Welcome to my first cooking post! I love to cook, and try new things. Over the years, I have attempted many different dishes from all over the world, with mixed success. Even the failures have taught me valuable lessons about combining flavours, and balance. The dish featured today was a moderate success, even though it was completely made up on the spot. There are things I would fix for next time, but overall the stirfry was tasty and the leftovers made for a great lunch the next day!
Starting with cubed chicken, and lots of finely chopped ginger, two small hot peppers, and some star anise, I kept them moving in the wok with just a touch of olive oil until the chicken was cooked through. The change I would make next time would be to marinate the chicken overnight in the ginger/pepper/anise mixture. The flavours were good, but too mild in spite of the tremendous amount of ginger!
After a taste test, I found that the anise and peppers had completely disappeared! Not visually, I could still see them, but the flavour was missing. To remedy this, I would let the chicken sit overnight in the anise/pepper/ginger.
In an attempt to recover their flavour, I boiled a hot pepper and some anise in a separate pot to make a kind of stock… I now believe that something like this takes time and cannot be rushed… my hope is to not have to do this next time if I have had the chicken absorb all the flavours ahead of time!
When we have had store bought sauces, they are always nice and thick and coat the food nicely. I used some cornstarch, added to my “spicy anise stock”, that was to be added to the meat/veg. I remember helping my Grandma with gravy and adding flour slowly to the turkey fat, stirring and stirring and stirring. According to the box, the cornstarch would be used very much the same way. Boy, was I surprised when suddenly, my water went from, well… watery to a thick paste in the blink of an eye!
It was all I could do to snap this picture before I had to do SOMETHING with it! After removing the star anise and pepper, I poured it over my meat/veg mix, and stirred it in. A quick taste of this latest stage said something was still missing. My veggies were cooking quickly, and I didn’t want limp dull broccoli! I tossed in just a dash of low sodium soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil, and had another taste. This was better! You couldn’t taste the latest additions, but they did add something, and that was the goal. I have made the mistake before of adding way too much soy sauce and that is all you can taste! A little goes a long way where that condiment is concerned!
After a final toss over the heat, I served the stirfry over rice.
Overall, it was a success! It tasted good, even if it wasn’t what I had originally intended. Rich in colour and flavour, this is something I would make again. Another bonus: because I made my sauce from scratch, used low sodium soy sauce in small quantities, and skinless lean chicken breast, this is a very healthy dish, low in fat and salt, with lots of the good things a variety of vegetables provides.
A quick rundown on ingredients (quantities are rough and to taste)
2″ chunk of ginger, finely chopped
2 small hot peppers, finely chopped
star anise (whole so you can remove it)
about 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
about 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 chicken breast, cubed
I will likely make this again, with the changes, and will share an update!