Posts tagged ‘Asian’

May 20, 2011

General Tao Chicken

I remember seeing this recipe for a healthier General Tao Chicken in my Coup de Pouce magazine back in November and thinking OMG, I sooo have to give that one a try! (ok, ok, I confess… I didn’t actually remember that the recipe had been published in November, I had to go check my magazines!)

Then, I don’t know, life happened and I stored the magazine and forgot about trying that recipe. Looks like I get that problem a lot, which is why I created my must try list. That way, the recipes that I want to try are all kept together in one place. Well, so long as they appear on the Internet somewhere, that is. I still have to think of something for those recipes that are on paper…

When I saw this recipe last week on Taste and Tell and saw that it had been adapted from the very recipe that I’d been wanting to try earlier, it immediately found a spot on my must try list. And this time, I didn’t wait! I gave it a go right away.

Me being me, though, I had to clean it up even more. I have to say that I was extremely sceptical with the results of my little experiment before I plated it. I think the sauce didn’t look shiny enough, and the chicken didn’t look… well, it didn’t look like it had been deep fried enough! Somehow, it looked all wrong and I thought to myself “there’s no way this dish is going to turn out good enough to earn the right to be called General Tao. I’ll have to come up with a new name…”

Well, much to my surprise, it was very good. Nice balance between sweet, sour and spicy, the chicken had a great texture to it. Not quite as crispy as the deep fried stuff, but still very decent. At least, you could taste and feel the chicken, which I really appreciated. The sauce lacked a little bit of “stickiness”, but its wonderful flavour really made up for it. Hey! Even my son liked it. He ate a whole plate!!! I was stunned! Now THAT really means something. If he ate it and said it was good, then it really passed the test.

I say this dish is good enough to be called General Tao (or General Tso, whichever you prefer) and healthy enough to be served at my table, yet it will please even the fussiest of eaters!

By the way… does anyone know why the two names? Tao? Tso? Which is right?

INGREDIENTS
(serves 3)

SAUCE

  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • ½ tsp sambal oelek
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated (I went half and half)

CHICKEN

  • 1 tsp olive oil (to pan fry chicken)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

OTHER

  • 4 green onions chopped, to add to chicken
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
  • 1 green onion, chopped, to garnish
  • 2 cups cooked brown basmati rice, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix corn starch, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in this mixture and shake off any excess.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in the olive oil until browned on all sides. The key here is to leave your chicken alone until it forms a crust. Be patient. Don’t touch it. Just lift the pieces once in a while to see if a beautiful golden crust has formed. If not, put it back. Once you have a crust, then you can flip your pieces, one by one. Make sure you get that beautiful crust all around. This will take at least 10 minutes.
  3. While your chicken is browning, keep busy by preparing your sauce (just mix all the ingredients together), chopping your green onions and toasting your sesame seeds.
  4. When your chicken is ready, add the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens a bit.
  5. Serve with cooked rice and garnish with green onions, and sesame seeds

March 3, 2011

Soba Noodle Soup

I finally went and bought some Soba noodles. I ended up spending $37. I told you there was no way I could set foot in that Asian market without spending tons of money. To my defense, I had the best of intentions this time. I didn’t even grab a cart when I got in. I was going to get the noodles and that’s it. But then, I spotted those cute little mini bokchoys. Sooooo cute. Only a dollar for the bag. I just had to get them. Then I headed straight for the Soba noodles. $2.49. Great. Now, let’s go! But wait… I wonder if perhaps they have brown rice noodles. Might as well have a look, since I’m here. Nah, no luck, but those are interesting: sweet potato noodles. OK, I have to get them. I’m too curious. Oh, and might as well get some rice sticks, since I’m here. Then I saw some flat leaf parsley, dill and coriander (god I HATE that stuff, it’s now official… more on that later) going for a dollar a bunch. Get one of each. Oh, and I was running low on green tea… well, you get the idea. It didn’t take long before my hands couldn’t handle it anymore and I had to get a cart after all.

So tonight, I tried those noodles for the first time. I liked! I decided to try them in the easiest possible way, in a soup. All I did is cook them quickly in some boiling water, transferred them to a bowl, then added 4 shrimps to the boiling water, left them in for about 30 seconds then transferred them to the bowl with the noodles. I discarded that water and started boiling a fresh pot.

While that was happening, I  added 4 raw scallops, sliced in half, to the noodles and shrimp. Then, in went a handful of bean sprouts, 3 chopped asparagus, 4 of the super cute baby bok choys cut in half, one green onion, sliced, a handful cilantro (big mistake) oh, and a thai pepper, thinly sliced. Wow those are tiny, but potent little things! When the water started boiling, I diluted a tablespoon of miso, mixed it in and then poured this in the bowl over all the yummy ingredients that had been patiently waiting. I added a few drops of sesame oil and that was it, soup was ready to be enjoyed.

Looks good, doesn’t it? Well, it was… sort of. I just wish I hadn’t decided to fight with my brains over that stupid cilantro issue. I’ve never liked cilantro but recently go it in my mind that I would try to like it, that I would make every honest effort to let that herb grow on me. So every time I went grocery shopping, I grabbed one leaf from a bunch and ate it. While I never was able to say it was good, I THOUGHT that I didn’t hate it as much as I used to and was ready to enjoy it in a dish. Boy was I wrong! I hate the stuff so much, it almost makes me gag. Literally. Need I say it nearly ruined my beautiful soup for me? I ended up having to chuck a good part of it. So that’s it. Never again. Cilantro and I are officially through.

Anyone need a bunch? I’ll mail for free! ;o)

January 31, 2011

Sushi night!

Here is one thing that I cannot do that my daughter excels at! I think she likes it so much that she’s a natural. She finds the patience that is required to make them. I just don’t have it.

She spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen preparing tonight’s feast. And I do mean feast. There was enough sushi for 6, when she and I were the only one eating (so ô joy, we will have some for lunch again tomorrow…) and she made so many different varieties, it was sushi heaven. Plus she made fresh spring rolls, which I really really love, especially when they have strawberries in them!

I sure am glad that she has the patience for this, because I truly enjoy sushi but find they are way too expensive to eat out.

Check those out! Don’t they look good?