Tuesday, 3 February 2015

General Tso Chicken

Why hello again!
I have given blogging another break (as you can see, my last post was in September!). Keeping up a blog is hard work, and I am a busy woman!
Do you know what else is hard, understated work? Making dinners that everyone likes, on a budget!
Easier said than done.
Meat is expensive. Food is expensive in general! I shop the sales, use my phone app to price match.
I'd say for a new shopper, I'm pretty darn good at it!
I'm not on a strict budget but I can say I try to keep it to under 10 dollars for a dinner for 2 hungry people (plus leftovers of course!). I jumped for joy when I found a pack of 6 chicken breasts for 15 dollars, so I bought it even though I still had some in the freezer. The more, the merrier! Works out to less than 5 dollars for a meal. When I get home, I separate it into little Ziploc baggies, two at a time (insert Noah's ark reference here). That way, whenever I need a quick meal, I just take one out and they're defrosted in no time!
Lately I've been working nights, which forces me to change my usual cooking times and habits. Planning meals which pack away into my lunch box easily and don't taste horrible when they sit for a while is a real task! While it may seem like my best solution would be to survive on pb&j, I won't let myself get to that point! I love cooking way too much.
On that note, here's a great recipe I found which wowed both myself and my husband. No deep frying, cheap, and relatively nutritious. We both think it tastes better than the identically named item from our local Chinese takeout place. Okay, it does have ketchup, not the most authentic recipe out there, but it is really tasty! Best of all, it survived the bus ride over in my Tupperware.
On another note, I was searching for weeks in every grocery store for hoisin sauce, and to my utter joy, I finally found it last week. Yay! Okay here it is... enjoy!

General Tso Chicken
Based off a recipe I actually don't know where it is from, but please if you recognize it, let me know and I will credit the correct author!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp flour or corn starch
2 handfuls snap peas or snow peas

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ginger, minced (I use fresh and grate it)
1 pinch chili flakes (optional)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp flour or corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water into a slurry
2 tbsp water (to desired thickness)

In a bowl, combine flour or corn starch and the chicken pieces, mix until all chicken is coated well.
In a large frying pan on medium-high, heat around 1 tbsp canola oil. When hot, add the chicken, and cook until browned on all sides. You may need to add a little more oil, so don't be afraid to do so. Remove from the pan and place in a clean bowl. Add a little more oil, and stir fry the peas until they are bright green and tender. Remove from the pan and add to the chicken. In the same frying pan, add a little more oil, and quickly fry the garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Add the sauce ingredients from the hoisin sauce to the honey. Add the slurry of corn starch/flour and water, and additional water, until the sauce reaches the thickness you desire. Taste the sauce, adding any of the ingredients if you feel it needs a little more. Add the chicken and peas back to the frying pan, heating them up with the sauce. Serve over a bed of Asian noodles or rice, and feel free to sprinkle sesame seeds and/or chopped green onions. For the vegetarians out there, this can easily be replicated with tofu!

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