After my last post about the meals I experienced in the US of A, I found I rather enjoyed writing about food. Might be something to do with the fact that the two of us have had such a passion fuelled love/hate relationship over the last oh… Twenty four or so years. I love food, my waistline hates food – you know the age old tale. So I’m always looking for “healthy” (read: less bad for you) alternatives for my favourite foods. This weekend, I decided to cook up a homemade Chinese takeaway dinner – hopefully better for my diet, definitely better for my purse. The recipe I was inspired by was from (believe it or not) Gok Wan’s recent cookbook, “Gok Cooks Chinese”. I’ve always been intrigued by Chinese cookery books, but the recipes always seemed complicated, and plagued by scary sounding ingredients. Gok promises “healthy and simple”. He also includes a detailed “kit” of Chinese ingredients that you should acquire for your kitchen, making (theoretically) any recipe in the book a breeze.
I’m currently laughing to myself, as I’ve just flicked through the book to find out the title of the recipe I was inspired by – “Ginger Beef”. It makes me smile because what I ended up making was so different (including an entirely different animal), but utterly delicious. Even le boyfriend loved it! Here’s the recipe for my chilli chicken and egg fried rice. The two of us happily ate it all, although they were large portions. You could probably get three regular people sized portions from this!
For the chicken:
2 chicken fillets, thinly sliced
salt/pepper (I used regular black pepper because it’s what I had)
plain flour (Gok suggests potato or corn flour but I had neither)
6 tablespoons groundnut oil
For the sauce:
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
1 finely diced onion (you could use spring onion if you liked)
finely sliced peppers
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 birdseye chilli, finely sliced (I leave the seeds in because I like my food spicy but feel free to alter this to your own liking)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
For the rice:
120g cooked and cooled basmati rice (60g per person – I ignored this instruction, and thought I should make some extra in case it wasn’t enough – it was enough – thank goodness I like rice)
light soy sauce
- Shake some flour onto a plate, seasoning it well with salt and pepper
- Coat thinly sliced chicken strips in the seasoned flour
- Using a wok, heat the groundnut oil until shimmering but not smoking, then shallow fry the chicken in small batches until golden brown and cooked though (I realise this doesn’t exactly match my “healthy” bragging at the beginning, but surely shallow frying is better than deep frying, and I do recall an old episode of Nigella Express, where Nige insists that the oil is too hot to stick to whatever it was she was shallow frying, and therefore it wasn’t that bad for you. Nigella said it, it must be true.)
- Line a bowl with kitchen towel to soak up any of that oil Nigella promised wouldn’t stick to your chicken, and put the cooked slices of chicken into the bowl. Sprinkle with salt and chilli flakes, and set aside.
- Clean out the wok (I drained the excess oil into a bowl to cool, and wiped out any chicken-y residue with a piece of kitchen towel
- Heat a tiny bit of groundnut oil in the wok, and stir fry the onions, peppers and carrots. Once they’ve softened slightly, add in the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir fry until aromatic.
- Stir in the sugar, sesame oil and rice vinegar, until everything is combined and the sugar has dissolved.
- Mix the chicken into the sauce, making sure it’s all coated (Gok suggests adding water to make more of a “sauce”, but I didn’t find it necessary). Put aside.
- In a frying pan (or wok, if you have a spare or can be bothered cleaning yours out again), heat a little bit of groundnut oil, and crack the egg in. Scramble with a spoon, pouring in approx. a teaspoon of light soy sauce.
- Once the egg is scrambled, add in the cooled rice, mixing until the grains have separated, the egg is evenly dispersed and the rice has heated through. Serve with the chicken.
And that’s it. It was really yummy, although as you can see, probably the furthest thing from Ginger Beef I could have made! I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger, and well, I didn’t have any beef. Substitutions must be made! In the end, it was really tasty, and made an awesome Saturday night dinner. Let me know if you try it!
If you enjoyed this post, please like or comment and let me know! I enjoyed writing it, so hopefully more foodie blogs are on the way!
Huge portion, like I said. It was scrummy though!