Monday, 25 January 2010

Chicken Chow Mien

Mum loves the show Chinese Food Made Easy by Ching He-Huang on Lifestyle Food. She was telling me all about it on the phone one day and we both went to the Lifestyle Food website to look at her recipes.

I love Chinese food and I liked Ching's idea that you can recreate classic Chinese takeaway dishes easily at home, plus they have the added benefit of being healthier and often cheaper. While this kind of thing is easy to say, they can't always support it in their recipes. I was willing to give it a try though and started with her recipe for Chicken Chow Mein. I love chow mein, so I thought it would be good recipe to start the test with.

After a small bit of chopping and measuring, I had everything assembled and ready to go. D prepared the noodles, we heated up our wok and went to work.

I have to admit, sometimes I don't devote as much time to my mise en place as I should. When I was sick, I had no option but to make sure I had everything ready before I started anything, because I couldn't move well enough to get things. It really is the better way to cook, a bit of time before you start saves you in the long run.

Anyway, back to this recipe. From start to finish, cooking took no more than 10 minutes. D topped the dishes with some non-traditional dried onions which actually worked really well. It was much fresher than Chinese takeaway chow mein, much lighter too. Sometimes takeaway chow mein can get quite gluggy, but this wasn't really a saucy stir-fry so there was no glugginess. The five spice added a nice kick. It was quite filling too. We were both very impressed and D has asked if we can have it again soon.

I recently received an email with a discount code for the Book Depository UK and they had some of Ching's books on special, so I ordered Chinese Food in Minutes. While it doesn't bode well for her book sales, I think her better recipes are the ones posted on the Lifestyle Food website. This one is one of the better ones.

Chicken Chow Mien
from Chinese Food Made Easy by Ching He-Huang

150g medium egg noodles
toasted sesame oil
300g skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced into strips
a dash of dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
1 red capsicum, deseeded and finely sliced
150g bean sprouts
1 large spring onion, sliced lengthways
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
finely ground black pepper

Cook the noodles for 3 minutes in a pan of boiling water until al dente or as per the packet instructions. Drain, then run them under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a few splashes of sesame oil and toss through to prevent them from sticking.

Season the chicken with a splash of dark soy sauce, the five-spice powder and chilli sauce, if using, mix well. Coat lightly with the cornflour.

Heat a wok over a high heat, add the groundnut oil and heat until smoking, then add the chicken and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until cooked.

Add the capsicum and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the bean sprouts and spring onion and stir-fry for less than 1 minute. Add the cooked noodles and season with the light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and ground black pepper. Stir well and serve immediately.

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