Posts Tagged ‘chinese’

Copycat Mongolian Beef

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Since my mom made a point of calling out this recipe in yesterday’s update, I thought I’d go ahead and get this one out of the way.

My husband David is not a big fan of Chinese food. When we met, he didn’t like it at all, but I slowly wore him down with my homemade recipes and nagging requests to go to P.F. Chang’s, and now he’s made his peace with at least some chinese food. First, he found he liked my pepper steak. He eats the cashew chicken and sweet & sour chicken that I make from scratch. An occasional stir-fry or two. Then he branched out into similar dishes from Chinese restaurants, like beef and broccoli. Once we went to P.F. Chang’s, though, he was absolutely sold on Mongolian Beef.

And why wouldn’t he be? P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef is a delicious, tender, yet crispy pieces of thin steak, tossed in a delicious spicy-sweet sauce. Using a couple of recipes I found online, I was able to replicate the flavors almost perfectly. Keep reading to see how.

Copycat Mongolian Beef

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions, sliced (you can skip these if you don’t like them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (also optional, or you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your food)

1.      Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Be careful not to let the oil get too hot. It should shimmer, but not smoke.

2.      Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.

3.      Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

4.      Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. If you tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak you’ll get wider cuts.

5.      Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. And let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

6.      While the coated beef is resting, heat up one cup of oil in a wok. (I don’t have a wok, so I used a dutch oven. Any heavy pan that holds heat well will work, as long as you can cover the beef with oil.

7.      Just as before, heat the oil over medium heat until it’s hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. (You don’t need to fully cook the beef here, since it’ll go to go back on the heat later.) Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.

8.      After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, and drain the oil out of your wok or pan. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and cook for another minute.

9.      Add the sauce from earlier, cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring, then add the green onions and red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to cook for one more minute, then remove the beef mixture with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. There will be extra sauce, but it’s delicious as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or dumplings, or just drizzled over the beef when served with rice. You’ll definitely want to serve this over rice to soak up as much of the rich sauce as possible.

Hoisin and Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Still grilling. 😀

Our next grilling adventure was this awesome pork tenderloin recipe. It couldn’t have been easier to prep or to cook, and the ingredients are things that we keep on hand. (You should keep most of these on hand too, they all have a lot of uses).

The pork cooked up juicy and tender, and the sauce was perfect–just enough sweetness to pick up that great charred grilled flavor.

Hoisin & Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 1/3  cup  hoisin sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons  bourbon
  • 2  tablespoons  maple syrup
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper paste
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 2  (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Prepare grill.

Combine hoisin sauce and next 7 ingredients (hoisin through garlic) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Slice pork lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open halves, laying pork flat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 5 minutes. Turn and baste pork with hoisin mixture; cook 5 minutes. Turn and baste pork with hoisin mixture; cook 5 minutes or until pork reaches 155° or desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes; cut pork into 1/2-inch slices.

Note: Hoisin sauce is one of my favorite go-to ingredients. The spiced Chinese sauce can be found in the Asian section of almost any supermarket. It’s a thick paste made with miso, soy sauce, garlic, and seasonings, and adds a really authentic flavor to a lot of chinese dishes. I add it to pepper steak, stir fry recipes, and all kinds of things.

Here’s another tip–keep a chunk of ginger in the freezer. Even though it’s cheap, it always annoyed me to buy a big chunk of fresh ginger root and hardly make a dent in it before it went bad. Instead, we keep the chunk in a ziploc back in the freezer. I just grate up what I need with a microplane grater and keep the rest. This lets us use fresh ginger all the time, without it ever going to waste.

This recipe, from May 2002’s Cooking Light, suggests the addition of hickory chips to your grill, to get the additional smoky flavor. Since the reviews on the wood chip portion of the recipe were mixed on their website, and and since we didn’t have any hickory chips on hand anyway, I decided to skip it. Maybe we’ll try it next time. I suppose if I haven’t tried it, I can’t know what I was missing, but the pork was tender and flavorful without it. It certainly isn’t required.

Restaurant Review: Wow Bao

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I’ve had these tasty little dumplings in my mind for a long time. Last year, Dave, Leah, and I sampled some bao from Wow Bao at the taste of Chicago, and I’ve thought about them often ever since.

800px-Nangua_Baozi_(chinese_dumplings)

If you’ve never tried them before, Baozi, or simply Bao, are chinese bread dumplings. They’re light and doughy, with a vegetable or meat filling. Steaming them gives them a soft, slightly sticky texture. They come in about a million forms and flavors, and while I’m anxious to try my hand at them at home, so far, I’ve only had them from Wow Bao. A few weeks ago, Leah and I stopped by Water Tower Place to do a little shopping, and stopped and had lunch at Wow Bao.

We shared a six-pack of Bao, and had the chance to try the BBQ Pork, Chicken Teriyaki, Spicy Mongolian Beef, and Thai Curry Chicken. They were all delicious. My favorite was the Chicken Teriyaki, while Leah enjoyed the Thai Curry Chicken the most. The Mongolian Beef was tasty, but a little too spicy for me. The BBQ Pork was good, but that was the one we happened to try at the Taste the year before. Leah also had a super-tasty pomegranate ginger ale. (I stuck with Diet Cokie. Shocking, I know).  I’d like to try one of the sweet varieties next time–they have Coconut Custard and Apple Cinnamon dessert flavored Bao as well as a whole menu of noodles and potstickers and soup and salad.

photo

They were an awesome shopping snack, but if you aren’t close enough to one of their three Chicago locations, you can apparently have frozen bao or potstickers shipped from their website right to your home to make yourself.

Cooking Light’s Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

I really, really enjoyed this Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe, and so did Leah and David. The sauce made with pineapple juice was much tastier than any sweet and sour sauce I’ve had at home. The water chestnuts and bell pepper added a satisfying crunch to the mixture, but the pineapple chunks were my favorite. This was very good with canned pineapple, but I imagine fresh pineapple could take it to a whole new level. I think I’ll try that next time.

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1  teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1  (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1/3  cup  reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  cornstarch
  • 2  teaspoons  brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  dry-roasted chopped cashews
  • 1 batch of prepared Baked Brown Rice, recipe follows

Directions

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper, and chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture from pan; set aside.

Add onion, celery, water chestnuts, and bell pepper to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Add 1 cup pineapple chunks to pan; cook 30 seconds. Reserve remaining pineapple for another use. Combine the reserved 1/2 cup juice, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Return chicken mixture to pan. Stir in juice mixture; bring to boil. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve over rice.

Note: Sweet & Sour Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese dishes to order. Normally, the take-out version is made by deep frying the chunks of chicken in a thick batter before adding them to a thick, syrupy sauce. Though this dish was a little different than that version, I didn’t miss the breading one bit. I will definitely make this one again.

Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice

This is by far the easiest and best brown rice recipe I’ve come across. It’s literally fool-proof, and after you taste the chewy, nutty texture, you’ll never go back to Minute Rice again.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  • Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

Crockpot Chinese Pepper Steak

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

This one is a classic family recipe of ours. I grew up eating this pepper steak, before I even really knew that I liked Chinese food. This is also the recipe that taught David that he likes Chinese food. Now he happily eats at P.F. Chang’s, Opera, and of course, my Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry and Chicken & Broccoli Fried Rice. I’ve also got him hooked on these potstickers from Costco, but that’s another story.

This doesn’t have to be made in a crockpot, of course, but I’ve always had good luck making it that way. Taking advantage of the crockpot lets you use less tender cuts of beef. I make this dish as outlined below, but for those who like them, onions or mushrooms would be a welcome addition. You probably aren’t surprised to learn that we serve this dish with Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice, but white instant rice would be just fine, if that’s what you prefer. David skips the chow mein noodles, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re a necessity!

Crock-Pot Chinese Pepper Steak

  • 2 cans beef gravy
  • 1 pound of stew beef or roundsteak, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 large green peppers, seeded & chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 cups rice, cooked
  • 2 TBSP hoisin sauce
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tomato juice or vegetable juice (like V8)
  • 1 Cup chow mein noodles

1. Add Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and EVOO to a skillet, over medium high heat. Add beef and green peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until beef begins to caramelize.

2. Add gravy, water chestnuts, tomato juice, and contents of skillet to a crockpot; stir together. Cover and heat on low approximately 6 hours.

3. Serve over rice, garnished with chow mein noodles. If the sauce is too thin, it can be thickend wtih slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed into 2 tablepoons of cold water.

Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fried Rice

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Tonight, for dinner, I made Chicken Fried Rice with Broccoli. Now if you know me, I know you’re probably thinking:

“Broccoli! Again?”

What can I say? I’m trying to like it. And I’m getting pretty good it. This dish, another from Cooking Light, was easy to make, tasty, and healthy on top of it. As usual, I made some changes to the original, but I was happy with how it turned out. We had potstickers along with the fried rice, for a whole take-out at home scene–but much healthier.

One of the nicest things about this recipe is that it’s designed to use up leftover chicken. Gotta love those shortcuts!

Broccoli & Chicken Stir-Fried Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine; Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  sesame oil
  • 4  cups  broccoli florets (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup matchstick cut carrots
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2  cups  cooked brown rice
  • 1  tablespoon  minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 2  cooked chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  hoisin sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  rice wine vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon  cornstarch
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt

Preparation

Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, carrots, and onions; sauté for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup broth; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove broccoli mixture from pan.

Place pan over medium-high heat. Add cooked rice; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli mixture, garlic, ginger, pepper, and chicken; toss well.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Stir in salt.

Note: This was very good, I’m sure we’ll make this again. It basically turned out to be a cross between Chicken & Broccoli in Garlic Sauce and Chicken Fried Rice. As usual, I used Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice for the rice in this dish. As I said above, this recipe is great for using up leftover chicken, but I didn’t have any of that, so I used a storebought asian marinade on boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashew Rice

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

If you (like just about everyone I work with) are working on your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, you probably have not been aided much by this blog. There have been some seriously unhealthy things around here lately, but I swear, that’s not all we eat! To prove it, here’s a recipe for last night’s dinner, a stir fry dish adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

If you’re looking for healthy recipes and enjoy cooking, you really can’t go wrong with Cooking Light. I get their “Dinner Tonight” emails daily, which is actually where the inspiration for this meal came from.

pork-stirfry-ck-1571430-l

Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashew Rice
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

  • 1 batch Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice, recipe follows
  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/4  cup  dry-roasted cashews, salted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2/3  cup chicken stock
  • 2  tablespoons  cornstarch, divided
  • 3  tablespoons  soy sauce, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  honey
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil, divided
  • 1  tablespoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 6 ounces)
  • 1  cup  chopped red bell pepper (about 1)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts

Directions

  1. Cook the rice according to the recipe below. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped green onions, and chopped dry-roasted cashews; set aside, and keep warm.
  2. Whisk together 2/3 cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and honey in a small bowl, and set aside.
  3. Combine chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a bowl, tossing well to coat. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 4-6 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan.
  4. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add water chestnuts, ginger, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add peas and bell pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in pork; sauté 1 minute. Add reserved broth mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Serve over cashew rice.

Nutritional Information (For 1 & 1/2 cups of chicken mixture, and 1/2 cup cashew rice): Calories: 460 (23% from fat), Fat: 11.8g (sat 2.5g,mono 6.2g,poly 2.3g), Protein: 31.8g, Carbohydrate: 55.9g, Fiber: 3.6g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Iron:4.6mg, Sodium:787mg, Calcium:73mg

Note: This recipe is flexible; almost a method, rather than a recipe. The original called for pork, onions, and mushrooms, but I made the swaps as you see above–and it was just as good. Broccoli would also be at home here, or maybe those baby corns, bamboo shoots, some carrots, cabbage, or bok choy. It could be spiced up with red pepper flakes, if that’s more to your liking. I’d add about 1/4th of a teaspoon to the remainder of the sauce, if you want a spicier dish.

Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice

This is by far the easiest and best brown rice recipe I’ve come across. It’s literally fool-proof, and after you taste the chewy, nutty texture, you’ll never go back to Minute Rice again.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  • Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.