Living in the city of Baltimore, I find it difficult to come across good and real Chinese food. So whenever I return home, I ask my mom to cook my favorite Chinese foods (dumplings, steamed buns, etc.) Growing up, my mom would always cook Chinese food for our family. However, when I started cooking by myself I found it hard to replicate her dishes because I didn’t have a recipe that quantified the ingredients.
Last week when I was home, my mom and I cooked a few of her dishes. We measured out the ingredients together so we could quantify the exact measurements to create a recipe. We cooked several spicy dishes such as fish, chicken, and cold noodles. These recipes require many of the same ingredients, such as ginger, garlic, and soy sauce (the basic staples of Chinese cooking). With these ingredients, you can make a variety of Chinese dishes!
I especially loved the chicken recipe because it was easy and extremely flavorful from all the spices. When I returned to Baltimore, it was one of the first things I cooked. My roommates were all amazed by the delicious smell that filled the room. Because the dish is so flavorful, it can be served with a simple vegetable, such as broccoli, and rice.
- 4-5 chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 star anise
- 1 tsp Chinese peppercorns (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 slices ginger
- 1 cup soy sauce (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 scallion
- 2 tbsp Hunan Black Bean Sauce (optional)
- Mince garlic, slice ginger.
- Chop scallion into small pieces and set aside.
- Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized cubes. Place into a large bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup soy sauce chicken thighs and marinate for 15-20 minutes.
- In a large pot (or Dutch oven), heat 2 tbsp olive oil to high heat. Add star anise, Chinese peppercorns, ginger and garlic.
- When fragrant, add Hunan black bean sauce or other spicy sauces (optional).
- Place chicken thighs in the pot. Braise chicken on both sides, stirring occasionally. If the pot is too small for all the chicken, cook 2 batches.
- Add the other ½ cup of soy sauce, and stir again.
- Add water, cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for 10-20 minutes.
You know that feeling little kids get when they get a new toy? That’s exactly how I feel with my new crockpot slow cooker. I know it’s not a typical appliance in most college dorms but it is definitely worth the investment. Having a crockpot makes it so easy to cook you won’t even believe it. There’s no need to worry about overcooking or undercooking meat, there are less dishes to clean, and the best part – you don’t even have to be in your kitchen. Plus, you can make large portions and save leftovers for the rest of the week. For those of you who are concerned about cooking taking up too much time, you should definitely consider getting a crockpot!
Crockpots slowly cook your food and can be set for a certain amount of time depending on the model – mine has settings for 4, 6, 8, and 10 hours. This morning I plugged in my crockpot, threw in the chicken breasts, poured some BBQ sauce over them, and went to class. I came back 5 hours later and my chicken was perfectly cooked and smelled delicious. The crockpot did all the cooking for me!
I can’t wait to try more recipes with my crockpot like chili, soups, meatballs, and one of my favorites – pulled pork. I was initially going to try making pulled pork but the enormous, fatty pork shoulder at the grocery store was too daunting for a first time crockpot user. I’m saving that for another time… I’ve been looking up other crockpot recipes and found that you can even make breakfast and desserts with it. There are sooo many possibilities out there!
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- flour tortillas
- 1 avocado
- Place chicken breasts in crockpot in a single layer. Lightly salt them.
- Pour BBQ sauce so the surface of the chicken breasts are all covered. Put lid back on and put the setting on high for 4 hours. (The crockpot will automatically stop cooking after 4 hours and just warm the contents.)
- When the chicken is ready, take the chicken out. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken. Stir about 1/2 cup more BBQ sauce into the chicken and put it back in the crockpot to cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium high in a small pan. Place tortilla in the pan and heat both sides for about a minute each.
- Cut avocado into cubes.
- Assemble tacos.
It’s Taco Tuesday! I have a simple, yet delicious taco recipe for you all today. I got the idea for making tacos when I was at Cape Cod with my mom last week. We had biked an hour all the way to a small Cape restaurant and sat down for some fish tacos and crab cakes. The fish tacos were so amazing that my mom and I decided we had to make them on our own sometime.
There has always been the debate over eating tacos with a soft or hard shell. The majority of tacos I’ve had in my life (mostly from Taco Bell) were hard shell so I thought that was the only way. Only recently, I realized I’ve missed out on soo much. Biting into a soft taco is such a satisfying moment when the combination of all the ingredients in the taco blend together. Plus, it’s less messy than a hard shell since once you bite into a hard shell, it all falls apart!
These chicken tacos already require little cooking skills but if you don’t want to cook or want to save time, you can use pre-bought rotisserie chicken. I have found that it is very convenient to buy a large rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and just use some of it whenever I need. All you need to do is just assemble!
CHICKEN SOFT TACOS
10 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
1/4 lime, juiced
1/4 cup salsa verde
pinch of salt and pepper
3/4 green onions, chopped
3/4 clove garlic, minced
4 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 tomato, diced
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded cheese
In a medium saucepan, saute chicken over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until cooked. Add lime juice, salsa verde, salt, pepper, green onion, and garlic. Mix well and let simmer while heating up the tortillas.
Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan, warm, and turn over to heat the other side. Or, microwave the stack of 4 tortillas with a paper towel on top for 10 seconds.
Distribute chicken mixture into warm tortillas and top with tomato, lettuce, cheese and salsa.
adapted from All Recipes