Asian, cheap, Chicken, Chinese, Fakeaway, Freezer challange

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chinese Chicken Fakeaway Stir fry (89p per portion) – The Freezer Challenge

Freezer challenge 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I’m doing a bit of a freezer challenge, as we got way too much random stuff in the freezer that needs using up. I would like to get as much of it used before the baby arrives. However, I do think I have started way too late to achieve this, but never mind.

My husband was away yesterday for a business meeting, so only needed to cook for myself and Toddler “Blip”, however, I still ended up cooking for 4. At least I can freeze the portions and I got some ready meals for when the baby arrives.

Now, you may ask what is a Fakeaway? In my opinion, it is exactly the same as a takeaway, except that it is made at home and it resembles a takeaway. I always, like to cook from scratch, one, it is cheap, two, I know what goes into the food and three I know how fresh it is.

In the freezer, I had quite a bit of chicken, 2 drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs. In general, I like to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for stir-fries, it got more taste and it is much cheaper. I must have been lazy when I froze the thighs, (or just pregnant) as I froze them with skin on and bones in. But never mind, I defrosted it and removed bones from thighs and drumsticks and there was almost 450g of meat. Which is a perfect amount for 4. But you can use more/less as it fits with your family, don’t forget you can always bulk it out with more vegetables.

Now, with the skin and bones, don’t throw it away, instead debone them and remove the skin then put it in a separate freezer bag and keep in the freezer, until you got quite a large portion. Why you may ask? Because it makes a fantastic stock (almost for free). I will post the recipe for that another day.

I served the Fakeaway with rice which Toddler “Blip” loves. He tried the chicken and vegetables but wasn’t keen, but at least he tried it.

Also, because I cook it wanting my son to eat it, I don’t add the chilli, but use my special chilli oil instead.

Sweet and Sticky Chilli Chicken Stir-fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g chicken thighs (bones and skin removed) cut in chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely sliced)
2 Cm Ginger finely cut (finely sliced)
2 Hot Dried Chillies (or 2 teaspoons hot chilli flakes or to taste)
1 Medium onion (cut into wedges)
2 Medium carrots (cut into slices)
1-1/2 bell peppers cut into bite size pieces (I used a combination of red, yellow and green, but you could choose just one colour)
3-4 Medium Mushrooms (quartered)
Handful Sugar Snap Peas
2 Spring onions (diagonally sliced)
1/2 tin pineapple pieces (reserve juice for Marinade)
Handful Salted Cashew nuts (optional)

Marinade

All the juice from the Pineapple tin
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Corn flour
Served with rice for four, approx. 240g

Method:

This dish is really best if you can let the chicken marinate for a few hours or overnight. I marinated it for 6 hours. However, even if you just marinated it for half an hour it would still taste amazing.

Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinate, leaving the corn flour out, this needs to be added at the last minute when cooking. Then cut the chicken into bite size pieces and combine with the marinate. Leave covered in the fridge until needed.

Because this is a quick cook, you need to prepare all your vegetables before starting to cook. You won’t have time to do it as you go along.

Slice the garlic and ginger and place in a bowl with the chilli. Then cut the onion and carrot, and bell peppers and place together with the mushrooms and place in a different bowl. Then wash the sugar snap peas and place it in a bowl with the spring onions.

Have the pineapple pieces ready and the cashews if using them.

The cooking

Cook rice as per packet, or your preferred method (I use a rice cooker)

In a none stick wok, add the oil, and bring it up to high heat, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry it for around 30seconds to 1 minutes. Now, with a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the marinate and place in the wok (reserve the marinate, we need this later). Now stir-fry the chicken for around 2-3 minutes until its coloured all over. If you find that a lot of marinate came into the wok, then pour it off back into the reserved marinade.

Now add the onion and the carrot to the wok and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the bell peppers and mushrooms cook for another minute. Then add the pineapple pieces and pour in the reserved marinade (except for 2 tbsp worth), give the mixture a good mix and cook for around another 2 minutes, until it starts slightly reducing. Then mix the corn flour into the last bit of marinade and pour it into the wok give it a good stir. At this point add the Mangetout and spring onions. Cook until it got a sticky consistency, shouldn’t take long.

Serve, with the cashews on top, with steamed rice on the side. Prawn crackers goes well with it.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017)

Ingredients:

Chicken thighs 99p
Vegetable oil 3p
Garlic 9p
Ginger 10p
Dried Chillies 5p (bought at Asian Grocer)
Medium onion 10p
Medium carrots 5p
Bell Peppers 46p
Mushrooms 20p
Sugar Snap Peas 35p
Spring onions 10p
Pineapple pieces 30
Cashew nuts 20p

Marinade

Ketchup 5p
Tomato puree 5p
Brown sugar 5p
Ginger 10p
Garlic 6p
Soy Sauce 10p
½ tsp salt 1p
Pepper 1p
Corn flour 3p
Rice 11p

Total price: £3.59  (per portion 90p)  

 

 

Asian, Fakeaway, Prawns, Tofu

Firecracker Prawn, Tofu and Chinese Leaves Stir Fry with Rice (£3.17 per person)

I’m now 37 weeks pregnant with Baby “Flipper” and I can’t wait for him to be here, seriously, being pregnant is the hardest I have ever done in life. Yesterday I was sick quite a bit and the husband mainly cooked for me. This morning as well, he made me breakfast as I was not feeling well. I just about managed to have some bread with butter this lunch time, but was feeling so sick. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is awful, I wish no other woman should ever suffer from it.

However, this afternoon, I was feeling better again. In the fridge, we had Chinese Leaf that needed to be used. To be honest, I wasn’t inspired, but then I remembered that Wagamama does a gorgeous firecracker prawn dish, so I sat out to try and make that, price in restaurant is around £12.00 and you get 5 prawns each.


Looking around again in store cupboards, fridge freezer I found quite a few items that would go well together. At 15:00 I managed to do all my preparation for the dinner, I even put the rice in the rice cooker so when Toddler “Blip” came home from nursery all I needed to do was cook the food. And what a good idea, especially, as on my way to the nursery I started to get lots and lots of contractions. They have settled down now though, but made cooking much easier as all I had to do was put the food in the wok, in the right order and taste it… Amazingly, I also managed to keep the food down.

Now, I have had a warm bath and the contractions seems to have settled so Baby “Flipper” probably won’t appear today. But soon I got a feeling. Toddler “Blip” tried the prawns and rice, but he was quite tired so it didn’t really hit the spot for him. Luckily, that meant he was happy to go to bed around 19:30.


The Husband loved the dish, he didn’t have the rice though, as still doing low carb.

Firecracker Prawn, Tofu and Chinese Leaf Stir Fry with Rice

Serves 2

Ingredients

Rice, enough for 2 people (around 1 cup full)
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Ginger, grated
3 Spring onions, finely chopped
½ Small Red Onion, finely sliced
2 Tbsp Coriander, chopped
1 Green or Red Chilli (optional)
½ Chinese leaf, cut into 1 cm slices
15g dried black fungus (optional)
150 g Firm Tofu (optional – you could just use a bit more prawns)
150 g Tiger Prawns
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Chilli Bean Paste (alternative Siracha sauce will work)
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Black Sesame Seeds

Method:

  1. Start by cooking the rice as per your preferred method. I use a rice cooker and it works for me.
  2. Then whilst the rice is cooking prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Peel the garlic and finely chop it, grate the ginger, finely chop the white part of the spring onions and quarter the chilli if using. Place it in a separate bowl.
  4. Finely chop the green part of the spring onions and coriander and add it to a separate bowl (this is going to be the garnish).
  5. If using the black fungus, make sure to add it to a bowl and soak it in boiling water (normal mushrooms could be used instead or you could just leave it out). – drain the black fungus and place in a bowl.
  6. Finely, slice the red onion and put it together with the black fungus.
  7. Cut the Chinese leaves into 1 cm slices. Keep it separately
  8. Cut the Tofu into pieces, try and use a firm but NOT silken tofu, as this will hold its shape much better.
  9. Clean the prawns, making sure the poo string has been removed (nothing worse than eating that part).
  10. Then make the chilli sauce by adding 1 tbsp sesame oil, Chilli Bean Paste, Tomato Puree, Rice Vinegar and Soy Sauce together in a bowl and mix well.
  11. Now if your rice is almost finished you are ready to cook the dish (it takes around 10 minutes to cook)
  12. Firstly, heat the sesame oil in a large wok on a high heat (non-stick is best if not non-stick you may need more oil). Once it’s hot add the bowl of garlic, ginger, spring onion and green chilli to the wok. Cook for around 30 seconds, then add the red onions and Black fungus if using and cook for another minute.
  13. Now add the prawns and tofu to the mixture, as soon as they start to turn pink you should add the marinate you have made. Stir everything together and cook for another minute or so.
  14. Toss in the Chinese leaves and cook for another minute and make sure everything is coated in the sauce.
  15. Now serve the stir-fry with your cooked rice and sprinkle over the coriander, green part of the spring onions and sesame seeds.

This dish is lovely served with a fresh minty cucumber pickle on the side, I’ll post the recipe for that another day.

Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said

Costings:

These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per July 2017). For this dish, I have also had to refer to the prices for some ingredients from other stores.. mentioned in the description

Rice, (basic Tesco) 5p
Garlic Cloves, 9p
Ginger 10p
Spring onions 15p
Red Onion 10p
Coriander 10p
Green Chilli 20p
Chinese leaf 63p
Dried black fungus 41p  – Chinese supermarket
Firm Tofu 76p
Tiger Prawns £3.00
Sesame Oil 20p
Chilli Bean Paste 15p
Tomato Puree 5p
Rice Vinegar 20p
Soy Sauce 5p
Sesame Seeds 10p 

Total price: £6.34  – which is £3.17 per person.