Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week 6: Chinese (It seemed like a good idea)

It's taken me awhile to post this one, as this is by far the biggest failure of the cooking experiment so far. It was way too stressful - too many ingredients, too much going on at once. By the time everything was done I was exhausted.

And, it just wasn't really that good.

I think I'll stick with eating out or take out when it comes to Chinese.

Adapted from:
Pork and Chive Pot Stickers
Everyday Food
October 2009, pg. 48 - 49
Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes

1/4 lb. ground pork
1 Tbsp. minced chives
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. minced, peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
20 wonton wrappers
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

Combine pork, chives, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, sesame oil, cornstarch, and 1 Tbsp. water.

Place a heaping teaspoon of pork mixture in center of each wonton wrapper. Lightly wet edge of wrapper, fold over, and press to seal. Repeat to form remaining dumplings (makes 20).

In two batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of boiling water until cooked through, 4 minutes; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. In a large nonstick pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. In two batches, cook until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve with dipping sauce.

Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce
Stir together 1/4 C soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. minced, peeled fresh ginger, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. sesame oil. Makes about 1/2 C.

Everything started really good. Don't the dumplings look neat?

Here they are after boiling. Starting to look a little strange.

And, here they are after frying. The frying is definitely where things went wrong.

Overall verdict on the dumplings? Tasty but not tasty enough to justify all the ingredient and all the work.

Adapted from:
Cashew Chicken
Everyday Food
October 2009, pg. 50
Serves 4
Total time: 25 minutes + marinating

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in to 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. dry sherry
2 tsp. minced, peeled fresh ginger
3 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Coarse salt
1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 C unsalted cashews, toasted
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
Cooked white rice, for serving

Toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch; season with salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tsp. cornstarch; set sauce aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add 1 tsp. oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken. Transfer to a plate.

Add 1 tsp. oil, garlic, cashews, and scallions to the same skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, 30 seconds. Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Serve with rice.

I didn't eat this. It was awful. I did eat all of the left-over cashews with my lunch the next day, though.

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