Chinese Food to Stay Home For – Recipe – Take-out Stir-fry Deconstructed and Demystified

chinese stirfry

Have you ever tried to cook Chinese food at home and felt disappointed with the results? Did you ever say to yourself ‘Why can’t I make it like they do at the Chinese Takeout?’ Well, keep reading. Here we will reveal a little on how to prepare stir-fry ingredients in a way that will, when cooked, taste just like the real thing (Sorry for sounding like an infomercial, but it just tastes so good!).


Pork velvet mix

300-400g pork forequarter meat, finely sliced against the grain
1 egg
2 heaped tablespoons cornflour
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pinch bicarbonate soda
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine

Additional stir-fry ingredients

1 medium carrot, sliced in half length-ways and then sliced finely on the diagonal
1 large stalk of celery, sliced finely on the diagonal
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
425g tin pineapple slices in syrup
250g dried Asian noodles (we used wheat-based stir-fry noodles, though you could also use cellophane noodles, egg noodles, rice noodles / vermicelli, etc.)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoons cornflour
chicken fat for frying (vegetable oil also suitable, though chicken fat gives the dish a very authentic taste)


  1. Put all ingredients of the velvet mixture, except the meat, into a bowl. Whisk well.
  2. Add meat and mix well, making sure all is covered in the wet mixture.
  3. Put aside for 2 to 4 hours at room temperature. This method is called ‘velveting’, which helps to tenderise the meat, and also enhances the flavour, in addition to acting as a kind of batter when the meat is cooked. (This batter seems to protect the meat somehow when cooking, preventing it from overcooking too quickly, and helping to seal in the juices. This is part of the ‘secret’ of Chinese stir-fry cooking, and can be applied to all dishes of this kind containing meat).

In the final few moments while the meat is being velveted…

  1. Prepare vegetables. When preparing the pineapple, slice rounds into quarters. Drain and reserve syrup for later.
  2. Pre-measure all the sauces in to one bowl, and mix well.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Strain and set aside.
  4. Mix cornflour into pineapple syrup vigorously until dissolved and set aside.


  1. Heat chicken fat (or vegetable oil) in a wok, until smoking hot.
  2. Add the carrots, stir-fry for one minute.
  3. Add the ginger and stir fry for about 20 seconds.
  4. Add the celery and onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the pineapple, stir for another minute.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the wok and put on a plate close by.
  7. Add some more chicken fat to the wok and heat until smoking again.
  8. Add all the pork velvet mixture and stirfry for about 5 minutes until browned all over and cooked through. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
  9. Return vegetables to the pan, along with the noodles. Fry for a minute or two, mixing the ingredients well but gently to avoid breaking up too much.
  10. Add the mixed sauces, and mix well but gently.
  11. Finally, give the pineapple and cornflour mix a final stir, before adding it to the wok. Again, mix everything well but gently.
  12. When it starts to look glossy you’ll know the cornflour has unleashed its thickening effect, and the dish is ready.

Serve immediately and enjoy!!


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