CHOW! Down on These Vintage Chinese Dishes that Can Be Made with Pantry Ingredients

Image: CHOW! Secrets of Chinese Cooking

The timing could not have been better. With countless New Yorkers sheltering in place and aching for a home-cooked, a new edition of the classic 1936 book CHOW! Secrets of Chinese Cooking, by Dolly Chow, is scheduled for release on Apr. 20. The book, which illuminated the world of Chinese cookery, etiquette, and heritage when it was first published 84 years ago, will be enjoying a second life thanks to the author’s great-grandniece, Carolyn Hsu-Balcer.

The recipes are all relatively simple, and many of them can be made using ingredients you probably have in your pantry or fridge. Below are a couple of possibilities for upcoming lunches or dinners.



  • ½ chicken
  • ¼ lb. dried mushrooms (soaked)
  • 1 thin slice of ginger
  • 1 stalk of Chinese onion
  • 1 tsp wine
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. With a cleaver, hack the chicken into large-sized pieces with the bone intact.
  2. Add the chicken, mushrooms, ginger, Chinese onion, wine, and salt to a pot with the 6 cups of water.
  3. Place pot over hear, and simmer for 3 hours.
  4. Remove the ginger and onion, and serve.




  • 10 egg whites
  • Salt
  • 1¼ cups lard (canola oil or butter may be substituted)
  • 1 lb. spinach
  • Bamboo shoots, shredded (optional)
  • ½ cup stock
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 slice cooked ham, finely chopped


  1. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Heat the lard in a pan. Pour in the egg whites and let them set. Remove and drain.
  2. Leaving a cup of lard in the pan, fry the spinach and bamboo shoots. When they are cooked, drain away the liquid and turn out onto a dish.
  3. Add the stock to a hot pan. Add the salt and cornstarch mixed with a little water.
  4. Once the sauce has thickened, add the cooked egg whites and stir for a second.
  5. Pour this on top of the vegetables. Garnish with the ham and serve.