Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chinese Chicken with Peanuts and Vegetables

I was looking through Mary Ellen's blog recently and ended up printing out more than 20 recipes that sounded absolutely fantastic. When I made my menu for the week I decided to try three of her recipes, the first being this one for Chinese Chicken with Peanuts and Vegetables:


I did a lot of prep on Sunday, so this came together in just 30 minutes. I ended up using more veggies (a whole pepper and a whole zucchini) and increased the amount of peanuts since we love them in kung pao chicken, the dish this is based off.

I have to admit, we were a little disappointed in the final result. We liked it well enough, but like all Chinese recipes I've tried to recreate at home the flavors seemed muted. I don't understand how dishes that have soy sauce, garlic, ginger and a ton of other vibrant flavors can be on the bland side. I followed the recipe exactly, but if you look at my picture and Mary Ellen's picture you'll see that her sauce is a lot richer-looking. Mine wasn't even that spicy and I used the full amount of red pepper flakes. I'll have to try again, especially if Mary Ellen reads this and can offer some tips.
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6 comments:

  1. I love trying to recreate those flavors at home... sometimes they hit the mark, others end up bland. Maybe Mary Ellen will pop in and share tips on what she did.

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  2. I love Kung Pao Chicken, but when I've tried to make it at home it never comes close. So I feel your pain! ;)

    I'm wondering... you mentioned you increased the veggies. Maybe that's why your sauce wasn't as rich... you had more stuff in there to "dilute" it?

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  3. Oh that stinks! In my post I note that I doubled the liquid - did you do that? I also think increasing the solids may have soaked up the juice. Now I want to make this again to see if I can get it to turn out again!

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  4. Patsyk - I've never had a hit...I'll have to check your blog for some hits and try them myself.

    Kristi - I think you might be right about the extra veggies. Good point!

    Mary Ellen - Doh! I saw that you said you doubled the liquid, but I think that was reflected in your posted recipe. I never checked the link you posted since you printed the recipe with what I assumed was your modifications. I'll have to try making this again.

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  5. I have never had a hit either with Asian food, though I have tried very little of it at home. Maybe I should revisit it and see what I can come up with. We can compare notes. You actually do try though, and I commend you like crazy for that. Most non-Asians don't attempt it at home.

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  6. Melissa - I really want to be able to make healthy versions of Asian dishes at home. I'm definitely up for comparing notes! I'm trying another Chinese dish tonight and I have high hopes. I'm such a sucker...lol!

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Thanks for commenting!