Chicken stir-fry with rice noodles

IMG_7347-7

Our family favorite – this particular dish doesn’t need any recipes.  Ignore the basic rules and follow the instincts till you get the final picture. And you get your all you need servings in just one dish. Most of the ingredients are visible except the core ingredient, the sauce. Everything lies in the consistency of the sauce. It’s not any difficult at all. When you prepare the sauce try to balance the taste is the key. Happy cooking 🙂

IMG_7362-2

This is my version of the Chinese rice noodles, easy to prepare no mess method. I usually get bored when I see pans and bowls piling up around whenever I bring Chinese menu on the table 🙂 So I tweaked a bit, bend some rules and decided to find a no mess method. It clicked well, a big hit indeed!

Chicken
2 cups thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken
2 tbsp all purpose flour
Hint of ground pepper
Salt to taste
Combine everything well. Keep it aside

Vegetables
¼ cup baby bokchoy, thinly sliced [save the leaves for soups]
¾ cup broccoli
½ cup mushroom
½ cup red bell pepper

For the sauce
¼ cup dark soy sauce
1 tsp corn flour
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp dark molasses
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced green onion
¼ cup water or chicken stock
Mix everything well. Adjust the taste based on your likes. Keep it aside

Here’s the preparation goes;

  1. Heat oil in a pan, shallow fry the chicken small batches at a time. Transfer it to another bowl.
  2. In the same pan, add the sauce mixture. Heat it to a point where it starts boiling. Add the cooked chicken and combine everything. Add the vegetables. Cover the pan and allow the vegetables to cook roughly. Add green onions in the end. Add more sauce if you would like. Enjoy!
Advertisements

Broccoli chicken meat balls and chicken chowmein

Broccoli chicken meat balls and chicken chowmein – Sort of two birds with one stone scenario. Everything succulent yet each ingredient holds their perspective image is what makes this dish one of a kind. The perfect recipe to work with minced chicken, easily fits if you’re looking for a variety. Since its categorized under Chinese cuisine, it nudges us to make something practically good to extend it as a meal. The closest would be chowmein noodles. It works great and blends well to turn it into a fantastic meal.P1120477-71Preparation of this dish deems sort of quick and easy as well. The option to add few vegetables like broccoli and bell pepper would make this dish a big hit – a super delicious yet healthy meal in a bowl, everything in a jiffy!

P1120467-78

Even though I love this dish, the preparation got me pause for a while. The reason was the squishy and soft minced chicken deemed darn messy to work with hands. I’m not a big fan of messing up my hands to cook food – my policy is to avoid bare hands as far as possible while prepping. Period! Well, the addition of egg makes the mixture even more squishier and extremely delicate to handle. Normally the technique folks have been following seems sort of easy to watch from far. But when you try it on your own, alas! I couldn’t tolerate the technique of squeezing it in the palm of my hand when it comes to chicken mince. I had to find another way, so as the conflict continued, I decided to come up with a clean plan to get the meat balls done in a random shape which comfortably fits with the style of the dish. Scoop out the mixture using a spoon and drop it in the greased pan. As you drop it , gently adjust the edges to form a somewhat circle. Do it in small batches, move them at the side as the pieces are half way done. It continues cooking as you work with the rest of the batches. In the end, bring all the pieces together and close the lid to cook through evenly for 5 minutes or so.

P1120480-02

Rest of the preparations are easy once the meat balls are done. If you have cooked noodles already in the refrigerator, then its two birds with one stone scenario.

P1120482-21

Cooked egg noodles 2 cups or so. Follow the cooking instruction on the package itself. And
try to prepare ahead and keep it in the refrigerator. So whenever you feel like eating a variety
dish, you get to prepare it in a jiffy.

For minced chicken balls:
1 lb minced chicken
1 egg
1 tbsp ground pepper
Salt to taste

For the sauce:
1/4 cup of water or chicken broth
Add 2 tbsp corn flour to it and mix well
Add 1 tbsp minced ginger/garlic
Add 1 tsp dry red chili flakes
Add 1 tsp vinegar
Add 2 tbsp soy sauce
Add 2 tbsp honey
Salt to taste

Check the consistency of the taste and flavor. Adjust as required.

Heat oil in a medium to large pan and spoon the chicken mixture into the pan and shallow fry it. Make sure to cook both the sides by flipping after 5 minutes or so. To ease the frying process you could move the half cooked pieces onto the side of the pan and continue frying the rest. Once you’re done with that process, bring everything together in the center of the pan. Add the vegetables at this stage and cook it through by closing the pan for about 5 minutes or so. Chicken needs only less cooking time and since the minced chicken is sort loose and squishy, it’ll cook through darn fast. Vegetables will stay crunchy and tasty textured, easy to bite as well.

Now, transfer the chicken to a wide bowl and heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan. Add the sauce mixture to it. Gently stir the mixture and continue stirring until it loosely thickens. At this stage, you could add the cooked chicken pieces back in the pan and mix everything together. Add noodles to it and combine everything well.

From florets to fritters – Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower manchurian or otherwise known as ‘Gobi manchurian’ is a widely popular and sought after Indo – Chinese dish inspired by the Chinese cuisine.  Thanks to the Chinese immigrants living in Calcutta, in the eastern part of India, for many generations. Their influence helped us to develop few delicious dishes with our own signature on it:) Cauliflower manchurian is one of them. Everything about this dish is simply delicious. Personally its one of my favorites and till date it stays the same. Hence the rave and the recipe 🙂
P1110570-0

From florets to fritters, the delicious texture and the tender yet crunchy florets combined with sautéed onions and the green tinge from the green onions  nudge us to rave about it. With the right condiments, these fritters ace as an appetizer. It balances the gap between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The dry spicy version is a best fit to go with drinks!

P1110568-8

It’s very easy if you ever want to prepare this dish at home. When you prepare it at home it would be nice if you follow through few minor yet core steps. Otherwise, it would be a disaster if by any chance the florets are not evenly coated.  Well, luck would have it, when it was my turn to try it at home,  my instincts kicked in and provided the needed ideas how to incorporate the ingredients perfectly   The taste, texture and the aroma were in perfect pitch..

In order to ease the process, I would fry and keep the onions ready!

For the fried onions

Minced onions – 2 large
1 tbsp minced ginger and garlic
1 t minced green chillies
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon dried red chilli flakes for a contrast and texture
Few whole dried red chillies

———————————————————————————————————

The main ingredient here is; clean & dry cauliflower florets, preferably bite size pieces! I would suggest to flour coat the florets before it goes in the batter. It helps to stay the skin intact when you fry. You’ll need close to one cup of extra flour to coat the florets.

Ingredients

Clean & dry cauliflower florets
One cup extra flour to coat the florets
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients for the batter

All purpose flour – 1 cup
2 tablespoon corn flour
Enough  water
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper [optional]
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds – again optional.
Salt to taste
Food color [Optional] if you enjoy the orange texture

Combine everything together by adding little water at a time.

Combine all the ingredients for the batter by adding water – little by little – till you get the right consistency, neither too watery nor too thick. Add the florets to it. Mix well.

Deep fry separately. Stir occasionally and fry until crisp. Drain it on paper towels. Set it aside.

Garnish with (finely chopped) fried onions as well as spring onions. Enjoy with any of your favourite sauce!

Kung Pao Chicken – all the way from Shandong!

Kung Pao chicken or Gong bao jiding was Ding Baozhen’s most favorite dish. Originally a Sichuan dish, prepared with lot of peanuts and tender chicken was named after Ding Baozhen’s official title as ‘Gong bao jiding’ or Kung Pao chicken, to honor him. Great, he had such an amazing chef!  Man, it’s such a hard name to pronounce. But I admire his pure heart! He was a nice person.

Now, who is this Ding Baozhen’s?! He was the Head of Shandong province during the period from 1866 to 1876. The people of China had great admiration for Ding Baozhen, who served his tenure to help the community, truthfully and efficiently. That’s the story behind the name of this delicious dish. Quite amazing, isn’t it.

Kung pao chicken-08

Today, Kung Pao chicken has become a very popular Chinese dish almost everywhere. We love the spicy and aromatic yet simple dish that can be easily prepared in your kitchen. But, wait. I’ve to say some more… It still remains one of the star items on the take out lists. The concept of merging two unlikely ingredients seems quite intriguing. In fact the duo appeared to be a perfect match. Just as it looked, it tasted delicious, too. The hot chili flavor and roasted peanuts in a chicken dish is a nice harmony. That’s the fact that bought me instantly.

Preparing the same dish in the comfort of our own kitchen is quite a pleasant deal if you manage to put together certain core techniques as Chinese do – their quaint techniques in stirring and tossing and such. The vegetables we add should be tender and crisp; well balanced sweet and sour taste etc. See what happens next. The smooth and delicate chicken in dark brown velvety sauce and a generous amount of roasted peanuts and the smoky whole red chilies were a perfect marriage.

Marinate -2 cups of boneless skinless chicken, tenderized and cut into 1 inch cubes
All purpose flour 2 tbsp
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Combine together and set aside. Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

For the sauce
Chicken stock – 3 tbsp
Corn flour – 2 tbsp
Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
Rice vinegar – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Garlic – 1 tbsp finely minced
Combine everything. Check the consistency and do the adjustments.

Other ingredients
Oil – 2-3 tbsp
Dry red chilies – 2-3
Julienned ginger -2 tbsp
1-2 stalk chopped scallion
1/2 cup of roasted peanuts

As for roasting peanuts: You could roast peanuts in the oven. Or if you try it using a pan, I would rather use a thick bottomed pan. Throw the peanuts in. Keep stirring until you get the nice aroma. Turn the heat off. Allow it to cool down completely. Its 50/50 process – half part in the heat and the other part away from the heat! Spray oil to get a glossy texture.

Deep fry the chicken pieces. Do not leave it in the oil for long to get it cooked through. Rather remove it once the chicken is cooked yet tender and turned the color changes to white. Set aside the fried pieces.

Heat the wok medium to high heat with 2 tbsp oil. Add dry chili pieces. Stir-fry the chilies until they are crisp and dark in color. Add julienned ginger; give it a quick stir until its aromatic. Add the cooked chicken pieces back into the wok, give a quick stir. Add the roasted peanuts. Give a quick stir one more time. Now add the sauce to the mixture.  Mix gently until everything has combined well. Add the chopped scallions. Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

Chili chicken – a dish that looks good and tastes good

Chili chicken is a dish that looks good and tastes good, worth the effort to replicate in own kitchen. The best part that caught my attention was the strikingly tender and soft chicken pieces without any hint of bones and the skin. I thought it’s indeed an interesting idea and a clever twist.  

The dish was actually developed by an immigrant Chinese in Calcutta and has been well accepted by the locals and became amazingly popular in India and across the globe, I guess. In fact it is one of the ubiquitous dishes in India, and now across the globe as well. We love Indo-Chinese fusion! It’s unique and distinctive in its own way.  

Chilli chicken -1

I have a list of dishes that I enjoy eating at the restaurant. Chili chicken was one of them. But, the innate interest kept me focused on getting a good grip on its intricacies, I guess.  I was sort of trying and testing various aspects of it in my mind until I get the perfect picture. Well, at least close to perfection would be the best fit. I still remember the taste and the texture of this dish from one of my favorite restaurants back home. Over time, I learned that using few feasible ingredients and unique Chinese techniques, it’s easy to replicate – if it done with finesse.

One vegetable I adore to add along would be green bell pepper. When I was served it for the first time, I really enjoyed the lavish amount of rough cut green bell pepper, and the green contrast was darn inviting. Oh, there is an option to add vegetables :).  So, green bell pepper became sort of an inevitable ingredient in my chili chicken ever since. However, I don’t remember eating chili chicken as of like chicken curries, though. Succulent texture is what it makes chili chicken different from other chicken dishes and close to its roots. 

Chilli chicken -2Ingredients:

Skinless boneless chicken,   1 cup, cleaned & cubed
Green bell pepper 1, cut into square pieces
yellow onion small, cut into square pieces
Green onions, 2 stalks, chopped
Finely chopped ginger & garlic, t tbsp
white vinegar 1 1/2 tsp
Soy sauce 1 tbsp
Thick molasses 1 tbsp
Corn flour tbsp

All purpose flour to dust the chicken cubes, 1/2 cup

Oil to deep fry the chicken

Instructions

Combine the (cleaned & cubed) chicken and flour mixture, and dust ‘em well with the flour.

Heat 3 (or more) tbsp oil in a small pan, add 1 or 2 dry chili pieces and fry the chicken pieces in small batches. 

In another medium pan heat 1 tbsp oil from the same oil that used to fry the chicken. Add onions and gently saute ‘em. Add bell pepper and give it a quick stir. Add the fried chicken pieces. Give another quick stir. Finally, add the mixture:

  • Molasses
  • Ginger & garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Corn flour
  • White vinegar 

While mixing, make sure the corn flour dissolves well in the mixture. Check the consistency of sweet, salt and sour. Once everything blends well, pour it over the fried chicken and the vegetables. Give it a quick stir. Add green onions. Done! Enjoy with fried rice or even taste great with white plain rice.