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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.

General Tso Chicken Recipe

General Tso chicken is a really popular Chinese dish all over the world. There are several stories behind this dish but my favourite is about General Tso‘s son who is a drug addict. During a period of time when the Chinese government tried to ban people from using opium, General Tso was really worried about his son so he lost all of his appetite. General Tso‘s chef was really worried about him so he made up this chicken dish and hoped the flavours from this dish would help General Tso to enjoy food again.

 

authentic general tso chicken
I honestly don’t know if this dish actually helped General Tso or not but this dish and the story has certainly helped my appetite after recent events that have happened.

On the 30th August my father passed away after suffering a heart attack. He needed open heart surgery but due to other underlying health issues which needed fixing first he wasn’t able to make it to surgery and suffered a heart attack at home from he sadly passed. So one week after he died I flew back to Taipei for three weeks to sort out his funeral and other family things.

The last time I spoke to him was just two days before he passed away and on that day he looked well so when I received the news on the 30th I completely broke down and I’m still in total shock one month on. Right now I’m suffering badly. I’m completely depressed, I have no will to illustrate and I can’t even think about going back to work right now. During the last conversation I had with my father on Skype the only positive I can give is that he saw Amelia playing and being really happy. A lot of my conversation was me complaining about my work situation. I won’t name where I work but suffice to say as a part time worker and a woman working conditions are pretty awful. We don’t get breaks and the more senior chefs bully the junior and part time chefs. I could honestly write a whole book about the disgusting things that have been said to myself and other colleagues but of course this conversation has left me riddled with guilt. Why couldn’t I have been more positive or even told him I loved him? Now I don’t have a chance to do so. Even the day before he passed away he told my mother that he was really worried about me and my mother.

After my father passed, all I have left from him is his diary and on every single page he wrote about how much he loved me and wished he could spend more time with me. He felt like he never did a good job in raising or looking after me but now he has passed I really understand that he was a great father and did the absolute best he could despite all the problems he faced. But still, even now I wish I could tell him once more how great he was, how much I loved him and tell him about all the great memories I have with him.

Right now, all I want to do is curl into a ball and hide inside my bedding. But unfortunately, life has to move on. I still have my family to look after, although my husband has been great with his support, and I still need to complete my University degree which my father always wanted me to achieve. I was expecting he and my step mum (I refer to her as my mum as she is 1000x times a better mother than my birth mother) would come to the UK to see my graduation. This won’t happen now.

So. Food has always been a big comfort for me and I feeling cooking (not for work) and eating is one of the best remedies when you feel sad. While I was back in Taipei my grandmother cooked a lot for me and her food always has a tremendous amount of love in it, so that was a huge comfort and really helped me. So I’ve decided to start cooking for my food blog again to try to help me find some peace. I love cooking for myself and my family and I’ve always loved sharing recipes and receiving wonderful feedback so here is my first dish for this blog in a really long time.

I’m really sorry this is not a happy blog post but no matter, I really wanted to share this really simple but really delicious recipe with you. I’ve got a whole load of new recipes in the pipeline so I promise there won’t be anymore five month gaps between posts in the future.

As a final note, for General Tso chicken you can adjust the usage of sugar if you would like this to be a little sweeter.

 

General Tso Chicken Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 500 g chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 chilis remove the seeds and slice 3cm lengthways
  • 2 spring onions slice 2-3cm lengthways
  • 1 ltr oil to fry the chicken. Use sunflower or vegetable oil

Seasonings for chicken thigh fillet marinade

  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 egg beaten
  • 2 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tsp oil sunflower or olive oil

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken thigh fillets into big dices and marinade with seasonings for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat up 1 liter of oil in a wok and add one chicken dice at a time into the wok. Fry until the chicken turns golden brown in colour. Drain any liquid/oil from the chicken and leave aside.
  3. Mix all the seasonings in a bowl. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir fry the chilli for 20 seconds until the fragrance comes out of the wok.
  4. Add the chicken into the wok and stir fry for 10 seconds. Pour the seasonings form the bowl into the wok and stir fry until the sauce has reduced down. Add spring onion and stir fry it for 10 seconds.  Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil and add a little bit of ground pepper. The dish is ready to serve.

 

Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Hello everyone, I’m back!

It has been a very long time since my last blog post. I’ve finally completed my Lauriston Castle 2013 workshop brochure for Edinburgh council. That project went very well and I’ve learnt a lot and gained a lot of interesting and valuable experience working as an illustrator. Here is the link for the images I created for this brochure. Please have a look if you have interest.

My life has been very busy with Amelia, work, college and building up my freelance illustrator business. A lot of the time I really wish I have 36 hours in a day instead of 24 hours. Because of deadlines for various projects as well as work and family commitments I haven’t even been able to celebrate Chinese New Year this year. But even though I didn’t celebrate Chinese New Year in the traditional way I still managed to cook a couple really simple recipes, one of which I’ll share with you now.

Do you remember my Chinese new year dishes last year? I explained that Chinese people like  foods that have a lucky meaning behind them, especially when celebrating Chinese New Year.

Today’s dish is Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken. In Chinese language, chestnut is pronounced  “li-zi” (栗子) and “Li” sounds like the other Chinese word, which means “profit” also could mean “mean”. So people will feel really happy when they have this dish in Chinese new year dinner.

Here is the recipe for Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken and I hope you will be very happy, very healthy in this coming year.

braised chinese chestnut chicken

 

 

Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs de-bone and cut into big dice
  • 1 pack chestnut I like Merchant Gourmand whole peeled chestnuts
  • 2 pieces ginger
  • 3 spring onion
  • 3 cloves garlic

Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup rice wine
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Heat up 1 table spoon oil in the wok and stir fry ginger, spring onion and garlic. Add sugar in the wok when you can smell the fragrant.
  2. Add chicken after the sugar is melted. Stir fry it until chicken’s colour turn into golden brown.
  3. Add all the seasonings and boil it. Add chestnut once the sauce is boiled.
  4. Reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry and it’s ready to serve.

 

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

chicken chow mein

My friends and family are always fascinated to know what kind of food Chris and I eat at home. Most people think we eat really posh Chinese food, like we have a large feast with peking duck, dumplings and so forth, but actually most of the time we eat fairly simple food and often a lot of junk.

While we both love eating Taiwanese and Chinese food, especially Chris, usually once a week we eat an amazing 14” pizza from Asda but the rest of the time we eat things like chow mein.

Listening to people while I’ve been living in the UK, a lot of people are really fascinated about chow mein and think it’s a really complicated dish, but for me it’s a simple, tasty and quite importantly, a cheap meal.

Chow mein in my country is like chicken and mushroom pie here. It’s just normal food. So, for my loyal readers, this is what we eat on a very regular basis. If it’s not this, it will be something equally simple like fried rice or Korean fast noodle. Sadly Taiwanese fast noodles, which are simply awesome, are very difficult (if not impossible) to buy here.

 

Chicken Chow Mein

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 Chili chop really finely
  • 2 Spring Onions chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 pepper any colour, I used green
  • 50 g Chinese white chive cut 2cm lengthways
  • 150 g Chinese dried noodles available in any Chinese supermarket

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Couple pinches Black Pepper

Marinade for the chicken

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into fine stripes and marinade for 30 minutes at least.
  2. Julienne the carrot and green pepper.
  3. Cook the Chinese dried noodle in a pot of boiling water until al dente and rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss through to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
  4. Heat a frying pan with some oil with full strength gas power to fry the chicken breast until the meat turned white colour and turn off the stove and leave it on a side. (At the time of writing this article I haven't found a good wok in the UK. I tried a Ken Hom wok but every time I try to stir fry of food with a bit of potato starch in it it always sticks to the wok really badly, effectively ruining the wok). These woks are completely useless.
  5. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry chilli, spring onion, ginger and garlic first then add all the vegetable. Stir fry all the vegetables until it’s soften.
  6. Add noodle and chicken into wok and keep stir fry for a couple minutes then add all the seasonings for chow mein and give it a good stir fry for another couple minutes.
  7. Place it into a plate and serve.