Sunday, April 24, 2022

Szechuan Sauce - Sichuan Sauce

The amazing thing aobut nature is, it sustains itself when we get out of the way. The first few years after we started farming on this piece of land, the biggest pests we had to deal with were mice, voles,rabbits and rats. We kept traps and generally were out smarted by the creatures. The one thing we were particular about was to not use poison unless absolutley necessary. These creatures sure are destructive.

After a few years of a losing battle with the creatures I have been noticing that there are quite a few hawks here looking for prey. I see them sitting on posts watching the field. The end result mice/vole population has dramatically reduced :) So moral of the story is to let nature take it course.

Unlike artificial means of control nature takes a while to fix itself. You need plenty of patience and other means to deal with it, till such time as when nature takes over.

Now on to the recipe of the day, an IndoChinese sauce recipe that can be used for some of our favorite noodles, fried rice or stir fired chicken or shrimp recipes. The funny thing is this Indian version of the Szechuan/Sichuan sauce does not use Szechuan peppers, which works perfectly for me. I am not very fond of the taste it leaves on the tongue. This recipe does not use Szechuan peppers. Based off the recipe I saw on Chef Dheena's Kitchen.

I had some home grown red chilies dried up over the summer just to be used in this recipe :) I also have tomato sauce saved from summer and in the middle of winter, its taste is immeasurable.

Recipe in pictures,

Soak the red chillies in a bowl of water for an hour and then cook it till it becomes soft.
Transfer to a blender and blend it. Get the rest of the ingredients ready.
In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add the onions, garlic,ginger and green chilies.
Once the onions are starting to turn brown, add the tomato sauce, let it cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the vinegar and soy sauce followed by salt. Let it cook till the sauce thickens.


Chicken Noodles

Szechuan Sauce - Sichuan Sauce
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 10 -15 Red Chilies
  2. 1 cup of finely chopped red onions
  3. 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  4. 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  5. 2-3 green chilies finely chopped
  6. 1/2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
  7. 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  8. 1 cup of tomato sauce (homemade)
  9. 2 tbsp oil - I used peanut oil
  10. salt to taste
Method
  1. Soak the red chilies for about 1 hour and then cook them in the soaked liquid for about 8-10 minutes till the chilies become soft.
  2. Let it cool and transfer to a blender and blend. if the seeds are still whole let it be.
  3. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil and when hot add the onions, garlic, ginger and green chilies and let it cook till the onions start to brown.
  4. Now add the tomato sauce and boil for about 5-6 minuted till the tomato mixture comes to a boil.
  5. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and salt and cook till the oil separates.
  6. Cool and transfer to a sterilized jar for use. With the oil and the vinegar the sauce should be fine even without refrigeration for about a month if it lasts that long.
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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Chicken Noodles

Noodles is a quick meal that is easy to put together and is almost always well liked by everybody. I usually make noodles with shrimp because I have shrimp in the freezer but making it with chicken requires a little bit of planning since I don't normally stock chicken.If you have chicken then this recipe is quick. I use boneless chicken thighs but use whatever you fancy.

The vegetables that works best in noodles are cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, beans, greens like chard/kale and green onions. All or a few of these vegetables can be used. I had cabbage harvested from the farm along with bell pepper, green onions

Fresh Cabbage
The trick in making good noodles is to cook it at high heat and make sure not to make it soggy which means completely dry the vegtables and cook the chicken before adding it to the vegetables.

Here is the recipe in pictures,
Cut the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and marinate for about 20 minutes with salt and chili powder. Set a pan and add oil and let it get hot.
Add the chicken and let it cook till the pieces are cooked.
Drain the chicken and set aside. In a pot of boiling water set the noodles to cook.
Get the vegetables ready.
In a pan add onions, garlic and grated ginger. When translucent add in the vegetables first the peppers, followed by the carrots and then the cabbage and any greens if using.
Add in the spices/sauces and saute on high heat for a few more minutes. Add the cooked chicken and mix well.
Add the cooked noodles, mix it in well and add more salt if needead and turn off the heat.


Some fresh tasty noodles is ready. Chicken Noodles
Chicken Noodles
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs of boneless chicken thighs
  2. 1 packet of Chinese Noodles
  3. 2-3 cups of sliced vegetables - I used cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and some chard
  4. 1/2 red onion sliced
  5. 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  6. 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  7. 1 tbsp chili oil or any chili sauce
  8. 1 tbsp ketchup
  9. 2 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  10. 2 tsp pepper powder
  11. 1 tbsp chili powder
  12. salt to taste
  13. 1 tbsp oil
Method
  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken, chop them into bite size pieces and mix them in chili powder and salt. Marinate for 1/2 hr or so if time permits.
  2. Set a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles as per the package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain.
  3. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add chicken pieces and cook till the chickens turns white and is fully cooked. Set aside. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
  4. In the same pan add a bit more oil and add onions and saute till it turns translucent. Add ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
  5. Cook the vegetables in high heat, add the bell pepper and saute for a couple of minutes, followed by all the other vegetables.
  6. Once they are hald cooked add the salt, chili oil/chili sauce, ketchup and soy sauce.
  7. Add in the cooked chicken pieces and mix it in.
  8. Add the noodles and let it heat through.
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