Cantonese cuisine is the most popular of China’s regional cuisines, both in China and worldwide. In fact, most dishes you see in Chinese restaurants outside of China are actually derived from Cantonese recipes!
Although the ingredients for most of these recipes tend to be items you can easily find in your pantry, Cantonese dishes are flavourful, delicious and nutritious. With the current environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cooking at home is certainly a safer option for the community than going to restaurants. Luckily, there are plenty of Cantonese dishes you can easily prepare at home, so you don’t have to miss out on eating your favourite foods during this challenging period. It is also the perfect timing for you to try new recipes right?
In this article, we’ll go over three simple but yummy recipes you can easily prepare at home.
Cantonese Recipe #1: Salt and Pepper Shrimp
As a very versatile dish, salt and pepper shrimp can be served as an appetizer or a main meal along with rice, pasta or even salad. This dish is one of the easiest Cantonese dishes to prepare.
- 1-pound of medium shrimp (about 25 shrimp), head removed, deveined, but not shelled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch, as needed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black, white, or Szechuan peppercorns.
- 4 cups oil
- Warm water in a pot and lightly salt it. Then, soak the shrimp in the warm water for 5 minutes before rinsing with cold water and patting dry.
- Lightly coat the shrimp with your choice of starch – either tapioca or corn.
- Mix salt and the ground peppercorns in a separate bowl and set it aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan with deep sides or a second wok.
- Slowly add the shrimp, with a maximum of 5 at a time, to the hot oil and deep-fry until they turn bright orange.
- Remove the cooked shrimp and drain on paper towels.
- Heat a wok over medium heat and add the salt and peppercorn mixture as well as the cooked shrimps.
- Stir for 20-30s until the shrimps are evenly coated.
Cantonese Recipe #2: Sweet and Sour Pork
One of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine, sweet and sour pork is loved by people from all over the world. Luckily, it’s also pretty easy to prepare at home!
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup rock sugar (or caster sugar)
- 1/2 tablespoon potato starch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
- Salt (to taste)
For the Pork Marinade
- 1 pound pork tenderloin (cut it into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 3 tablespoons corn flour
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
For the Stir-Fry
- 3 cups oil (for deep-frying the pork)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 clove of garlic (sliced)
- 3 1/2 ounces fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple, cut it into 1-inch chunks)
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper (cut into 1-inch diamond shape)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (cut into 1-inch diamond shape)
- 1/2 white onion (diced small)
- Garnish: 1/2 tablespoon white sesame
- Marinate the pork with soy sauce, rice wine, five-spice powder, ground white pepper and minced garlic for 10 minutes.
- Add the lightly beaten egg, corn flour and plain flour to the marinade and mix evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce to a saucepan and mix evenly before cooking. Continuously stir the sauce to ensure it does not clump up.
- Bring the sauce to a boil before turning the heat down low. Simmer until the sauce becomes thick and sticky.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of oil in a wok.
- Slowly slide the pork tenderloin cubes into the oil and deep-fry until it turns golden-brown.
- Remove the cooked pork and drain it on paper towels.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir-fry one garlic clove and onion until fragrant.
- Add the bell peppers and pineapple to the wok and stir-fry for 30s.
- Add the cooked pork and sweet and sour sauce to the wok and mix evenly.
- Garnish with sesame seeds.
#Recipe 3: Beef Tomato Stir-fry
This simple recipe is a must in Cantonese cuisine, partly due to how easy it is to cook but mainly because of how delicious it is!
For the beef marinade:
- 1 lb. flank steak sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the sauce base:
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1½ teaspoons sugar, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
For the rest of the dish:
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 thin slices fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup sliced shallot
- 1 large scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces at an angle
- 4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water – cornstarch slurry
- Mix the marinade ingredients – cornstarch, oil and salt – together and marinate the beef for one hour.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok.
- Add the beef and sear until it is 80% done. Remove it from the wok.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil and add the ginger slices for 10s.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the minced garlic, shallot and white parts of the scallion.
- Add the tomato wedges in an even layer and sear for 15s.
- Add the Shaoxing wine and continue to stir-fry for another 10 minutes.
- Push everything to the side of the wok and add all the ingredients for the sauce base in the empty space. Stir until bubbling.
- Add the beef to the wok and stir-fry on high for 20s.
- Add the rest of the scallions and slowly add in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce achieves the desired consistency. Allow it to simmer for 15s.
So, there you have it – a few Cantonese recipes that you can use to cook delicious food! All these recipes are fairly simple and you’ll easily be able to cook them from the comfort of your own home. After all this cooking you may want to exercise more, and we got you covered on this topic too. And if you feel like your getting good at it, do not hesitate to explore further Cantonese recipes. Stay safe!