Sweet and Sour Chicken With Lemon

November 6th, 2007

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken Bits:
  • 2 pounds skinned, de-boned chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A little fresh ground black pepper, ground ginger and garlic powder to season flour (not a lot)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch square bits
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch square bits
  • 1 large yellow onion, skinned, root end removed, cut into 1/2-inch bits
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and trimed, slice thinly on the diagonal
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice (no added sweeteners)
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 – 6 drops red food coloring
  • 2 rounded tablespoons corn starch mixed in enough cold water to make a slurry

PREPARATION:

Directions for Making Chicken Bits
When cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces, remove any fat, gristle or connective tissue. If the chicken is soft-frozen or almost thawed it is easier to cut.
In small frying pan, add 1/2-inch vegetable oil. Heat to deep-frying temperature.
In a bowl mix eggs and milk. Beat until well combined.
Place flour and seasonings in a shallow bowl and mix.
Dunk pieces of chicken in the egg and milk mixture. Allow excess to drain.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour coating thoroughly. Here is your chance to practice with your chop sticks and keep the flour off from your fingers.
Drop pieces into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown. Turn as necessary to cook evenly on all sides. When golden brown, remove to paper towel covered plate to drain.
Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked. Set aside until assembly.

Directions for Making Sweet and Sour Sauce
Place pineapple and water in sauce pan. Heat over low flame. Slowly add sugar while stirring.
When sugar has dissolved, slowly add the vinegar and the lemon juice while stirring.
Add corn starch slurry and stir while heating. Bring to a boil.
Stir constantly until thickened. Add food coloring (a couple drops at first and then adjust until you have the red color you like) and stir well to mix. Continue to heat and stir until almost a syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.
Note: You will be judging the thickness of the sauce while it is hot. It will thicken considerably when it is set aside and cools. Later, when added to the vegetables, the moisture from the vegetables will thin the sauce quite a bit.

Directions for Assembling Completed Dish
Add a little vegetable oil to a large frying pan or wok. Bring to frying temperature over medium heat. Add vegetables (but not the pineapple) and cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to caramelize.
Add sweet and sour sauce and continue cooking and stirring until vegetable are bite tender and sauce has re-thickened and clings to the vegetables.
Add pineapple and chicken bits and fold into the vegetables and sauce. Simmer until heated through. Serve.
Most home-made sweet and sour sauces are made with brown sugar and the sauce has the distinctive coffee color of the molasses in the brown sugar. This recipe produces a red sweet and sour sauce that looks just like the Chinese restaurant take-out food but we think that it tastes a lot better. Try it and see how easy it is to make tasty oriental-style food at home.

Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings

November 6th, 2007

Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi) are very popular during the Chinese New Year season

INGREDIENTS:

  • Jiaozi dough:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup ground pork or beef
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TB Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
  • 3 TB sesame oil
  • 1/2 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

PREPARATION:

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don’t add more water than is ncessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.

Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point.

Chinese Beef Hot Pot – Fondue Chinoise

November 6th, 2007

 general rule when serving hot pot is to keep the broth bland and the dips spicy. The beauty of this combination is that it allows guests to season the food according to their own taste. On the other hand, there are no hard and fast rules. Feel free to adapt the basic broth recipe as desired.  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 packages beef bouillion
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 slices ginger
  • Optional – White Pepper, one turn of the pepper mill

PREPARATION:

Cut the beef into paper thin rectangular slices. (Freeze the beef for 1 -2 hours to make cutting easier, or ask the butcher to cut it for you).

Prepare the side dishes (see suggested list below), washing and draining the vegetables. If using in the fondue, cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Shred the lettuce or chop as desired.

Lay the beef and side dishes on separate platters on the table. Place the dipping sauces on the table in small individual bowls.

Make sure each guest has a complete place setting, including a dipping fork (color-coded if possible) and a small bowl for placing the cooked food.

Combine the water and beef bouillion and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the white wine, soy sauce, green onion, and ginger. Transfer enough broth so that the fondue pot is approximately 2/3 – 3/4 full. (How much broth you need will depend on the size of the fondue pot).

Place the fondue pot on the burner, and keep it simmering throughout the meal. Keep the remaining broth warming on the stovetop.
 
Use dipping forks to cook the food in the hot broth, and then dip in the sauces as desired.

Crab Puffs – Crab Rangoon

November 6th, 2007

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 pound cooked crab meat or smoked salmon, lightly flaked
  • 1 teaspoon green onion, finely minced
  • 1/4 pound cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon steak sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 pound won ton wrappers
  • 1 beaten egg or 2 egg whites
  • 3 cups vegetable oil

PREPARATION:

Combine crab meat or smoked salmon, green onion, cream cheese, steak sauce, and garlic.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of mixture in center or won ton wrapper; fold square over to form triangle. Lightly brush the center with the beaten egg.

Bring opposite corners together and press gently, so filling will be secure. Place oil in wok and heat to 375 degrees for deep-frying.

Deep-fry one crab or salmon puff and adjust heat downwards if necessary. Fry rest of puffs until delicately brown, less than two minutes. Serve hot.

Kung Pao Chicken – a Recipe for Stir-fried Kung Pao Chicken

November 6th, 2007

Serves 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 7 to 8 ounces each
  • Marinade:
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Other:
  • 8 small dried red chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions (spring onions, scallions)
  • 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn, optional
  • 1/2 cup peanuts or cashews
  • a few drops sesame oil, optional

PREPARATION:

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine with the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: In a small bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

Cut the chilies in half so that they are approximately the same size as the chicken cubes. Remove the seeds. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the green onion on the diagonal into thirds.

Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Stir-fry until it turns white and is 80 percent cooked. Remove from the wok.

Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the chili peppers and the Szechuan peppercorn if using. Stir-fry briefly until they turn dark red.

Add the sauce to the wok. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in the peanuts and the green onion. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

General Tso’s Chicken

November 6th, 2007

The restaurant favorite is based on an authentic Hunan dish that translates roughly as “ancestor meeting place chicken.” If you like, you can thicken the sauce by whisking 2 teaspoons cornstarch in with the other sauce ingredients. For more sauce, increase the sauce ingredients by 1/2 (3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine, etc).

Serves 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
  • Cornstarch, as needed
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch for thickening sauce, optional
  • Other:
  • 3 green onions (spring onions, scallions)
  • 5 to 10 small dried red chilli peppers, according to taste
  • 3 – 4 cups oil for deep-frying and stir-frying, as needed

PREPARATION:

1. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine the chicken cubes with the egg, soy sauce, and pepper. Add enough cornstarch to nicely coat the chicken, using cooking chopsticks or your fingers to mix it in.
2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside. Thinly slice the green onions.
3. Heat the oil in a wok to between 350 and 360 degrees Fahrenheit (175 – 180 degrees Celsius). Drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil, a few pieces at a time, and deep-fry until crispy (3 to 4 minutes). Remove the chicken cubes and drain on paper towels.
4. Drain and clean out the wok. Heat 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced green onions and the dried chili peppers. Stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
5. Add the deep-fried chicken cubes back into the wok. Stir-fry until the chicken cubes are browned (about 1 minute).
6. Push the chicken up to the sides of the wok. Give the sauce a quick restir and add into the middle of the wok. If you added cornstarch to the sauce, stir it continually for 1 – 2 minutes to thicken.
7. Mix the sauce with the chicken. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes, stirring, until the chicken is nicely coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Beef With Broccoli Stir Fry

November 6th, 2007

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 pound lean beef
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (substitute rice wine if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Thickener:
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • To Cook Broccoli:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Other:
  • 1 1/4 cups oil, or as needed

PREPARATION:

Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last (use your fingers to rub it in). Marinate the beef for 30 minutes.
While the beef is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: for the sauce, mix together the oyster sauce, light soy, dark soy, and water in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water thickener and set aside.
Wash and drain the broccoli. Cut the stalk diagonally into thin slices. Cut the flowerets into 3 or 4 pieces. Crush the garlic.
Heat the wok and add 1 cup oil. When the oil is medium-hot (between 300 and 325 degrees F.), add the beef. Blanch the beef by letting it lay flat for 30 – 40 seconds, and then stirring to separate the pieces. Remove the beef when it changes color and is nearly cooked (the entire process takes 1 – 2 minutes).
Remove the beef from the wok and drain on paper towels.
Clean out the wok with paper towels.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic and stir fry briefly until aromatic.
Add the broccoli, sprinkle the salt and sugar over, and stir fry briefly, turning down the heat if necessary to make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the 1/2 cup water, and cook the broccoli, covered, for 4 – 5 minutes, until it turns a bright green and is tender but still crisp. Remove from the wok and drain.
Clean out the wok and add 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the broccoli and the beef. Add the sauce and cornstarch mixture in the middle of the wok and stir quickly to thicken. Mix everything together and serve hot over steamed rice.

Variations: *Add carrots and onion if desired. Boil in the wok with the broccoli (you’ll need to add more water).

Chinese Dumplings – Potstickers – Panfried Pork Dumplings

November 6th, 2007

Potstickers are one of the most popular types of Chinese dumplings. This recipe includes a dipping sauce and instructions on making the dough.

Yields about 48 potstickers.
Scroll to the bottom of the recipe directions for more potstickers recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Dumpling Dough*
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Filling:
  • 8 ounces celery cabbage (Napa cabbage)
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, with tops
  • 1 TB white wine
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Dash white pepper
  • Dipping Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Other:
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

PREPARATION:

Cut the cabbage across into thin strips. Mix with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix the celery cabbage, pork, green onions, wine, cornstarch, the remaining 1 teaaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and the white pepper.

In a bowl, mix the flour and 1 cup boiling water until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface about 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a roll 12 inches long and cut each roll into 1/2-inch slices.

Roll 1 slice of dough into a 3-inch circle and place 1 tablespoon pork mixture in the center of the circle. Lift up the edges of the circle and pinch 5 pleats up to create a pouch to encase the mixture. Pinch the top together. Repeat with the remaining slices of dough and filling.

Heat a wok or nonstick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, tilting the wok to coat the sides. If using a nonstick skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Place 12 dumplings in a single layer in the wok and fry 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

To make a dipping sauce, in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve with the dumplings.

Stir-Fry Tips

November 6th, 2007

1. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time.2.  Make sure all the food is cut according to directions before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.

3. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.

4. If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces.

5.  Pre-heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step if you have a nonstick pan – it can damage the coating.) 

6.  Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish; peanut, canola or other vegetable oils are good) drizzling it so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way.

7. Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).

8. If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked, and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.

9. Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the juices (individual recipes can differ).

10. Never add more than a cup of meat at a time to the wok. Lay the meat out flat to cook. 

11. Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color – for example the redness in the beef is gone.  At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.  

12. Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables such as bok choy.

13. If you’re uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them separately, one at a time.

14. If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.

15. Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.

16. When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin moving them immediately.

17. When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a “well” in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before combining with the other ingredients. 

18. Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

19. Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.

20. Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures.  Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don’t. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.  

Shrimp Fried Rice

November 6th, 2007

Shrimp fried rice is a great recipe for nights when you’re looking for a quick way to use up leftovers. Feel free to experiment with using fresh mushrooms or other vegetables in place of the peas, and to double up on the ham if you don’t have frozen shrimp.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 ounces frozen uncooked shrimp, unshelled
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • Other:
  • 4 ounces cooked ham
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 eggs (more if desired)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 4 cups cold cooked rice
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed

PREPARATION:

Run the frozen shrimp under warm running water, pat dry with paper towels, shell and devein. Chop into small pieces. Add the marinade ingredients and marinate for 15 minutes.
Dice the ham, onion, and green onion.
Beat the eggs lightly with chopsticks, add a dash of salt, and mix.* Set aside.
Heat the wok and then add 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is ready, pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into the wok and cook over medium heat, turning over once. Cook the other half the same way. Cut the egg into thin strips, and save for later.
  Add 2 tablespoons oil, or as needed. When oil is hot, stir-fry the onion and shrimp on high heat for a few moments, remove and set aside. Do the same for the green peas, and then the diced ham.
Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil, turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry the rice. Add a bit of soy and oyster sauce if desired. Add the other ingredients except the egg and green onion and combine thoroughly. Serve the fried rice with the strips of egg on top and the green onion as garnish.** 
*You can also add a bit of oyster sauce if desired
  **Alternately, you can mix the green onion and egg in with the other ingredients.