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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet Chili Fire Chicken

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How about making “take out” at home? I’m saying “why not”! Sometimes grabbing fast food once and a while is sometimes a necessity. Making delicious Chinese “take-out” dishes at home is even better. A few simple ingredients with a heavy bottom pot can make this dish a reality. This is my version of Sweet Chili Fire Chicken.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: heavy bottom, a spider, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2 1/2 cups of drained pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
2 bottles of Thai sweet chili sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of snow peas, thinly sliced on the bias
3 tablespoons of finely minced chives
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For The Chicken:
2 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced into 1 1/2-inch size cubes
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 cups of corn starch
6 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:
Prep all the veggies first, having them on stand-by.  Using a meat cutting board, dice up all the chicken, tossing them into a bowl along with the salt and pepper.  Using tongs, make sure the salt and pepper are distributed evenly on the chicken. Grab the largest bowl you have or a large Tupperware container, making it easier to coat the diced chicken pieces. Next, add the flour and toss so that all the pieces are coated.

Preheat the vegetable oil to 360-degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, and using a candy thermometer, have the oil temperature reach 360-degrees F. The oil will take a little while to reach the perfect temperature for frying. Move on to sauteing the veggies.

Add olive oil to saute pan. On medium-high heat, add the veggies and minced garlic in. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Saute until just soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks last just to warm them through. Turn the heat off.

Next, transfer the sauteed veggies and pineapple, from the saute pan, to a large skillet, one that has deep sides. This will be necessary for accommodating all the ingredients. Set the skillet with the sauteed veggies to the back of the stove before starting the frying process.

Going back to the dredging process for the chicken. In one large bowl have the beaten eggs and in another bowl have the corn starch. In small batches, dip the diced chicken into the eggs and then into the corn starch. Place the finished coated chicken pieces onto a large sheet pan.

Check the temperature of the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the battered chicken in small batches, about 5 to 6  at a time, into the pot. Continue dipping the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the corn starch. Cook around 2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil, then transfer them onto a sheet pan lined with a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the chicken pieces are cooked.

Bring back the skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in all the crispy golden pieces of chicken to the sauteed veggie with pineapple. Pour in the bottles of the Thai sweet chili sauce and toss all the ingredients through. Let simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once everything is hot, then turn the heat off and sprinkle on the minced chives. Serve immediately.

I like to serve my Sweet Chili Fire Chicken over a bed of Basmati rice.

 

 

 

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Farro With Grapes, Pineapple, And Raspberry Glazed Almonds

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It’s really amazing to me that Farro is one of the oldest grains in the world.  It’s composed of the grains from certain wheat species. It’s believed that this grain was the one from which all others were derived. Not until recently was Farro so easy to find in the grocery stores however; it’s now available, where the rice and dried beans are found.

Farro is softened in water and cooked until al dente. Like rice and barley, Farro is a blank canvas. You can add whatever ingredients you like to Farro enhancing the overall dish.

I’ve made Farro, in the past, using chicken or vegetable broth as my cooking liquid and adding asparagus, mushrooms, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. There have been times where I’ve made Farro is the style of risotto, using white wine, Parmesan cheese, and other ingredients to flavor the dish. Commonly served as a savory dish, I thought I’d put a twist on the usual Farro recipes and make my Farro With Grapes, Pineapple, And Raspberry Glazed Almonds. A light and healthy snack that curbs those sweet cravings.

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I started with raspberry glazed almonds. You could of course use hazelnuts, walnuts, whatever you have on hand. I also have some dried cherries, dried apricots, golden raisins,  fresh pineapple chunks, and green grapes.

That’s all there is to it!  Believe me when I tell you, this dish is so addictive. Listen, rice is also commonly served as a savory dish, but as a dessert, rice pudding is also amazing. Why not put a sweet twist on Farro.

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of Farro, rinsed and drained
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of *Agave nectar dark amber (liquid measure)
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of whole seedless green grapes then halved
1/4 cup of chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup of chopped raspberry glazed almonds (nuts of your choice)
1/4 cup of diced pineapple chunks

Directions:
Place 1 1/2 cups of Farro in a mesh sieve, rinse and drain. In a sauce pot on medium high heat add in the 4 cups of water salt, and the *Agave nectar. Give that a good stir before adding in the drained Farro. Stirring occasionally to prevent and Farro sticking together, bring the Farro up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low heat, cover, cooking for 25 to 30 minutes. Pour the cooked Farro through a mesh sieve again draining off any remaining liquid.

Next, transfer the Farro into a large bowl. Toss the Farro a couple of times to bring the temperature. Add in all the other ingredients and toss to combine. The cold grapes and pineapple mixed with the warm Farro are so delicious.

Ladle a good helping of Farro With Grapes, Pineapple, And Raspberry Glazed Almonds into a serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener that comes in dark or light amber.

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Pico De Gallo

 

Pico de Gallo Two Ways (12)

Pico de Gallo Two Ways (11)

Pico de Gallo is referred to as salsa fresco, a type of salsa. It’s a fresh, chunky, uncooked, and a distinctly visible mixture of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh chiles, lime juice, and salt. Traditional salsa has a thinner consistency with more liquid.

Who says pineapple can’t be a Pico de Gallo. We’re having tacos tonight with two different types of Pico de Gallo. The traditional Pico de Gallo with tomatoes and onions, and a pineapple pico. We love having options!

My neighbor, Lucinda has few beautiful pineapple plants which are ready for harvesting. You just know they’re going to be so sweet. I knew I had to make something using, pineapple. I’m also going to make a traditional Pico de Gallo.

Pineapples

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Limes

Cilantro

Red Bell Peppers (2)

Orange Bell Peppers

Fresno Chilis

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Pico de Gallo Two Ways (4)

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Pico de Gallo Two Ways (1)

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Cilantro

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 cups of each Pico de Gallo
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, Chef’s knife

Ingredients For Pineapple Pico de Gallo:
3 cups, 1 large pineapple, cored and diced into 1-inch pieces,
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 an orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced,
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Traditional Pico de Gallo:
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients for each type of Pico de Gallo you choose. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill before serving.

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