You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Chinese’ tag.

We love Chinese food, but trying to replicate restaurant-style food at home doesn’t always work out. While it’s usually really good cooked at home (and probably way healthier), it’s just not the same. Until now. One of my (new-found) favorite bloggers, Kathy over at Las Vegas Food Adventures, did a post on a basic stir fry recipe that you can use as a base and adjust however you like. Let me tell you…this base stir fry recipe is spot on. My only complaint is that, when we made it, we went a little crazy with the veggies and there wasn’t enough sauce (this was totally our fault, Kathy mentioned in her post that the recipe isn’t very saucy). regardless, it was delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: about 4, depending on how many veggies you add to the base recipe
– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 3 to 4 tbsp oil for frying
Marinade
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tbsp sherry
Sauce
– a few drops sesame oil
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tbsp brown sugar
– 2 tbsp sherry
– 3 tbsp water
– 1/2 tsp cornstarch
(- for a more saucy dish, add 1/2 to 3/4 cups chicken broth and an extra 1/2 tsp cornstarch)
Seasoning
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
– 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Apparently, the secret to making super tender chicken without going through all the trouble they do in Chinese restaurants is pounding it out before cooking. Not to mention that pounding out food is a perfectly acceptable way to take out your frustrations!

Pound out the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap (or using a Ziplock bag) until it’s an even 1/2 inch thick. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and toss in a bowl with the soy sauce and sherry. Set aside and prepare any veggies you need to chop up.

Once all your prep work is done, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Set aside (you won’t be using the sauce until everything is cooked).

In a large saute pan or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Once the oil and pan are very hot, add the garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir the ingredients around, they will only cook for about 30 seconds — until they become fragrant. Add the chicken to the pan and fry until the chicken begins to brown and is mostly cooked through, about three minutes. Add in any veggies or other ingredients that you’re using and continue to fry until everything is cooked and a little brown, time will vary depending on your ingredients (probably anywhere from one to five minutes).

Whisk the sauce to combine, then add it to the pan, stirring continuously. Cook until the sauce thickens, one to two minutes. Spoon over freshly cooked jasmine rice or Chinese noodles (or a combination!).

Garlic Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

The flavor of this sauce was amazing. It really did taste like something you’d get in a restaurant. Best of all, the chicken doesn’t need to marinade for a lengthy period of time — just long enough for you to prep everything else. The chicken came out very tender, and the veggies were all cooked perfectly. It’s amazing how quickly a steaming hot wok will cook things and make them taste delicious.

Like I said earlier in the post, my only complaint was the lack of sauce. There was plenty to coat all the food, but not enough to really drizzle anything extra over. I think this was partially due to the fact that it wasn’t a very sauce recipe to begin with, but mostly because we added a ton of veggies.

Check out Kathy’s original post here. Her’s looks more like chicken stir fry than ours — I should have called titled my post veggie stir fry with a side of chicken!

Advertisements

Since we’ve been trying to eat healthier, we’ve found that making healthy foods doesn’t mean skimping on flavor. The recipe for Asian style salmon from The New American Plate is a perfect example. It’s got all the great flavors that you would find in many Asian dishes without frying or using other unhealthy cooking methods.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1/2 cup soy sauce (the recipe calls for reduced sodium, but if you have “regular” on hand, that will work too)
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 1 tbsp Chinese hot mustard
– 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
– 1 lb salmon (4 fillets)
– canola oil
– 2 small carrots, julienned
– 1 leek (white part only), julienned
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

This recipe is really easy, but be prepared to wait about an hour while the salmon marinades before you do any cooking. Combine 1/4 cup of the soy sauce, the lemon juice, mustard and five-spice powder in a resealable plastic bag. Mix together, then add the salmon fillets. Coat well and let marinade in the refrigerator for an hour, turning once.

Preheat the broiler (if your broiler is built in to your oven, make sure to put a baking sheet inside to warm it as well).

Meanwhile, heat a skillet on the oil over medium-high heat and saute the carrots and leeks until tender, about five minutes. Add the broth, the remaining soy sauce and the sesame oil and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 10 or 15 minutes. The salmon will take about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, so you can probably start it right after adding the liquid to the pan. Place the fillets on the heated baking sheet (or broiler pan) four inches from the heat and cook until it begins to flake apart, 10 to 15 minutes based on the thickness.

Asian Salmon with Sauteed Carrots and Leeks and Rice

Asian Salmon with Sauteed Carrots and Leeks and Rice

This was seriously one of the easiest meals to make. It only took 15 minutes (minus the marinading time) and you wouldn’t even know it…it tasted like we slaved over the stove for hours. All the flavors of the soy sauce, five-spice and mustard really penetrated the meat of the salmon. The veggies stayed nice a crunchy, but also had great Asian flavors. We also cooked up some plain white rice, which made it feel like we were really in a Chinese restaurant. This dish is for sure a do-over…especially for us since we love Chinese food.

You can find the recipe in The New American Plate Cookbook, which I highly recommend. Every recipe we have made from this book has been really tasty, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re all really good for you!

Lately, Billy and I have been paying extra attention to what we eat. Not necessarily to make big changes in our diet, but to be aware of what we’re eating and to try to stay on a healthy track. My opinion has always been, if you’re cooking it…it’s probably a lot healthier than going out to eat. Which is true, for the most part. But, I decided to go out and buy a few healthy-eating cookbooks anyway to make sure that we are actually on the right page.

We made this shrimp curry recipe that’s featured in a book by the American Institute for Cancer Research called The New American Plate. The book is awesome! It’s more than a cookbook, actually. It’s got a pretty long introduction section that explains why American’s are more unhealthy and overweight than ever. It also explains how to prepare a “proper” meal with the right portions of meats and veggies. Anyway, the shrimp curry recipe was really good, and can easily be altered to include the meats and veggies you like most.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 tbsp cornstarch
– 2 tsp curry powder (or more if you like)
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 tbsp (reduced-sodium) soy sauce
– 3/4 cup chicken broth
– 3 tsp oil (the recipe calls for canola or peanut, two of the healthiest oils, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
– 8 asparagus spears, cut into one inch pieces
– 1 bell pepper, diced
– 1/4 lb (about 20) sugar snap peas strings on both edges removed
– 2 tsp peeled ginger, minced
– 1 large garlic clove, minced
– 3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (the frozen package will do)
– rice or noodles

The first thing you’ll do is prepare the curry sauce. To do this, combine the cornstarch, curry powder and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Next, add the soy sauce and combine, then add the chicken broth and give it one final whisk. Set the mixture aside.

In a wok or high-sided skillet, heat 1 tsp of the oil over very high heat. Add all of the veggies (including the ginger and garlic) to the pan and saute until everything had turned bright, about two minutes. (If you like any of the veggies cooked through a little more, add those to the pan first.) Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil (2 tsp) in the same pan, still over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook on each side until they turn pink, about one minute per side. Return the veggies to the pan and pour in the curry sauce (stir it up if it’s separated a little). Bring to a boil and simmer for about two or three minutes until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce thickens.

Shrimp Curry over Udon Noodles

Shrimp Curry over Udon Noodles

You’d never know this is a “healthy” meal. While we were cooking, I kept thinking, “This isn’t any different from a normal night for us….” Which is, of course, a good thing considering we’re trying to make sure to eat healthy meals. The biggest difference we did notice is the proportion of veggies compared to the shrimp. But, according to the book, your plate should be 2/3 veggies and starches and 1/3 meat…so I guess that’s how all recipes from this book will be. No big deal, really.

But really, the shrimp were so tender and all the veggies were perfectly cooked — still crunchy and fresh, but cooked enough to not have that raw taste. The curry sauce was so flavorful, and the Udon noodles we made on the side sopped it up nicely. I think next time we make it I would add more curry powder for a little extra flavor and maybe change up the veggies. But overall, a really great dish.

P.S. I also highly recommend The New American Plate Cookbook. It’s so informative and all of the recipes look really tasty. Plus, all of the nutritional information for the dishes is right there.

We don’t frequently make Chinese food at home, but when we do it always turns out pretty darn good (and probably a whole hell of a lot healthier). The few things that we have tried haven’t been very difficult either. The perfect example is stir fry…all you need is a bunch of veggies, some meet (which isn’t even necessary, really) and some noodles or rice. We use store-bought stir fry sauce to flavor it because we haven’t yet found a way to get the flavors correct without the sauce.

Here’s what we like to put in our Chinese stir fry: (I’m not putting any exact measures because you can put as much or as little of everything as you like…it’s all about preference when it comes to dishes like this.)
– chicken, steak or shrimp
– onions
– bell peppers
– snap peas
– baby corn (we use the canned kind because it’s a lot easier to find)
– watercress
– stir fry noodles (we usually find these in the produce section…weird, I know)
– rice

We usually cook the meat first then take it out of the wok (or pan) to cook all the veggies. Cook the meat in a very hot pan until it’s just about cooked all the way through (you don’t want it completely cooked so that when its added back at the end it doesn’t get over done) then remove and set aside. Keeping the pan very hot, add the onions and cook until the start to turn translucent. This won’t take very long since the pan is still hot from cooking the chicken. Next, add the bell peppers and let them cook down a little bit. Once the onions and peppers have cooked to the consistency you like, add the rest of the veggies to the pan (if you have mushrooms or anything else that needs to cook down, add those before adding the veggies that just need to be heated and not cooked). Once all the veggies are cooked through, add as much of the stir fry sauce as you like. Mix everything together and add the meat back into the pan, adding more sauce if necessary. Once the meat is heated and finishes cooking, you’re done!

DSC_0411(r)

We like to mix in some noodles, but you can simply just serve the stir fry mixture over rice and/or noodles. We love making this because it’s so easy, really tasty and a lot healthier (and cheaper!) than going out for Chinese food. Plus…you can make it any way you like, with any veggies and any meat that you prefer.