We know this is a challenging time for everyone. We’re all trying to stay safe––and keep others safe––by staying at home. We’ve been celebrating holidays virtually, making do with limited supplies, and wistfully remembering a time when you could walk into any old grocery store and grab not just a pack of toilet paper, but even a bag of flour AND a few packets of yeast!
This time at home also means that everyone is cooking more than ever. It’s been so inspiring to see everyone sharing what they’ve been making with us on social media (follow us on Instagram @thewoksoflife!). It’s particularly great when someone new to The Woks of Life discovers it’s possible to make their favorite restaurant-style dishes at home.
We hope the blog continues to be a source of knowledge for all of you as we gear up to stay home for a bit longer. To help keep you all inspired, we decided to pull the list of the top 20 recipes you all have been making over the last 4 weeks.
If you’re the lucky owner of some flour and yeast and you need a baking project, my mom’s buttery, fluffy brioche recipe is calling your name. If you have a craving for noodles, but have run out and can’t get to the store, never fear! Many home cooks like you have been discovering that it’s possible to make amazing noodles right at home (all you need is flour, eggs, and a rolling pin)!
Those recipes and the others featured in this post give us a glimpse of the comforting foods everyone’s been craving.
I’m pretty glad that through the anxiety and craziness we’re living in, we all have this blog and this community to fall back on. We’re all in this together. Hang in there, and keep cooking! One day, we’ll wake up and be on the other side of this.
Top 20 Recipes You’ve All Been Cooking
1. Mapo Tofu
I have to admit, at #1 on the list, this one surprised me. But I’m happy to report that our collective love of Mapo Tofu cannot be silenced! I think perhaps everyone’s catching on to the fact that tofu can last for weeks in the fridge if left unopened. You can also buy shelf-stable silken tofu. Many of the other ingredients can be found in the pantry or freezer (don’t forget to freeze aromatics like chilies, ginger, garlic, and scallions).
2. Char Siu
The fact that our Char Siu made the list didn’t surprise me in the least! This simple Chinese BBQ pork features a marinade consisting almost entirely of pantry ingredients, and you just can’t argue with the results. Dozens of 5 star reviews have solidified this recipe as a Woks of Life favorite!
3. Chili Oil
Limited trips to the grocery store isn’t stopping anyone from getting their chili oil fix! This chili oil can make shoe leather taste good. Plus, it can serve as a condiment for everything from noodles to scrambled eggs.
4. Sticky Rice
This one was another surprise to me. Fourth on the list is our recipe for fool-proof sticky rice. After giving it a little more thought though, it wasn’t as surprising. Sticky rice is total comfort food. It also may have been sitting in the back of your pantry for a while without a purpose. With all the time on our hands recently, why not take it out and make it into some Sticky Rice Stuffing or Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage?
5. Dan Dan Noodles
This is one of those dishes that makes you really miss eating out. Well, you can whip up a restaurant quality bowl of Dan Dan Noodles at home, and many of you have been doing just that!
6. Homemade Egg Noodles
Have you run out of noodles? If you have flour and eggs, you haven’t run out! Make these homemade egg noodles with a pasta roller or regular rolling pin, and you’ll have some of the tastiest, bouncy-textured noodles you’ve ever had. No eggs? No problem. Make these white noodles with just flour and water, like the reader did below!
7. Dumpling Sauce
It seems that many of you have stocked up on those frozen dumplings. (Bonus points given if you made them from scratch!) The fact that this dumpling sauce recipe made the cut shows some serious dedication to your dipping sauce game! We are very impressed.
8. Chicken and Broccoli
When our local Chinese takeout place temporarily closed their doors a few weeks ago, it didn’t matter that we’re The Woks of Life. We mourned along with the rest of the neighborhood. The fact that we have recipes like this Chicken & Broccoli seems to have softened the blow a little bit.
Fewer smells are more comforting to me personally than the smell of fresh baked bread. The smell of my mom’s brioche is second to none. Its rich buttery scent is better than any aromatherapy candle. It stops anxiety in its tracks!
10. Shanghai Pork Belly
You’d be surprised how few ingredients you need to make this Shanghai braised pork belly. Just 6 ingredients, in fact! (And a little water.) I’m guessing that’s why it made it onto this list. That and the fact that it’s completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
11. Vegetable Dumplings
Many of you have turned to dumpling making as a fun project to pass the time. These vegetable dumplings include vegetables you probably already have––cabbage, onions, carrots, etc. If you’re missing a certain ingredient, don’t be afraid to get scrappy with substitutions!
12. Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
This is another one of those restaurant dishes you all are discovering that you can make at home! A steaming hot bowl of beef noodle (perhaps with some handmade noodles) makes sheltering in place a lot more bearable.
13. Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
Perhaps it’s all that char siu you guys are making (See #2 on this list), but roast pork buns are having a moment. I’ve seen so many of you sharing your homemade version of these fluffy, savory buns, and I smile every time I see a batch. Because a home with Char Siu Bao is a happy home.
14. Cantonese Steamed Fish
There’s a reason this Cantonese Steamed Fish with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce is a classic. It’s simple, delicious, and the perfect topping for rice (which I know a lot of you have stocked up on!). Use any flaky white fish for this recipe (or even salmon). This recipe is for a whole fish, but you can check out this recipe for Cantonese Steamed Fish made with filets.
15. Cantonese Soy Sauce Pan-fried Noodles
Have a pack of Hong Kong Pan-fried Noodles in the freezer, or some dried Hong Kong style noodles in the pantry? Seems like many of you do, because you’re all still making this tasty pan-fried noodle dish! If you don’ t have scallions or bean sprouts, don’t worry. The dish is still delicious with out them.
16. Milk Bread
You all have been baking up a storm with this recipe! Not only have you been making this fluffy plain Asian milk bread. You’ve also been making it as a base for so many of our Chinese Bakery bun recipes.
17. You Tiao
All you need are a couple cups of flour, an egg, salt, baking powder, a tablespoon of milk, 2 tablespoons of butter, and some water to make these traditional Chinese fried dough sticks. I think these are definitely a huge comfort food for many, which is why so many of you have taken up the challenge of making them!
18. Pork Fried Rice
Pork fried rice is another favorite featuring char siu (See #2). Don’t let the takeout container in the photo fool you. This dish can be made by anyone at home, as so many of you are showing us these days! If you don’t have char siu on hand, don’t worry, make our Supreme Soy Sauce Fried Rice, featured below!
19. Lu Rou Fan
Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Braised Pork & Mushroom Rice Bowls) is hearty and delicious. Many of us have turned to baking for comfort these days, but braising comes in at a close second.
20. Thai Basil Chicken
Everyone loves this dish for how simple and FAST it is to make. One commenter told me that she had a stash of Thai basil in her freezer from last summer to make this dish whenever she wanted! If you can find Thai basil, you can do the same and freeze it for later. If you can’t find Thai basil, fresh basil will work in a pinch!
We hope this list of the Top 20 Recipes you all have been cooking has helped inspire you with some new ideas! If you have any questions about any of the recipes above (substitutions, etc.) we’re here to help. Just put your question in a comment on that particular recipe, and we’ll answer as soon as we can.
Thanks to everyone who’s shared their pictures and home cooking stories with us. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @thewoksoflife to see our stories and updates on new recipes and peek at what others are cooking up.
What’s the best thing you’ve made in the last few weeks? Let us know in the comments! Stay safe, everyone.