Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chinese Cooking

A sister in my ward recently shared all her great tips and tricks and recipes for chinese food.  I just decided to copy and paste the entire packet that they handed out at our meeting so you can try the recipes for yourself!  Some of them call for interesting ingredients, but it's totally worth the $2-3 dollars for them because they will last a while and they make such a difference!  So far I have made 2 of these recipes with raving reviews- I can't vouch for the rest.  But the two I tried are Beef with Broccoli and Garlic Cashew Chicken.  Enjoy!

Chinese Cooking
The 5 step cooking process:
1. Do all your prep work first- chop vegetables then meat to avoid contamination
2. Mix sauce ingredients in separate container; set aside
3. Cook meat; remove from pan
4. Cook vegetables
5. Add meat back in and sauce; bring to boil. Enjoy!
Things to keep in mind:
  1. Asian ingredients are naturally very salty. You shouldn’t ever need to add additional salt. If you want to lower the salt content, look for reduced-sodium or lite soy sauce.
  2. Be adventurous! Some ingredients or flavor combinations may be unfamiliar or seem strange, but just try it! Chinese food is all about opposites.
  3. Do all your chopping first. You can even do it earlier in the day and store in the fridge for later.
  4. Cook everything on as high heat. You want quick searing of your meat and vegetables to avoid soaking up too much oil. You need to constantly stir ingredients to avoid scorching.
  5. The oil measurements in these recipes are approximate. Use as little as you think is necessary and based on the “stickiness” of your pan. Heat your oil until it shimmers before adding ingredients. You can use vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. You may also substitute part (but not all) with sesame seed oil. Sesame oil is very strong so a little goes a long way.
  6. Place any meat in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before slicing for easier handling. Pat any meat dry with paper towel before battering or adding to hot pan. Slice beef at a 45 degree angle and against the grain. Don’t overcook your beef. It will continue the cooking process as it rests and when you add it back in with the sauce. You want it tender and juicy.
  7. My family does not like any spice in their food so none of these recipes include any heat. If you like spicy food, add red pepper flakes or Chinese red garlic chili sauce (Sriracha sauce).
  8. You can always substitute vegetables. If you don’t have one or your family doesn’t like a particular ingredient, omit or substitute. Chinese cooking is a great way to empty your refrigerator! Vegetables that work well are any combination of onions, bell peppers, carrots, green onions, mushrooms, celery, pea pods, zucchini, etc. You can also substitute frozen vegetables for fresh ones when in a hurry. Try to avoid already-seasoned vegetables as they may not mix well with the flavors in your dish.
  9. Thin out sauces with chicken (or beef) broth or stock if sauce reduces too much for your liking.
  10. You have to chop fresh ginger root very, very small. I peel then grate mine with a hand-grater to avoid any large chunks.
  11. Add water chestnuts or nuts such as cashews or peanuts to give texture and additional flavor.
  12. Garnish your dishes with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, or chopped cilantro (Chinese parsley).
  13. Serve dishes over your favorite rice or noodles. Noodle possibilities include dry Chinese-style egg noodles, linguini, or whole wheat pasta. Mix soft noodles directly in your dish to make a Lo Mein. If you fry the noodles before adding, it’s called Chow Mein
Ham Fried Rice
Zandra Wangsgard
*These measurements are not exact; rather you should base it on how much rice you have and how “busy” you want your fried rice. Make sure your rice is cold or it will get mushy as you fry it. This is all about using up those leftovers!
- 4 pieces bacon, sliced 1/2 inch wide                - 2 green onions, chopped small
- 1/2 C onion, chopped small                        - 1/2 C cooked ham, chopped into 1/2 inch squares
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced                        - 3 eggs, scrambled
- 2-3 cups COLD cooked rice                        - Soy sauce to taste
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil                                - 1 tsp chicken bouillon (optional)
- 1 can corn, drained                                 
1. In a small skillet, scramble eggs until almost done (they will continue to cook when you add them to the hot rice). Set aside.
2. In a wok or large skillet, cook bacon over high heat until about half-way cooked. Add onion and celery and continue cooking on high, stirring constantly, until bacon is crisp and onions are translucent. Do not drain.
3. Add rice and sesame oil and quickly stir to combine, breaking any clumps apart with your mixing spoon. Add corn, green onions, ham and eggs. Continue stirring until heated through.
4.  Drizzle in soy sauce to taste (I usually do about a Tbsp) and chicken bouillon if desired.
Quick Honey-Glazed Chicken Stir Fry
Zandra Wangsgard
(Feel free to substitute fresh vegetables for the frozen blend. You may need to add a little water to the wok when cooking the fresh vegetables to steam. This recipe comes together quickly by sauteing the chicken in some sauce instead of battering and frying it.)
- 6 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 C soy sauce
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces, sprinkled with pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp cold water or chicken broth
- 1/2 package (8oz of a 16oz pack) frozen stir-fry vegetable blend

1. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce and ginger (not the cornstarch and water yet). Set aside.

2.  In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 2 tsp of oil. Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Stir-fry chicken over high heat. When chicken is about half-way done, add 2 Tbsp of soy sauce/honey/ginger mixture and garlic. *(Depending on how big your pan is. you may need to cook chicken in two batches. You should only add in as much chicken as you have room for- don’t overcrowd the pan or your won’t get a good sear)*. Cook and stir until chicken juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Discard any chicken juices that may remain in pan.
3. In the same pan, stir-fry the vegetables in 2 tsp oil for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Return chicken to the pan; mix well. Add cornstarch and water into remaining sauce mixture and stir until smooth. Add to chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
Sweet and Sour Chicken (or Pork)
Zandra Wangsgard
- 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks, juice reserved                - 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/3 C sugar                                                        - 1/2 C cornstarch, seasoned with pepper
- 1/4 C vinegar                                                - 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch                                                - 1 green pepper, cut in 1/2 in. pieces
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce                                                - 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon                                        - Cooking oil
- 1 lb chicken or pork, cubed        
1. For sauce, drain pineapple juice from pineapple can into a glass measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in sugar, vinegar, 2 T cornstarch, soy sauce and chicken bouillon. Set aside.
2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large skillet or wok. Pour cornstarch and eggs into separate shallow bowls. Dry chicken with paper towel. Dip in cornstarch mixture, THEN in egg. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil in small batches, carefully turning until completely cooked through. Remove from pan. Wipe out any excess oil from pan.
3. Heat 2 tsp oil over high heat. Add carrots and peppers and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute until garlic is fragrant but not burnt. Add sauce to vegetables; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Sauce should darken in color. Stir in chicken and pineapple and cook until heated through.

Garlic Cashew Chicken

Zandra Wangsgard
4 Tbsp hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water or chicken stock
dash of sesame oil
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp oil, divided
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped into large pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in oven about 4 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, mix hoisin sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, water, and sesame oil. Set aside.
3. In a wok or large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over high heat until hot. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and add to the skillet with remaining 1 Tbsp soy sauce; Stir-fry until almost cooked through. Add garlic and 1/2 of the green onion and cook 1 minute or until just cooked through. Remove from pan, drain on paper towel, and set aside.
4. Stir-fry remaining green onions, zucchini, and mushrooms in 1 Tbsp oil until crisp-tender.
5. Return chicken to pan. Add sauce mixture and stir until sauce thickens and darkens. Stir in cashews.
Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
Zandra Wangsgard
*(If you like extra sauce, double the sauce ingredients - pour half over the chicken and follow the baking directions and pour the other half in a small saucepan. Cook the sauce on the stove over medium heat until it simmers and thickens. Add a slurry of cornstarch and water if you want it thicker.)
- 2/3 C sugar                                        - 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut 1 1/2 in chunks        
- 1/2 C vinegar                                - 1/2 C cornstarch        
- 1/4 C ketchup                                - Salt and pepper
- 3 T soy sauce                                - 2 eggs, beaten                                                
- 1 tsp garlic powder                                - 1/4 C oil
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated                - 2 green onions, chopped
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. For sauce, combine sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic powder and ginger. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in large skillet. Pour cornstarch into a shallow bowl and season with salt and lots of pepper. Beat eggs in separate shallow bowl. Dry chicken with a paper towel and dip in cornstarch mixture, THEN in egg. Drop chicken pieces in hot oil  and cook until light brown crust forms but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle green onions over chicken.
4. Pour sauce over chicken and bake for about 20 minutes. Then use tongs to flip chicken pieces over. Continue baking for another 20 minutes or or until chicken is cooked through (depends on how big your chicken pieces are). Garnish with some fresh green onions and serve over rice and with a side of fresh pineapple.
Variation: Baked Orange Chicken
Use same preparation for the chicken as above (Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken), except use the following sauce (you shouldn’t need to double this sauce recipe). Follow same baking instructions.
Orange Chicken sauce:
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C chicken broth or stock
1/2 C water
1/3 C fresh orange juice (about one large orange)
1/3 C rice wine vinegar
1/4 C soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Beef With Ginger and Bell Peppers
Zandra Wangsgard

- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp oyster flavor sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 C beef broth or cold water
- 1 lb Flank Steak, thinly sliced 2 inches long
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 orange pepper (or any combination of bell peppers), sliced thin
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped large
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (depending on how much you like the flavor)
- 4 tsp oil
1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, oyster flavor sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, cornstarch and water/broth. Set aside.
2. In a wok, heat 2 tsp oil with a slice of fresh ginger (to flavor the oil) until hot. Dry flank steak with paper towel and add to pan along with garlic and cook until pink is almost gone. Remove from pan, discarding any pan juices. Discard ginger slice.
3. Heat 2 tsp oil. Add peppers, onions, and ginger; cook for 2-3 minutes, until onions start to soften. Add sauce and meat. Cook until sauce is thickened and bubbly.
Beef Stir-fry
Zandra Wangsgard
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch                                - 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp sugar                                        - 1 carrot, thinly sliced or 1 C shredded carrots
- 1/3 cup soy sauce                                - 1 cup sugar snap peas or other pod vegetable
- 1/4 cup apple juice                                - 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 tsp grated ginger                                - 2 Tbsp oil, divided
- 1 lb lean beef, thinly sliced                        - 1/2 can water chestnuts, drained
- 2 cups broccoli florets                                
1. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, juice and ginger until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a wok or large skillet, dry then brown beef in 1 T oil and garlic over high heat until pink is barely visible (only about 3 minutes). Remove from skillet and keep warm. Discard any liquid in skillet.
3. Add 1 Tbsp oil and stir fry broccoli, carrots, pea pods and onion over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add water chestnuts. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender.
4. Add beef and sauce to vegetable mixture. Cook until sauce boils and thickens.
Beef with Broccoli
Zandra Wangsgard
- 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp oyster flavor sauce
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (if desired for heat)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 Tbsp oil
- 1 lb flank steak sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, sliced or chopped large
- 2 cups broccoli crowns (slice the stalk thinly- yes, you can eat that too!- and crowns in bite-size pieces)
1. Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a wok or large skillet, dry with paper towel then cook meat in hot 1/2 T oil. Add garlic half-way through and continue until pink is almost gone. Remove from pan and set aside. Discard any pan juices.
3. Add remaining oil and cook onions and red peppers for 3 minutes. Add broccoli (stalk and crowns). Add a little water to skillet on high heat and cover for about a minute or until broccoli reaches desired doneness. Uncover and add sauce and meat. Allow sauce to thicken and darken in color, stirring frequently.
Soy Sauce-Ginger BBQ chicken
Tricia Turner
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. powdered ginger
2 t. parsley
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. curry
dash pepper
Combine all ingredients and use to marinate chicken breasts overnight. Grill on the BBQ.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Kristy Southwick
3-4 chicken breasts
1 can of water chestnuts, diced small
3-4 Tablespoons of Kikkoman's teriyaki marinade and sauce
Cook the chicken and shred with a fork when cooked through.
1. Add water chestnuts and onions, vegetables, or whatever else you might like. (We've done broccoli or carrots and it was good.)
2. Add enough teriyaki sauce to cover the chicken and leave a little extra juice. You can also season your chicken as it cooks.
3. Feel free to experiment with different spices and flavors. If you want it to be sweeter try putting in a little bit of honey.
4. Serve over rice on a lettuce leaf. Enjoy!
Egg Rolls
Karen Mortensen
1-2 lbs. ground beef or turkey or chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
chopped veggies (carrots, cabbage, celery, squash, broccoli)
1 T fresh ginger
1/2 c soy sauce
wonton wraps

Cook meat until done.  Add soy sauce; cook to absorb flavor.  Add veggies and ginger.  Cook until carrots are done.  Roll in wrappers.  (can get seams a bit wet to make them stick better)  Be careful not to add too much liquid!  Fry in 2 inches oil, seam side down, until all sides are done.  Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad
Recipe by former ward member Jessica Knab
2-4 cups of oil for frying
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1/2 carrot, julienne or shredded
1 green onion, sliced
1 T sliced almonds
1/3 cup chow mien noodles
3 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
4 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp sesame seed oil
Using an electric mixer, blend together all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Put the dressing in the fridge to chill while you prepare the salad.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or frying pan over medium heat. You want the temperature of the oil to be around 350 degrees. If using a frying pan, the oil should be around 1/2 inch deep. More oil can be used in a deep fryer so that the chicken is immersed. In a small, shallow bowl beat the egg, add the milk, and mix well. In another bowl combine the flour with the cornflake crumbs, salt and pepper. Cut the chicken breast into 4-5 long strips, Dip each strip of chicken into the egg mixture then into the flour/cornflake mixture, coating each piece completely. Fry each chicken finger for 5 minutes or until the coating has darkened to brown.
Prepare the salad by tossing the romaine with the red cabbage, Napa cabbage, and carrot. Sprinkle the green onion on top of the lettuce mixture. Sprinkle the almonds over the salad, then the chow mien noodles. Cut the chicken into bite size chunks. Place the chicken on the salad, forming a pile in the middle.
Serve with the salad dressing on the side.