Kung Pao Chicken

picPu40tuKung Pao Chicken (or Gong Baogōng bǎo jī dīng 宫保鸡丁) is a typical traditional Sichuan dish made with diced chicken, peanuts and chilli pepper.  It was named after a court official Ding Baozhen in the late Qing dynasty (1616-1911). Legend has it that Mr. Ding was a gourmet, relishing ‘stir-fried diced chicken’ in particular. While he served as governor in Shandong and Sichuan, he often treated his guests to this dish. While in Sichuan, where the local people liked hot chillies, Ding improved his favourite dish ‘stir-fried diced chicken’ by adding chilli pepper to the ingredients. As a result, the dish with its spicy flavour tastes more delicious. Since Ding was later granted the title Taizi Shaobao, which literally means ‘protector of the crown prince’, by the imperial court, he was also referred to as Kung Pao, which was short for Taizi Shaobao. In memory of Mr. Ding Baozhen, people named his favourite dish Kung Pao Chicken.  Here is a simple tasty version of the recipe (not my picture):

Ingredients

    • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon cornflour
    • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons spring onions, chopped with tops
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4-1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes ( to your own taste)
    • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger ( can use fresh grated if preferred)
    • 4 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
    • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
    • 4 cups rice

Method

Combine chicken and cornflour in a small bowl and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a wok on medium heat.  Add chicken.  Stir fry 5- 7 minutes or until no longer pink in centre.  Remove from heat.

Add onions, garlic, chilli and ginger to the wok.  Stir fry 15 seconds.  Remove from heat.

Combine rice wine, soy sauce and sugar in small bowl.  Stir well.  Add to the wok.  Return chicken to the wok.  Stir until chicken is well coated.  Stir in nuts.  Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

Serve with rice.

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Southern Tomato Pie

Not pizza, this recipe appears to originate from the Southern US and is a characteristic summer dish.  I had a glut of ripe tomatoes in the fridge and needed something to do with them.  A very tasty dish which I have eaten hot and cold.  I have seen variations using caramelised onions, different cheeses and mustard mayonnaise.

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 fresh Tomatoes, roughly chopped.IMG_1148
  • 8 fresh Basil leaves, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 cup Spring Onion, or other onion, chopped.
  • 1 Pre-Baked Pie Crust, 9 inch.
  • 1 cup of grated Cheddar Cheese.
  • 1 cup of grated Mozzarella Cheese.
  • 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method

Slice and chop the basil and the onion and set aside.  Then slice and cube the tomatoes, place in colander to drain and sprinkle with black pepper and salt, stir and let continue to drain

In a separate mixing bowl, add the cheeses and mayonnaise, stir until combined, set aside.

To assemble the pie, place chopped onions in bottom of crust and sprinkle with the chopped Basil, add the drained tomatoes, spread around evenly in crust.  Top with the cheese mixture.

Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Best served warm.

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Mielie Tart

We recently tasted some wonderful South African cuisine provided by Nyama catering at a friend’s house. One of the dishes was a corn bread called Mielie tart and they have the recipe on their website.

Ingredientsimage

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tins of creamed style sweet corn
  • 60ml plain flour
  • 60 ml melted butter
  • 60 ml sugar
  • 15ml baking powder
  • Sunflower seeds

Method

In a mixing bowl mix everything together with a hand blender.  Grease a baking dish and add the mixture.  Top with a few sunflower seeds for decoration.  Bake for around 40 minutes at 180C until golden brown.

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Chilli Con Carne

Chilli is nature’s wonder with it’s fruits appearing in different sizes, shapes and colours. The fruit size of some varieties is more than a hundred times that of others. Chilli has two important commercial qualities. Some varieties are famous for their red colour because of the pigment capsanthin, others are known for biting pungency attributed to capsicum.

I found this recipe on the back of a packet of chilli powder, a really simple and tasty meal.image

 

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tbspns oil

500g lean minced beef

1 tspn chilli powder (recipe said 2tspn but we found it to be too much)

1 dessert spoon garlic puree

1/2 tspn ground cumin

1/2 tspn white pepper

salt

400g can of peeled plum tomatoes

1 tbspn vinegar

1 tspn sugar

tin of red kidney beans

 

Method

Fry the chopped onion in the oil until light brown.  Add the meat and cook gently for 10 minutes.  Add the spices and salt to taste and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Add everything else and simmer for a further 10 minutes.  Serve with rice.

 

Why not stir in some pieces of dark chocolate to make it extra rich?

 

 

 

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Marrow, chickpea and potato curry

Someone gave me a marrow and the faces of the children said it all! I must thank Yumski for supplying this recipe as everyone enjoyed the result. It came out a little dry so I added a little coconut milk for extra richness.

imageIngredients

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
1 medium marrow, diced
10 small potatoes, diced
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp curry powder
A little coconut milk

Method

Heat some oil in a large pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry until brown. Add the onion and gently fry until soft. Add the ginger and garlic, stir well, then add the turmeric, chilli powder and oregano. Add the marrow, stir well, turn the heat down and cover. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile add the potatoes to a pan of boiling water and boil until soft. When the marrow is cooked through add the potatoes and chickpeas. Finally add the garam masala and the curry powder and cook for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally.  It was at this point I added coconut milk.

Serve with rice and/or naan bread etc.

 

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Xim xim de Galinha

20140616-153832-56312321.jpgTo celebrate the Soccer World Cup in Brazil here is my favourite Brazilian dish. As well as being Pele’s favourite dish, this really is the finest example of the fusion between the cuisines of the Portuguese, Africans and native Latin American Indians. Exotic, creamy and satisfying. Lime chicken in a crayfish & peanut sauce with spring onion, garlic & coriander rice & fine green beans.

Ingredients – serves 6.xinxim-medium

  • 30g butter
  • 3 tbsp unrefined palm oil
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 small diced, onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli purée
  • 1 fish stock cube
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 350ml whipping cream
  • 100ml water
  • 225g peanut butter
  • 100g crayfish tails
  • salt and pepper, to season

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

2. Place the butter and palm oil into a large flat casserole dish on a medium heat and gently fry the chicken breasts to colour all over then remove from the dish.

3. To the dish add the onion, garlic and chilli purée and fry until the onions are soft. Crumble in the fish stock cube and stir in.

4. Add lemon and lime juices, whipping cream, water and peanut butter and stir together.

5. Put the chicken back in the dish – you can cut it into strips if you wish or keep it as whole pieces.

6. Add the crayfish, cover and place in the oven to braise for approximately one hour.

7. When ready the sauce should have slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve with white rice and garnish with watercress.

 

 

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Slow Cooker Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff or Beef Stroganov is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with smetana. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe.

I had some cubed casserole beef in the freezer and a tin of Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup in the cupboard and so decided to give it a go…

Ingredients

image

Serves: 5

  • 600g stewing steak chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (not a cheap brand)
  • 200ml milk
  • 100-200g closed cup mushrooms sliced thickly
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 150g garlic & herb cream cheese
  • 5 portions fusilli or taglietelle pasta (size & type depending on appetite!)
  • 60 ml soured cream (optional)

Method

Add steak, onions, mushrooms, mushroom soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce to slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. You do not need to add extra liquid for the condensed soup, this is what the milk is for.
An hour before finish, add the cream cheese and stir well to disolve.
Cook pasta according to packet instructions when stroganoff is done.
Serve stroganoff over pasta with sour cream on top.

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