Writing feels oddly therapeutic most of the time and I am not sure why I stayed away from it for so long – I mean, two weeks is a really long time, but I have an excuse! (I mean, I always have an excuse, don’t I?) I experimented with new ideas and tried new ingredients and culinary zones so I can come here today and present new tested recipes. So, without further ado, here we go on a nice journey that to me – an Eastern European – brings to the table food that I am not used to. They are fairly familiar to some students, and who knows, maybe they can come and improve them.
MANGO AND CHICKEN STIR FRY
I was a bit reluctant about the combination of mango and chicken in the beginning, but now I love it as it is a great mixture between sweet and spicy food. This is obviously not an original recipe, but since I had it for the first time in a restaurant, I tried a lot of variations I could find online and I would like to think that this variation is the best.
You will need…
- 800g chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp soysauce
- 400g green peas
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 mangos
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ tbsp. fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- In a large bowl, mix the mangos, red onion, jalapenos, fresh ginger, hot pepper sauce, and lime juice. This is a trickiest part, as you should blend them in order to get a smooth texture – I assume that if you chop them well enough, you can use them in a cruder version, as long as you do not mind it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- An alternative would be to find mango salsa to buy if you look hard enough.
- In a bowl, combine the chicken, 1 tbsp oil, cornstarch, and half the soy sauce. Make sure that all the chicken is covered and let rest for at least 10 minutes – consider that you might want to keep the chicken in the fridge is it’s longer.
- Boil the green peas for 3-5 minutes.
- Heat a pan on high. Add the remaining oil and,when hot enough, add the chicken and cook (depending on how big the cubes are this should take 6-10 minutes).
- When cooked properly, add the boiled green peas, mango salsa, remaining soy sauce, and the honey. Mix well and allow to cook for another 2-4 minutes.
- Finally, season with salt and pepper.
- I recommend serving it with some white rice, as you will be able to enjoy the sweet and spicy taste better – but if you really want, you can try other side-dishes, too. Don’t forget to enjoy!
KATSUDON AND EGG RICE BOWL
Before saying anything else about this recipe, I have to admit that this resembles much European cuisine and that, generally, there are very many similar dishes in most countries – in the end, this is only a pork cutlet. But the Japanese version has something special to it, mostly because the rice complements so well the soy sauce and the mirin.
You will need…
- Pork chops (boneless, the kind you will find in any shop – not very thick ones, however)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (originally panko, but it’s easier to find plain breadcrumbs than the Japanese version)
- ½ cup dashi stock (can also be replaced by ordinary chicken stock)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp Mirin (you can try replacing it with some sweet rice wine, but I cannot guarantee that this is a good idea)
- 1 onion
- White rice
- 1 scallion
As you can see from the ingredients list, but there are a couple that are very specific. I believe that some of them (if not all) can be easily replaced with what you find at any corner shop, but the good thing about London is that you should find them easily.
- Start by seasoning the pork chops with salt and pepper. After mixing the egg, dust the chops with a bit of flour and then coat them with the egg. Finally, coat them with the panko/breadcrumbs, until you get an even layer. Remember to put the breadcrumbs and egg in a shallow bowl so you can easily do this step.
- Cook the pork in hot oil – you can check if it’s hot enough by seeing if a breadcrumb sizzles. For ~1cm thick chop, you should fry it 5-6 mins on each side or until golden brown.
- Drain the extra oil on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- In the same pot (it should still have the oil and all the juice from the meat) add the finely chopped onions until it is slightly caramelised. Pour the stock, sugar, soy sauce, and Mirin over the onions.
- Cut the pork chops and place over the onion, while the cooker is on medium heat.
- In a bowl, beat the remaining two eggs and add them in the pan, drizzling them over everything. Cook until they are set.
- Serve over a bowl of steamed white rice (to be fair, I just buy a pack of pre-cooked rice and I microwave it as I am too lazy to cook rice).