The Chinese New Year isn’t for another several months, but this week it the Year of the Brovsky rang in. We wanted to make a journey to Asia for our food this week.
THE DINNER: It was tricky to make sure we didn’t fall into Americanized cuisine for this country. We knew we wanted to do some kind of spicy dish from China in light of all their famous Szechuan region food. We decided on 香辣炸雞 (Xiāng là zhá jī)which is spicy fried sriracha hoisin chicken. This dish was really simplistic and is currently one of the biggest dishes in everyday Chinese homes. This dish was not only simple, it was very tasty and not outrageously spicy (for those keeping track it was definitely under the spice quotient for our Korean week #4).
The side dish we picked was a standard in Asian food, chow mein. This one was a little bit of a trick, but only because of my soy allergy. We made it a vegetarian version of this side dish also for that same reason. The Chinese call this dish: 蔬菜炒麵 (Shūcài chǎomiàn). We modified this recipe from the one I am going to post below. We wanted to add more veggies and the recipe encourages such departures itself so we took license to add away! We put in bean sprouts and water chestnuts, but after talking it over, if we had it to do over, we would gladly double the Bok Choy and carrots along with adding some sesame oil for extra flavor. The recipe for the soy-free soy sauce is found below also in case any of you have a similar allergy to account for.
We definitely also wanted to add that we made some steamed white rice to accompany the spicy chicken to soak up some of the sauce and cut the spice of that main dish in a way that we didn’t think would pair well with the chow mein.
There was much dancing and singing in the kitchen this Sunday when mom decided to turn on the music. The sous chefs for the weekend were the handsome men of country music: Kenny, Keith, Luke and Hunter were all in attendance 😉
Spicy fried sriracha hoisin chicken recipe: http://www.happyjackeats.com/2012/03/slow-burn-with-spicy-sriracha-chicken.html
Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/chow-mein-chinese-noodles-recipe/
Soy-Free Soy Sauce Substitute recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/soy-sauce-substitute/
Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five for the Dinner.
The spicy hoisin chicken wasn’t very difficult, and as mentioned above, the ingredient list was cake. It was quick and really had no outrageous demands on time or prep. It didn’t need to be babysat or coddled to boot. So for the chicken we give a ONE out of five. The remaining THREE stars of difficulty go to the chow mein for the main reason it had more ingredients and with the noodles you definitely can’t turn a blind eye and hope they turn out okay. Those bad boys will become gummy, icky mush if you let them escape your attention. Also the chow mein required the addition of our homemade soy-lee sauce so that added into the chaos a bit. For those that aren’t soy-less, this might be a little easier for you. Lots more cutting of veggies and such for the chow mein contributed to the score.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for the Dinner.
Chicken and Chow Mein… what is more poetic as far as Asian cuisine is concerned? Be advised that you can up the aunty for the spice should your little srirachia loving hearts desire it to be so. We were tangy and content with the recipe regulated spice (though I have been well known to pile on the peppers, so I wouldn’t put it past us on a revist to this meal.) Mom commented that the chicken might be better handled with chopsticks and crisp up better on pan frying if cubed and not stripped. The chow mein needed a little something… we decided definitively that this was MOREEEEEE veggies and possibly some sesame sauce to the pan fried portion of those noodles to make the flavor stand out more. Overall, though it was incredibly satisfying trip to China.
What’s up next, you ask? Well, we realized in paroozing our map that we have yet to visit our friends in the middle eastern countries. We apologize for the over-site and set out to remedy this with the cuisine of Saudi Arabia next week!! Perhaps we will have to watch Anne of A Thousand Days or Lawrence of Arabia while we cook next week?? Maybe we will just have to watch Aladin in memory of Robin Williams too.
Enjoy Every Bite of Life!
– L & K