Asian street-food carts sometimes serve food in banana leaves instead of using plates or bowls. Look for them at Asian markets. Here, Melissa Rubel Jacobson wraps the leaves around silky Chinese noodles.
Joanne Chang's mother used to make this sweet-and-spicy shrimp stir-fry all the time. When she was old enough to cook, Chang asked her mom for the recipe. "She hemmed and hawed until she finally gave it to me, revealing her secret ingredient: ketchup."
Zang Toi's supremely crispy spring rolls are filled with a mix of marinated shrimp, ground pork and a handful of colorful julienned vegetables, like carrot, jicama and beans. The fried shallot rings add alluring flavor and crunch to the spring rolls, too, but they're optional. Toi even makes his own chile sauce to serve as an accompaniment.
Most restaurants make pork fried rice with generic pieces of barbecued meat; Andrew Carmellini uses both seared ground pork and sweet, aromatic Chinese sausage in his playful version. As an alternative to Chinese sausage—which is now available at many Costco stores—substitute thick matchsticks of lean maple-cured bacon.
A simple sauce of garlic, hot pepper, sherry, wine vinegar, and tomato, adds intense flavor to this quick stir-fry and it practically makes itself while the chicken and cabbage cook. Steamed rice is an ideal accompaniment.
Midtown Lunch's Zach Brooks adores this sweet-spicy Chinese-American restaurant staple. The version here is lighter than take-out because the chicken is only lightly coated in cornstarch and is pan-fried rather than deep-fried.