Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad. Quinoa has become a really popular grain/food in recent years. There are more and more talking about quinoa so I decided to get my hands on some of these little seeds. Yes, quinoa is actually a “seed” and it’s not to be confused with any kind of cereal.

Here are some of the health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Quinoa is a nutritious dense grain.
  2. Quinoa is gluten-free
  3. Quinoa contains high levels of protein and is one of a few plants to do so
  4. Consuming Quinoa regularly can help your body to reduce the risk of inflammation
  5. Quinoa is also high in fibre so it can also help your body to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar
  6. Consuming Quinoa in your diet regularly can also help your body reduce the risk of allergies
  7. Lower your cholesterol and help maintain HDL cholesterol level.

Quinoa is also high in iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E. So it’s no wonder people often called quinoa a superfood.

Before writing this blog post I had never eaten or cooked quinoa before so to be honest I just followed the instructions from the packaging on how to cook. Turns out it’s a really easy thing to cook.

I just love the texture of quinoa. i think it tastes better than cous cous and if you like your quinoa quite soft then you can add a bit more water to cook but if you like it a little al-dente then reduce the amount of the water you use to cook it.

Quinoa is not a typical food in Chinese cooking so I will say this dish is a bit like Chinese meats Western type of food. I use the marinade in this post for chicken legs really often and you can use the marinade with pretty much any kind of meat. You can also coat the meat with some flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs to deep-fry the chicken after marinading. You can also roast it in the oven and either way will taste really good. If you’re not a fan of chicken legs then you can use chicken breast instead.

What I will often do to save time and hassle is buy a few chicken legs or chicken breasts, depending on what I fancy, and marinade in this way then separate into smallish portions. I’ll bag them in a freezer bag, free them and that’s dinner sorted out for at least a couple meals.

This is an ideal week day dinner or lunch for any household.

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

Ingredients

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

How to Debone a Chicken

chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad

 

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken de-boned, including thigh and drumstick
  • 100 g white quinoa
  • 500 ml boiling water for cooking the quinoa
  • 100 g cucumber cut into half then slice 0.5cm thick
  • 8 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • Coriander and mint finely chop

Marinade for Chicken legs

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Seasonings for Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

  1. De-bone the chicken legs and marinade with all the seasonings from the light soy sauce to coarse black pepper for at least 30 minutes. I would recommend you marinade overnight if you can as everything will taste much better.
  2. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the quinoa. I rinsed the quinoa under cold water a few times to wash away the bitterness of the quinoa.
  3. I soaked the quinoa in cold water for five minutes and drained the water completely. Put boiling water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring it to a boil first. Then turn to lowest heat, simmer and cover the quinoa until the water is nearly dry and the quinoa is tender. Then it’s ready (this will take around 15-20 minutes).
  4. Use a fork to loosen up the quinoa and mix with all the seasonings from salt to olive oil. Then leave aside to cool down.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 200c.
  6. Heat up some oil in frying pan or skillet. Place the chicken legs skin side down and fry each side for 2 minutes then put in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
  7. Use the remaining oil in the frying pan to quickly fry cucumber and cherry tomatoes for 20 seconds.
  8. Mix step 6 cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped coriander and mint with the quinoa.
  9. Let the chicken legs cool down a little bit then slice and serve with some quinoa salad.
  10. You can garnish this dish with some chopped coriander, mint and some lime.

14 Essential Chinese Spices

Chinese people use a lot of spices in Chinese cooking.  Just as Westerners use different kinds of herbs, Chinese and Taiwanese people use lots of spices. That’s not to say we don’t use herbs, in our cuisine we still use things like garlic but generally we use spices instead.

This article will introduce you to the 14 different kinds of essential Chinese spices in Chinese cooking. Sometimes you might not see Chinese people use these spices on their own but some of the spices from this list are key ingredients in five-spice powder or Chinese spice pouches.

Illustrated by Liv Wan. All right reserved.

chinese spices poster
amomum tsaoko illustration
  1. Amomum Tsaoko 草果

Amomum Tsaoko is also known as “cao guo” and it grows at high altitudes and in humid and warm areas in Yunnan, China.

Cao Guo tastes spicy, has a strong smell and a strong taste. Because it’s strong in fragrance Chinese people like to use this spice to cook fish, meat and poultry. It can get rid of the odor of the meat, fish and poultry and give it an amazing smell and taste.

Chinese people usually crush this spice before using it in cooking but you can also keep it whole.

Example dishes: Red-cooked beef, Cao guo chicken soup, Sichuan hot pot, red-cooked lamb

bay leaf illustration
  1. Bay Leaf 月桂葉/香葉

Bay leaf is a spice that’s very popular in both Chinese and western cuisine. Chinese people use bay leaf to cook meat because bay leaf can get rid of the odour of the meat. So it’s really popular in Chinese meat cuisine.

Some people also like use bay leaf in Chinese pickled vegetables.

Example Dishes: Any kind of slow cooked meat in Chinese cuisine and pickled vegetables.

cardamon illustration
  1. Cardamom 小荳蔻

When many people think about cardamom they often think about it’s usage in Indian cuisine but it’s also very popular in Chinese and South East Asian cooking. Cardamom is most commonly used in red-cooked beef or any kind of stew. I personally like to use cardamom when I cook “boiled pork with garlic sauce”. I will add 1-2 cardamom and I think it goes perfectly with the pork.

Example Dishes: Beef noodles, beef stew, red-cooked beef, boiled pork with garlic sauce

chenpi illustration
  1. Chenpi 陳皮

Chenpi is one of my favourite spices to use in Chinese cooking. Chenpi is sun-dried tangerine (mandarin) peel. Sometimes people or some of the Chinese supermarkets call this spice “dried orange peel” but it actually is tangerine peel.

Chinese people have used citrus peels in their cuisine since at least the Song Dynasty. I personally use chenpi in red-cooked pork, steamed beef meatballs, marinade roast duck and also in rub for roast duck. I sometimes add chenpi into the syrup and brush it on a duck or chicken before roasting them. Chenpi gives the dish a citrus flavour and kick which makes food taste more interesting and refreshing.

Example dishes: Roast duck, roast chicken, red-cooked pork, steamed beef meatballs

Cinnamon Stick illustration
  1. Cinnamon 肉桂/ 桂皮

Cinnamon is one of the main ingredients of five-spice powder and it’s a spice I use very often in Chinese cooking. Cinnamon is mainly used for braised dishes and stews and I often use cinnamon in red-cooked pork. I also usually use a cinnamon stick rather than ground cinnamon as I’ve found the latter’s quality and taste isn’t as good as a cinnamon stick.

Example dishes: Five-spice powder, red-cooked pork, braised dishes and stew

cloves illustration
  1. Cloves 丁香

Cloves are a very strong and pungent spice. It’s one of the main ingredients of five-spice powder. This spice can be used whole or ground up. It’s a very popular spice in both Western and Chinese cooking.

Example dishes: Five-spice powder, braised or stewed dishes.

Cumin illustration
  1. Cumin 孜然

Cumin is one of my favourite spices in Chinese cooking. I had the great pleasure of visiting Xi’an a couple times and fell in love with their cuisine which uses a lot of cumin. One dish, Xi’an lamb kebab, was simply amazing and since then I’ve fallen in love with this spice.

Cumin is usually used for marinade meat and poultry. You can use it as a rub for bbq lamb, beef and other kinds of meat. You can also use it as a seasoning in stir-fried dishes.

Example dishes: Xian lamb kebab, Cumin stir-fry pork mince, cumin roast chicken

dried chilli illustration
  1. Dried Chilli 乾辣椒/海淑

Dried chili is a popular spice in Sichuan, Guizhou and Hunan cuisine. Dried chili is one of the spice I always have in my pantry because I cook a lot of Sichuan cuisine at home. So Sichuan pepper and dried chili are two spices I can’t live without.

I will cut a dried chili in half before cooking and I will heat up a wok with some oil to stir-fry the dried chili first to allow the fragrance to come out. Then I will add other ingredients to the stir-fry and you end up with a really delicious spicy stir-fry.

Example dishes: Kung Pao Chicken and Sichuan green beans with ground pork

Fennel seed illustration
  1. Fennel Seeds 小茴香

Fennel seeds are one of the main ingredients of five-spice powder. Fennel seeds are also used in braised dishes and stew and is usually used to cook meat and poultry in Chinee cooking.

Example dishes: Five-spice powder, potato and beef stew, five spice peanut

liquorice root illustration
  1. Liquorice Root 甘草

Liqourice root has a mellow sweetness and herby aroma. You can use this spice to season desserts, make drinks and marinade duck or red-cooked pork.

Liqurorice root is also very popular in Chinese medicine.

Example dishes: Syrup for brushing Chinese roast duck, red-cooked pork or other slow cook meat dishes

nutmeg illustration
  1. Nutmeg 肉荳蔻

In some parts of China, nutmeg is a main ingredient of five-spice powder. This spice is also one of the seasonings for Cantonese roast pork.

But please don’t consume too much nutmeg as this could cause some serious medical problems and potentially even kill you.

Example dishes: Cantonese roast pork

sand ginger illustration
  1. Sand Ginger 沙薑

Sand ginger has a spicy, strong flavour and smell. This is a popular spice in South East china and you can use sand ginger to cook chicken, pork and seafood.

Example dishes: Sand ginger chicken, sand ginger crab

sichuan pepper illustration
  1. Sichuan Pepper 花椒

Sichuan pepper is well known for it’s numbing taste. It’s a very popular spice in Sichuan cuisine and it gave Sichuan cuisine a distinctive identity in Chinese cuisine.  Sichuan pepper is a key seasoning spice for Ma Po tofu. Ma in Chinese means “numb”.

You can make Sichuan pepper oil and use it as condiment.  Sichuan pepper is also one of the main ingredients of five-spice powder.

Example dishes: Kung pao chicken, five-spice powder, ma po tofu

Star Anise illustration
  1. Star Anise 八角/ 大料

Star anise plays a very important role in Chinese cooking. It’s also one of the main ingredients of five-spice powder. You can use this spice in braised dishes and stews.

Example dishes: Beef noodle, red-cooked beef, red-cooked pork, tea eggs, Taiwanese stewed eggs

Salt and Pepper Squid

salt and pepper squid

This salt and pepper squid is one of my favourite Chinese Taiwanese snacks and appetizers. On a hot summer’s day I especially enjoy paring this with a nice iced cold beer.

Preparing this dish is very simple. You only need a few ingredients then you can make this dish but please be very careful when you fry the squid as the oil can explode (water on oil effect) and potentially burn you. I personally pad the squid dry after cleaning and washing it because I coat it with corn flour and normal flour.

I personally like to cross-cut the squid because it makes the squid look prettier but if you think cross-cutting is too much hassle then you can either cut it into rings or pieces. Either method is fine.

How to cross-cut squid:

  1. Place the squid tube flat on a cutting board, with the inside facing up.
  2. Score the squid tube with a criss-cross pattern. Cut into rectangular pieces.

How to clean and prepare squid video

Squid health benefits:

  1. Squid contains high levels of copper that can fulfill 90% of the body’s requirements.
  2. Eating squid can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
  3. Squid is high in proteins
  4. Squid is high in Vitamin B2, which also can prevent migraines.
  5. Eating squid can help to stabilize sugar levels in your blood because it contains high levels of vitamin B3.
  6. Squid is a good source of Zinc which can help strengthen the immune system.
  7. Squid is a very good source of vitamin B12, which can lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Even though squid has many health benefits please remember to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you have any medical issues please consult a medical professional.

If you like this recipe please have a look of my cookbook “Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking“.

 

salt and pepper squid

 

 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tubes cross cut a medium to large squid. I only use squid tubes but you can use the whole squid
  • 85 g corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 750 ml oil for the squid
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 chili sauce
  • basil for garnish

Ingredients for Squid Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper

Wasabi mayo dipping sauce ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Procedure for salt and pepper squid

  1. Clean and wash the squid under running cold water. Pad dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Cross-cut the squid and cut into 3-4 cm (on each side) squares.
  3. Marinade the squid with all the ingredient for marinade for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix corn flour, plain flour and all the seasonings.
  5. Heat up oil in a wok or a deep saucepan to around 180C.
  6. Coat the squid with step 4 corn flour mixture.
  7. Gently slide the squid into the hot oil. Please keep your distance and be very careful just incase the hot oil splashes or spits on you.
  8. Deep fry the squid for 30 seconds. You will see the squid curl up and turn a beautiful golden colour.
  9. Put a couple sheets of kitchen towel on a plate and take the squid out of the hot oil and place onto the kitchen towel to get rid of the oil.
  10. Mix the squid with spring onions and chilli. Place on a serving plate and garnish with some basil leaves. Ready to serve.

Procedure for Wasabi Mayo

  1. Mix wasabi with lemon juice first until there are no lumps of wasabi left.
  2. Mix step 1 with mayonnaise until it’s perfectly combined together.

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Salad is always one of the best foods to eat during the summer time. In fact salad is great to eat anytime of the year but one of my favourite summer dishes is this squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce (五味醬). My husband is only now really warming to salad in his mid thirties but I made this the other day and everyone, my daughter included, loved it.

Taiwanese five-flavour sauce is a popular dipping sauce for seafood in Taiwan. Taiwanese people serve this sauce with raw oysters, cooked prawns, cooked squid, octopus and mussels. You will see this sauce in every seafood restaurant in Taiwan.

This five-flavour sauce as the name suggests embraces five different flavours; sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and pungent. I added some olive oil to this recipe because I hope people can use this sauce as a salad dressing rather than just a dipping sauce. You can adjust the amount of seasonings as per your personal preference. I found the kitchen I got from the supermarkets here in the UK is quite sour so sometimes I will add a little extra sugar to make this sauce sweeter. You can replace the vinegar with rice vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar as you wish.

If you are not sure about cross-cutting the squid or you think it’s simply too much hassle or will take too long, then cut the squid into rings or simply dice it. Any method is complete fine. Cooking should be both enjoyable and free and you should never be bounded by a recipe. When I worked as a fine dining chef we were bound by recipes, and that was fine for that cooking scenario, but in my personal cooking I like to improvise a lot. That way rather than eating someone else’s preference you’re discovering your own.

Also if you don’t like boiled or blanched squid, then you can try to chargrill the squid.

I hope you like this simple, quick and delicious salad dish from my home country Taiwan.

 

squid salad and taiwanese five flavour sauce

A little bit of an update about my life:

I’m now working on a few exciting illustration projects right now which is making me really happy but also super busy. As you’ll know I was a full time fine dining chef a few years but I’ve spent the past five years studying illustration to try to turn my life and career around. Now instead of working all kinds of awful hours with poor pay and even worse conditions I’m now able to
dictate how much and when I’m work, so I’m super happy about that.

I’m also trying to find a new home right now. Over five years ago Chris and I working not brilliant jobs and even though Chris’ earnings went up my earnings hadn’t because I sacrificed work to become a student. So right now we’re still renting and we’re looking for not only a bigger flat with more space and a bigger kitchen we’re also looking into catchment areas f
or our daughter’s school.

In case you’re not familiar with a catchment area, in the UK your child can only go to the school designated for the postcode you live in. The small block of flats we live in is fine but the nearest primary school is in Muirhouse which is a really god awful area. Have you ever watched Trainspotting? Well Irvine Welse, the author, is from Muirhouse and the ideas and story
behind Trainspotting came from Muirhouse. Statistically out of 86 primary schools in Edinburgh, our local is the worst. So we need to move.

So right now I work as an illustrator during the day time but at night I’m a food writer and food blogger. So you can imagine I need a really decent size kitchen t work in. My current kitchen is the size of a birdcage so making complex dishes, the ones where you need to cook multiple things at once while having all the space you need for prep, plating etc is really difficult. As it stands we’ve applied for a new housing development being built in a good area of Edinburgh but Edinburgh is so damn expensive nowadays (easily £1000 a month for a 2 bedroom flat) we’re also considering moving just outside of Edinburgh so Amelia can have a garden, we can have a bigger property and we can save money.

So wish me luck finding a new property and hope you like this recipe for Squid Salad with Taiwanese Five-Flavour Sauce.

 

 

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tube clean, wash and cross-cut
  • 140 g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 6 babycorn cut into half
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for five-flavour sauce

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chop
  • 1 tbsp coriander finely chop

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients for five-flavour sauce in a small bowl and leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Boil some water in a saucepan and blanch the broccoli until it’s tender. Take it out from the water and cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  3. Keep the water from blanched broccoli and blanch the baby corn in the same way. Cool down immediately under cold water then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  4. Use step 3 water to blanch squid for 30 seconds then cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water and leave it aside.
  5. Place broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomato and squid on a serving plate and you can drizzle the sauce on top or you can just serve the sauce on the side. So people can use the sauce as dipping sauce.

Green Papaya and Sirloin Salad

Nothing is better on a hot summer day than a big delicious bowl of salad. This green papaya and sirloin steak salad isn’t exactly an authentic Chinese or Taiwanese dish but it’s more like an Asian inspired salad dish that I really like.

As I live in Scotland, we don’t really get any “summer”, at least not the kind of summer that I was used to when I lived in Taiwan or China. In China and Taiwan, the temperature can reach a sweltering 38 degrees or even hotter but in Scotland right now the temperature is around 16 degrees.

I’m still wearing long sleeves as for me it’s still a bit cold. Chris and I were talking about eating hot pot soon as recently it’s been raining quite a lot and every time it rains the temperature drops. Sometimes the temperature can be as low as 8 degrees in Edinburgh on a summer day.

For this you can replace the cucumber, onion and even green papaya for other vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, peppers and celery. You can even try to add in apple or Asian pear if you wish. I improvise my cooking a lot of the time as there are so many ingredients from the East I simply can’t get hold of in the UK so after years of living in Edinburgh I have learnt to improvise and adapt my food to the ingredients I can get here.

green papaya sirloin salad

Also, please feel free to adjust the seasonings for the marinade and sauce. If you want the sauce to be more sour then add more lemon but if you want to cut down the amount of salt you eat then leave the salt out of the sauce.

I garnished this dish with some chopped mint. Mint is hot a herb we usually use in Chinese cuisine but as explained earlier this is an Asian influenced dish so I added mint because I think the flavour of the mint compliments this dish perfectly.

green papaya sirloin salad

If you are not a fan of red meat, you can use chargrill chicken or pork instead of the steak. You can also use prawn or fish to replace the steak and you can even use horseradish instead of wasabi to give the dish a different kind of flavour.

I didn’t use a lot of wasabi in this recipe because I worry maybe it’s too strong for some people’s tastes but I personally really enjoy that special kick the wasabi gives to this recipe so personally I put a lot of wasabi in this dish when I make it at home.

Green Papaya:

green papaya ingredient
green papaya ingredient

You can purchase green papaya in local Chinese/Asian supermarket or Amazon.

You can also use green papaya make a soup. Check out my recipe for green papaya soup on about.com.

To learn about all health benefits of papaya check out this article: http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/papaya-health-benefits/

 

 

Green Papaya and Sirloin Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 700 g sirloin steak
  • 200 g green papaya julienne
  • 70 g cucumber julienne
  • 85 g onion julienne
  • 1 chili remove seeds and julienne
  • Mint just for garnish

Marinade for sirloin steak

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1/4 tsp wasabi
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Marinade the sirloin stead for 30 minutes. If you have time leave it to marinade longer.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce evenly and leave aside.
  3. Mix the julienned green papaya with a couple pinches of salt and leave it aside for at lease 10 minutes.
  4. Chargrill the steak to how you like it then leave it aside to cool down.
  5. Mix all the vegetables together and place on a serving plate.
  6. Slice steak and put on top of the step 5.
  7. You can pour the sauce on top of the steak or pour the sauce on top of the green papaya salad as you wish.
  8. Garnish the dish with some chopped mint and grilled lemon. Ready to serve.