DIY Gloriously flavorsome Chinese cuisine!

DIY Gloriously flavorsome Chinese cuisine!

It’s lightening quick. It’s gloriously flavoursome and it doesn’t smack of boring aartappel and vleis. Furthermore, rather than complex and intricate it’s seriously easy to master. Rest assured we also had our reservations, but armed with some quick guru tips, featuring new oils and spices Asian cooking can really be a cinch.  
All you need is a wok, a spatula, gas and some simple magic ingredients to get you on your way. Chinese cuisine boasts loads of cooking methods, steaming, red frying – used for tougher meats, boiling or roasting. But for ease of use, and just because it’s quick, easy, tasty and flavourful we’ve chosen to focus on stir-frying for this write up.

Before you get started, a cheat guide to stocking the pantry; all of which are readily available at your local supermarket:

  • Black bean sauce
  • Whole and crushed dried red chilli
  • Chinese five spice powder
  • Chilli paste or sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Oyster-flavored sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • Star anise
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice wine
  • Cornstarch

What’s not to like about DIY, healthier homemade Chinese that you can cook up in 20 minutes? This family-friendly meal packs plenty of colour on each plate.

What to grab:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 500 grams sirloin steak
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup beef broth

Shake it up!

  • In large bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon oil.
  • Cut steak into 1/4-inch strips. Add steak to soy marinade; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon oil to skillet or wok; heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add steak, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes to wok. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until outside surface of steak is no longer pink; remove from wok.
  • Heat remaining oil in same wok  until shimmering. Add vegetables; stir-fry 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  • Return steak and add broth. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring gently.

Next up, Kung Pao chicken:

Okay, confession time we actually had to look up the meaning of – Kung Pao chicken - it looks yummy, but what exactly is it? The best description we could find is a Sichuan dish of chicken or pork and peanuts, chilli etc. Um, is it just us or where or what is Sichuan? Enter Google:  It’s a province in southwest China occupying most of the Sichuan Basin and the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau between the Jinsha River on the west, the Daba Mountains in the north, and the Yungui Plateau to the south. Right, geography lesson over, now let’s get back to our dish!

What to grab:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine (or white wine)
  • 3 tsp. cornstarch, divided
  • 500 grams chicken breast, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Shake it up:
In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Whisk until smooth then add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
Make sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and garlic chilli paste. Whisk until evenly combined.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add chicken and cook until golden and almost cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add more oil, if necessary, and add the bell pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, then stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Return chicken to wok and pour in sauce. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a low simmer. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
Stir in green onions and peanuts. Serve immediately.

Lastly, let’s explore a little! Cooking can take you to so many destinations if you just allow it, give our next recipe a crack if you’d like to end up on an exotic Asian beach!

Honey Walnut Shrimp

What to grab:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 500 grams shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish

Shake it up:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and let boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove walnuts and let cool on a small baking sheet. 
  • Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cornstarch in another shallow bowl. Dip shrimp in eggs, then in cornstarch coating well. 
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1” of oil. Add shrimp in batches and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and heavy cream. Toss shrimp in sauce. Serve over rice with candied walnuts and garnish with green onions.

There are so many wonderful recipes available at your finger tips when it comes to quick and easy Asian meals, all you need to do is have the courage to try them. The health benefits also outweigh buying Chinese takeout’s, you can control the amount of oil you add, load your dishes with crunchy veggies.  And finally, if you really want to eat more healthfully in a Chinese way, consider eating as the Chinese do by taking your time and grazing slowly through your meal.

Date Published: 
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