Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Kind of like re-gifting, only not


My online cooking club seems to be dissolving...we all lead such busy lives, and many of the gals involved just couldn't find the time. I'm going to be reposting a few of my entries here.

One of our themes was Asian (it could cover any cuisine, no specifics). I filled in for one of the girls, as she was incredibly busy at the time (and soon pulled out all togther...her plate was too full).

Ok...here's the results for the General's chicken and Chicken with Lemongrass and Chili.

General Tso's Chicken
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, thinly sliced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 slices fresh ginger, smashed
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peanut oil, for frying
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 2 tablespoons for slurry
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 dried red Thai chilies
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 thick strips orange zest
1 1/2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

Put the chicken into a bowl with the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir well to combine all the flavors, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a wok or deep skillet to 375 degrees F. Mix the egg, cornstarch, water, and sesame oil in a large bowl until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Add the marinated chicken and coat it well with the batter. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken pieces in batches until they are browned and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. When you have fried all the chicken, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Over high heat, add the chilies, scallion, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry for 1 minute then pour in the soy sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and honey and bring it to a boil. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce, in 2 additions, until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaves. Serve with white rice.

Let me begin by saying this: If a recipe calls for low-sodium soy sauce? Be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce...d'oh!

This one was a lot of work. But, if you ingnore the 'Lordy, is this salty!'-ness, it was really good stuff.

The chicken had a really interesting flavor from the batter, and texture. Next time, low-sodium.

And the Lemongrass-chili chicken?

Chicken in Lemon Grass and Chili
Submitted by Ga Xao Xa Ot

Serves: 4 People

3 lb Chicken
1 lg Onion
1 ea Salt
1 ts Ground chilies
1 tb Granulated sugar
1 c Water
4 cl Garlic
3 tb Vegetable oil
2 tb Minched lemon grass
4 tb Fish sauce(nuoc mam)

Rinse chicken and dry well. Cut into small pieces. Peel garlic and slice finely. Cut onion into halves lengthwise and then cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, garlic and onion. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add lemon grass and chili. Fry 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce. Mix well. Add 1 cup water and cook 45 minutes or until chicen is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Makes 4 servings. $ CARAMEL SAUCE: Mix 1/2 c sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil until mixture changes colour. Turn heat down to low and heat until brown. Add 1/2 cup water to mixture. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Yes, they're both chicken recipes, but I let Matt pick. He's more 'into' this than I; so he might as well choose a dish he'd enjoy.

Not as much work (ok, maybe it was...), but Matt really liked it. It felt weird making a caramel sauce for a chicken dish, but it seemed to work. Smellled lovely.

Of the two, I'd honestly recommend the General's chicken (following the low-sodium advice, of course). While somewhat labor-intensive, it really had a great flavor and texture.

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