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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.

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.

 

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.

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

It’s very likely at some point in your life you’ve eaten something sweet and sour. If you’ve eaten sweet and sour you’ve almost certainly eaten Cantonese style sweet and sour and it had either pork or chicken. But have you ever tried “Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork”?

Shanghai style sweet and sour pork is one of my all time favourite dishes and is a dish my grandfather used to cook for me when I was a child. My grandfather was a great cook and this combined with all of his love made me madly fall in love with this dish.

To be very honest with you I’m not really a fan of sweet and sour pork that is made with ketchup (Cantonese style). I just think ketchup based sweet and sour pork is too strong for me but I love this Shanghai style sweet and sour pork.

This dish uses “black vinegar” instead of rice vinegar and you can use any kind of sugar you want for this dish. I personally prefer to use demerara sugar or rock sugar for this dish because these two types of sugar have much more flavour than caster sugar.

You can use pork ribs cut into small cubes if you want to (I cooked this dish with pork ribs for my upcoming cookbook “Home-Style Chinese Cooking”) or you can use pork belly (my favourite), pork loin or shoulder roast. If you don’t like pork at all you can substitute pork with diced chicken breast.

As of June 2016 I’m finally finished with studying at university and my life over the last five years has been absolutely manic. My illustration business is really busy at the moment and it looks like I’m going to be very busy until next Spring at least. This is making me immensely happy and with my four year old daughter at nursery four whole days a week I’m now making time to update this food blog again. A lot of my illustration work and a lot of my work in general is because of food and I love updating this blog when I can so I’m back.

I also have a third cookbook which I’m going to have published soon. The title of the book is “Home-Style Chinese Cooking” and I have to admit it’s been bloody hard work combining working part time, working and studying as an illustrator as well as raising a four year old energizer bunny but I’m proud of what I’ve created and can’t wait to see the book. Please stay tuned!

 

 

 

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients

  • 800 g pork belly (skinless and cut into cubes)
  • 1.25 litres water (for cooking the pork belly)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 750 ml oil (for deep frying the pork)

Ingredients for marinading the pork belly

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar (you can use caster or rock sugar instead)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black vinegar
  1. Marinade pork belly with marinade for couple hours.
  2. Boil 1.25 litres water and 2 slices of ginger in a stock pot and add pork belly. Bring it to a boil first then simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the water.
  3. Mix step 2 pork belly with all the ingredients for batter.
  4. Heat up 750ml oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Deep fry the pork belly until it’s golden colour, take it out from the oil and drain the oil.
  5. Heat up 3 tablespoon water and 3 tablespoon demerara sugar and cook until the water and sugar turn into thick syrup.
  6. Turn the fire to medium temperature. Add pork belly in and keep stirring for a couple minutes until the syrup looks like it has coated the pork belly.
  7. Add light soy sauce and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add black vinegar and keep stirring for 1 minutes. Ready to serve.

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

crispy chicken with chili sauce

Crispy chicken with chili sauce, known in Chinese as 椒麻雞 is a dish that my grandpa cooked for me often when I was young. I always helped grandpa to grind the Sichuan peppers for this dish with a mortar and pestle. This dish always brings back my earliest kitchen memories. Grandpa used to pan fry the Sichuan peppers first and then give to me to grind. He always told me this method of preparing Sichuan peppers will make the flavour of the pepper stronger and taste much better.

Even now, mortars and pestles still play a very important part in my cooking. It’s a versatile tool and is much cheaper than a hand grinder. You can buy it in a lot of shop.

As you can imagine with the Sichuan peppers, this dish tastes a little bit spicy. You can adjust the percentage of Sichuan peppers and chilis if you can’t eat food that’s too spicy. Here is my little suggestion before you start grinding the Sichuan pepper. Heat up a frying pan or wok without oil and stir-fry the Sichuan pepper at the lowest heat first. Once you start to smell the fragrance then turn off the gas and start grinding it. Don’t burn the Sichuan pepper or the sauce will taste bitter and damage the whole dish.

People boil the chicken for this dish in real Sichuan cuisine but grandpa knew I loved fried chicken (You know, kids love fried chicken. I’m not exceptional lol) so he always fried the chicken for me. This dish works both ways, but I chose fried chicken today because my husband loves it too.

Credits:  Photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken legs de-bone them
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 1 fresh chili remove seeds then chop finely
  • 2 cloves garlic grate finely
  • 1-2 fresh coriander bunches including leaves and stalk. Chop finely
  • 2 tbsp sweet potato starch or potato starch and 2 tbsp flour. Your choice

Seasonings and ingredients for chicken marinade

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Seasonings for chili sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar add 1/4 tsp more sugar if you use white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. De-bone chicken leg and marinade with the seasonings and ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix all the seasonings for spicy sauce with spring onion, chilli, garlic, coriander. Mix them evenly and leave for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Coat the chicken with sweet potato powder. Heat up a wok with 2~3 cups of oil. The oil temperature should be around 150℃ and deep fry the chicken at a low heat for 5 minutes. Take out the chicken and heat up the oil again with full gas power. Deep fry the chicken until it’s crispy with a slightly golden colour.
  4. Place the chicken on a plate and pour the dressing on the top to serve.