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When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for December 28th, 2008

28

Dec

2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is an American favorite! Sweet and Sour Chicken also happens to be my very favorite dish growing up. I often request it in advance when headed home for the holidays. You may also substitute the chicken with pork.

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 small yellow onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
3 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a frying pan)

Batter:
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 can of pineapple chunks (8 oz., including juice)

Preparation:
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Cut green bell pepper into 1 inch squares and onion into 1 inch chunks. In a large bowl, mix the batter ingredients together until smooth. Add chicken cubes to batter, coating each piece well and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside. In another small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.

To Cook:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 3 cups of oil in a wok or deep fryer. When the oil is hot, drop in one piece of chicken at a time. Deep-fry about 1/3 of chicken cubes at one time until light brown. Transfer onto a cookie sheet and keep hot in the oven for up to 15 minutes. The chicken will continue cooking and become crisp. Be cautious not to over bake, otherwise the chicken will become too tough.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick wok over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add green peppers and onions. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add the dissolved cornstarch. Cook and stir until the sauce has thickened and becomes clear. Remove the chicken cubes from the oven and add to the sauce and vegetables. Stir and mix well. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


28

Dec

2008

Spicy Green Beans

Szechuan-style green beans are my favorite Chinese veggie side dish. It was only recently however that I realized that those healthy green beans are deep-fried before stir-fried in restaurants. No wonder they tasted so good!?! Here’s a spicy and delicious alternative we now make at home minus the frying oil.

1 pound fresh green beans
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon dried crushed red chili peppers
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce*
1 teapsoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Wash and break off the stringy tips of the green beans and discard. Break each green bean in half. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown garlic and red chili peppers for a few seconds. Add green beans. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until all the liquid is nearly absorbed and the green beans are tender, approx. 14 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 17 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans.  Sold in jars or bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets.  After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.

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