Last Friday John said that he felt like Chinese food. Being the best girlfriend in the world (right hunny?!) I picked up all the fixings for our Friday night Chinese food feast. Normally I would have made a generic stir fry and some rice noodles and called it a day. But I wanted to go the extra mile and try out a bunch of things I’d never made before. Plus we still haven’t found a good take out place around us. Yes we live down town Toronto and yes I know how crazy that sounds. But it’s true. We’ve tried a couple places and after those experiences have been too afraid to try anymore.
As usual I turned to Tastespotting for inspiration. What I found was Local Kitchen (for the orange chicken) and Andrea Meyers (for the lettuce wraps). Neither of which I’ve ever tried to make before. Throw in some plain rice and garlic sautéed bok choy and we were set.
One of my favourite things to get when we have Chinese is something that is sweet and sour or lemon or orange. I’m all about the sweet. Never hot. The picture of the orange chicken on Local Kitchen looked so good (lick your screen good) I had to give it a shot. It was easy and it really was good. The one thing that I would recommend is coating ALL the chicken in the flour mix first and then frying. I did it in batches and it was a little hectic.
A couple months ago my mom took me to P. F. Chang’s for the first time and on a high recommendation from The Lodge we had their lettuce wraps for an appetizer. We were not disappointed. They were delicious and their soy sauce/hot sauce/white vinegar sauce mix was really good (and easy to make at home). Obviously I’m not an expert after only trying them once but the recipe from Andrea Meyers was really good. The next time I make it I might leave out the bamboo shoots and put in more water chestnuts. Also, I’d cut the water chestnuts a bit bigger. I like the crunch that they add to the dish. What else… oh yeah… this portion could feed and army. We had leftovers the next night and there was still some left after that. So cut it down unless you really are feeding an army.
I made very minor changes to the recipes I found. If you want the originals follow the links to the websites above.
- soy sauce
- white vinegar
- chili-garlic sauce
- Mix above ingredients togther to taste.
Garlic Sautéed Bok Choy
- 8 baby bok choy, cut in half
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Add oil, oyster sauce and garlic to pan and mix together. Turn burner to medium.
- Add bok choy, cut side down.
- Cover. Stir occasionally until desired doneness (I think mine was on for about 10 minutes).
Chinese Orange Chicken
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- vegetable oil for fying
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- zest of 1 large orange
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- about 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- To make the sauce: Measure water, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and orange juice into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove 1 tbsp of brown sugar from the 1 cup measure; add to a small bowl with the 4 tbsp cornstarch. Mix well with a fork and set aside.
- For the Chicken: In a bowl or deep dished plate, mix together flour, cornstarch, salt, peppers, and ginger. Dip chicken in egg, then coat with flour mixture. Shake off excess and spread pieces on a clean plate.
- Add oil to a large frying pan or wok to about 1 inch deep. Heat on medium until the oil is hot. Add chicken in batches, stir lightly to cover all chicken in oil. Fry until cooked through and crisp.
- Remove to a clean plate layered with paper towels to drain. Once drained, transfer chicken to a large bowl.
- Sauce continued: Add remaining brown sugar, orange zest, garlic and ginger to the sauce mixture. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
- Add about 2 tbsp of water to the bowl of cornstarch and sugar. Mix well until dissolved. Add to the sauce and stir until sauce thickens.
- Add sauce to chicken and toss to coat.
16 medium dried shitake mushrooms, softened in hot water and then chopped
6 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, diced
1 can water chestnuts, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas
6 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 slices fresh ginger
While the mushrooms soak, whisk together 4 teaspoons of cornstarch, sake, and first measure of soy sauce in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch, sugar, hoisin sauce, second measure of soy sauce, chicken broth, and chili-garlic sauce.
Drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry. Remove the stems and discard, chop the rest. In a medium bowl, combine the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, celery, peas, and scallions.
Add vegtable oil to a cold wok and add the sliced ginger. Heat until the wok and oil are very hot and the ginger releases its fragrance. Remove the ginger and discard.
Add the chicken mixture and cook while stirring until the chicken is cooked and crumbly.
Add the vegetables and stir well, cooking until they are heated through.
Stir in the sauce and continue cooking for about a minute more.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and serve with the lettuce leaves.