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Posts Tagged ‘rice’

…or the dish that’s going to harm our relationship with our favourite Chinese takeaway!

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Egg Fried Rice

Sweet and sour chicken is a bit of a favourite of Rob’s; throughout university he spent many an evening with a jar of Uncle Ben’s and since discovering the joys of cooking from scratch has always intended to give it a go properly. Personally, I’m not really a fan – I find the sauce can often be leaning too far to the sour side and, let’s be honest, it can look rather radioactive at times! When Rob suggested trying it for dinner I could have just let him go ahead and made myself some pasta, but I was feeling lazy and as he was easily convinced to throw some egg fried rice into the bargain I thought I’d take the risk. Very glad I did, it was absolutely delicious!

We’ve made chicken chow mein before but, while it was very nice, the lack of takeaway greasiness actually felt like a bit of a shame! With tonight’s sweet and sour chicken though it was a completely different story. The freshness of the ingredients really lifted this; chunky pieces of tender chicken breast, crunchy peppers, juicy pineapple (okay, that was from a tin) and perfect egg fried rice.

The sweet and sour chicken was adaptation from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook (an adaptation in so much as we didn’t have all the ingredients!) while the egg fried rice was just something Rob had filed into his head at some point!

Sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice
Serves 2
Prep time: 20 mins (plus 30 mins for marinating)
Cooking time: 25 mins (you can reduce this by cooking the chicken and rice simultaneously – we have only one wok!)

For the chicken:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (diced – approx. 300g total)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 small can (227g net) pineapple chunks in juice (drained and juice reserved)
1 tbsp cornflour
1.5 tbsp groundnut oil
1/2 green pepper (seeded and cut into chunky pieces)
1/2 red pepper (seeded and cut into chunky pieces)
1 medium white onion (cut into chunky pieces)
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
salt and pepper

For the rice:
1/2 cup (approx. 90g) basmati rice
1 medium egg
a handful of frozen peas (defrosted)
groundnut oil
salt and pepper

If, like us, you intend to cook the sweet and sour chicken before the egg fried rice, preheat the oven to low temperature so the chicken can be kept warm.

1. Prepare the marinade by mixing the soy sauce with a teaspoon of the pineapple juice. Stir in the chicken pieces until they’re well-coated, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Cook the rice using whatever method works best for you and set aside.
3. Make the remaining pineapple juice up to 150ml with water, stir in the cornflour and set aside.
4. Heat the oil (for the chicken) in a wok, add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until golden all over. Lift out and set aside.
5. Add the peppers and onion to the wok and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
6. Add the pineapple juice/cornflour mix and ketchup and cook for a few minutes until thickened.
7. Return the chicken to the wock along with the pineapple chunks and heat through. Season and then transfer to a ovenproof dish and keep warm in the preheated oven.
8. Clean the wok (or get another one!) and add a generous amount of oil (you can add more later if necessary). Bring to a medium heat (you don’t want to burn the egg!).
9. Beat the egg and add it to the wok. Allow the egg to cook for a couple of minutes until it resembles a small omelette.
10. Stir the rice and peas into the egg, breaking up the cooked egg in the process. Cook for 3-4 minutes, continually stirring.
11. Serve up the rice with the chicken and enjoy!

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Chicken and chorizo paella

One of my best food moments is sitting outside at a pavement cafe on Rambla de Catalunya, just around the corner from Guadi’s Casa Milà in Barcelona. We had a wonderful tapas lunch of chorizo, pimientos de Padrón, tortilla de patatas, pan amb tomaquet and patatas bravas in the late September heat just before heading back to the airport to return home. Nothing about that meal is reproducable in the UK: sitting outside always involves dirty buses, loud police cars and beggars, and getting good spanish food is nigh-on impossible, although I’ve not yet eaten at Tapas Brindisa so maybe I could be proven wrong.

Erika and I are also fans of paella, but unfortunately the time that we had that in Barcelona was one of my worst food experiences. I won’t ruin the moment by going into any more detail but let’s say that we were starving and tired and it was the closest place. Regardless, we’ve cooked paella a few times at home in the past and always enjoyed it, so when deciding on meals for this week it came up as something I’ve not had for a while.

The recipe I follow is from delicious magazine. It’s not totally authentic: as I’m not a great seafood fan I go for a meat version but it’s nice all the same. The recipe is a bit confusing as it produces enough to freeze but involves cooking two panfulls at the same time. I say scrap that, halve everything and there will be enough to feed 4 hungry people. After 30 minutes of cooking you’ll have a fresh, spicy dish with a variety of textures and flavours ranging from the crunchy beans to the soft, slightly sticky rice.

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Griddled jerk chicken with mango salad and steamed rice

We’ve had jerk chicken a couple of times, most memorably at The Mayor’s Thames Festival a couple of years ago (along with some delicious, blackened, barbequed corn), but tonight decided to try and make it ourselves. We used a recipe for Grilled Jerk Chicken, but in hindsight I’m not sure that was the ideal recipe as Wikipedia tells me that jerk involves a dry-rub whereas this recipe uses a marinade.

We made the marinade as instructed (although with 25% less chilli) and then griddled the chicken which we served with steamed rice and a mango salad (fresh mango, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and some fresh mint). It was okay and nice to have something different, but the chicken wasn’t anything particularly special – despite all the ingredients, there seemed to be very little flavour when it was actually cooked. We’ll have to hunt out a new recipe (suggestions welcome!)

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