Friday, 15 August 2008

Cold sesame noodles and Kung Phao chicken

I don't know if it was our trip to Ho Wong last week or that fact I watched "Chinese food made easy" but I felt like cooking something Asian tonight. I thought "Chinese food made easy" was not that bad, but it seems to have annoyed a lot of people on various food boards. It would seem that a smiley photogenic woman cooking "chinese" food for the masses is worse, than no programmes on the topic at all.

Anyway, I sifted through my recipe box (filled with recipes torn out from magazines and newspapers) and got HI to pick one dish whilst I, the other. For some bizarro reason I felt the urge to make cold sesame noodles, believing that HI deserved some carbs. Later on I was to discover that his love of carbs was fickle, but by then the damage had been done!

Back to the recipes. I found a recipe for cold sesame noodles from the New York Times and one from Epicurious. The main difference being that in the latter the ingredients are cooked,

in the former, raw

As you can see just by looking at them there is not much of a difference.

When I taste tested both I thought that the cooked one had a better, more multi-dimensional taste but when mixed with the noodles there was not a discernible difference. I finished the noodles off with some spring onions and chopped cucumber.

HI picked a Kung Pao recipe from the Observer Chinese food special a while back, but I felt the one I found on Rasamalaysia to be more authentic.
So off I trooped to Chung Ying one of the five Chinese supermarkets in Glasgow and the one that I prefer. I ended up spending £20 on some cupboard staples.
Dark soy
Light soy
Black vinegar
Sesame oil
Palm sugar
Sesame paste
Chili and garlic paste
Chinese rice vinegar

and some combustibles- Chinese chives and Tsingtsao.

Thus armed I set to.
It became apparent that the sesame noodles whilst being 'oh so good', also had the potential for being 'oh so bad' for you. Oil, peanut butter and sesame paste are all things I normally avoid but here I was asked to use all three, not in teaspoons but tablespoons! I have to admit that this was like making creme brulee: once you know what goes into it, the eating of it is not so much fun.

I persevered however, only to be told by HI that he actually is not that big of a noodle fan and prefers rice! Bah. Ungrateful swine. I do however have to agree with him..

Anyway, he did like the Kung Pao although he noticed the absence of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts which were in the Observer version but not the Rasamalaysia one. No pleasing some people. This was pretty easy to make and relatively healthy. I think it is one, to perfect.

You chop chicken into cubes and marinade in

1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon oil

you then fry in a hot wok until half cooked.

Remove from the wok then add in the ginger and garlic, give it a quick stir then add in the chilies. Once the chilies give off a chili smell add in the partially cooked chicken. Give it another stir, then add in some crushed peanuts, after another stir add in the sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn starch

I added some Chinese chives which I had found,

but you can add spring onions.

It was very good. If I do say so myself.

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