Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chop Suey

Chinese food bender the last few weeks. Yum. I made four different Chinese dishes over the last 2 weeks. They were pretty good. To make Chinese stir frys, dont forget the most important rule: Chop everything first and have it ready to go. Then stir fry it.

Chicken Chow Mein
Heat wok, add about 3 tbsp of peanut oil (another vegetable oil is ok if you have peanut issues). Add some sesame oil too, about 1 tsp. It is strongly flavoured and a little goes a long way. Drop in 2 or 3 whole cloves of garlic and some slices of ginger. When the garlic turns brown, pick the garlic and ginger out of the oil and throw them out. Don't leave the garlic in there, it will burn. By cooking the garlic and ginger in the oil for a few minutes you infuse the oil with the flavour without having to bite into big chunks of it.

Put about a cup of chopped up or sliced chicken in the pan and stir fry until done. I used boneless skinless thighs for mine because they taste better. When the chicken is cooked, add some soy sauce and black bean sauce. Take the chicken out and set it aside.

Put some more oil in the pan, and saute some more garlic and ginger in it. When that is cooked (and picked out of course) begin stir frying vegetables. It is important to cook them in the order that they will take the longest to cook. I used, in this order: carrots, frozen broccoli, onions, celery, and bean sprouts. I put in the carrots and broccoli, gave it a stir to cover with the seasoned oil, and put the lid on for about 5 mins to let it steam. Then I added the onions and celery, and let it cook for about 5 more mins. Finally I added the bean sprouts.

In the mean time, cook some ramen noodles to al dente. (just looking at that sentence boggles the mind) Put the chicken in with the noodles and toss with some more soy sauce and black bean sauce. When the veggies are done, right after the bean sprouts are added, throw the chicken and noodles back in the wok with the veggies, add more soy and bean sauce if necessary, sprinkle with ground ginger, and toss the whole works together. Put the lid on for another couple of mins to make sure the veggies are cooked, and then enjoy!

That chow mein is a meal in and of itself. We had enough for all 3 of us for dinner and for my lunch the next day as well. It heats up well as leftovers. Ian really liked it, he discovered slurping noodles last week!

Tonight I made a 3 course Chinese meal.

I started with stir fried veggies. Pretty much the same as the chow mein except I left out the noodles and the meat. I used carrots, peppers, bok choy, and snow peas today.

I also made beef and broccoli. I cooked the beef in the same manner as the chicken above, except when it was cooked I added Hoisin sauce and frozen broccoli, and sliced onions. The dish was good exept for Hoisin has a hint of sweetness and would have better with chicken or pork. It was also kind of sucky because I bought beef stir fry strips which are basically mystery meat. You don't know what you are getting. I should have marinated them a bit, or bought a steak and sliced it up. But despite these drawbacks, it was still really tasty.

Finally tonight I made fried rice. I used some sticky rice because I like to eat with chopsticks when I eat Chinese food and sticky rice clumps together and is easier to pick up. But sticky rice is kind of glommy sometimes so I actually mixed 1 part sticky rice with 2 parts good old long grain white rice. I put some big chunks of ginger in the rice because it aromatized the rice with ginger.

People are intimidated by rice but it is really easy. You need to cook rice one part rice to 2 parts liquid. It doesn't have to be water, it can be stock or tomato juice or wine or whatever. But today I used water. Bring the rice to a boil, slap a lid on, and turn the heat to low. DON'T OPEN THE RICE! Set the timer for 20 mins and just leave it alone until it is done. If you open it before it's ready, it won't work. Unless you are making risotto. But that's a different blog entry.

I sauteed garlic and ginger in peanut and sesame oil as above, when it was done I took it out and chopped it up fine. I then put 2 eggs in the oil, and fried them up. You want the yolks to break. When the fried eggs are done, put some frozen peas, stir it up, and add the rice. You can add some soy sauce to it if you want, or any other asian seasoning. I like oyster sauce as well. When the rice is all mixed with the peas and oil and seasoning, add the chopped cooked garlic and onion back in. Mix it all up, serve, and enjoy.

All of these dishes benefit from chopped green onion, either mixed in or sprinkled on top as a garnish. I didn't have any this week. I just forgot when I went to the store I guess.

Well, that's it for Chinese Food. Hope you like it.

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