Some of the best dishes you will ever learn to make come from Asian cuisine. Whether it’s Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean or Thai, these countries have mastered the art of delicious, flavorful, and satisfying food.
Though there are certainly similarities between them, each type of Asian cooking has distinctive qualities. To help you explore them all, we’ve created this list of the best Asian dinner recipes for a flavorful meal.
It’s probably one of the most beloved Chinese dishes in North America and this saucy chicken tastes exactly as it sounds – sweet and sour. While you can easily grab it for takeout, it tastes its best nice and hot, so why not make it at home? You can toss the chicken on a bed of rice, throw in some onions and peppers and have a beautiful home-cooked meal in just 30 minutes.
There are few foods as comforting as a bowl of noodles, and Pad Thai is so beloved because you get that comfort but with tons of added flavor too. The nuttiness is the distinct taste in Pad Thai, but there’s also a great tang too. For a bowl of noodles, it’s a lot lighter than many thicker noodle options. As a meal, it’s bright and colorful and comes together really quickly.
This homemade Ramen takes more than 2 minutes to make but is so much better than the instant kind. This hearty noodle soup is made with fresh ingredients and topped with the perfect soft-boiled egg. This recipe also adds pork too for a protein-packed, one-bowl meal.
This simple Stir Fry uses a sauce you won’t be able to get enough of. Loaded with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and beef broth, it makes the beef unbelievably tender when cooking. Stir-frying is a great way to load a ton of different proteins and vegetables into a meal quickly. This one is sure to impress.
Sushi is delicious, but the price can start to add up if you’re picking a few different pieces. This Salmon Nigiri is very simple to make at home. It contains raw salmon, but this recipe gives cooked alternatives if you’re worried about preparing raw fish at home.
Did you know Lo Mein refers to the cooking process and not the kind of noodle? It translates to “tossed noodles” which describes how stir-fried ingredients are mixed with noodles and sauce towards the end of the cooking process. Like many of the other Chinese dishes I’ve already mentioned, it’s quick to cook, making it a fast and yummy weeknight dinner.
Pad Woon Sen is made with Thai Glass Noodles, which turn clear when you cook them, hence the name. They’re made from mung bean or green pea flour, making this dish a great option for anyone on a gluten-free diet. The noodles are stir-fried with meat, veggies and egg along with a sauce made from soy and fish sauce, which adds a great umami flavor.
Sushi may seem impossible to make, but while this recipe is a little more ambitious than some of the others on this list, it breaks down a pretty fancy roll into a doable task. Dragon Rolls have the works. You get shrimp tempura and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and rice, then topped with avocado. It’s a great balance of that fried tempura, but the freshness of the cucumber and avocado.
Believe it or not, there’s no barbeque required for this recipe. Mongolian BBQ is such a fun way to enjoy a meal with a large group because everyone can choose their meats and vegetables, which are then cooked on iron griddles on high heat. The grilled foods are placed on top of a bed of noodles and can be enjoyed with Mongolian BBQ Sauce – which this recipe shows you how to make. It’s a super simple way to make any meal exciting.
Teriyaki is a staple in Japanese cuisine that’s made its way into a lot of North American cooking too because it’s simply delicious. This meal can be made in just 15 minutes and is an easy way to make something tasty but clean and simple. Chicken cubes are tossed in a sauce you’ll want to add to everything going forward, then plated with steamed broccoli and classic white rice.
This recipe tastes exactly like what you would get at Panda Express and making it yourself saves money and a few calories too. General Tso’s Chicken is deep-fried and coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce, for real crispy, saucy pieces of chicken. It’s quick to make for those nights when you have an insatiable craving for comfort food.
This authentic Szechuan Chicken recipe gives you juicy chunks of chicken with a crispy fried exterior, tossed with Szechuan Peppercorns and red chilis for a tongue-tingling heat. It takes about half an hour and goes great with rice or noodles.
Yellowtail is a buttery fish that just melts in your mouth, making it the perfect option for sashimi. As long as you have the right knife, it’s easy to prepare at home, and this recipe shows you a technique for cooking it too if you’re not a Sashimi fan.
Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken probably take the top two slots for the most ordered dish at Indian restaurants in North America. While they’re both tomato-based and extra saucy, they are very distinct dishes. The key ingredient in Butter Chicken is, of course, butter. While it’s traditionally cooked in a tandoor, this simplified recipe gives you a decadent meal in just half an hour.
California Rolls are the classic sushi roll. They’re often the go-to sushi included in Bento boxes. This recipe breaks down how to wrap crab and avocado in seaweed and rice.
Bibimbap is a great dish full of color from all the bright vegetables used in it, but it makes for a much heartier meal than a salad. The name translates to “mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables”, so there are many different variations. I recommend trying the recipe as is and then finding ways to make it your own.
One of the great things about Thai cuisine is how fast much of it is to make. It can be hard to make wholesome, well-balanced meals that taste great without spending hours to get them there, and this Thai Basil Chicken takes just 10 minutes from start to finish. Like many of the other dishes on this list, it uses soy and fish sauces to coat the meat, but in this recipe, it’s much more of a marinade than a sauce, if you’re looking for something with a little less liquid.
A lot of Asian cuisines incorporate peanuts into savory dishes, which is something you don’t see elsewhere. Kung Pao Chicken stir-fries whole peanuts with chicken and vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce. This recipe is adapted to use ingredients that are easy to find, so there’s no need for any trips to specialty stores.
Kimchi Fried Rice is a great way to use your leftover steamed rice in a flavorful, slightly tangy dish. It combines kimchi and rice with meats and vegetables for a hearty rice dish that can be topped off with an egg. This dish has a subtle spice that can be turned up depending on how you like it.
This delicious chewy noodle dish is popular street food in Thailand and you’ll understand why when you realize how quick it is to make. It’s made with thicker noodles than a Pad Thai and the ingredients are simple: noodles, protein, broccoli and sauce. Whip it together in just 40 minutes for a super satisfying meal.
Chicken Tikka Masala is a delicious Indian dish that’s great for anyone who doesn’t want anything particularly spicy. Chicken is marinated in yogurt mixed with a variety of warm spices, which creates tender and flavorful pieces. It’s served on a bed of rice and/or with naan and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
We have to include a curry dish in this list! There are three types of curries in Thai cuisine – red, yellow and green. Green is the most popular and gets its color from green chilies and makrut lime leaves, giving it a milder heat and slight tanginess. This saucy dish is easy to make in batches and keeps well in the fridge.
This Korean dish cooks thinly sliced beef over an open flame. It’s cooked in a marinade that has a pleasant balance of saltiness and sweetness, using ingredients like soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. While at restaurants, Bulgogi Beef is usually chargrilled, you can quickly make it at home in a skillet and toss it over noodles, rice, or in lettuce wraps.
Tandoori Chicken is easily recognizable because of its bright red color, which comes from a mix of red chili powder and cayenne pepper. While the name comes from the clay oven the dish is traditionally cooked in, a tandoor, this recipe will show you how to make this smokey chicken using just your home oven.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory…Egg Drop Soup is made by pouring beaten eggs into a hot broth that is being stirred at the same time. If you’ve ever walked into a Chinese restaurant on a cold day and ordered a bowl, you’ll know it’s a delicious way to warm yourself from the inside out. You can make it in just minutes at home and kids love it too.
This Chicken Curry is a great recipe to add to your rotation because it tastes better after a few days in the fridge. It’s also easy to make in batches and it freezes well. It’s a great way to give new life to ingredients in your fridge because you can easily use a leftover chicken and toss in all the veggies you’d like. The result is a creamy and savoury (and a touch spicy, if you choose) meal ready to go in just 30 minutes.
Glass Noodles, also known as Japchae, are sweet potato starch noodles and they’re pretty light with a pleasant chewiness. Traditionally, the dish is prepared with lean meat, some vegetables and an egg garnish in a sweet and savory sauce. Unlike many of the other dishes on this list, the ingredients are cooked separately in a Japchae, but it still only takes about 30 minutes and is well worth the extra dirty dishes.
Making Dumplings is not for the faint of heart. It’s a time-consuming process and one you probably won’t nail the first time around. But the final product is so worth it. They’re deliciously soft and juicy, really all you need in comfort food. If you have the time, it’s a great way to take the afternoon and get the whole family involved in the preparation process…because you’re probably going to need a team to get it done.
This is a dangerous recipe to add to your repertoire because it is nothing short of addictive. Naan is a must alongside Indian meals to lap up the extra sauce, but it sure is delicious on its own too. This recipe requires some dough work, which can be time-consuming, but naan is made on a skillet, instead of baked.
Best Asian Dinner: Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces, or chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon oil canola oil or similar
- 1 ¼ cups water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil canola oil or similar
- 1 cup pineapple chunks fresh, or canned/frozen
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced, or garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce low sodium recommended
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- sesame seeds optional garnish
- In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch, flour and salt. Add the egg, 1 tablespoon oil and water, whisking until smooth. (The consistency should be thick like pancake batter.)
- Add the cubed chicken pieces to the batter and coat thoroughly. Let it marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature or up to one hour in the fridge (see note).
- Add one inch of oil to a medium saucepan or deep fryer and heat to 350˚F. Set aside a wire rack and slotted spoon or mesh strainer.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil in batches, frying for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove to the rack with a slotted spoon and repeat for remaining chicken.
- Place a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon oil, onion and bell peppers and sauté for 2-4 minutes until slightly softened.
- Add the pineapple to the pan followed by the sauce ingredients: garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup. Bring to a simmer and give it a taste test, adding sugar and vinegar to get the balance to your liking.
- Mix the cornstarch and water together in a cup. Then slowly stir it into the pan. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the vegetables.
- Add the cooked chicken back to the pan and stir to coat evenly. Remove the skillet from heat (the sauce will thicken further and become sticky).
- Garnish with optional sesame seeds and serve immediately.