Recipe: Stay-at-Home Chinese Takeaway
Now, I’m not going to kid around here – this isn’t a particularly healthy recipe. That’s why, in the meal plan, it’s on a day where the rest of the food is a little more spread out.
But you asked for Chinese food in the meal plan – and, never one to disappoint, here it is. In comparison with a real Chinese takeaway, too, it’s practically angelic.
There are a couple of reasons that this is healthier than the kind of Chinese you’d get at a takeaway. Firstly, there’s no MSG (or monosodium glutamate) in there – it’s a common additive in Chinese cooking that’s just… Nasty. I’ll come back to that another time.
But secondly, it’s all in the method of cooking.
Whereas chicken balls from your local takeaway will have a really thick, hard batter – these are a little different. In a takeaway economy, the emphasis is on making big food at a low cost – so you’ll find takeout chicken balls have a tiny bit of chicken inside a big, thick ol’ bit of batter. That’s because chicken is expensive, and batter is cheap, so they’re making a bigger return on your dollar.
However, this thick batter is super-calorific, because it’s absorbing far more oil. Instead, having a bigger bit of chicken inside, and deep frying it in a thin batter for the lowest possible amount of time will increase the surface area and decrease the fat absorption. That’s why the recipe says 0.1pt of oil – because you’ll be using oil to fry it, but when we measured before and after, only one and a half tablespoons of oil were actually absorbed by the chicken.
Now, don’t get me wrong – like I said, this ain’t the healthiest recipe of all time. But sometimes…
Well, sometimes you just want a bit of an indulgence. So… Enjoy!
0.5tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (check if gluten-free)
50g White Cabbage, Shredded
12.5g Iceberg Lettuce
100g Grated Carrot
12.5g Fresh Green Chillies
1.5tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Chicken Breast
25g Self-Raising Flour (or GF replacement)
37.5ml Whole Milk
0.1pt Cooking Oil
50g White Rice (dry weight)
2tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
1. Preparation is key with this meal, because you’ll be multi-tasking quite a bit – so I’d recommend starting out by chopping up all of your veggies like so:
That’s your shredded white cabbage, sliced carrots, diced onions, chopped chillies, peppers, mushrooms and beansprouts.
2. Now to prepare the batter. In a jug, add the flour (leaving a little to one side), water and milk, and mix until smooth.
3. Dice the chicken breast into squares and dust with the remaining flour.
4. Heat up a pan of cooking oil (as unprocessed as possible – olive oil would be best, obviously, but you know… We’re not made of money) to a level that will cover the chunks of chicken.
5. While the oil is heating, pop the vegetables in to the frying pan with the dark soy sauce and begin to lightly fry them. In another pan, start to boil the rice.
6. Dip the chunks of chicken into the batter and make sure they’re lightly covered in it, before carefully placing them in the oil using a metal slotted spoon. Be careful – don’t throw them in there, because otherwise you’ll end up splashing hot oil on yourself, which is no fun for anyone.
7. Keep stirring the stir fry vegetables and the rice to make sure nothing sticks!
8. Soon enough, your chicken will look like this:
Oh yeah. Hi baby. Once they’ve reached that nice golden brown colour, take a big one out and check that the chicken is white all the way through – if it’s at all pink, give them a little bit longer to cook.
9. Pop the chicken balls on some kitchen towel to dry them out, and dish up your stir-fry vegetables and rice. Add the chicken balls and garnish with some lettuce, then drizzle some sweet and sour sauce over the chicken.
Et voila! You have Chinese food!