Tangerine Chicken

One great thing about living in Singapore is you get to go around some great Asian destinations in just few hours by flight. One of the interesting countries I’ve visited is Vietnam. I went there around 2 years ago – to Hanoi and a small town in the hills called Sapa Valley. We didn’t stay at Hanoi since we planned to visit the Halong Bay, but we did have a few hours to go around the city. We visited the street markets and had coffee at some old French cafe there. It was interesting to note the number of two wheeler riders there… the street seemed full of them and it was the first place I had seen more two wheelers than cars 🙂

Halong Bay was one of the most spectacular creations of nature I’ve seen – the bay has a dense cluster of around 1,600 islands which rise from the ocean and is filled with thick vegetation. Sapa Valley on the other hand was a unique experience with hiking in the midst of rice fields, beautiful waterfalls and view points 🙂

Pic 3

Coming to the best part – Vietnamese cuisine, the common ingredients being different types of sauces, rice, fruits and vegetables. So here’s the first Vietnamese recipe I tried in my kitchen – Tangerine Chicken. I had fresh oranges and some chicken in stock and this felt like a new set of offbeat flavors to indulge in. In the end not only the flavors but even the look of the dish turned out to be extremely inviting!

058

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Cooking oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons

Chicken – 600 g (with bone), cut into small pieces

Orange/Tangerine – juice of 1 large orange

White Onion – 1 large, chopped

Chicken stock – 3/4 to 1 cup

Black pepper – 1/2 tablespoon

Salt – to taste

037029034

For the sauce:

Honey – 2 tablespoons

Dark Soy Sauce – 2 teaspoons

Chili sauce – 2 teaspoons

Tomato sauce – Around 4 to 5 tablespoons

031

Mix all the ingredients of the sauce in a bowl to make the sauce mixture and keep aside.

038

Step 1: Heat oil in a wok or large pan. Saute the chicken along with the pepper until the chicken is slightly browned.

042

Step 2: Add the onions and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Follow by adding the sauce mixture, orange juice and chicken stock. Since the mixture now has a lot of water, you’ll need to cook it for another 10 to 15 minutes until you have the desired consistency. Add salt to taste as required.

Pic 1

Pic 2

051

Step 3: Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot with rice or noodles.

060

A few tips:

  • You can add around 3 tablespoons of fish sauce to the sauce mixture.
  • Add boiled or sauteed vegetables as sides to the dish.

Chili Egg with Honey

Yesterday when I opened my refrigerator, I realized I needed to go grocery shopping! The only stuff left were some eggs, onion, red pepper and half pumpkin (other than some chillies, ginger and garlic) . It was a bit late already and by the time I would return from the store, it would be too late for dinner. The choice was either to cook egg or pumpkin….and I chose the egg 🙂

However, I didn’t want to prepare the boring egg recipes like egg curry or scrambled egg! After thinking for a while, chili egg seemed the best option! Chili egg is a dish of Indian Chinese cuisine. You might be wondering what is that? It’s simply the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. The cuisine is believed to have originated from the Chinese of Kolkata (back then known as Calcutta) and is very popular in India and in some South East Asian countries. Spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric are used in this cuisine, which are not much associated with traditional Chinese cooking. Hot chili, ginger, garlic are also frequently used in dishes.

I’ve made the dish quite a few times before. My mom used to prepare this dish too when I was a kid and it was one of my favorite back then! I would wait eagerly for dinner on those days.

But yesterday I wanted to give it a special touch, so I decided to add some honey with it; hence the recipe… “Chili Egg with Honey”. Chili gives the spicy flavor and honey soothes the taste… perfect! It was raining heavily outside and the spicy and sweet flavor seemed just the right combination for the weather.

I’m sure you too have your version of egg recipes… do let me know. I would love to try them out 🙂

Pic 7

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Egg – 6 medium, boiled and shell removed

Honey – 2 tablespoons

Cooking Oil

Onion – 2 large, sliced

Garlic – 4 to 5 medium cloves, chopped

Green or Red Chili – medium hot, 4-5 chopped or ground

Ginger – 5 cm, grated (around 1 to 2 teaspoons)

Red Pepper – 1 big, cut into long slices

Cornflour or Cornstarch – 3 tablespoons

Soya Sauce – 2 or 3 tablespoons

Vinegar – 1to 2 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

Step 1: Cut the boiled eggs horizontally into halves.

Pic 2

Step 2: Mix the cornflour/cornstarch in 1/4th cups of water. Heat oil in a pan. Dip each piece of egg in the cornflour/cornstarch mixture and fry them for a minute or so on both sides. Transfer on to a plate with kitchen napkins so that the excess oil is soaked off. Place all the eggs on a serving dish.

Pic 3

Pic 4

Step 3: Wash the pan or use another pan – heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes until it’s translucent. Make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Add the red pepper and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chili and toss well.

Pic 5

Pic 6

Step 4: Mix the soya sauce with rest of the cornflour/cornstarch mixture and add. Add in the honey. Cook for a minute or two. Add salt (as needed) and vinegar and mix well. Spoon the mixture on the eggs so that it covers evenly. Serve hot with noodles or rice.

Pic 8

A few tips:

  • If ground chili is too spicy for you, you can add whole dried red chili (broken in halves) as well.
  • For cholesterol watchers, use only the whites of the egg and discard the yolk.
  • Use two color of peppers (red, yellow or green) to make your dish look more colorful.

Chicken Noodles

Before writing this post, I got a bit curious about noodles. Where did noodles actually originate from? So I did a quick search and found the following on Wikipedia:

“In 2002, archaeologists found an earthenware bowl containing the world’s oldest known noodles, measured to roughly 4000 years BP through radiocarbon dating, at the Lajia archaeological site along the Yellow River in China. The noodles were found well-preserved. They were described as resembling the traditional lamian noodle of China, which is made by “repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand. The composition of the oldest noodles was studied by a team of Chinese researchers, who determined the noodles were made from foxtail millet and broomcorn millet. The earliest written record of noodles is found in a book dated to the Eastern Han period (25–220) of China.Noodles, often made from wheat dough, became a staple food for people of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). In Tang Dynasty, the noodles were first cut into strips, and in Yuan Dynasty, the making of dried noodles began.” This was quite interesting! It’s impressive to note how people actually came up with the food that we so love and enjoy today!

I’ve tried quite a few types of noodle dishes here at the food courts and restaurants and also when I travel. Starting from Bee Hoon, Hor Fun, Pad Thai, Mee Goreng, Laksa, Rice noodles, Glass noodles etc, I’ve tried almost all of them. But it’s still not the end. There are so many more dishes yet to try and every time I keep craving for more! It’s amazing how you can add ingredients of your style and taste and make it into a great noodle recipe.

Even when I say that… I had a lot of trouble making noodles at home. It always became sticky and somehow I was never satisfied with the dish and so I was always scared to try them at home. So, when I was discussing the same with my colleague, she said “Oh! It’s very simple. I’ll teach you how to make the basic noodle dish at home.” I was totally excited hearing this and I came back home that day and tried the recipe. Since then, I’ve never been scared to try noodles…it has been fun always! I will post my noodle recipe learnt from her later.

Today I’m posting a simple chicken noodle recipe. This doesn’t take much time and has an authentic Chinese taste. It needs only the basic ingredients and some sauces of course. I made it along with the Hot and Sour Soup (posted earlier) – a perfect and complete meal! Try it out and let me know your experience 🙂

Pic 2

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: Around 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

Cooking Oil – 4 tablespoons

Chicken – 300 g, boneless, thinly sliced

Egg noodles – 1 medium sized packet

Bean sprouts – 1 bowl

Green Onion (Scallion) – 3, chopped

Marinade:

Ginger juice – 1 teaspoon (Grate around around 1/2 cup of young ginger. Mix with 2 tablespoons of water. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and you will have around 1/4 cup of Ginger juice.

Pepper – 1/4 teaspoon

Cornstarch/Cornflour – 1 teaspoon

Soy Sauce – 1 teaspoon

Rice Wine – 1 teaspoon

Sesame Oil – 1 teaspoon

Water – 1-2 tablespoons

Seasonings:

Chicken Stock – 1/2 cup (you can use stock cubes as well)

Soy Sauce – 1 tablespoon

Oyster Sauce – 1 tablespoon

Rice Wine – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Pic 7Pic 1Pic 4Pic 3

Step 1: Soak the noodles in warm water for around 10-15 minutes or until soft and then drain the water.

Step 2: Combine the marinade ingredients in one bowl and set aside. Combine the seasonings ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Heat around 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok and add the noodles. Fry the noodles for very short time until they are golden grown and crisp (maybe for around a minute). Remove the noodles immediately and place on a clean serving dish.

Pic 8

Step 4: Add the remaining oil to the wok and stir fry the chicken along with the marinade mixture over high flame for another minute, until cooked.

Pic 5

Step 5: Add the seasoning mixture, bean sprouts and green onion and continue to fry until the sauce thickens and you have the consistency you want. Turn off the flame and quickly pour the chicken mixture over the noodles.

Pic 6

Serve hot!

Pic 2

A few tips:

  • You can use any other meat or seafood instead of chicken. 
  • You can add other sauces and vegetables of your choice to make the dish suit your palate.

 

Hot and Sour Soup…an all time favorite!

Collage 4

Chinese food, especially of the Sichuan province is something I always relish! The simple reason being of the hot and spicy flavor which appeals to my palate. I visited China sometime back and co-incidentally I happened to visit the Sichuan province. The food was just amazing, starting from the soup, to the noodles, stir-fried recipes. Specially, when I’m traveling, I make it a point to visit the small local restaurants because that’s where you get the most authentic flavors.

Although the food was great, I did find a lot of difficulty trying to communicate with people there. I don’t know the language, but I had learnt some words and phrases from my colleague and was quite confident about it. However, when I spoke those to the people at the hotel, it seemed like Greek and Latin to them. It’s then I realized even though you know the words, the tone and pronunciation plays a big role when you speak. Every time I ordered, I had to call and point out the food which I wanted to have and do some actions to explain some customization required. I probably looked funny doing that, but I definitely didn’t mind as the effort made was worth it!

When I wanted to try Chinese food in my kitchen, hot and sour soup was the first thing which came to my mind. It’s an all time favorite… I used to have it always as a kid when visiting a Chinese restaurant. It’s a very simple recipe, using all the basic ingredients, except you’ll need some sauces…. it’s a Chinese recipe, so it’s the magic of sauces after all! You can refrigerate the sauces for other Chinese recipes of your choice… I’ll be coming up with a few more soon.

The soup is semi thick and could be a meal by itself. But I was in the mood yesterday. Hence, prepared some Chicken noodles as well.. which is the next recipe on my list.

So here it goes…enjoy!

Pic 1

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Sesame Oil – 1 teaspoon

Chicken stock – 4 cups (you can use stock cubes as well)

Chicken – 200 gm, cut into thin pieces

Chinese mushrooms – 100 gm (1 small packet)

Green Onions (Scallions) – 3, chopped

Eggs – 2, beaten

Tomato – 1 big, diced

Peas – fresh or frozen, 1 small bowl

Ginger – 1/2 tablespoon, grated

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Cornflour or Cornstarch – 2 tablespoons, dissolved in 1/4th cup of water

Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons

White Vinegar – 2 tablespoons

Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon, ground

Chilli Oil – 2 teaspoon, to serve (optional)

Salt – to taste

Pic 3Pic 4Pic 7Pic 5

Pic 6

Step 1: Place the stock cubes with 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Add salt, sugar, ginger, peas, tomato, mushrooms and chicken and boil for around 4-5 minutes.

Pic 2

Step 2: Add the sesame oil, pepper, soy sauce. Mix well. Slowly add the beaten egg into the soup. Do not stir for a min. Add in the cornflour/cornstarch mixture slowly, stirring gently. Heat for 1 more minute and add the green onions.

Pic 9

Step 3: Add a few more drops of vinegar, as desired and chilli oil. Serve hot.

Pic 8

Tips to adapt:

  • If you don’t have sesame oil, you can use normal oil too.
  • If a more thicker version is desired, you can add more vegetables like tofu, beans etc.
  • Add some pickled chillies to the soup, if you like it very spicy.
  • For a vegetarian option of this dish, replace chicken stock with vegetable stock and chicken with tofu or other vegetables, as desired.