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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  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.

  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?

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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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