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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese food’

friedrice_0815

 

We eat a lot of chicken and I always have some leftover.  Even a single chicken breast will leave me with a few scraps, so I am always looking for ways to use the odds and ends that are stored in the fridge.  One of my frequent go-tos is fried rice – I always dread taking the time to make all the mise en place (those little bowls of prepared ingredients that decorate a chef’s work table) – precooking the rice, shredding the chicken, julienne carrots, bias cut scallions, diced peppers, tiny broccoli flowers, fresh peas, whatever I can find laying around that will extend the rice mix to a single dish dinner.  But, once I’ve done all the work, the rice comes together in a flash.
Here’s what I do:  Add a bit of grapeseed oil and sesame oil to my treasured wok (from The Wok Shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown, (www.wokshop.com) that is burning hot.  I quick scramble up a couple of eggs with some grated ginger and garlic, throw in the rice, add a mix of soy sauce and chili sauce, followed by the veggies – the toughest ones first down through the list ‘til at last the scallions get a quick turn into the mix.  Pile it high on each of our plates and then we chopstick our way to fried rice heaven.
I have to admit that I once made chicken fried rice for friends and forgot to add the chicken so forevermore my chicken fried rice is known as chicken fried rice without chicken!  It was still delicious no matter what my buddies say.

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We’ve all had those moments when we look in the fridge and just know that something’s gotta give – things in plastic containers, plastic baggies, plastic film, and even some things just as they’ve come from the market.  Saturday night was one of those moments for me.  What to do with a bit of chicken stock, a piece of ginger, couple of carrots, half an onion, 2 stalks of broccoli, a couple of pieces of pork filet – not to mention the various jars of “stuff” lining the shelves.  Among those jars I found black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, mushroom soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce (there were others that said Italian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern, too) and together they said “take out Chinese food.”  Checked to make sure I had some long grain rice – there was just a cup, so I was ready to wok it.  I’ll try to give you the gist of what I did and then you, too, can make a clean out your fridge Chinese dinner – not a feast exactly, but a pretty decent meal.

First I cut the veggies, added a couple of cloves of garlic, and grated the ginger.  Measured out some of the black bean sauce and chili garlic sauce.  Then, cut the pork into little pieces and tossed it in cornstarch.  Combined the black bean and chili-garlic sauces and added a good dose of mushroom soy sauce to the bowl.

I put the rice on to cook – it only takes about 20 minutes at most.

Then, I put a tablespoon of corn oil in a large frying pan – I did forget that my wok is in the country – and put it over high heat.  When it was very hot, I added the pork in batches and fried it until golden and crisp.  Took just a couple of minutes.  Drained it on some paper towel.

Poured off most of the oil and added the veggies, garlic, and ginger to the pan, tossing and turning to get them heated through.  Added about ½ cup of chicken stock along with the black bean sauce mixture and when everything was mixed and a little juicy, I tossed the pork back into the pan and gave the whole mess a couple of whirls.

Presto – dinner was ready just as the rice was perfection.  It made so much that we had leftovers for Sunday lunch.

 

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Even with its wide availability, bok choy seems to only find a home in Asian dishes.  Either mature or baby, this mild, slightly sweet veg always gets its delicate flavor covered up with garlic, ginger, or Asian sauces, including too much soy.  I try to treat it with respect and let its sweet, little-bit crunchy self shine.  This recipe serves 4 hungry or 6 sensible people.

            6 heads baby bok choy

            ½ cup chicken stock or low-sodium, nonfat chicken broth

            1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate

            2 tablespoons butter

            Salt and white pepper to taste

Thoroughly wash and drain the bok choy.  Trim off the dry root end and split each one in half, lengthwise.  Double check that all dirt and sand has been rinsed out.  If not, place under cold, running water and rinse well.  Pat dry. Lay the bok choy, cut side down, in a large frying pan.

Combine the stock and orange juice concentrate and pour the mixture over the bok choy.  Place over medium heat.

Cut the butter into pieces and randomly place it over the veggie.  Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for about 6 minutes or until the bok choy is still a bit firm and fresh looking.

Remove from the heat and transfer the bok choy to a serving platter.  Taste the pan juices and, if necessary, season with additional salt and pepper.  Drizzle the pan juices over the top and serve.

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