Chinese Happy Family

Chinese Happy FamilyThis dish is called a “Happy Family” because it is blend of all different ingredients, coming together to make something delicious, much like how a family is. This recipe can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting tofu for the chicken. You can also use beef instead of chicken. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Ingredients:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes/strips
1 tablespoon oil

Marinade:
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Vegetables:
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 ½ cups sugar-snap peas
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water chestnuts
1 ¾ cups baby corn
1 ½ cups bamboo shoots, sliced

Stir-fry Sauce:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water/chicken broth

½ cup sliced green onions*

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour them into a large freezer bag or a bowl that you can marinate the chicken in. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight.

In a wok or large skillet, on medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of oil and sauté the chicken pieces until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan. DO NOT put them back into the bag or bowl that you were marinating in. That is a good way to get food poisoning! Just set the chicken (and any juices) aside on a clean plate or bowl.

Next, add the ¼ cup of oil (or less) to the wok/skillet and add the onions and carrot. Toss to coat and let cook for about 2 minutes. Next add the peppers, tossing and allowing to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Next add the peas and mushrooms, then the water chestnuts, corn and bamboo shoots. Allow everything to cook together for another 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken back to wok/skillet.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce. Make sure you have fully incorporated the cornstarch, so that it is not too lumpy. Pour the sauce over the stir-fry/chicken mixture. Allow the sauce to come up to temperature and you will notice it begins to thicken. Once it has done this, toss the stir-fry to cover everything in the sauce. Serve hot garnished with the green onions. This dish goes really well with rice or noodles.

* To learn how to properly clean green onions, click here.

Brisket Braised in Tea with Root Vegetables

Braised BrisketDisclaimer! I got today’s recipe from “Cooking with Tea” by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen. When you borrow, you MUST give credit, it’s only right!

This dish is great for entertaining. It is best made the day before serving for two reasons: First, any fat that rises to the top of the braising liquid may be skimmed off easily when cold, and second, the flavour of the tea and the vegetable components settle in and marry overnight, producing a mellow, multilayered taste profile.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ pounds lean brisket of beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil, enough to coat the pan for searing
½ bunch celery, washed well and cut into ½ inch diagonal slices
1 ½ cups thinly slices yellow onions
4 carrots, washed and cut into ½ inch chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
4 cloves garlic smashed then finely chopped
4 tablespoons Keemun tea leaves, or another type of black Asian tea
4 tablespoons additional Keemun tea leaves for sauce
2 litres water
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup ketchup

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Salt and pepper the brisket and sear in hot olive oil in a heavy skillet until the surface is browned. Turn only once, after about 5 minutes. Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan and scatter the vegetables over the meat.

Brew the 4 tablespoons of tea in cool (170 F) water for 30 minutes. Sieve out and discard leaves. Combine the brewed tea, brown sugar and ketchup in a bowl to dissolve all the ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the brisket. Cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 2 ½ hours, or until tender. Cool, then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, skim off any fat that collects on the surface of the braising liquid. Pour the de-fatted liquid into a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat until it is reduced by half. Add 4 tablespoons of keemun tea leaves and return liquid to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve to remove leaves. Adjust seasonings in the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

With a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain into thin slices. Place decoratively on the plate along with vegetables. Drizzle sauce over each portion.