Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet potato peppers and onion fritters

I'm submitting this recipe to ncsweetpotatoes.com

Here's the recipe:

2 cup sweet potato cut into strips
2 Tbsp green onion
1/2cup vidalia onions, sliced
2 Tbsp red bell pepper
1 cup tempura flour
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

Combine tempura flour and water. Mix in sweet potatoes, green onions, vidalia onions, red bell peppers.
Drop by tablespoon into hot oil and cook fritters. Serve immediately with rice wine vinegar dip.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crispy Beef Wonton Appetizers

In Chinese, dimsum is often translated as "to touch your heart". It consists of a variety of small dumplings made of meats, veggies and other delicacies. Traditionally they are served with tea but like hors d'oeuvres they are tiny portions served hot or cold as appetizers. Steamed meat dumplings dipped in soy-citrus sauce are very tasty but my personal favorite is fried dumplings dipped in sweet chili sauce. Dumplings are delightful, comfort food. They're easy to make and freeze well. When you are ready to fry them, take them out of the freezer and let them sit for a while in the fridge to thaw so the oil w
on't splatter during frying.

Most of the time I include some finely chopped cabbage to my beef wontons to keep them very moist but today I decided to make it pure beef and onion for the recipe I am submitting to
Weekend Wokking. The host this month is Palachinka and the secret ingredient for April is Beef


1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 c onion, chopped

2 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sesame chili oil

1 tbsp flour

1 beaten egg white

Wrapper: Thawed wonton wrappers

Dipping sauce:Bottled sweet chili sauce


1. Combine beef, onions, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder and sesame chili sauce.

2. Lay a wonton wrapper on a flat surface and brush with the beaten egg white. Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Take the four corners of the wrapper and bring them up to the center to form a pyramid shape. Press together where the edges meet to seal the shape. Make sure no air is trapped inside as you seal the edges. You can do this by pressing around the filling to vent out air bubbles. This will allow the wontons to keep their shape and prevent them from ballooning up when fried.
Make sure the oil is hot before gingerly placing the wontons in the oil to avoid oil splattering.

3. Deep fry till light golden brown in color. Serve with the sweet chili sauce as dip.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken Lo mein


Chinese Lo mein noodles are not readily available in our local stores. I was shopping at the Food Pyramid yesterday and was delightfully surprised when I found a box of China Boy Lo Mein Noodles at their specialty food section. The recipe at the back of a box called for pea pods, water chestnuts and baby corn. I only had bok choy, carrots and red bell pepper so I used them instead.

Grace Young, author of The Breath of a Wok quotes Martin Yan that the secret to restaurant chinese cooking is fierce heat which seals in the flavor of food. "Chinese restaurant stove has at least five times the heat of an American restaurant stove (at 15000 to 30000 BTUs)", says Martin Yan.

I have a regular gas stove so the final dish did not have the intense "restaurant wok-hai" flavor which is achieved only by stir frying over extremely high heat allowing the flames to actually enter the wok and impart a distinct smoky aroma to the dish. Still, this Chinese Lo mein dish was very good.

1-8 oz box China Boy Lo mein noodles, boiled 3-4 minutes and drained well
1 1/2 lb chicken tenders, cut into strips
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch baby bok choy
1 carrot, cut into strips
1/3 cup red bell pepper, cut in strips
3 Tbsp cornstarch
5 Tbsp soy sauce
5 Tbsp sherry or chinese rice wine
4 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 c chicken stock
4 tsp sesame oil
a dash of red pepper flakes

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. Place 1 tbsp oil in wok. Stir fry chicken strips, garlic and onions until chicken is almost cooked. Add remaining oil and stir fry carrots, bell pepper and bok choy. Mix 1/2 of the sauce into the vegetables and transfer this to a dish and set aside. Place the rest of the sauce into the wok and add cooked noodles. Stir fry until noodles are coated with the sauce. Plate noodles and top with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Garnish with green onions.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Breakfast Potato Turkey Bacon Hash

... ....

I was thinking of a hearty breakfast for Teen when I remembered I had leftover fries in the freezer so I made this breakfast hash/omelet full of his favorite things. The fries were from a huge order of Chicken Strip Meal Teen ordered at Dairy Queen. The service was so slow, it took forever for his order to come. Teen was due to play in a basketball game at 2:00 p.m. and it was already 1:50 p.m. by the time it was brought to him. Teen barely scarfed down two of the chicken strips and then we had to rush to the courts. He did not even touch the fries and I was reluctant to throw them away so we brought them home. The next morning, to make the frozen fries more appealing, I diced and tossed them in a pan with some canola oil to make them crispy. What a huge difference it made to the texture of the hash! It is nothing fancy but this breakfast hits the spot! You can also make this recipe with frozen potato hash from the store.

Here's the recipe for Breakfast Potato and Turkey Bacon Hash.

1 cup frozen fries, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup shredded fiesta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped bell peppers
1 stalk green onions
2 strips Turkey bacon, diced
2 beaten eggs
1 fresh tomato, diced
black pepper to taste

In an iron skillet, toss the diced frozen fries in the oil and when the fries become very crispy, take them out and set aside. Add the diced turkey bacon into the pan and let it crisp up a bit (not too much or it will dry out). Add back the potatoes to the pan, then the beaten eggs, diced bell peppers, green onions and black pepper. Top with the diced tomatoes and cheese. Serve right away with toast or steamed rice. Either way, it's good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Texas Waffle

... ....

Over the weekend, we headed to Big Sandy/Gladewater for the East Texas Basketball Weekend. Teen and friends were going against a Houston basketball team on Sunday. There was a dance on Saturday evening after church potluck so we stayed the night at Quality Inn in Longview, TX. In the morning, we decided to eat breakfast at their restaurant. Their free continental breakfast offering was surprisingly varied and fresh. There was oatmeal, fruits, hardboiled eggs, yoghurt, danish pastries, mini cupcakes, doughnuts and bagels. There was also a hot breakfast option consisting of scrambled eggs, sausage and biscuits but I was drawn to the Belgian waffles because it was so unique! See for yourself----it's in the shape of Texas! I dabbed grape jelly to mark the spot where you can find East Texas!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Almond Orange Chicken and Veggies

Orange Chicken is popular in many Chinese restaurants but my family does not really care for the sticky, overwhelmingly sweet or pungent flavor of orange chicken sauce. My Almond Orange Chicken and Veggies is a milder version, more salty than sweet with a gentle almond flavor. For added crunch and flavor, the chicken is has a light coating of flour and chopped almonds and is paired with broccoli and carrots. The sauce is loosely adapted from a copycat orange chicken recipe. If you're in a rush, you may also use store-bought chicken nuggets and just make the sauce.

Here's the recipe I'm submitting to Weekend Wokking, created by Wandering Chopsticks. The host this month is Blazing Hot Wok. The secret ingredient for March is Almonds.

For the chicken:
4 chicken breast fillets, cut into chunks
salt and pepper
1 egg white (beaten)
1 Tbsp flour + 3 tsp finely chopped almonds
oil for frying

For the veggies:
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup carrot slices
1 cup water

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp green onions
1 tbsp Shaoshing rice wine
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
a few drops of sesame oil
Siracha (hot sauce) to taste
8 orange slices
2 tsp almond slices

Season chicken chunks with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in beaten egg white and roll lightly in flour-almond mixture. If you prefer, you can also use store-bought chicken nuggets and fry them till golden brown.

In a wok, heat canola oil to 350 F. When oil is hot enough, add chicken a few at a time and cook till lightly golden brown. Since the chicken is lightly coated, be very careful not to overcook the chicken as it will get tough. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boil then blanch broccoli and carrots for about 3 minutes and quickly transfer veggies to ice cold water.

Clean wok and add 1 tbsp canola oil. Stir-fry garlic and ginger, then the green onions. Add orange juice, rice wine, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch. Let the sauce thicken then remove wok from the stove. Stir in sesame oil, Siracha hot sauce, chicken, broccoli and carrots, orange slices, and almond slices. Serve immediately with steamed rice.