Chinese has always been something that hasn’t interested me as far as ‘at-home’ cooking is concerned. It’s so much easier to order out, and most of the time…cheaper too. We often just order one meal and split it, so it can be cheaper and easier, to indulge in this habit. When feeling as it was about -10 degrees the other day with wind chill, I was ready to pick up the phone and order out.
Then something happened.
The Earth, for just a moment, stopped spinning on its axis, Brad told me, ‘No’. WHAT? I’m not sure that’s possible. Mr. I’ll Cook Dinner, aka Order Out/DriveThru said no? He’s clearly running a high grade fever. Even though I was perfectly snug in comfys on the couch, gazing at the TV, snuggled in blankets… this called for me getting up and doing something apparently!
Although we had the basics, sauce-ish stuff, and protein, we definitely didn’t have a couple of authentic dishes ingredients, I decided to wing it. I’ll make sure hoisin and a couple other choice ingredients find their way into my cart next week, because this was an explosion of easy, awesome, fake take-out on the fly. Brad usually orders General Tso’s or Sesame Chicken, I normally opt for something that isn’t fried, but am guilty of sneaking pieces of his dinner onto my plate. 🙂
There are quite a few recipes out there, I sought out the healthier versions of course, and although it may not be exactly like or normally take-out spot favorites….it’s a fun runner up that we were both able to make together, which always makes dinner more fun.
Always start your rice first so it’s done, which usually takes about 20 minutes. I have to admit, Brad’s single complaint was regarding the rice. We are total suckers for fried rice, and I just…can’t…master it. I chose the excuse that ‘it’s really bad for you, we should do white rice’. This then saved me time, and self-fault…because I suck at fried rice.
A wok. I used to own one, it was a pain in the but to store, and it had a scratch in the non-stick surface….and again,we usually order Chinese, not make it at home, so it was sold on a garage sale this summer for $3. BUT, I do have my awesome cast iron skillet that is killer good at everything, so that’s what shallow fried up our chicken in. Also, did you know all they use is corn starch and egg whites for the coating to get that crisp shell?! Seems too easy…
FYI, I skipped the egg whites which many recipes do call for, I was not in the mood to make pudding (the remaining egg yolks(or waste the yolks)…pudding and Chinese don’t sound good together, right?) so I skipped most advised egg whites and just used what I had in my kitchen at the time.
Here it is- 20 Minute, Fake-Take Out Chinese:
1 cup of Basmati Rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb of chicken Cut into 1″ Pieces
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp Asian Seasoning
2-3 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic, minced OR 1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1. Start rice, combine salt, water, rice in sauce pan, bring to a boil, then turn off heat, and cover tight with a lid. Let sit covered for 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed.
2. Rinse chicken (do not pat dry), dice into 1″ pieces and toss with pepper and seasoning.
3. Coat chicken (it put my cornstarch in a bowl and tossed in the chicken until well coated) and then place in the fridge while you make the sauce. This will give you a nice crisp coating.
4. Heat up a skilled (or cast iron) to medium-medium high heat, along with 2 tbsp of oil. You want the oil very hot.
5. Mix all the ingredients for sauce in a bowl
6. Once your pan is hot, add in your chilled chicken, cook chicken for about 7 minutes until golden brown. Don’t immediately stir or you will lose the coating on the chicken.
7. Once the chicken is cooked, add in your sauce, it should only take about a minute until it thickens up.
Serve over your white rice!
** If you want your chicken to have an extra crisp, stick in the oven on broil for a minute or two!