10 Takeout Classics, Done at Home

In the mood for something exotic? Want those punches of garlic, spice and heat? Put down the phone. You can do it yourself. Here are 10 classic takeout dishes -- Thai, Indian,Japanese, Vietnamese, and everything in between -- that are easy to make at home, and much better for it. Now, whip out your fancy china. No cartons allowed.

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Asian Garlic Green Beans
by mtlabor

Asian Garlic String Beans

Serves 2-3

1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 & 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger powder

1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add generous amount of salt and add green beans. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. You want it to get pretty hot by itself. Add oil and coat the pan. Add the green beans and saute for about 2-4 minutes, or until they start to brown.

3. Make a well in the center of the skillet and add garlic, ginger powder, and red pepper flakes. Slowly start to incorporate the green beans, until everything is well mixed.

4. Stir in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve fresh and hot as a great side or snack!

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Vietnamese Style Shu Mai

Shu Mai

As we put together yuko's beautiful little dumplings, we were struck by how satisfying it was to replicate a dish we'd eaten scores of times in restaurants, but never gotten around to making at home. Oh, the sense of accomplishment we felt tucking the gorgeous nuggets of filling into the delicate, homemade dumpling wrappers, and then gingerly gathering the edges together! The steamed shu mai, filled with a fragrant, lemongrass-spiked mix of shrimp and pork, are tender and light, and the tangy, hot dipping sauce is a great counterbalance. We were able to coax 18 dumpling skins from the dough, so you may want to double the recipe in order to use up all the filling. - Amanda & Merrill

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World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki


Call anything "world's easiest" and we're skeptical, but marisab67 is on to something. We'd never made falafel from scratch before and were astonished at how easy -- and fun -- it could be. The food processor does double duty for the herbed chickpea mixture and then the garlic-scented tzatziki, saving us from both fine-chopping and washing extra dishes. The falafel patties are easily formed (a good time to put children or other passersby to work) and well-behaved in the frying pan. One bite into a pita stuffed with freshly crisped falafel, doused in your perfect tzatziki and a few shakes of hot sauce, and ordering take-out will seem like too much trouble. - Amanda & Merrill

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Gong Bao Ji Ding (Gong Bao Chicken)

Gong Bao

Tender morsels of chicken eagerly soak up FrancesRenHuang's fragrant, velvety sauce in what is a remarkably quick and forgiving recipe. If you can't find Sichuan peppercorns, don't sweat it (you'll just miss out on their mysteriously addictive numbing quality). Use any small, dried red chiles that suit you. And customize at will, by adding sliced mushrooms, water chestnuts, or diced celery to the stir-fry. Lastly, to those with healthy appetites: Double this recipe! Your guests will praise you. - Amanda & Merrill

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Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Thai food has never been so easy and quick! Bring the authentic taste of Thailand to your house with this simple and delicious Pad Thai! - mtlabour

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Caramelized Pork B
ánh Mì

Banh Mi

The caramelized pork could be a recipe all its own, but we sure do like it in this sandwich, as well. Most bánh mì are made with a rich and fatty ground pork -- this seasoned pork tenderloin gives the sandwich character. Make sure you use a light airy roll with a crisp crust -- bánh mì is all about the interior. - Amanda & Merrill

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Purnima Garg's Eggplant and Tomato Curry

Tomato Curry

Japanese eggplant has firmer flesh than regular eggplant, which means it holds up when stewed. We're not sure if that's why luvcookbooks calls for this type, but it works really well here as you simmer slices of the eggplant with canned tomatoes, onion and a mix of spices, including cumin, mustard seeds, coriander and garam masala. Luvcookbooks has you toast the spices and brown the onion, which gives it a richness and sweetness that permeates the dish. Then you add the eggplant and tomatoes and cook them until the eggplant is tender. (You'll need to add water a few times to keep the pan from drying out.) In less than 20 minutes, you'll have a wonderful, fragrant dish that would be great with grilled lamb or roasted chicken. - Amanda & Merrill

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Asian Fried Chicken with Honey Ginger Sauce

Asian Fried Chicken

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Tomato Rice (Tamatar Biryani)

Tomato Rice

We are in love with pauljoseph's Tomato Rice -- it's loaded with aromatics and layers of heat but so easily made for a simple side or lunch. With pauljoseph and Raghavan Iyer's precise instructions, the rice comes out perfectly cooked and soaked through with the flavorful tomato broth. You can vary the spice with the type of chiles you choose (Thai are much spicier than serrano), and whether you remove the seeds and heat-packed white ribs -- bear in mind that the spice will continue to build as you eat. If you can't find whole mace, substitute 1/8 tsp ground mace or even skip it and let the other spices carry the dish. - Amanda & Merrill

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Quick Cucumber and Shiso Pickles


Shiso and pickles should hang out more often. The aromatic green leaves give Teri's lightly sweet pickles a fresh, herbaceous lift, reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves and ginger all at once. Because the pickling liquid is left cold, the delicate coins of Japanese cucumber retain a satisfying bite, even after several hours in the refrigerator. The pickles would be great with a light, summery fish dish. - Amanda & Merrill

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