So we are now through the first snow week of the 2013-2014 winter season. “Snowtorious BIG” if you will. Like I said earlier, I am one of the few who seemed to enjoy it, and enjoy it I did! I love to cook, and this winter wonderland gave me the opportunity to cook my little heart out. I decided to share one of our snow day recipes from one of my favorite food groups: Asian! (Although I’m sure this is a pretty Americanized version. OH WELL.)
Sweet and Sour Chicken with Lo Mein Noodles!
Technically this is three recipes in one, so I’ll do chicken-sauce-noodles. I originally found the chicken breading recipe on Allrecipes.com. Now, I’m sure this brings my street cred down a bit, but don’t worry, I do lots of improvising in true Alex fashion. In case you didn’t know, my style of cooking is to measure very little. I mostly use recipes as guidelines or inspiration and then do whatever I want. LIKE A BOSS. (This is also why I suck at baking for obvious reasons.) It drives my family and friends crazy, especially when they ask for a recipe from me.
“This just says ‘add garlic.’ How much?”
“Uh, just some.”
You can easily tailor this recipe to serve however many people you need to. Just aim for a chicken breast per person and if you need more breading mix, make more breading mix. Don’t stress over the amount of mix you come up with, you’re going to throw out the leftovers anyway.
Cut your chicken breasts into bite sized chunks.
In a bowl, mix together 2 1/4 cups flour, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp corn starch, some salt and pepper, and an egg.
Pat your first batch of chicken chunks semi-dry (you want few enough that they can go in a single layer in the pan). You’ll want to leave some moisture, but make sure most of the chicken juice is off.
Coat them in the batter. I’m impatient, so I usually throw the whole batch in the bowl and stir them around till they’re nice and battery. Grab ’em and throw ’em in the pan of oil you’ve been heating, like this:
Let them sit like this for a couple of minutes before moving them around so that the batter doesn’t fall off. After it looks a little more secure, stir them around to get the other side cooking. When you’ve used a knife to check if they are fully cooked (usually they are after like 5 minutes, but poultry makes me nervous so I still check), use a slotted spatula to remove them from the pan and dump them on a plate you don’t care about with a paper towl over it. Do this in batches until all your chicken is cooked.
In a sauce pan or small skillet, mix like 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and pineapple juice. If you’ve planned ahead, you can get a can of pineapple chunks, use the juice for the sauce, and the chunks to garnish the chicken. I did not plan ahead and just used bottled stuff.
Boil it, then turn it down. Completely mix 1/4 cup corn starch with 1/4 cup COLD water. Throw it in with the sauce and stir together. Bring the heat back up and simmer until thickened how you like it. If it gets too thick, just add more water or pineapple juice.
Now, if you’re naive like I was when I first started cooking, you think that sweet and sour sauce just is the right color. No. It’s clear and nasty-looking. You have to use food coloring. I like my sauce to be on the orange side. Not flaming red. Not pepto pink. Orange. I use red and yellow to achieve the perfect color. I take pride in this process.
Every plate needs carbs. My motto. These lo mein noodles are sooo delicious!
First, boil up some noodles. I know you can get the correct noodles at Asian supermarkets, but I usually use spaghetti. They get the job done. I actually used angel hair this time because I had a ton of it.
You’ll want to get them just short of al dente.
Drain them, stick them back in the metal pot you used to cook them and stick the whole thing in the fridge if you have enough time, or, like me, the freezer if you’re doing this on the fly. Of course, you’ll want to make these either before hand, or during one of the other stages so they can be chilling while you cook.
Now, we’re gonna make a quick stir-fry sauce for these noodles. Again, sorry for the lack of measurements, but you’ll want to play with the amounts to fit your taste.
Most of the sauce of going to be soy sauce. Put a healthy amount of it on a bowl.
Add some (1/4 cupish) teriyaki sauce, garlic, minced ginger, Worcestershire (a few dashes), sherry (1/4 cupish), sriracha (to taste), black pepper, lemon pepper, and onion powder. Give it a stir!
Now, heat (like on medium high) some oil and butter in a skillet or wok. Throw some onion strips in there with some garlic. You can add cabbage or bamboo shoots or whatever floats your boat, but I am a picky eater, so onion and garlic it is. Stir it around until the onion is cooked.
Toss the chilled noodles in and stir them around to coat them completely and fry them a little bit before we pour the sauce in. If you need to add more butter, do whacha gotta do. ALSO, I usually break the noodles in half when I cook them, but this night I forgot. When I remembered in this portion of the cooking process, I used my wooden spatula to “chop” them at random.
Next we’ll pour the sauce in as we stir the noodles around so they don’t stick.
Pour all over to coat as many noodles as possible. This will result in fewer tired arm muscles later.
Keep stirring and make sure all the noodles are coated. Cook until the liquid is pretty much fully absorbed. Taste and season if you like. You can garnish with green onions, sesame seeds (yum!) or whatever gets you going. 🙂
Thanks for reading guys!