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Monday, October 29, 2007

Chinese Dinner

So I love Chinese food, who doesn’t, but lately the price seems rather high and the wait much too long. With the right ingredients I can prepare a nice dinner at home almost as fast as it takes them to get it to me. So this week's post is some very tasty Chinese recipes that you can make and enjoy at home.

General Tsao’s Chicken

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup hot chicken broth
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (MSG) (optional)
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped green onions
16 chile peppers, sun-dried

Make Sauce:
In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Mix together. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and white wine vinegar. Then add chicken broth and monosodium glutamate and stir all together until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until needed.

To Prepare Chicken:
In a separate bowl, combine chicken, 1/2 cup soy sauce and white pepper. Stir in egg. Add 1 cup cornstarch and stir until chicken is evenly coated. Add oil to help separate chicken pieces. Divide chicken into small quantities and deep fry at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

To Make Mixture:
Place a small amount of oil in wok and heat until wok is hot. Add scallions and dried chile peppers and stir-fry briefly. Remove sauce from refrigerator and stir. Add sauce to wok. Then add fried chicken and cook until sauce thickens (add cornstarch or water as needed until sauce is as thick as you like it).

Fried Rice

2 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup snow peas
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup bean sprouts
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste

In a saucepan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add chicken bouillon and rice, and stir. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Refrigerate overnight. To the rice add snow peas, onions and bean sprouts. In a small skillet over medium heat, scramble the eggs; add to rice mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Fry the rice mixture with soy sauce until liquid evaporates; be careful not to fry until crisp.

Kung Pao Beef

1 Lb. Flank steak cut into thin strips

2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
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

Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.

While the beef 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 beef, stir-fry until 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 beef back into the pan. Stir in the peanuts and the green onion. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

Sweet & Sour Shrimp

1 (8oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
1tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp chili sauce
1tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
1 tsp minced garlic
cooking spray
2 tsp sesame oil
1 medium-size green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium onion, sliced
3/4 lbs fresh shrimp, medium-sized, peeled and deveined

Drain pineapple, reserving juice; set pineapple chunks aside. Combine reserved juice, cornstarch, and next 3 ingredients; set aside. Coat a large nonstick skillet or wok with cooking spray, and add oil. Place over medium-high heat until hot. Add green pepper and onion; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add shrimp; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir cornstarch mixture and pineapple chunks into shrimp mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring contstanly, until mixture is thick and bubbly. Serve immediately.