Sunday, May 15, 2011

My very own ChineseTake Out

As I had mentioned in my first post, I love cooking Asian food and when cooking just for myself it is a go to option for me. A bowl of stir fried vegetables and a small quantity of fish or chicken over steamed rice is as close as it gets to a perfect lunch. Fresh vegetables make the best stir-fries since they are cooked so briefly. Hence I use whatever looks the freshest in my refrigerator and has a nice contrast of textures and flavors. The combinations are endless when you mix and match with a few different Asian sauces.

For today's takeout lunch, I combined some spring asparagus,with crunchy celery, soft mushrooms and sweet carrots to make a delicious dish and paired it with a fragrant lemongrass chicken.
Stir fried vegetables and Lemongrass chicken

Stir fried vegetables with Oyster Sauce

2 thick spears of asparagus, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 large button mushrooms cut into quarters
1 stick of celery, cut on the bias into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 organic carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
3/4 tablespoon oyster sauce or mushroom oyster sauce
3/4 tablespoon low sodium tamari sauce
1 tablespoon chinese rice wine
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
4 tablespoon water or stock
1 tablespoon canola oil

1.  Blanch the carrot for 3 minutes in boiling hot water or place them in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2.  Heat a medium skillet with canola oil over high heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute for 30 seconds till it is aromatic. Add the chopped vegetables and carrots, and toss till they are well coated with the oil and garlic mixture. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the rice wine. Cook till the wine evaporates - approximately 30 seconds. Add the oyster sauce, tamari sauce and sugar and mix well. Add the water and cook over medium heat till the vegetables are cooked but still retain their crispness.

3.  Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

Lemongrass Chicken

4 organic chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 tablespoon fish sauce ( I use Megachef brand from Australia. It has a very smooth finish)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 stalk lemongrass, white and tender parts only, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/4 cup water

1.  Marinate the chicken with fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and garlic in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

2.  In the meantime, make a puree of the lemongrass and the onion - it should be fairly smooth, so that the sauce will not taste fibrous from the lemon grass.

3.  Heat a small skillet over medium high heat with the  canola oil. Add the chicken pieces and brown a bit for a couple of minutes. Add the lemongrass and onion puree and cook till the mixture cooks down and is almost dry, but not burnt. Add the agave nectar and the water and scrape off the brown bits to form a sauce. Cook for a minute or so and serve with the stir fried vegetables and rice.

Serves 1

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