Thursday, 20 February 2014

Spicy baked chicken

Oh, chicken. I love chicken because it has so many great attributes -- low in calories and fat, high in protein and so versatile. But it's so damn easy to overcook.

I found this recipe when I was looking to spice up some chicken breasts. I absolutely adore the finished product, but definitely overcooked the little guys, so try to avoid that.

I served this crispy, spicy, cheesy chicken with fried chunks of polenta and a side salad with a honey-lime dressing.

Apologies for the dreadful photography -- I WAS HANGRY.

Serves: 2
Preparation: 30 minutes

2 chicken breasts, flattened with a mallet

1/2 c. Greek yogurt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. crushed tortilla chips
1/4 c. shredded marble jack cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno
Salt and pepper

1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken breasts and coat completely. You may immediately move on to the next step or marinate chicken up to 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 450*. Mix the breading ingredients in a large, shallow bowl. Dip the chicken breasts in and coat completely with crumbs. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake until no longer pink in the middle, 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sweet and sour chicken

I've always loved those red-and-white place mats at American-Chinese restaurants that all owners seem to order from the same warehouse. Textured paper, a thick red border and gold text describing the zodiac animals and their various traits provided plenty of entertainment for me as a child waiting for my sesame chicken. The zodiac pairings were always of the most interest, predicting whether a relationship would be successful or not. I'm positive that quizzing my parents for their birth years countless times at The China Cafe is the only way I remember the dates (as a tiger and a pig, they are a good match). 

As for me, I should've been looking for a dog but ended up with an ox, which means unfortunately, we will part.

Whatever. Bottom line is, I'm a horse and as of the Chinese New Year (last Friday), it is MY YEAR.

In celebration (okay, it was more of a coincidence), I made sweet and sour chicken. It's a hallmark of all American-Chinese restaurants -- basically popcorn chicken swimming in a sticky, sweet, thick sauce. I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find a similar dish in China, but they are just missing out.

Thank you to Damn Delicious for the recipe. You'll need at least and hour and a half to whip this up -- but if an impatient horse like me can do it, so can you.

Cook up some brown rice, steam some broccoli to serve on the side and enjoy. 


Serves: 2
Preparation: 1 hours 30 minutes

2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. corn starch
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sesame seeds

3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 325*. Coat a medium, shallow baking dish with coconut oil.
2. Whisk together the sauce ingredients over low heat; bring to a simmer. Cook down for 5-10 minutes until it thickens.
3. Mix the cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Coat the chicken pieces in the corn starch mix and then the egg.
4. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. When golden brown, transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
5. Mix chicken and sauce together in baking dish. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring two or three times.
6. When the chicken is almost done, toast the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan over medium heat until golden brown. Serve chicken over rice and top with seeds.