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Chinese delights that will give your takeaway a run for its money

Doable midweek dinners that will give any takeaway a run for its money

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Three Cup Chicken

Three Cup Chicken

Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

Pork Patita

Pork Patita

Spicy funk: chicken wings

Spicy funk: chicken wings

Show-stopping: Beef Pho

Show-stopping: Beef Pho

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Three Cup Chicken

My first taste of Asian food, like most Irish people, was from our local take-away, in our case, the Dragon Boat in Howth. Prawn crackers that melt in your mouth, fried rice and sweet and sour chicken from little metal boxes was a real treat when I was growing up.

If I was lucky, birthday dinners were celebrated at the local Chinese restaurant, The Pagoda in Sutton Cross. Crispy duck pancakes, hot and sour soup, and beef in black bean sauce served on sizzling plates dramatically rushed to the table complete with a lazy Susan before devouring bowls of deep-fried ice cream. And so began a love of Asian food that has endured to this day.

Where we live now, in East Los Angeles, we are about 15 minutes from the San Gabriel Valley, home to the largest and best Chinatown in the world. You can explore almost every regional Chinese cuisine in one 20-mile radius and there is no shortage of great dishes to explore. I spend most Saturdays here hunting down a top tip on where to get the best hot pot, dim sum, numbing biang biang mian noodles, fried scallion pancakes or peking duck - It's led to a bit of an obsession!

Although I do think you can only eat the best of Asian cuisines from the masters, homemade Asian dishes most definitely have their place and can leave you with really doable mid-week suppers.

With all that in mind, this week's recipes are a beef noodle stir fry inspired by one of our favourite LA spots, Woon, a chicken dish that delivers a sweet and tangy sauce with minimal effort and a one-pan Singapore noodle dish, that will give your takeaway a run for its money!


Ching's 3 Cup Chicken

Serves 4

Ching He Huang is a master of quick-cook Chinese food and this dish is based on one of my favourite recipes of hers.

Ingredients

500g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces

3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 red chilli, thinly sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

250g bok choy, halved or quartered

2 x 250g packets of ready-cooked rice

1 tbsp cornflour

Salt, to taste

1 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

75ml Chinese rice wine

75ml reduced-salt soy sauce

3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

Method

1. Put the cornflour and pepper into a bowl and season with a pinch of salt. 2. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat them and then set aside.

3. Place the wok over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the pan is smoking, fry the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or 2 before adding the chicken and green pepper. Leave for 30 seconds to seal the meat then quickly move around the pan.

4. Add the rice wine and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

5. Add the bok choy and cook until just tender, about 1-2 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, serve with warmed rice.


One pan Singapore noodles

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Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

Serves 4

This dish is super quick - vermicelli rice noodles come alive with only a brief lick of boiling stock so there's no faffing about. Add to this a heap of tender, stir-fried vegetables and your week is off to a really healthy and wholesome start.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 red chillies, thinly sliced

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

100g green beans, trimmed

1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tbsp curry powder

100g frozen peas

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp rice wine

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

225g rice vermicelli

300ml boiling hot chicken stock (use veg stock for vegetarian dish)

Large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large wok over a high heat and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions for 2 minutes until the onions are just tender. 2. Add the green beans and red pepper and stir-fry for a further 4 minutes before stirring in the curry powder, frozen peas, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and sesame oil.

3. Roughly break in the noodles and pour over the chicken stock, making sure the noodles are completely submerged.

4. Continue to stir until the noodles are tender; which should only take a couple of minutes, by which time the liquid should also have evaporated.

5. Serve with a generous sprinkle of coriander.


Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

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Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy

Serves 2

Shanghai-style wok-kissed noodles need no introduction. This dish is loaded with tender steak, crisp veggies and soft, fresh noodles. Don't be afraid of a high heat when cooking this dish.

Ingredients

For the steak:

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp shaoxing wine

1 tbsp cornflour

250g tenderised steak, cut into thin strips

3 tbsp sunflower oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp shaoxing wine

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

For the stir fry:

2 garlic cloves, sliced

5cm ginger, chopped

1 green chilli, thinly sliced

100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced

6 baby bok choy

3 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths

400g cooked udon noodles

Method

1. Whisk the light soy sauce, shaoxing and cornstarch in a small bowl, add the steak and toss to coat. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Using a tongs add the steak in a single layer, line the pieces up, leaving a gap between each piece. Fry for 2-3 minutes, using tongs, turn and repeat. Set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.

3. Return the pan to a medium high heat. Add the remaining oil, garlic and ginger, fry for a minute, then add the chilli and shiitake and fry for a minute. Follow these with the baby bok choy and spring onions. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the sauce along with the noodles and heat through. Return the beef to the pan, coat everything in the sauce. Serve.


Bite-sized

On tune

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Spicy funk: chicken wings

Spicy funk: chicken wings

Spicy funk: chicken wings

These chicken wings from one of LA's most popular Thai restaurants, Night + Song Market, are easily some of the best I've tasted and I put it down to their chilli and fish sauce marinade leaving them with serious spicy funk.

Shanks so much

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Pork Patita

Pork Patita

Pork Patita

A 15-hour braised pork shank that's deep-fried before being slathered in a sweet chilli sauce and sprinkled with crispy garlic is drop-dead delicious and one of my favourite dishes from Filipino chefs Ray Yaptinchay and Jay Tugas at Spoon & Pork.

Show stopper

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Show-stopping: Beef Pho

Show-stopping: Beef Pho

Show-stopping: Beef Pho

For the more adventurous Vietnamese pho fanatics, alongside a rich meaty broth and vermicelli noodles, the number 24 comes with beef, pigs' blood and trotters served with rice sticks - not for the faint hearted but a show stopping feast!


Irish Independent


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