Monday, January 28, 2013

Mongolian Beef (P.F. Chang's copycat) and Sweet and Sour Chicken

I went to a small junior college in central Utah for my Associate's degree.  There sure wasn't a lot to do in that little town during my first year.  Luckily, I had some friends that were as crazy and immature as myself.  One night, we took my camcorder and went "Jaywalking" like Jay Leno through some apartments and asked students questions that they should know but didn't.  Another night, a friend and I wrapped ourselves in aluminum foil and ran across campus at midnight.   Another night, a bunch of us dressed up like Captain Underpants mixed with the style of Spongebob and had a wrestling match on an old mattress in the living room.  Oh, the good times of college. 

I think if there was a Chinese restaurant in that tiny little town with food like this, I would have had an I'm-going-to-nothing-but-shove-my-face-with-this-food for two years.  These two recipes blew the socks off my husband, which is saying something since he wears wool socks that go up to his knees.  
 These recipes are keepers!  There is no reason to go out an pay an arm and a leg for Chinese food with these recipes around.  They are just as good as any restaurant.
 Mongolian Beef

2 t vegetable oil
1/2 t minced ginger or 1/2 t dried ginger
1 T minced garlic
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c water
3/4 c dark brown sugar
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
1 lb flank steak
1/4 c corn starch
2 green onions, chopped

Heat 2 t of oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the minced garlic and ginger.  Heat and stir until fragrant.  Don't let it burn!  Add the soy sauce and water.  Stir.  Add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil.  Boil it for a couple minutes or until thickened.  Remove from the heat.

Slice the flank steak into 1/4 inch slices across the grain.  While you are slicing it, tilt the blade to a 45 degree angle to get wider cuts of meat.  Dip the slices of meat into the corn starch to lightly coat them.  Let the meat stick for 10 minutes.  This will help the cornstarch stick to the meat better.

While it is sitting, heat 1 c of oil in a large skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking.

Add the beef and saute until it is nice and brown.  Stir it a bit as you go to ensure even cooking.  After it is browned, 2-3 minutes, take it out to drain on a paper towel.  Dab it with the paper towel to remove excess oil.

Add the meat to the saucepan with the sauce in it.  Heat it over medium-low heat to heat through.  Add the chopped green onions, saving a few for garnish.

Serve with fried rice or cream cheese rangoons.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 c cornstarch
2 lg eggs, beaten
1/4 c canola oil

3/4 c sugar
4 T ketchup
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 t garlic powder

Preheat oven to 325.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  While it is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper.  Place the cornstarch in a Ziplock bag.  Add the chicken pieces.  Seal and shake the bag  to thoroughly coat the chicken pieces.

Whisk the beaten eggs in a shallow plate or pie plate.  Dip the cornstarch-covered chicken into the egg mixture and carefully place in a single layer into the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Flip to cook the other side just until golden brown.  It's okay if it isn't cooked all the way through since it's going into the oven for awhile.

Remove the chicken and put it in a baking dish, in a single layer.

Combine the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken.

Bake for one hour, turning the pieces a couple times during the baking.

After an hour, the sauce will be all sticky and perfectly coated on the chicken.

1 comment:

  1. You can just fry the chicken and then on high heat just toss it in the sauce and add corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce.