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Recipes Section

Chinese Chicken and Longbean

With today’s obesity epidemic, heart disease and diabetes problems, it makes sense to use more Asian style cooking in our diet. Asian style stir fry cooking is very economical and extremely nutritous, low in meat and fats and higher in vegetable content. Because it uses seasonal vegetables, your ingredients tend to be cheaper, fresher and higher in nutritional value – not stored in a refrigerated warehouse for a month before delivery to a supermarket.

A bunch of green and a bunch of purple long beans

A bunch of green and a bunch of purple long beans

Long beans come in two colour varieties – dark purple or green. Both taste the same.

Long beans are one of those vegetables we often see in the vegetable section and wonder how they are best cooked and what you would serve with them. They have a stronger flavour than your usual green beans and the flavour intensifies when they are cooked. When they are in season, they are often very cheap because most people don't know how to cook them. They are also easy to grow because they are a small bush, not a climber and do not require a climbing frame or a lot of space.

As a side vegetable, you can slice these pencil thin long beans into 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inch) bite-sized pieces and stir fry with a bit of ginger then serve as a side dish with any pork, beef or fish. As vegetables go, they are also very economical in terms of wastage. You throw very little away, just the few millimetres at the base of the bean, where it connected to the bush. Besides stir-fry, soups and salads, the long bean is a good choice for stewing, braising (to remain chewy and firm), sautéing, shallow frying, and deep frying.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (12 oz.) long beans cut into 4cm (2-inch) lengths

  • 1 chicken breast fillet (or 3 boneless thigh fillets).

  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimps rehydrated in 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons of white wine (Shaoxing cooking wine if you insist in authenticity).

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or (water and two chicken stock cubes).

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

The Chicken Maranade

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

  • 1 tablespoon cornflour.

Chinese chicken and longbean

The finished dish - Chinese chicken and longbean.

Method

  1. Cut the chicken breast into long 5mm (1/4 inch) thick strips and Marinade the chicken with the salt, white pepper, cornstarch and oil for about 15 minutes.

  2. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok on high heat until it almost begins to smoke.

  3. Add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry for about three minutes. The chicken should be cooked on the outside but not cooked all through. Scoop the chicken into a bowl and set aside. Be sure to leave about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok.

  4. Add the long beans along with the wine, water and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cover the wok. Let the vegetables steam for about five minutes then uncover and let the liquid evaporate.

  5. When the beans liquor has dried, dry add the garlic, chicken and rehydrated dried shrimp to the wok and continue to stir-fry for another minute.

  6. Turn out onto a plate Plate and serve. It makes two large servings.

Thai cuisine banquet

Why no knife and fork?

In most dishes in Chinese cooking, food is prepared in bite sized pieces, ready for direct picking up and eating with chop sticks. Chinese culture considered using knives and forks unsuitable at the table due to fact that these instruments are regarded as weapons.


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Suggestions

Many Asian vegetables are cheaper than Western varieties, especially if you buy them from Asian markets. Because it is common for Asian families to grow vegetables at home, the prices in the shops plunge when they are in season. Many families will only buy when their own garden is not producing vegetables. So keep your eye out for these bargains, become familiar with the ways to cook them and you will halve your budget.

A selection of Asian grocery products

A selection of some typical handy Asian grocery items to have in your pantry.

Ingredients like shrimps, fish and mushrooms, that we freeze, many asian cultures dehydrate and store dried. They make handy additions in the pantry, to add to stir fries, rather than make another trip to the supermarket.

The dried shrimps mentioned above, are a handy ingredient to keep in stock in the pantry. A handful of these in some fried rice with a few vegetables makes a fast meal and they give any meal a boost. They are available at any Asian grocery.

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Basket of Fresh herbs

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