August 24, 2012
Here is my easy/no fuss version of Kung Pao Chicken. I always though Kung Pao Chicken was just another one of those fake Chinese food dishes you get at those ubiquitous Asian fast food joints with the fat and fluffy ursine mascot. I believed this for most of my life, until the day I actually ORdered this dish from [insert panda themed restaurant name] and was like, “wait. my mom makes this.”
So yea. I’ll eat my own words. I guess this stuff is authentic after all.
Anyway, I believe stir fry purists would say you should 1) marinate for 30 min then cook the chicken until mostly done, remove. 2) heat oil back up again, add garlic, fresh ginger, and chilies to release the full flavors, then 3) add the chicken back in, the sauce, then the green onions, and lastly the nuts (my mother uses peanuts).
But MAN that sounds way too complicated. And after a long freaking day at work, I do NOT want to have to think about “what do I do next again?” Solution? Add everything into the marinade. Sure my mom still makes it better. But mine is FASTER. and with WHITE meat. JUICY white meat, I might add… because I marinate overnight instead of on the counter for 30 min (I chalk that tradition up to the fact that my ancestors did not have refrigerators and to let your chicken sit overnight is to kill your whole family w/ salmonella.)
So here goes. Kung Pao Chicken, simplified:
- 1.5 lb chicken tenders
- ~1/2+ cup soy sauce or enough to cover chicken
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1-2 tsp sesame oil
- ~5 dried chili peppers, sliced diagonally
- 1 tbs dark brown sugar
- 1-2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tbs Chinese rice wine
- optional: Chinese black vinegar (I had none. Didn’t miss it)
- 2 talks green onion, chopped in 2 inch sections
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
- oil for stir frying (NOT olive oil. something with a high smoke point like peanut oil is better)
- Cut chicken into small pieces, about 1 inch cube.
- In a deep container (I like to use glass tupperware) mix soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, chili peppers, and corn starch until thickened. Adjust to taste. Add chicken, cover, and marinate overnight (if using dark meat, 15-30 minutes is plenty. Overnight is if you want to make
healthy crappy white meat juicier.).
- Heat a wok or large frying pan on high. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Add chicken and marinade. Stir until chicken is cooked through. Add green onions and cashews. Toss until green onions become fragrant (1 min or so). Remove from heat and serve.
Stir Fry Tips:
- Use a hot Guo1, or pot/wok. I mean HOT. Like smoking red hot. Then add oil and let it heat until shimmery. Always. Hot pot and hot oil = less crap sticking to your pan.
- Always add green onion last. You still want to stir fry it a bit to let the flavors release (you’ll be able to smell it when it does), but cook it any longer than absolutely necessary and you’ll get limp ugly green onion. Green onion should act as a garnish as well as an aromatic. It should be bright, green, and pretty.
Thank you, Mama Chen for teaching me well.
May 30, 2012
I’m two days into my “detox”, after a weekend of gluttony in LA for the Memorial Day holiday, and all I can think about is some good old greasy fake Chinese food. Here was my compromise:
This is a WONDERFUL imitation beef. Good firm texture, minimal soy flavor, and the best part? “Lightly Seasoned.” I don’t have to worry about my stir fry tasting like thyme and parsley. This makes them very versatile. At ~$3 bucks a package, I will be stocking up.
I love Trader Joe’s. I love their prepared food section, I love their affordable prices, and most of all, I love SPECULOOS. Holy crap. speculoos filled chocolate bars? Screw this diet. For those of you who are all “speck-you-what?” Speculoos is a nutty spread, much like an illegitimate love child of nutella and caramel. Too good to be true. But oh. It is. Ladies and gentlemen, speculoos IS real. Say it with me now: speculoooooos. And it is slathered over many a waffle in the food truck lined streets of New York City. So delectably decadent, that the last time I was in New York, the whole city was SOLD OUT. I kid you not.
But I digress. Back to fake – fake Chinese food.
- 1 package of Trader Joe’s Beef-Less strips
- ~2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ~2 tbs soy sauce*
- 3-4 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 dash sesame oil
- 1-2 tsp corn starch
- 1/3 cup water
*like all chinese stir fry, I season to taste. Excuse my approximations. Soy sauces very widely in saltiness.
- In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and slowly stir in corn starch to thicken into a consistency of ….thick chowder. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
- Warm a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add broccoli and a dash of water. Cover and steam, shaking pan frequently without removing cover to mix. Steam ~3 minutes. Uncover and remove broccoli.
- Heat 1-2 tbs oil in skillet until shimmery hot. Add beef and break up the strips. Lightly brown evenly. Strips are already cooked. You are basically just browning and warming.
- Add florets, garlic, and toss. When garlic becomes fragrant (~1 min), add sauce. Mix. Thin with a water if you want soupier sauce.
Mmm, mmm good. And healthy! AND vegetarian!
February 16, 2012
Follow recipe for Chicken Bulgogi, using thin sliced ribeye instead of chicken breast.
February 7, 2012
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- carrots, sliced
- green onion
- bulgogi BBQ marinade (purchased at korean supermarket)
Marinate meat in onions and BBQ sauce overnight. Heat oil in large frying pan. Stir fry meat. Plate meat and set aside. Add veggies. Stir fry on high heat for a 1-2 minutes, then cover and let broccoli steam for 5 minutes. Add meat back in, along with green onions. Stir, then plate and serve.
February 3, 2012
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 stalk of green onion
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1 tbs rice wine
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Mix rice wine into beaten eggs. In a wok or frying pan, heat a bit more sesame oil or vegetable oil over medium heat. Scramble eggs until still a bit runny. Remove and set aside. Raise heat to medium high and add tomatoes to pan. Add a pinch of salt. Stir fry until soft and some of the liquid is reduced ~ 3 min. Add green onions and egg back in. Stir and mix, breaking up the larger pieces of egg. Salt to taste. Remove and plate.