10. Rice Porridge
This is part of my Top 10 list of favorite home-cooked meals, but it is at the bottom of the list, because it is so bland! To make bland rice porridge taste better, add vegetables and meat from last night's dinner. If you have a sweet tooth, you may add strawberries or blueberries, and it will taste just like oatmeal in Western culture.
9. Jiaozi Dumplings
These hotties are like mini meals in a steamer! If you know someone who doesn't like to eat vegetables very much, you can use the food processor to chop them very finely and stuff them in the mixing bowl. Blend the vegetables with meat in a 3:1 vegetable-to-meat ratio. When you serve the dumplings, don't say what's in it. Chances are, you can get that person to eat his/her vegetables.
Alternatively, you can use an all-vegetable filling, but no one will know if you cover the filling with the flour wrapping and dip the dumpling in soy sauce with chopped garlic.
Because they are so large, a few of these hotties can be very filling!
8. Huntun Dumplings
While jiaozi is usually steamed (but it can be boiled), huntun is usually boiled. The filling is the same as jiaozi. These are usually smaller than jiaozi, and the skin is thinner, making them a wonderful addition to soups.
Potstickers are essentially jiaozi or huntun (usually jiaozi) prepared in a special way. Basically, the oil and water at the bottom of the pan or wok separate, because oil is non-polar while water is polar. The water is heated, and the heat cooks the insides of the dumplings. Then, the oil is left to fry the bottom of the jiaozi, giving it the characteristic texture.
The crunchiness of the skin is more flavorful than regular jiaozi. Hence the higher placement in my Top 10 list.
6. Hot, Dry Noodles
These hot-dry noodles are native to Wuhan, China. Main ingredients are long noodles and various condiments.
5. Scallion Pancakes
These are essentially flatbread with scallions in them. The scallions add flavor and a nice, pretty appearance in the otherwise golden brown texture.
4. Watermelon Rind Slices
This simple dish consists of sliced watermelon rind and whatever condiments you have available. If you have bought a watermelon and scooped out all the pink, fleshy part, then you may be left with a thick light green rind. Some watermelons may come with a thin rind layer, which just means you cannot safely process it to make Watermelon Rind Slices. In contrast, with a thick rind, you can use a knife or skin peeler to remove the outer green layer, and the knife to remove any pink parts you see. Then, you cut the rind into slices and stir-fry the slices in the pan. Ta-da! A new dish! Now, you can serve it with a bowl of rice to make a complete meal!
I mark this as a 4, because I consider it a work-intensive and time-intensive recipe.
3. Steamed Eggs
This delicate, savory dish of steamed eggs requires a specific ratio of eggs and water. Add too much water, and the eggs won't coagulate. Add too little water, and the eggs will be too thick and not shaky like Jell-O. Cooking time must be a specific length. If the cooking time is too short, then the eggs have not coagulated yet. If the cooking time is too long, then the eggs will be overcooked, ruining the appearance.
Because a lot of work and time go into the preparation and the cooking, I rate this a 3 in my Top 10.
2. White Radish Soup
White radish soup is a soup made from white radishes. You can eat it with a bowl of rice and other vegetables/meats, or you can eat it by itself. This is a big time-consumer, so you may want to cook this thing overnight in the Crockpot or slow-cooker. During cooking, you can smell the aroma being lifted into the air.
1. Mung Bean Soup
Like the white radish soup, mung bean soup is also a big time-consumer. My mom used to say it is "清热解毒", which means, according to Yabla Chinese, "alleviating fever" or "clearing internal heat" and "detoxification". Under the modern scientific method, there seems to be empirical support that suggests that the antioxidants in mung bean soup seem to provide resistance to heat stress.
The bean soup, as you would expect, tastes bland. You may put sugar, but I wouldn't do that if I were you. Too much sugar actually isn't good for your health. Just accept the natural taste and chewiness of the beans.
There you have it. That is my Top 10 list of favorite home-cooked meals. They are all part of traditional, mainstream Chinese cuisine. I can't say whether they are going to be healthy, but at least they taste good and show people outside of Asian countries a rough idea of what Asians eat.