Sweet-and-sour chicken

This is very different from the sweet-and-sour chicken dish often served at Chinese restaurants. It’s light and nutritious!

Pour a few tablespoons of sesame oil (olive oil is a good substitute if you have a sesame allergy) into a large skillet and turn the stovetop heat to medium. Cut 1.5 pounds of chicken breast meat into small pieces, each about twice the size of a bite. Add the chicken to the skillet and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

As the chicken is cooking, slice one small cabbage head very finely. After you have verified that the chicken pieces are cooked through, add the cabbage to the skillet and stir it all together. Add more sesame oil if it is getting too dry, and turn the heat to medium-low.

As the cabbage-chicken mixture cooks, use a wire whisk to mix together (in a large bowl) a good shake of sesame oil, a good shake of balsamic vinegar, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, and one tablespoon of honey. When this sauce is well combined, turn off the stove heat and scrape the cabbage-chicken mixture into the large bowl. Toss the cabbage and chicken with the sauce until the sauce completely coats the chicken and cabbage. Then pour the contents of the bowl into a large Pyrex dish.

Place the Pyrex dish in the oven remove it when the contents have been heated through. Serve while hot. This dish reheats nicely.

Chicky-pum-pum Dumplings

My not-quite-six-year-old daughter made up the name. I can’t explain it. You will like this dish, though!

To make the chicky-pum-pum:

Cut one pound of chicken breasts into tiny pieces (smaller than bite-sized — you’re going to use these to stuff the dumplings, so make them about one centimeter by one centimeter by one centimeter) and toss them into a skillet with sesame oil over medium heat. As you add the chicken, keep scraping / stirring with a fork. When the chicken is completely cooked, add a nice shake of tamari. Then shred some carrots into the skillet with a vegetable peeler. Shake ginger, minced onion, salt, and pepper over the whole thing, and stir it all together until it’s well mixed. Turn off the heat and cover the skillet to keep it all warm while you make the wrappers.

To make the dumplings: In a large bowl, mix one cup of gluten-free baking mix, one cup of tapioca starch, and two teaspoons of xanthan gum with a fork. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and 3/4 cup of water, and stir some more. Knead the dough with your hands until it coheres into a ball. It should not be too squishy or too wet — if it is, add a bit more flour. Pull off small handfuls of the dough, one at a time, and flatten them into pancakes. You’ll want to make them as flat as possible without tearing them. Spoon a bit of chicky-pum-pum onto each pancake, pull up the sides, and pinch the sides closed along the top and down to each end. You should be able to make 12 to 14 dumplings from your dough. Now it’s time to fry them; feel free to use the skillet in which you cooked the chicky-pum-pum. Pour enough sesame oil into the skillet to cover the bottom. Set the dumplings into the skillet — you may need to do this in two batches — and cook them over medium heat until the bottoms brown. Then add 1/2 cup of water EXTREMELY CAREFULLY (because pouring water into hot oil can cause nasty splatters, which can burn) and cover the skillet. Cook the dumplings for another five to ten minutes, at which point they will be cooked all the way through, but not burned. Use a spatula to remove them from the skillet to a paper towel-lined plate. Enjoy!

My daughter made this recipe up yesterday — well, I had to do a bit of dumpling-making research on my own — and I tried it this evening with a side of steamed broccoli. All three of us were pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out. I think I’ll let her develop the recipes from now on! 🙂

One note: when you’re cutting the chicken, it really helps to have this awesome knife (or one like it).

Asian-Style Stir-Fry

I can’t claim any authenticity for this one–I have no Asian heritage–but it does contain some Asian seasonings. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, and it involves the stove, not the oven, so it’s a good spring and summer recipe. Why make the house hotter, right?

Cut 1.5 pounds of chicken breast into strips. Heat 3 tablespoons of sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. One at a time, add 2 tablespoons each of the following seasonings: ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin; stir between additions. Add chicken strips and stir-fry until completely cooked. (You can cut a strip in half while it’s still in the skillet to check for done-ness.) Optional: add a small splash of tamari, raise heat for 20 seconds, then serve.