Monday, 17 November 2008

Stir It Up

So far the winter is going well. I've recently discovered that I enjoy getting attention and teaching culinary skills is a great way to fill my void. Having said that, I truly relish the days where I get to go in front of a group of people I may or may not know and freely offer my knowledge (as little as it is for a humble chef) on cooking and entertaining.

Perhaps now I can let myself to lob my humility aside and finally admit that I do have a few useful things to offer: an essential skill (cooking), entertainment (my sense of humour) and the ability to create enthusiasm in people to try new things. On top of that, recipes. I do hope the readers of this blog try some the recipes I have offered (actually, a friend told me on Saturday that he has made some of the soup recipes and they were great for simplicity and effieciency, thanks!) and I reach out to people to offer comments, criticisms or praise.

Moving on, today's recipe is too easy. A classic variation of a dish I use to make everyday at a club I used to work at. Chicken Stir-Fry with Basic Rice Pilaf is so easy and quick, it may become a staple for you. The stir-fry sauce is a simple Teriyaki style sauce that I like because it uses common ingredients in peoples kitchens.

The key to stir-fry is allowing the oil to get hot. Very hot. Smoking hot. Piping hot. About to catch on fire hot. My wife hot. The heat speeds up the process and evaporates much of the water from the vegetables leaving a thick flavorful sauce.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Chicken Stir Fry

1red pepper, julienne
1 green pepper, julienne
1 small red onion, julienne
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Dried Ginger
Drizzle Sesame Oil
Drizzle Canola Oil
Pinch of Cumin
Pinch of Cajun spice
Stir Fry Sauce (see below)
Salt & pepper, to taste

In a hot stir fry pan, heat oils. Add chicken and let cook for 2 minute.

Add vegetables and spices and cook for 4 minutes. Add stir fry sauce. And bring to a boil.

Serve over rice pilaf.

Serves 6.

Stir Fry Sauce

250 g Brown Sugar
200 ml Water
200 ml Soy Sauce
200 ml Rice Wine Vinegar
Pinch of Ginger Powder
50 g Cornstarch

In a sauce pan, combine water, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger and bring to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch in some water and whisk into sauce pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Keep refrigerated until needed. Will keep for several months.

Variation: instead of chicken, try shrimp or beef or lamb or pork or mussels or . . . . you get the idea I think. One suggestion I heard today was pineapple which would be wonderful, or oranges, or passion fruit, or whatever.

A Humble Chef's Tip: if you make the rice ahead of time, you can nuke your rice in bowls, place the bowls into your serving dish upside down, let the rice set and remove the bowl. Nice presentation and easy to do.

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