Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rosie Stir Fries!

Rosie is stir frying tonight.

 You know how the Hawthornes love their stir fries.

We're having chicken tonight and ...

... a secret ingredient.

A few days ago,
I made a rhubarb galette.
I macerated the rhubarb in sugar, flour,
orange zest, minced crystallized ginger, and vanilla,
then I drained the rhubarb.
I saved this drained liquid because it was delicious.
I'll use this in the chicken stir fry tonight.

 First, a marinade for the chicken:
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 TB sweet chili sauce
juice of one orange
4 cloves garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients and add chicken.
 Marinate about 60 minutes,
about the time it takes to cook the brown rice.

Finely mince the garlic.
I've found that it helps
 to run your knife and fingers under hot water.
Keeps the garlic from sticking.

Minced garlic and orange juice going into Tamari sauce.

You can see three plops of sweet chili sauce.

Whisk together.

Add in chicken to marinade.
When preparing the chicken,
you want to cut it into equal-sized pieces
so that they all cook in the same amount of time,
and you want the pieces bite-sized.
Remember, there are no knives in a Chinese restaurant.

 Coat completely,
stirring several times while the chicken marinates.
Ingredients for the stir fry:
marinating chicken bites in the background
2 carrots from my garden
green pepper

I try to keep my celery in either one of those "green" bags
or in foil, which I've heard helps keep it fresh,
but invariably, I end up at some point with limp celery stalks.
Slice off the bottom of the stalks diagonally
and set them in a glass of cold water.
The stalks will come to attention.

I cannot emphasize the importance of mise en place when cooking,
particularly stir frying.

Stir frying is done over hot heat
and it's done quickly.
All your ingredients must be prepared and at hand,
ready to cook.
In stir frying, timing is everything.
There can be no hesitation.

When preparing your vegetables,
you want same-sized pieces so they cook in the same amount of time.

I added about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
to my rhubarb macerating liquid.

 Stir to combine.
This is my flavorful thickening agent.

I poured a little peanut oil in my hot wok,
heated it on high,
and put in all the veggies.
Remember, it's called a stir fry.
Keep those veggies moving!
Time: 7:37

I like to add in a little sugar to bring out the natural sweetness.
Time:  7:38

Turn out into a bowl and cover.
Time:  7:39

I wiped the wok out with paper towels,
got it hothothot,
added in a little more peanut oil,
and dropped in the first batch of chicken.

When frying, it's extremely important
to keep the oil temperature high.
If you put too much protein in at one time,
it lowers the temperature of the oil
and you don't want that.
You end up with soggy not crispy.

For this reason,
fry in small batches.

Time:  7:41

Turn out first fried batch onto vegetables.
Time:  7:42

Next batch.
Time:  7:43

Marinade going into hot pan.
Time:  7:45.

Boil away.

Add the rest of the veggies and chicken back to the wok
and pour in the rhubarb liquid with cornstarch.
Ideally, you want to pour this mixture down the side
of the hot wok, not directly on top of the veggies,
but it's hard for Rosie to manage sometimes.
You try taking pictures whilst you stir fry.

Time:  7:46.

Let thicken, stirring.
Remove from heat.
Time:  7:47.

Ready to plate.

I chopped up a bit of cilantro.

I molded a bit of brown rice on the plate,
sprinkled a few drops of mirin and tamari over the rice,
topped it with pickled ginger slices,
and sprinkled the cilantro over top.

I made pretty on the plate with the mirin and tamari.
 Add the stir fry.

 China Dong has nothing on me.

 The vegetables are crisp tender.
The chicken is juicy and flavorful.
I have accents of cilantro, ginger, and mirin.
All is right in my little stir fry world.

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