If you fancy a Chinese takeout but don't want the calories or cost, try these popular Chinese recipes. Quantities are for a family of four, but you can prepare extra if you need to. Traditionally, all of the dishes are served together family-style, and everyone takes a little of each.
Won ton soup
Combine 1/2 pound of finely chopped lean pork with 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon each of sherry and cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions and sesame oil and black pepper to taste.
Make 18 to 24 dumplings by placing a heaped teaspoon of filling in the center of a won ton wrapper (available at most supermarkets), moistening the edges with water and pulling the corners up together. Twist and nip the center to make parcels.
Place won tons in a frying basket and place in boiling water for about five minutes until they rise and float, then remove and drain.
To make the soup, bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add the won ton dumplings, bring back to a boil, then add sesame oil and finely chopped green onions to taste.
Egg fried rice
Make the simplest egg fried rice with 1 cup of cold, cooked rice and half a scrambled egg per person. Heat a wok and coat with oil before scrambling the egg, then remove. Clean and re-oil the wok, add the rice and stir fry. Add salt, pepper, oyster sauce and soy sauce to taste, plus a handful of finely chopped green onions or garden peas before returning the scrambled egg to the mix and combining.
Chicken chow mein
Rinse 1 pound mung bean sprouts and leave to drain. Cut 2 chicken breasts into thin strips and marinate for 30 minutes in equal parts soy sauce and oyster sauce, adding salt and pepper to taste, plus a pinch of cornstarch.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 4 tablespoons of water. In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup of chicken broth with 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and oyster sauce, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add the cornstarch mixture and then set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and soften 1/2 pound of won ton noodles in it. When they are soft, plunge them into cold water to stop them from overcooking, then drain them.
Wash and chop 2 pounds of mixed vegetables. Good choices include mushrooms, broccoli or bok choi, celery, bell peppers, onion, bamboo shoots and sugar snap peas.
Heat a wok to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, and use one of two popular stir-fry methods:
Whichever method you choose, add more oil as necessary, and use a wooden spatula to keep food from sticking or burning. For best results, add new ingredients to the center of the wok, pushing the existing ingredients out to the edges until it is all cooked and you are ready to mix together and serve.
Finish your meal with a simple fruit salad for an authentic Chinese meal made at home.