Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great Chinese Food at Home

I've lived in Pittsburgh for the past ten years, now, and I have yet to find anything I could even remotely call "good" Chinese food. There was one I found to be acceptable, but it is now under new ownership and the quality of food is suffering. There are plenty of places to try, often with glorious Yelp reviews, but I'm never impressed. I ate at the chain-ish Chinese establishments growing up, so why can't I find a good one out here? Perhaps it's because I was spoiled by the fabulous Tony Wang's Restaurant in Lancaster, PA. When Cal and I started dating, he took me to this little hole in the wall looking place that I had driven past millions of times throughout my childhood.
 It's run by Tony, a now elderly Chinese man, and his wife. The decor is greatly outdated, and the building looks, well, sad, but the food is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. 
We try to stop in each time we visit our relatives in the area. It's that good. 

Anywho... The lack of good Chinese made me search for recipes for making it myself. I came across this recipe for Orange Chicken using Foodgawker, and, I have to say, it's better than any take out that I've recently purchased. 

One thing I've always noticed is that when you halve a recipe like this (which I often do), the amount of sauce never seems to measure up to the rest of the ingredients, so I have made it a habit to make a full batch of sauce while halving the the rest of the recipe. So far, I haven't been let down. 

Orange Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 egg, beaten
1 T oil
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
1/4 c green onion
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1 c broccoli
1 T mirin or saki
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c water
1 T cornstarch
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T rice vinegar
1/4 c sugar
Zest of 1 orange

For the chicken: cut thighs into bite size pieces. Combine cornstarch, pepper, salt, flour. In a separate bowl, combine egg and oil. Add both to bowl of chicken, coating well.

Fill a deep skillet with 1" of oil. Fry chicken pieces until browned and cooked through (about 5 min per side). Keep warm.

For the sauce: combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and orange zest. Set aside.

Heat medium pan or wok over high heat. Add 1 T oil. Add garlic and ginger, stir 15 seconds. Add broccoli, stir another 15 seconds. Add green onion and pepper flake, stirring 15 seconds. Add sauce combo to the pan and bring to a boil. Add mirin/saki and sesame oil. Mix the water and cornstarch to a slurry, then add to pan. Stir constantly until sauce is thick and bubbling. Toss in chicken and coat well. 

I served it with plain ol' steamed rice and I do have to say it was scrumdidilyumptous! I will definitely be adding it to the recipe book. The beat part is, one serving (sans rice), comes in at a whopping 205 calories! Add one serving of instant white, long grain rice and you have a 305 calorie meal. No wonder Chinese food is always so filling at the time but you're hungry and hour later.