese Barbecued Pork
- Asian in America - Chinese Barbecued Pork — "I knew that the sweet, salty flavors of the Chinese Roast Pork would go well with the rest of my Lunar New Year table fare – steamed dumplings, Filipino ‘pancit’ noodles and steamed fish."
- Schnitzel and Siopao - Chinese Barbecued Pork — "The meat will be tender, though not fork-tender through the center. It is incredibly rich and flavorful, and the fattier bits don’t get chewed so much as they melt into your body."
- The Dumpling Mama -Chinese Barbecued Pork — Chrissy changed things up a bit by using pork butt instead of pork belly and agave nectar instead of sugar. "The pork comes out of the oven and is the perfect combination of crispy and juicy."
- I Like Noms — Chinese Barbecued Pork — "A while back a friend posted a picture of homemade cha siu and I immediately asked for the recipe. It had been bookmarked for quite some time but I haven't had the time to make it until this weekend. I picked up some pork belly, followed the recipe and had some tasty cha siu at the end of the day."
Black Sesame Ice Cream
- The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook - Black Sesame Ice Cream — "I’ve seen black sesame ice cream on menus before but I’ve never tried it, let alone attempted to make it. However, Diana’s recipe is so simple that my mind was made up before you could say “black sesame.” I whipped up the ice cream base in barely 10 minutes and the ice cream machine did the rest of the work."
- Savory Sweet Living - Black Sesame Ice Cream with Profiteroles and Yuzu Ginger Curd — "I chose the black sesame ice cream as I am a huge fan of black sesame. It has such a distinct flavor and I love the nuttiness of it." Margaret did something a little different: after making the ice cream, she used it as a filling for profiteroles and with yuzu ginger curd on the side!
And now for the winners!
Grand Prize Winner — Alyssa Brantley from Everyday Maven receives:
- a Le Creuset Signature Round French Oven, 5 1/2 Quart, in any of the available 12 colors. (Great for Asian braises and soups as well as Western cooking!)
- A cookbook set of 6 wonderful new releases and older favorites, from my friends at Random House: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites, The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods,Vietnamese Home Cooking, Asian Dumplings, and another copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook to keep or give away.
Runner Up Prize — Julia Jolliff from A Cedar Spoonreceives:
- Two best-selling recipe kits from our friends at GrubKit – Pad Thai and Kung Pao Chicken.
- Premium Edgeware grater set (seen here, here, and here) – Three total. Wonderful sharp edges for vegetables as well as cheese.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the potluck and to our sponsors!