Juicy chicken with cashews

Have I already said how much I love Finnish libraries? They have tons of books on cooking and even better, quite many of those are in English (yeah my Finnish is kind of non existent unfortunately). Finally, I got my hands on one of the He-Huang’s books – ‘Chinese in minutes’. I was really excited, cause you may remember I’ve already posted some of her recipes that were an instant hit with Mr. No Onion Please (sesame beef stir-fry, pork tenderloin) and I was craving for some more showstoppers. Unfortunately, I got a bit disappointed. There is no doubt that the recipes she presents are tasty, but once you grab a whole book of hers, you’ll notice that she’s constantly using same flavouring ingredients. So yes, one can learn some quick and easy Chinese-like dishes, but once you’ll try several recipes rest will taste nearly the same. Nevertheless, I’ve marked several dishes to try out, particularly that all of them can be done in no time and they are perfect for mid-week dinners.

I started with juicy chicken stir-fry, just because it was really fast to cook as well as cause I love Sichuan peppercorns and their tongue-numbing properties. From obvious reasons I skipped addition of spring onions, throwing in bell pepper for some crunch. The dish didn’t stun us , it was fine but it was clearly missing something. So if you decide to make it don’t omit the onions, I think they are essential for this dish.

INGREDIENTS:

400g chicken meat from legs, cut into pieces
1 tbsp Chinese 5 spices powder
1 tbsp potato flour
2 tbsp frying oil
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
1 tbsp yellow bean sauce
1 chili, finely chopped
a dash of Shaohsing rice wine
100g cashew nuts
1 tbsp soya sauce
juice from half of lime
2 spring onions sliced
(I threw in a bell pepper instead but here spring onions would be really needed)

1. Mix the flour and 5 spice powder together, sprinkle over chicken pieces

2. Heat the wok and add oil. Add Sichuan peppercorns, chili and bean paste, fry for 30 seconds add the chicken and let it settle for another 30 sec. Finally add a dash of rice wine, toss everything together and let it fry for 3-4 min.

3. Add spring onions and cashew nuts, fry for 1-2 min. Season to taste with soya sauce and lime juice.

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Sesame beef stir-fry

Not to become too monothematic with my Istanbul posts, before serving you the final one, let me show you what I cooked last week. You may remember, I’ve mentioned it once, that on my favourite food forum we have a custom of making thematic weeks. The theme for last week was chinese cuisine. Being really succesful with my previous chinese creation – pork tenderloin in yellow bean sauce, I decided once again to give Ching’s fail-proof recipes a go. Much to Mr’s No Onion Please delight, I’ve chosen a sesame beef stir-fry recipe (Ching-He Huan, published in Delicious magazine). WHOA it is just amazing! It’s quite simple and the result is delicious – a huge chunk of meat (over 600g!) disappeared in one day! I believe it speaks well enough for the recipe 😉 Anyway, the result is not only tasty. The texture is absolutely fantastic! I must say I was a bit skeptical when looking at the picture in the magazine. As usual the food looked perfect, but my previous experience with coated meat was far from such – I notoriously was loosing at least half of the coating when frying, getting it burned and if it wasn’t burned then the meat was turning out to be soggy. So no wonder that when attempting this recipe I sighed quietly trying to gather all my patience. But there were no reasons to cry! As you can see yourself, the sesame coating is just perfect. It looks good, doesn’t fall off, it is crunchy and just bellow you’ll find melt in your mouth beef (if, of course, you’ll invest in a good quality sirloin). I saw my man eating  Ching’s dishes and I bet I already know whose cookbook will be the next present from him 😉

INGREDIENTS

marinade:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp Shaohsing wine
1 tsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar

250g beef sirloin, cut in very thin slices
potato flour
egg, slightly beaten
sesame seeds

oil for wok
1 tbsp Shaohsing wine
2 peppers cut in pieces
100ml beef stock
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp corn flour

1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, add beef slices and let it stand for half an hour in cold place.
2. Each beef slice should be coated first with potato flour, egg and finally sesame seeds.
3. Fry the pieces in heated wok for 1-2 min and set them aside.
4. Put the wok back to the heat, add wine and peppers, fry for 2-3 min.
5. Mix wine, soya sauce, sesame oil, sugar and corn flour together. Add to wok and fry for 2 more min.
6. Add the meat, mix well so that it gets coated with sauce and take away from the heat.

Pork tenderloin, Chinese way

Yup, it’s nearly Valentines Day. The net is totally flooded with luscious treats for your loved ones. And so I bet you were expecting some super cool chocolaty post here as well. Hmm …. what can I say…. Blame Mr No Onion Please. I’ve asked him what should I blog about and the answer was PORK. So long yummy cookie post (I’ll get to it a bit later). Ok, I admit, the pork tenderloin is really good as well, and it’s a most recent love of my second half. I’ve done it several times and he never seems to have enough of it. Anyway, 14th of February happens to be as well the beginning of new Chinese year. So fortunately I’m not blogging totally out of the blue.

I’ve got the recipe from a small booklet advertising Ching’s new cookbook – “Chinese in minutes”. I’ve never been out of Europe, not to say China, so I have absolutely no clue how the real Chinese dishes taste like. Of course we have several takeaways here, but well…. I don’t trust those enough to say that they offer genuine Chinese cuisine. So I admit – I have no idea how authentic Chinese dish it really is but it’s darn good and definitely worth trying.

Griddled honey yellow bean  pork:

– pork tenderloin filee

Marinade:

– 3 garlic cloves finely chopped

– finger-long piece of ginger, grated

– 2 tbsp yellow bean sauce

– 1 chilli finely chopped

– 2 tbsp runny honey

– 2 tbsp dark soya sauce

– 2 tbsp rice wine

– 2 tbsp sesame oil

– 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar

1. Marinade the tenderloin for around half an hour. Heat the oven to 200C.

2. Fry the loin till it’s browned from each side, keep the marinade.

3. Put the thermometer to the meat, insert to the oven and bake till it shows 67C

4. Meanwhile pour the reserved marinade into the pot and bring to the boil, then leave on the side.

5. Take the meat out of the oven, let it rest for several minutes before you slice it. Serve with rice and some greens ( I had pak choi).

ENJOY