2 chicken breasts, cubed into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp dark soy sace
1/2 tbsp chilli sauce (or more to taste - NOT sweet chilli sauce)
1tsp five spice powder
Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and matchsticked
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 spring onions sliced
1 red pepper, cored and cut into strips
2 pak choi. Bulbs and leaves separated. Bulbs sliced into strips, leaves torn into pieces
1 carrot, julienned
Other veg to suit your taste and availability. Load it up!
Glug of rice wine if you have it (or chicken stock, or water or sherry)
put the chicken in a bowl with the soy sauce, chilli sauce and five spice powder turn to coat and leave while you prep everything else
When all your prep is done, heat a wok on high heat and add a couple of tbsp of good high temp oil such as rapeseed or groundnut.
When the oil is hot add the ginger, garlic and spring onions and stir-fry for about a minute.
Add the chicken and its marinade. Stir and fry until the chicken is cooked - about 5 mins but check!
Add the "hard" vegetables at this stage - everything EXCEPT the pak choi leaves in the list above. Stir them around then add a good glug of liquid such as rice wine. Keep the heat under the wok high as you do this - you want to create steam to steam the veg. Stir them around to keep the cooking even.
After about 3 mins, add any leafy veg (or beansprouts and/or noodles if you are using them) nd stir and fry everything together for a further 2 minutes to wilt and warm it through.
Take the wok off the heat and pour contents into a bowl. Serve with noodles or rice.
This (or variations on it, because this is a guid to what you can do - change the meat, change the veg to whatever you have. But it is a great way to get a good variety of fresh veg into the Offspring without them noticing....
I think I have already said that I like Chinese food a lot. But Chinese food is a huge and varied cuisine, so saying you do (or don't) like Chinese is like saying you like (or don't) America. A bit of a touchy subject at the moment, but like America, Chinese food has something for every taste, from subtle and low-key to firy and blow your head off. I have talked elsewhere about the redoutable Mr Peng and his restaurant and eponymous cook book "Hunan". That really specialises in Taiwanese cooking which is where he is from. This current recipe is based originally on a Chow Mein recipe from the brilliant Ching-He Huang. She is a modern Chinese cook - and if you didnt catch the series of programmes she did exploring the regional cooking of China with Ken Hom then you have missed a treat. Seeing them rediscover a Chinese cooking culture which is re-emerging after 70 years of being buried is a great treat and the interaction between them is also very strong.
But this can't be a Chow Mein because it has no noodles in it. If you add some at the end (instead of serving it with plain wholegrain rice as I did) then it will be Chicken Chow Mein. I have slightly complicated Ching's original recipe by adding Ginger, Garlic and spring onion. Primarily because I love them and the base layer of flavour they bring. I use chilli sause to marinade the chicken (readily available in supermarkets) but if you have none, dice up a red chilli or 2 and add to the ginger/garlic at the beginning. Dark soy sauce is essential for this though, rather than light. The dark really colours and flavours the meat with rich caramel savouriness.
As with all chinese cooking, the main thing is to prep your ingredients so you can throw them in when you need - the cooking time for this is about 10 minutes, but prep is essential