Your Friday Night Homemade Takeout: Chinese Stirfry

I know, I know, it’s an oxymoron, ‘homemade takeout’…I just thought I’d confuse you for a Friday morning ;).

Before I get into our takeout recipe this week make sure you check the blog on Monday! That’s right, it’s time for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011 recipe reveal!

This is where I reveal the recipe I made for this year’s first cookie swap that I participated in. I sent my cookies to a blogger in New York (I’ll reveal who on Monday!) and should be receiving some goodies myself soon…I can’t wait!

For now, let’s get you the best, healthiest Chinese takeout for your Friday night, shall we (for a fraction of the cost, sodium/fat/calories etc)?

I’m lucky enough to live in Vancouver, with a really thriving Asian culture thanks to the large number of Asian immigrants. We have a huge Chinatown and the Asian food served here is the real deal. Sushi is like…$2 a roll and uses the freshest of ingredients and is made by people who grew up learning the art of making sushi. You really can’t beat it. For that reason, I usually don’t bother and have never really tried cooking sushi at home. Within ONE block of my apartment there are four sushi places! Some serve my favourite yam and avocado roll or veggie roll at $2.50 a roll. So…why bother, right?

Chinese food, on the other hand, is a different story. There are many fresh Chinese restaurants that serve great-quality, healthy Chinese fare but a lot of them also use a ton of meat (and I try not to support that too much when eating out) and a lot of them also taste very ‘fast foody’ – i.e. I feel a bit of what I call a ‘salt coma’ afterwards, where you feel too full and bloated and just sluggish. Yuck.

So I took to making my favourite – a veggie stirfry – at home. This dish is a nutritional powerhouse. Check out the nutritional info below – a full, complete meal in under 500 calories with nearly 13g fibre per serving! And nearly 22g of protein per serving! Tons of healthy fats too.

And what is the magic ingredient that gives the broccoli and mushrooms and bok choy and all those other veg the wonderful flavour?

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

Well, I will let you in on a big secret. My friend’s Chinese mother revealed it to me and it has made the WORLD of difference in my Chinese cooking.

Are you ready?

It’s a pretty big secret.

I don’t want to just GIVE it away…

Oh, all right. I love you guys after all.

Oyster sauce.

That’s right, oyster sauce! Using that in conjunction with soy sauce makes the dish just BURST with flavour.

Yes, you are right. Oyster sauce isn’t vegetarian. BUT you can get a vegetarian version! I get mine from my local supermarket but if your supermarket doesn’t have a well-stocked foreign foods section you may need to venture into your city’s Chinatown or local Asian store. But once you get a bottle, you’re sorted. I promise.

So now you know the secret ingredient, the recipe is a bit of an anticlimax, but here it is anyway ;).

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

Anna’s Chinese Vegetable Stirfry

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 head organic broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 bag baby carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 cups crimini or shiitake mushrooms (or a mix), sliced
2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated
1 cup bean sprouts
4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari to make recipe gluten-free)
2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 cups jasmine rice
1/2 cup raw cashews


1. Boil 2 cups water and add jasmine rice. Let cook while you work on the stirfry.

2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large wok. Add garlic, ginger, broccoli and carrots.

3. Stirfry 5 minutes or so until carrots are starting to soften. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, until mushrooms are golden.

4. Add in the baby bok choy and bean sprouts at the same time as the soy sauce, oyster sauce and cashews. Stirfry a few minutes more, until bok choy starts to wilt and the sauce thickens slightly.

5. Serve immediately!

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

Nutritional information below per serving if serves 4:

Nutritional information courtesy of


  1. We LOVE stir fry! I actually make it every week for mike and need to make one for me sometime, one I like! He always has me make him spicy!

    Oyster sauce I have never had, so this will make it much better then? Hmmmm might have to do!

    Happy Weekend! xo

    • Gosh make it for yourself girl! You’re missing out – it’s so good! Oyster sauce definitely makes a difference, oh yes! I hope you like!

  2. Stir fry is sooo so good… it’s versatile and pretty much always turns out great 🙂
    This looks wonderful as usual Anna

  3. I discovered the oyster sauce secret while working in a restaurant many years ago but felt like they were cheating their veggie customers because it wasn’t mentioned on the menu (and it wasn’t a vegetarian oyster sauce either). I said something but they just shrugged it off – oh well, at least I tried 🙂
    I love stir-fry because it’s so quick, easy, delicious and versatile!

    • Good for you for speaking up! Yes, I definitely don’t trust certain restaurants.

      I was just out for dinner last weekend and we were treated to an amuse bouche of cream of parsnip soup so I just asked the waiter if it was vegetarian (soups so often use chicken or beef stock). He came back and said yes so I ate it – it was delish – and he comes back and says “Oh yes, it’s the chicken stock that makes it so rich in flavour”. I froze, but then he started laughing and said he was joking. I was so ready to believe him based on past restaurant experiences I’ve had. Some people think fish or chicken is vegetarian, so … you know!

  4. I love cashews in stirfry!! And thank you for letting us know about vegetarian oyster sauce- I didn’t realize it exists!

    • You’re welcome! I put cashews in almost any curry/stifry/chili – they are just great, mild-tasting nuts that add some protein and a different flavour and texture to a dish!

  5. mmm i just love cashews in stirfries. this looks exactly like what i want to eat for dinner tonight!

  6. oh man this ‘takeout’ looks divine. i often crave chinese food, but hate the way i feel afterward. this is a great solution!

  7. Who cares if homemade takeout is an oxymoron..this looks delicious! And who knew oyster sauce was the key ingredient? I’ll have to give this recipe a try next time I’m craving chinese take out! 🙂

  8. I’ve never actually used oyster sauce in a recipe of my own! Is it similar to fish sauce? Not that I’ve tried that either… haha

    • It doesn’t taste similar to fish sauce, no (fish sauce really has a fish taste but oyster sauce is much more subtle) – but I think it is used in cooking in a similar way to fish sauce…if that makes sense :S!

  9. That stirfry looks so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the stats 🙂

  10. What a healthy meal! I’ve never made a stir fry, but this one is tempting!

  11. I love stir fry! I’ll have to buy the vegetarian oyster sauce and add cashews to mine next time, that sounds devine!!!

  12. wow this looks great! I am going through a phase of trying to make some of my favorite takeout meals. i will have to try yours!!


  1. […] posted about the cookie swap a couple of times before – see here and here – but here’s some quick background to my cookie swap […]

  2. […] I whipped myself up another stirfry, having leftover ingredients from when I made it last week. […]

  3. […] Your Friday Night Homemade Takeout: Chinese Stirfry – seems we all want to save on calories and money by making our own takeout! This Chinese […]

  4. […] stir fry (a la my recipe here, but without the soy sauce and oyster sauce and instead made using […]

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