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How to Make Chinese Food Takeout

Updated on October 4, 2012

Have you ever been to a Chinese take-out restaurant and thought about trying to make their food at home?

I love Chinese food, but find that some places tend to make the food extremely oily, and I usually end up avoiding this type of food when we go out to eat.

This week I decided to see what it took to make a decent take-out meal from home. It was also our weekly date night, and I didn't feel like using boring plastic containers, so I made the boxes as well.

If you're looking for something new and a little different for a meal idea - it doesn't have to be a romantic one - this is a fun recipe to try.

It's also perfect for getting more family members involved to work on the boxes while the food is being prepared.

And, the best part?

You can pack it all up and head off somewhere cool, like the beach or even your own back garden and have a picnic dinner!

You can get very creative when wrapping the boxes, or you don't even have to wrap them.
You can get very creative when wrapping the boxes, or you don't even have to wrap them. | Source
Just make sure you leave enough time to make the boxes to the template, so that they don't end up looking like mine!
Just make sure you leave enough time to make the boxes to the template, so that they don't end up looking like mine! | Source

How to Make the Box

I'm going to be honest - I made these boxes in a rush because I spent too much time on the food. So, please don't make the same mistake that I did - I'd suggest making the boxes first and then making the food.

  1. Buy an A1 or A2 piece of sturdy cardboard. This is going to hold food, so you need something that's not going to soak up anything or fall apart.
  2. White is the traditional colour of take-out boxes, but you can choose any colour.
  3. If you want to decorate the boxes with pictures or colours - get this at the same time.
  4. Also, buy any ribbons or wrapping you may want to cover the boxes in.
  5. You can also write Chinese letters or words on the boxes (something I ran out of time for as well).
  6. Use this template to make your box.
  7. Once you've cut it out, you can seal the bottom and sides together with glue or transparent tape.
  8. Leave the top open for the food to be added once cooked.

Try This Recipe!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Sweet and Sour Chinese Chicken with Rice

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice

There are hundreds of recipes to choose from when deciding what type of food you want to put inside your take-out boxes.

I decided on sweet and sour chicken with white rice and colourful vegetables. This recipe is good because it's fairly quick and easy to make, and you can decide if you want to add the vegetables, or just eat the chicken with the rice and sauce.


Fresh ginger gives an amazing flavour
Fresh ginger gives an amazing flavour | Source

Ingredients

  • 2 x Chicken Breasts, Cubed
  • 2 x Cups of Brocoli
  • 2 x Large Carrots, Sliced
  • 1/2 a Red Pepper, Chopped in strips
  • 1/2 a Green Pepper, Chopped in strips
  • 1/2 a Cup of Pineapple, Chopped
  • 1/2 an Onion, Chopped
  • 100g Cashew Nuts, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Tsp of Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp of Ginger, Minced
  • 1/2 a Cup of Flour
  • 1 tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 a Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp of Oil
  • 1 Cup of Rice, Cooked
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt

Preparation

  1. Lay out all your ingredients onto the counter.
  2. Make sure that you have separate chopping boards, as raw chicken needs to be chopped on one, everything else can be chopped on the other.
  3. Have a sink full of warm, soapy water so that you can add the pans and dishes as you go along.
  4. Lay out two square pieces of tinfoil. This is where the food will be laid before being added to the boxes. The size depends on how much food you are using and the size of your boxes.

Step One

  • Preheat the oven to 180o degrees (Celsius) or 356o degrees (Fahrenheit)
  • Add the cashew nuts to an oven tray and bake for +/- 10 minutes until a light golden brown colour
  • Set aside to cool
  • Chop up roughly

Chopped up veggies
Chopped up veggies | Source

Step Two

  • Cut up the chicken pieces into small cubes
  • Cut up all the vegetables, dice the onions, garlic and ginger


After mixing separately, combine wet and dry ingredients
After mixing separately, combine wet and dry ingredients | Source

Step Three


  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  • Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and add the milk and oil
  • Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fry the onions, garlic, ginger and nuts. The veggies
Fry the onions, garlic, ginger and nuts.
Fry the onions, garlic, ginger and nuts. | Source
The veggies
The veggies | Source

Step Four


  • Fry the garlic, ginger, cashew nuts and onions until fragrant, but not overcooked. (You can also add the nuts in at the end as they've already been toasted)
  • Add in the peppers and leave for 3 - 4 minutes
  • Add in the carrots and broccoli and leave for a few minutes, mixing gently occasionally
  • Add the last of the ingredients - the pineapple, and simmer
  • You can decide on how cooked you like your vegetables - personally, I don't enjoy soggy broccoli so cooking time in total was about 10 - 12 minutes

Paper towels soak up most of the excess oil
Paper towels soak up most of the excess oil | Source

Step Five

  • Drop the cubed chicken into the batter
  • Scoop a spoonful of chicken out at a time and place in a deep fryer or in a pan lined with oil
  • Fry the chicken until its golden brown in colour
  • Remove the chicken and place on a tray or plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with the riceAdd the veggies and chickenWrap each pouch tightly so that no food is able to seep out
Start with the rice
Start with the rice | Source
Add the veggies and chicken
Add the veggies and chicken
Wrap each pouch tightly so that no food is able to seep out
Wrap each pouch tightly so that no food is able to seep out | Source

Finishing Touches

  1. Once cooked, leave the food for a few minutes to cool slightly
  2. Scoop half of the previously cooked rice onto each square piece of foil
  3. Add the chicken pieces and the vegetables on top
  4. Wrap up the foil into a pouch, making sure that all food is completely covered
  5. Place each pouch into the take-out boxes
  6. Seal the tops of each box
  7. Wrap or decorate the boxes and tie them with ribbon

Don't Forget!

Please don't forget one of the most important parts of the meal as I did - the sauce! Here's the sweet and sour sauce recipe I used but forgot at home when I was packing.

A few other things to remember to take with you for your dinner away from home:

  • Chopsticks or forks
  • Serviettes
  • Something to drink
  • Towels or blankets to sit on
  • A cooler bag or picnic basket to pack everything in
  • A camera to take unforgettable pictures
  • Fortune cookies or dessert



The Author

Melanie Chisnall is a full-time freelance writer from Cape Town, South Africa.

She enjoys experimenting and cooking with different ingredients in her spare time, she is addicted to The Food Network Channel, and her favourite food cuisines include Thai, Mexican, Moroccan and Indian.

Comments

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    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you so much torrilynn! You should give these a try sometime, they're really fun to make...my hubby loved them :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      I really liked your hub it was great. I love chinese food and the way you presented how you can make this yourself was amazing. Even the boxes you can make was a good idea. Thanks. Voted up.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      cfjots - That's great!! This recipe is so versatile - you can mix up the ingredients as well. We enjoyed it a lot...hope you will too! Thanks for your comment :)

    • cfjots profile image

      cfjots 

      5 years ago from Conway, SC

      You make it sound so good I am definitely going to make it probably this weekend.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi cfjots - Thank you for dropping in to read and comment - much appreciated, and I hope you can try out the recipe...I'm not lying when I say it's good and very easy to make! :)

    • cfjots profile image

      cfjots 

      5 years ago from Conway, SC

      A great article. I will have to make that sometime soon.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you iguidenetwork! Appreciate the kind words and glad you enjoyed the hub. I love your idea for the Halloween boxes, as we're planning on hosting a scary movie night....that could work perfectly, thanks! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      LOL @teaches12345 - I am craving it again as I write this....it can become quite addictive! Glad you enjoyed the hub~ Thanks for your comment and vote :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      @Julie - It can get extremely salty, especially if soy sauce and fish sauce is used. Good thing I like salt...but not everybody does! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Mike! It's only recently that I discovered a love for ginger. It's amazing! Thanks for the comment, vote and share :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I'm glad you liked this hub SkeetyD, thanks for stopping in to comment!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 

      5 years ago from Austin, TX

      This might work at any parties, including Halloween. Eating Chinese food in boxes (you'll make colorful and festive-looking boxes too, if you still have much time hehehe) -- great idea! And I love Chinese food too. Great hub, thanks for sharing. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I should not have read this before going to bed, I am going to want Chinese tomorrow for sure! How creative a post to share and I love the box idea. Voted up.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Oh yum, this looks delicious. I love chinese takeout, though it does feel so salty to me. :)

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      I love chinese food especially when it contains ginger - my favorite ingredient :)

      Loved your hub, funny & useful.. voted up & shared

    • profile image

      SkeetyD 

      5 years ago

      This is an excellent hub! I love Chinese food too and I find that sometimes it is too oily. Voted up!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Mary, you are so lucky to have a good Chinese restaurant in your area. We have one that isn't too bad...but it's nothing to write home about. Thanks for the comment and for sharing, and for the vote! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Lol, Carol! Healthy Chinese food indeed deserves a party, I am with you there! Thanks for the comment and vote :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Alecia, that's the beauty of this recipe - you can add stir-fry to the chicken as well. It's very flexible. I hope you end up making this and enjoying it as much as I did. Thanks for your comment :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      We have a great Chinese restaurant in my area. Love it. I might try your recipe cause I love sweet and sour chicken. Your box is really cute, but I'm not that industrious to make one.

      I voted this UP, and will share.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      What fun and we can have fresh Chinese takeout. That deserves a party. Voted UP.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I enjoy Chinese food but like you some of these places put too much junk and end up ruining the food. So far, all I've made is stir fry but I'd like to pin this and give your recipe a try.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Lol, Julie! Don't worry - my husband also doesn't really use chopsticks, so I just packed him a fork :) Sure you'll love it, and you can add pretty much whatever you feel like. Thanks for your comment :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Linda, yes - it can be expensive to buy the proper and authentic Chinese ingredients, so I just used more or less what we had and bought a few extras. Thanks for commenting :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Janine! I'm sure you'll enjoy making it as much as I did, especially as you have some extra little helpers ;)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Terrye! :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      5 years ago from North-East UK

      Mel, what a great idea this is - I think I might give this a try sometime because we hardly ever go out for Chinese anymore and we both love it. The little boxes look great as well - I can't use chopsticks so I'll stick with a knife and fork but I can make it look pretty oriental other than that :o)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      A friend of mine makes delicious chinese food, she's not chinese. I've considered attempting it, but the cost of chinese cuisine is low cost so I just prefer take out. Well done with this hub! :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      5 years ago from New York, New York

      Melanie, I loved the Chinese takeout boxes and the recipe sounds delicious too. I have pinned to try this one!! Also, I have shared, voted and tweeted too :) :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      loved this! voted up and shared.

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