Flavour Gold: marinated stir-fry chicken with vegetables

I was searching the www for some new recipes and came along this one from Slender Kitchen. It’s for a slow cooked honey garlic chicken that I looked at and thought “elements of that would make a really nice marinade for a stir-fry”… so, I made a few changes and it appeared on our plates this evening in its updated form. The “flavour gold” title was given by Mr Incredible after his first taste… high praise as he’s not backward about being forward when the flavours aren’t to his taste! When probed for his reasons behind the name he said that “it was all there, sweet, salty, a bit of spice – YUM”. Adventure Girl also loved the meal – a bit of a treat for her as I wouldn’t usually give her something this high in salt (the tamari/soy is quite salty). Additionally, it’s not friendly for children under 1 due to the honey.

This fed two hungry adults plus a child and had enough left over for another meal to go in the freezer.  

Ingredients

  • 500 grams chicken (I used sliced organic chicken breast)
  • 4 finely diced garlic cloves
  • 2cm finely diced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup tamari (or light soy sauce, however, I prefer tamari though due to the lower salt content)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes (add more according to taste)
  • 2-3 cups of vegetables of preference (I used a frozen organic stir-fry mix with some added veg as it had been a long day)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients excepting vegetables and chicken in a medium sized bowl. Whisk these together and when combined add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (I prepared this earlier in the day and had it sitting in the fridge for 4 hours until it was time for dinner)
  2. Prepare vegetables (i.e. defrost or wash and cut ready for cooking)
  3. Heat a wok / frying pan and add 2 tsp of coconut oil.
  4. Stir fry chicken and marinade (the sauce will thicken with the cooking)
  5. When the chicken is mostly cooked, add the prepared vegetables
  6. Enjoy!

Serve with rice / quinoa / cous cous.

Healthy snacks: The quickest, easiest, tastiest dairy, nut, egg and sugar free muffins ever!

The origin of this recipe is an old 1980’s school cookbook which I’ve modified it over time to be egg, dairy and sugar free – I’ve also added some wholemeal flour along with frozen berries. We make this recipe at least once a week and I’ll often get a nudge from Mr Incredible if we’re low on stock – it’s not a problem if we are though – they take less than 10 minutes to whip up (if you use egg instead of chia then they are even faster)!

It’s easy enough to revert the recipe back to having dairy and egg – just replace the oil with melted butter and the chia and water mix with an egg. Making it with chia and oil though has the added bonus that they’re always on hand if I run out of eggs or butter.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe large bananas (or 4 normal sized ones)
  • 1 tbs Chia seeds
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of plain flour (alternatively 1 1/2 plain flour and no wholemeal)
  • ½ cup plain wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soada (bi-carb soda)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Frozen berries to taste (I use about 1 -2 cups) – if you scrimp on the berries though you won’t have enough batter for 12 muffins.

* if I’m making these for our family half of the recipe is usually topped up with some chopped chocolate / choc chips. This of course means that the rest of the muffins are no longer sugar free or dairy free, but Mr Incredible LOVES chocolate muffins!

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced oven)
  2. Place chia seeds and water in a small container and leave sit for 5 minutes until they become gelatinous
  3. While the chia seeds are soaking, squeeze the bananas in their skins to start the mashing process, remove bananas from their skins and place them in a medium sized bowl. Continue to mash with a fork in the bowl
  4. Add oil and mix (this is the melted butter replacement)
  5. Add chia seeds and mix (these are the egg replacement)
  6. Add flours, baking powder and baking soda. Mix with a wooden spoon until mostly combined.
  7. Add frozen berries and finish mixing until all ingredients are combined
  8. * at this point you can either add the chocolate or not – or, as we do, dispense half the batter and then add the chocolate.
  9. Spoon batter into muffin trays (I use liners in the trays)
  10. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (depending upon your oven you may need to get them out after 12).

Enjoy!

These will keep in the fridge for a week, although may become crumbly towards the end of their life due to the lack of sugar.

Northern Chinese Dumplings – little bites of gold

I love dumplings. The problem is, whenever I’ve had MSG in the past year or more I’ve had some very unpleasant symptoms (Mr Incredible calls the reactions an MSG Hangover and all the symptoms are pretty much the same) so dumplings are often desired but rarely tasted. Last night though we made Beyond Jelly’s recipe http://www.beyondjelly.com/2011/08/jiaozi-recipe-northern-chinese.html and LOVED them. Adventure Girl had hers complimented by some frozen peas and corn with no dipping sauce and devoured them. I was a bit unsure about adding the Shaoxing rice wine with her eating and also being pregnant but rationalised that the quantity of alcohol they contain is virtually non-existent so added it regardless… still wondering on that one for next time though.

A few things we did differently to Beyond Jelly:

  1. I doubled the amount of ginger
  2. I used a chopstick to stir the mixture together and found it worked really well in combining the ingredients without pockets of mince clumped together
  3. Instead of vinegar we dipped them in Tamari with chopped chilli.

Here’s the recipe (taken from Beyond Jelly) and some photos we took:

Dumpling 2

Dumping 1

Dumpling 3

Dumpling 4

Dumpling 5

____________________

Makes 50 dumplings

300g Chinese cabbage (wombok), finely chopped
1 tsp salt
500g minced pork
75g Chinese garlic chives, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp cornflour
50 round wheat dumpling wrappers
Shanxi vinegar or dipping sauce
extra cornflour

Put the cabbage and salt in a bowl and toss to mix them together. Leave them for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes firmly squeeze handfuls of cabbage to get rid of all excess liquid and place in a large bowl. Add the pork, chives, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, and cornflour and mix all ingredients together.

Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Dip your finger in water, trace it round the edge of the wrapper and fold the wrapper over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch the edges together, trying to remove any airpockets as you go.

Holding the dumpling in one hand, use your t hand to make pleats along the edge, working from one end of the half-moon to the other. Squeeze the edges together with each pleat so that a tight seal is made. [Tip: the dumpling pleats will seal better if your fingers are still slightly damp]

Place the dumplings on a tray dusted with cornflour. Don’t let them sit for too long as they will go soggy.

Boiled Dumplings:
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add half the dumplings and return to the boil, a quick stir often, so they don’t stick to the bottom or each other. Cook for 8-9 minutes. With a strainer, scoop the dumplings out of the water and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

Fried Dumplings:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add a single layer of dumplings and cook for 3 minutes or until dumpling bases are golden, shaking the pan lightly so the dumplings don’t stick. Add 79mL (1/3 cup) water, cover and steam for 3 minutes, then uncover and cook until the water has almost all evaporated. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

Serving: For a main meal, I usually allow 7-8 dumplings per person and have some vegies on the side. Serve with Shanxi vinegar, chinese red vinegar, or another dipping sauce.

To freeze uncooked dumplings:

Place a heaped tbsp cornflour in a freezer bag. Carefully place 16 dumplings inside, twist the top and carefully roll the dumplings round inside until they are all coated with the cornflour. Sprinkle with more cornflour if needed. Tie up the bag and place flat in freezer.

Cooking from frozen:
No need to defrost, just place the dumplings in a large saucepan of boiling water (at most 25 at one time), and return to boil. A quick stir often, so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom, and cook for 12-15 minutes. The dumplings are usually cooked through about 4 minutes after they rise to the surface.

Notes: Garlic chives are a flat, fat chive. The chives, dumpling wrappers, cabbage, vinegar/dipping sauce, and rice wine can be found at asian grocery stores (in Australia). Large Australian supermarket chains in certain locations have chinese cabbage, Shaoxing rice wine and dumpling wrappers on the shelves.

Lunchtime Staple: Stir-fried veg with cheesy egg

I don’t know about you but by lunchtime I just want a meal I can easily make and know I’ll enjoy. One that Adventure Girl won’t fuss over and is full of veg in case I don’t have the energy to make a really nutritious dinner. My stir-fried veg with cheesy egg fits the bill and is really flexible depending upon what I’ve got available.

The beauty about this dish is that I can pre-chop the veg while Adventure Girl is occupied/sleeping earlier in the day and cook it one-handed with her on my hip.

This is what I do for Adventure Girl and me:

Dice some/all of the following:

  • ½ Tomato
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2 leaves Kale/Silverbeet
  • 1 large Mushroom
  • 1 small sprig Spring onions
  • Carrot (frozen and pre-diced)
  • Peas (frozen)
  • (As said though, this is really flexible depending upon what you’ve got available so use what you’ve got!)

On a medium heat add these to a fry pan with some olive oil or coconut oil (if using coconut oil, buy extra virgin cold pressed organic unrefined coconut oil) and stir-fry them until they reach your preferred level of crunchiness. I cook mine until the zucchini is slightly golden. While these are cooking, chop up some tasty cheese and mix this with 2 eggs. Add this to the pan and cook until the egg is fully cooked.

I then dish it all up on the one plate, separate it in to hers and mine and add salt and pepper to what I’m eating.

Enjoy! It takes about 10 minutes all up + eating time