14 May 2011

Sweet chilli chicken stir fry - better than the stuff from a bottle!

Having slipped one stir fry past our son, I thought it might be worth a go to see if another might work.

It took a fair amount of encouragement for the vegetables in his meal to go, but a good 80% of them eventually got eaten.

Now I know of the young teenager's caution at everything green, added to the young male's predictable caution at anything vegetable, however, I have to admit that I just don't understand it.

To me, vegetables are the most glorious ingredients, which should be looked at with almost as much enjoyment and anticipation as a nice piece of beef, or a plate of sausages.  After all, there are just so many of them!  If you were to take me to a greengrocer's shop and ask me to name what of his produce I didn't like, I doubt I could name anything.  Yes, garlic has an uncomfortable effect upon me (makes me itch!) when eaten either raw or in quantity, and yes, I used to be allergic to all forms of onion (before I became pregnant - fine afterwards!).  These are just vegetables that I have a sensitivity to, rather than being actively disliked by me.

However, hubby doesn't like potatoes, peas, broad beans, green beans, most forms of cabbage - including brussels sprouts, any type of cauliflower, marrow - and the list goes on.  It seems to be a texture thing, as well as an odour thing, with him.  If something is of a squishy texture (i.e. overcooked cauliflower, or marrow) or smells of the compost heap (i.e. overcooked cauliflower, or cabbage), then he can't face it.  To give him his due, some of these things he will eat, but without enjoying the experience.

Son & heir seems to also be going down the texture route - as in his dislike of mushrooms and courgettes.  However, he also dislikes anything dark i.e. aubergine.  Interestingly, he won't eat anything remotely caramelised such as the chicken in this stir-fry dish, declaring it "burned".  It makes me wonder whether the "burned" thing subconsciously applies to the aubergine skin, too.  He won't eat a fried or baked tomato, but will happily eat a raw tomato.  He hates sliced onions being apparent in his food, but if you cook them until they disintegrate and are hardly visible, then that's okay.  I could go on.

Hubby reckons that females are the waste disposal units of the human race.  He reckons that a female will eat something that a male will think twice about (stop giggling at the back!) because of procreation.  He figures that females are hard-wired to be in top baby-carrying condition i.e. carrying lots of fat, so as to keep baby well fed until birth and even after, if you take breast-feeding into account - and I think he may have a point.

As someone who has her likes and dislikes - but none of the dislikes would actually prevent me from eating anything - I find it unfathomable that the chaps can be so picky.  Everything out there is just so exciting!  I look at an ingredient, be it a pepper or a pea, and immediately I'm considering what it would go with, what it's flavour is likely to be and how I could present it.  I guess that's what marks me out as a Foodie!

SWEET CHILLI CHICKEN STIR FRY (feeds 3)

Ingredients:

3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
1 red chilli, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp olive oil
half a pack of egg noodles
1 tsp sesame oil
vegetable oil
vegetables for stir-frying (buy a pre-prepared pack, or select your favourites which should be sliced finely)
1 tbsp Mirrin (or rice wine)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
juice of half a lemon.

Method :

1.  Place the chicken, plus the chilli, garlic, honey and oil into a plastic bag and massage to make sure the chicken is covered.  Leave to marinade for as long as you've got.

2.  Heat a frying pan until quite hot, then tip the chicken and marinade into it.  Try not to let it poach by keeping the temperature up.  Turn the chicken regularly, until you achieve a golden to dark brown colour and they become glazed.

3.  In the meantime, place the noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Cover the bowl and leave until softened.

4.  In the additional meantime, heat a wok or deep frying pan until roasting hot.  Then add the vegetable oil, swiftly followed by the stir fry vegetables.  Add the mirrin, soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir fry until the vegetables are wilted and softened.

5.  Next, drain the noodles & add the sesame oil, giving a light stir to ensure each noodle is covered.  Add them to the vegetable pan and toss the stir fry vegetables through them, coating them in the oyster sauce mixture.  Spoon out onto warmed plates to form a bed and nestle the chicken pieces into bed.  Serve!

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