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.


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

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

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*


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.

What Jews and the Chinese have in Common

Israel and China FlagI recently read a BBC News article by Michael Goldfarb, which spoke of his trip to China and the vast similarities and differences he found between the Chinese culture and infrastructure, and that of Britain and North America. He of course speaks of the gigantism that he found – the number of people, huge buildings and city works, and of course the dense impenetrable air pollution. But on a tour of Shandong University in Jinan, he found something he truly did not expect. In the centre of a 27-story building with a giant clock topping it, is the university’s department of religious studies. The department also houses the Centre for Judaic Studies, China’s one and only department of Jewish studies.

Of all places to have a Judaic Studies centre, China is not high up on anyone’s list. Mr. Goldfarb found out though that there is quite the connection between Confucian and Jewish culture.

It was explained to him that the core of Confucianism and Judaism is ethical. They both stress the importance of the relationship between man and man, and are based on the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. In addition, the fifth commandment enjoins Jews to honour their fathers and mothers. Confucianism also emphasises filial piety – but in a way Jewish parents can only dream of.

Mr. Goldfarb continues on detailing his adventures in China and the similarities between Judaism and Confucianism, and the Chinese way of life. The one area that doesn’t seem to cross over though? The jokes. The Chinese have a sense of humour, most definitely, but the traditional combination of complaining and joking all at the same time? They don;t seem to get. Maybe something is lost in the translation 🙂