Homemade Chinese Food

Yesterday, we had sweet & sour chicken balls, honey garlic spareribs, fried rice, and chow mein - homemade! It was a little time-consuming but well worth it, no MSG!

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN BALLS (got this recipe from my aunt when she took a Chinese cooking course many years ago)


1 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
dash pepper
¾ cup water
1 egg

Boil chicken breasts until tender with salt, pepper and onion. Cut into cubes (any leftover chicken will do). This can be made ahead because you need to use cooled chicken cubes.

Sift dry ingredients. Add water and egg. Combine. Coat cooked chicken cubes. Deep fry for 5 minutes at 350, or until golden brown. (Make sure, when coating chicken cubes, that you don’t accidentally drop some of the oil in the batter or it will thin out a lot.)

Sweet & Sour Sauce:

2/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp cornstarch
cold water

Combine sugar, water and vinegar in saucepan over low-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in ketchup and then whisk in cornstarch mixed with cold water. Bring to low boil until thickened. Add pineapple tidbits, if desired.

HONEY GARLIC SPARERIBS (my own recipe which I make often)

1 or 2 racks of baby back pork ribs
1 jar of V-H Honey Garlic Sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 to 4 Tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 300-325 F.

Trim of excess fat from the ribs and cut into single-bone portions. Put the ribs in a covered casserole dish and pour honey garlic sauce over the ribs, mixing to coat all ribs. Cover and bake for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until tender.

*After 1 hour, turn ribs over and continue cooking for another hour. Remove from oven, skim off fat from the surface with a spoon. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture, making sure it is well combined with the sauce. Cover and return to oven for another 45-60 minutes until sauce thickens and ribs are tender.


I cook my rice ahead of time because I use COLD cooked rice to make my fried rice. I just simply use a little sesame oil, butter and/or canola oil. Saute some chopped onions, chopped celery, and shredded carrots. Add frozen peas. Push the veggies to the sides to make a large well in center of skillet. I make some scrambled eggs in the center then mix everything together. Add the cold cooked rice. Stir well and cook for a bit to reheat the rice. I also add a little soy sauce or tamarin sauce to taste.

*Sometimes when I cook my rice, I will use beef broth instead of water. Also make sure you always wash your rice before cooking it to remove some of the starch so your rice won’t be mushy.


I use bean sprouts (love them!), slivered carrots, sliced onions, and broccoli florets. I first saute the carrots a little bit, then add the onions. Add some chopped ginger or if I don’t have any fresh ginger, I use powdered ginger. Then add the broccoli and bean sprouts, cover for about 1-2 minutes. The sprouts will release some liquid. Once saute is done, I add a little bit of chicken broth and cornstarch/water mixture to make a little bit of sauce - not much. Sometimes, depending on how much liquid has been released from the bean sprouts, I just use the chicken broth and cornstarch - omit the water. Of course, use more of the broth then you would use water. Just make a “well” in the middle of your veggies when you add the “sauce” ingredients so that it can thicken properly, then combine with the veggies.


hi aline,

i made your sweet & sour chicken balls tonight. pretty good.
i added a bit of soy sauce to the sauce. i had to use toothpicks to spear the chicken to dip it into the batter. had a problem getting them to stay flipped over so that they stay flipped to brown on other side.
what do you do?



Hi Rho,

I just use two spoons to coat the chicken and drop in the deep fryer. How big are your cubes and do you overcrowd the fryer? I sometimes have to turn them over, and sometimes they do it on their own. I find it depends on how many are frying at the same time. I cut the chicken in 1-inch cubes. When you scoop the cube, don’t be afraid to scoop some batter with it. That’s why a spoon works well to scoop the cubed chicken and another spoon to slide the battered cube off the other spoon into the deep fryer. You do want batter with the chicken.


thanks. would never have thought of using two spoons. lol.
no, the frying isn’t crowded and the cubes and cut less than 1 inch.


that sounds yummy


used the two spoons. wow, it works. lol. took me awhile to get the hang of it.
try this recipe for a batter, it’s really good too. i cut the recipe in 1/2 & still had alot of batter.





aline & everyone else,

my apologies. just noticed that i posted the incorrect measurements for the flour and cornstarch. it’s been corrected.

so sorry,


Hi Aline,

I’ve been meaning to post to this thread for a while but didn’t have the recipes in my archive and didn’t have the time to type them…I have a great sweet and sour chicken recipe that I’ve been using for years. One day, my husband and I cooked a chinese dinner for 10 plus people. I’ll post the recipes below but when we were done, we were stinky, the kitchen was a mess and my house stunk. It was fun and very good. We made: Sweet & Sour Chicken, Fried Rice, Egg Rolls (and a lot of them), and Hot & Sour Soup. Many years ago, my mother-n-law bought us a Farberware electric wok. It is a gem! I’m sure there are better tools out there today, but she has worked so well for us. Anyway, here are the recipes


2-1/2 to 3 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Cut in 1-inch pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons light soy sauce (not lite, light)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper
2 tomatoes
1 green pepper

Vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegatable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 glove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup cold water
1 can (8-1/4 ounces) pineapple chucks, drained

Mix egg, 1 tablespoon cornstard, 2 teaspoons light soy, 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper in glass or plastic bowl; stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes. Cut each tomato into 8 wedges. Cut green pepper into 1-inch pieces.

Heat vegetable oil (1-1/2 inches) in wok to 350 degrees. Mix flour, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cut cornstarch, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the baking soda. Stir chicken into batter until well coated. Fry about 15 pieces at a time until light brown, turning frequently, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Increase oil temperature to 375 degrees. Fry chicken all at one time until golden brown, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towel.

Heat sugar, chicken broth, vinegar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the garlic to boiling in a 2-quart saucepan. Mis 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; stir into sauce. Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds. Stir in tomatoes green pepper and pineapple. Heat to boiling; pour over chicken.

6 Servings


6 medium dried black mushrooms
1/4 pound pork boneless loin
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (light or dark)
4 to 6 ounces bean curd

4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce (light or dark)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded bamboo shoots

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon cold water
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped green onion (with tops)
2 teaspoons red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Soak mushroomss in warm water until soft, about 30 minutes; drain. Rinse in warm water; drain. Remove and discard stems; cut caps into thin slices. Trim fat from pork; shred pork. Toss pork, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce in glass or plastic bowl. cover and refrigerate 15 minutes. Cut bean curd into pieces, 1-1/2 x 1/4 inch.

Heat chicken broth, vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling in 3-quart saucepan. Stir in bamboo shoots, mushrooms, pork and bean curd. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour egg slowly into soup, stirring constantly with fork until egg forms shreds. Stir in green onions, pepper sauce and sesame oil.

5 Servings


4 or 5 medium dried black mushrooms
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash of White pepper

8 cups water
1 head green cabbage (about 2-1/2 pounds), finely shredded

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup shredded canned bamboo shoots
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions (with tops)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon five spice powder

1 pound egg roll skins
1 egg, beaten

Vegetable oil

Soak mushrooms in warm water until soft, about 30 minutes; drain. Rinse in warm water; drain. Remove and discard stems; cut caps into thin strips. Mix pork, 1/2 teaspoon slat, the cornstach, soy sauce and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate about 20 minutes.

Heat water to boiling in 4-quart Dutch oven; add cabbage. Heat to boiling; cover and cook 1 minute. Drain; rinse with cold water until cabbage is cold. Drain thoroughly; remove excess water by squeezing cabbage.

Heat wok until 1 to 2 drops of water bubble and skitter when sprinkled in wok. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; rotate to coat side. Add pork; stir-fry until pork is no longer pink. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in cabbage, shrimp, green onions, 1 teaspoon salt and the five spice power; cool.

Place 1/2 cup pork mixture slightly below center of egg roll skin. (Cover remaining skins with dampened towel to keep them pliable.) Fold corner of egg roll skin closest to filling over filling, tucking the point under. Fold in an overlap the two opposite corners. Brush fourth corner with egg; roll up enclosed filling to seal. Repeat with remaining egg roll skins. (Cover filled egg rols with dampened towel or plastic wrap to keep them from drying out).

Heat vegetable oil (2 inches) in wok to 350 degrees. Fry 4 or 5 egg rolls at a time until golden brown, turning 2 or 3 times, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Serve with Hot Mustard and a sweet and sour sauce if desired.

16 to 18 egg rolls


1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup plum sauce or plum jam (orange marmalade can be sustituted for the plum sauce

Heat pineapple (with syrup), sugar, 1 cup water, the vinegar and soy sauce to boiling. Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into pineapple mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature; stir in plum sauce. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with egg rolls.

5-2/3 cups



1 cup bean sprouts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 jar (2-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups white rice (chilled)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Dash of white pepper
1 cup cut-up ham
2 green onions (with tops) chopped

Rinse bean sprouts in cold water; drain. Heat wok until 1 or 2 drops of water bubble and skitter when sprinkled in wok. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; rotate wok to coat side. Add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist. Remove eggs from wok.

Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to wok; rotate to coat side. Add bean sprouts and mushrooms; stirfry 1 minute. Remove from wok to strainer. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to wok; rotate to coat side. Add rice; stir-dry 1 minute. Mix soy sauce and white pepper; sitr into rice. Stir in ham and green onions. Add bean sprouts, eggs and mushrooms; stir-fry 20 seconds.

4 Servings

Well, here it is…a lot of work but well worth it. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I have been in Florida for 12 years and have yet to find a decent chinese restaurant here that could even come close to the style up north. This is close but still not what I’m used to. Actually, I think that all I’m missing are sitting in a booth, choosing my dinner from the cantonese menu, drinking tea, and leaving. LOL


All these sound good!

I have found a cookbook put out by Sunset Publishing Corp, called the “Sunset CHINESE COOKBOOK”. It has 93 pages of how-to’s for home cooking Chinese food.

I have not fixed anything from this book yet that was bad.

It is worth looking for.

Hi BW,

Thanks for the recommendation. I forgot to note my source. These recipes are from Betty Crocker’s Chinese Cookbook - Recipes by Leeann Chinn. Copyright is 1981. It, too is worth looking for. Haven’t had a bad recipe yet. She also gives hints on making foods ahead and very good preparation techniques.