Spicy tofu with courgettes by Kwoklyn Wan

10-Minute Chinese Takeaway: 3 easy recipes for speedy weeknight dinners

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Channel your favourite Chinese takeaway dishes from the comfort of home in just 10 minutes with Kwoklyn Wan’s newest recipes. 

Among the many takeaways we as a nation hold to a high standard, Chinese is up there – and for good reason. It’s the perfect go-to for almost all occasions. Feeling blah? Order a Chinese takeaway. Looking to celebrate a small (or large) win? Order a Chinese takeaway. Marking the end of a week with something special? It isn’t hard to guess which cuisine we’re opting for here. Though there is one slight drawback when it comes to takeaways: the long wait time.

On those days when you’re looking for a taste of the Orient minus the waiting around, British-Chinese chef Kwoklyn Wan has the answers. Growing up working in his family’s restaurants and later becoming a full-time chef at their third venue in Leicester at just 16 years old, it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about Chinese takeaways – not to mention his background as a TV chef in Kwoklyn’s Chinese Takeaway Kitchen and his two cookbooks, Chinese Takeout Cookbook: From Chop Suey to Sweet ‘n’ Sour, Over 70 Recipes to Re-create Your Favourites and Chinese Takeaway in 5: 80 of Your Favourite Dishes Using Only Five Ingredients.

This month, Wan brings us his third cookbook, 10-Minute Chinese Takeaway: Simple, Classic Dishes Ready in Just 10 Minutes!, which as you may guess from its title, is all about providing us with quick, easy recipes that are uncompromising on flavour. He implores us to enjoy the process of being an at-home cook with recipes that literally take minutes to whip up. If you’re short on time and flavourful day-to-day meal ideas seem to fall to the bottom of your priority list, consider the three recipes below to be your new go-tos.

10-Minute Chinese Takeaway by Kwoklyn Wan
10-Minute Chinese Takeaway by Kwoklyn Wan

Firstly, for those with a soft spot for vegetarian Chinese food, Wan’s spicy tofu with courgettes is sure to impress. A texture-laden dish mixing crunchy tofu and crispy water chestnuts mixed with juicy courgettes and earthy shiitake mushrooms, this is your one-stop shop for a flavour sensation. 

Meanwhile, Wan’s rice wine beef combines tender fillet slices with flavour-absorbing wilted spinach and bean sprouts, smothered in a tangy sauce. 

Lastly, for the chilli lovers, Wan’s gunpowder chicken is here to bring the kick you’re after. Tossed in a flavourful combination of Thai red chillies, Sichuan peppercorns and fresh spring onions, this is a chicken dish you’ll find solace in when dreary nights take hold. Hang in there, happiness is only 10 minutes away… 

  • Spicy tofu with courgettes

    Spicy tofu with courgettes by Kwoklyn Wan
    Spicy tofu with courgettes by Kwoklyn Wan

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 150g diced onion
    • 1 tsp ginger purée
    • 5 courgettes, halved lengthways and then cut into half-moons
    • 1 x 150g can shiitake mushrooms, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 100g canned sliced
    • water chestnuts
    • 80g sliced carrots
    • 1 tsp chilli flakes
    • 200g spicy tofu cubes (you can use marinated too)
    • 1 tsp sesame oil

    For the sauce

    • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine)
    • 125ml vegetable stock
    • 2 tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • ½ tsp cornflour
    • pinch of white pepper
    • 1 tsp light soy sauce
    • ½ tsp dark soy sauce

    Method

    Put all the sauce ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Leave to one side. Place your wok over a medium-high heat; when hot add the vegetable oil, then the diced onion and ginger purée and fry for 1 minute. 

    Add the courgettes and fry for another minute, then add the shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots, chilli flakes and tofu, and continue to stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

    Give the sauce a quick stir and add to the wok. Bring the sauce to the boil and cook for a further minute or two, allowing the sauce to thicken. Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with sesame oil.

  • Rice wine beef

    Rice Wine Beef by Kwoklyn Wan
    Rice Wine Beef by Kwoklyn Wan

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 300g beef fillet, cut into very thin slices
    • 2 tsp ginger purée
    • 180g baby spinach
    • 200g beansprouts
    • drizzle of sesame oil

    For the sauce

    • 3 tbsp Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine)
    • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
    • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
    • ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
    • ½ tbsp sugar
    • 125ml chicken stock
    • pinch of white pepper
    • 2 tsp cornflour 

    Method

    Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, mix well and set to one side.

    Place a wok over a medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and fry the beef for 30 seconds, then add the ginger purée and fry for a further 30 seconds. Next add the spinach and beansprouts, continuing to stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.

    Give the sauce mixture a quick stir and pour into the wok, bringing it all to the boil and continuing to cook for a further minute, or until the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency. Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with sesame oil.

  • Gunpowder chicken

    Gunpowder Chicken by Kwoklyn Wan
    Gunpowder Chicken by Kwoklyn Wan

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 350g chicken thigh fillets, diced
    • 12 Thai red chillies, stalks removed and halved lengthways
    • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
    • 1 bunch of spring onions, cut into 5cm slices
    • 50g roasted peanuts

    For the sauce

    • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine)
    • 2 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar (Chinkiang)
    • 125ml chicken stock
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp cornflour 

    Method

    Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl, mix well and set to one side. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning. 

    Add the chillies and Sichuan peppercorns and fry for a further 1–2 minutes. Give the sauce mix a stir and add to the wok, bringing it all to the boil and continuing to cook for a further 1–2 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Add the spring onions and peanuts, give everything a good toss to combine and transfer to a serving plate.

    Serve the chicken as it is or with a nice bowl of noodles.

10-Minute Chinese Takeaway by Kwoklyn Wan (Quadrille) is out now

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Photography: Sam Folan

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