Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chili Chicken and Spicy Vegetable Noodles

Ranking as favorite cuisine in India, next only to the local fare, is Chinese food. As the saying goes, the Chinese love their rice and noodles, so do Indians- Chinese rice and noodles, done the Indian way. Not always authentic though, it can be called fusion, and even then, not so much fusion as it is adaptation. It is said to have developed from the Chinese community that settled in Eastern India for more than a century. Indo- chinese cooking is an adjustment of Chinese cooking/flavorings suited to Indian tastes. Read lots of flavor, lots of  heat. From five star menus to mobile kitchens and highway dhabas (roadside stalls),  you'll find cooked up creations which include Chicken Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, Chili Fish and the popular "American Chopsuey"( no resemblance to the macaroni and ground beef dish).
And on those days, in our home, when cravings for Chinese just can't be satisfied with a trip to Little Schezuan down the street, I head to the kitchen to create a couple of our all time favorites. These vegetable laced noodles are served alongside a sauced- up, flavor-coated chicken, otherwise known as chili chicken. Chili chicken originally calls for flour- battered pieces to be fried and added to a piquant, curry-like gravy at the end. Here, I just marinade chicken pieces in minimal ingredients, bake at 400 degrees for 15, maybe 20 minutes, then layer into my already made sauce.
    So, for those of you who feel a need to hit up  some Chinese take- out, head over here, instead, and hit your dinner menu straight out of the flavor ballpark!
    Chili Chicken:
    • 4 tbsp oil
    • *1/2 tbp cayenne (chili powder)
    • 1 tsp salt 
    • 4 tbsp corn starch
    • 1 lb boneless chicken (cut into1-inch pieces)
    •  2 tbsp oil 
    • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped small
    • *1 tsp finely chopped ginger
    • *1 tsp finely chopped garlic 
    • 1 chopped serrano pepper (green chili)
    • 1 chopped bell pepper (capsicum- I use red)
    •  3 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp ketchup
    • 1/2- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depending on your need for heat)
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    •  Mix chicken pieces with cayenne, salt and lightly roll in cornstarch. Marinate  for 30 minutes.
    • Smear a lined baking tray with 1 tablespoon oil and arrange your chicken pieces.
    • Evenly pour a second tablespoon of oil over the chicken or coat pieces with cooking spray.
    • Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Take out of oven and keep aside.
    • In remaining oil, on medium- high heat, saute onions and celery, 1-2 minutes.
    • Add in the ginger, garlic, serrano pepper and finally bell pepper. Saute quickly.
    • Pour in soy sauce, ketchup and chili garlic sauce, sugar and water.
    • Bring to a boil.
    • Add in chicken and take off the heat.

    Spicy Vegetable Noodles:
    • 16 oz fresh lomein noodles (1 packet)
    • pot of boiling water (to soften the lomein)
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1/2 onion chopped
    • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
    • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
    • 1 carrot, cut into small pieces
    •  1 cup shredded napa cabbage
    • 2 green onions, slivered, white and green parts
    • *1/4 cup frozen peas 
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp chili oil
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha
    Soften the lomein in boiling water for 2-3 minutes before cooking.
    Heat oil, add in onion, garlic, ginger and saute 
    Keep heat at medium high, throw in the carrots, saute 1- 2 minutes, then cabbage. Don't let the veggies wilt.
    Stir in your green onions and peas.
    Mix in the sesame oil to the Sriracha, add lomein and combine ingredients so as the coat the noodles well.
    Take off heat.
    Serve with your chili chicken.

     * update on cayenne/ chili powder* Indian chili powder is just pure ground chili peppers and is what I am referring to or substituting cayenne with, unless mentioned otherwise. It is similar to the heat of cayenne, a red hot chili used in powdered form- so I use both the names in my ingredient list, whichever you have at hand is what you use. It isn't to be confused with the chili that is actually a blend of paprika, oregano, cumin and seasonings, most famously used in the dish known also as "chili".

    Ginger and garlic pastes can stand in for finely chopped ginger/garlic.

    Substitute fresh lomein with cooked, dried egg noodles or cooked spaghetti.

    Peas will thaw once they hit the hot noodles.

    Always adjust the level of spice/heat suited to your tastes.

     I freak out when I go to an Asian grocers and usually come back with cartfuls of colorful sauces and oils. As a result, lots of my "Chinese" preparations will contain a medley of seasonings. This combination of flavoring works in these dishes, but feel free to experiment -  heat, tang, sweet, sour- you have it all in these bottles.

    Ok, I'm hoping you're seeing progressively decent pictures :-))  Since, I'm not much of a photographer, this past weekend saw me through an extensive walk of various blogs/ food photography sites. Thanks to the help of my sister-in- law, Annies who directed my search to numerous online tips and methods helpful in getting good shots.  Also, a much-needed trip to the library got me hooked on learning how to  take better pictures of my food. Can you see the page is visually flooded as a result of my camera experimentation? So as the viewing gets better, I hope you're all the more encouraged to try out a couple of these recipes:-)

    My daily inspiration wells from my relationship with Jesus Christ. Minus Him, this blog or the motivation behind it would not have existed. So, I will share a slice of encouraging hope each time I end a post. Without which, the post and my life are incomplete. 

    "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart."
    ~ Psalm 37:4 ~


    1. These noodles look delightful. I make something similar but I am definetly trying yours soon.

    2. Thank you Andrea, I saw your blog, very nice- I'm going to look into it tonight and check out a recipe!

    3. Hello Tisa! I'm Ethel and I work with Jacob. I really enjoy your blog. Jacob mentioned you liked baking. What I didn't know was that you were a great cook also. I like your fun free style of writing. The pictures are fabulous and the food looks so yummy! I actually want to try the beef mappas, the fry chicken with cabbage slaw,, oh! and also the coffee recipes. I am a veggie Tales fan too... I have a 2 1/2 old niece that loves them! Keep sending us wonderful recipes! :)And very nice to meet you! :) Ethel

      1. Hi ,Ethel, Jacob mentions you a lot, so it's like I know you even though we've never met. Thanks for your encouraging, sweet words. Each time I send him with treats to the office, sometimes, especially marked for you, you're not there- so, maybe next time :-) Anyway, thanks for the follow, please try, and let me know the results. ..Veggietales rock, don't they?!

    4. Hi Tisa! Just found your lovely blog via Tasty Kitchen. I think your recipe sounds great and your photography is beautiful! (are you really just a novice with the camera??)
      And amen to Psalm 37. =)

      1. Thank you Jenna, really am encouraged by this,especially about the pictures, that made my day. I have to find you on Tasty Kitchen now.

    5. Thank you, thank you – I need three hours to get everything else done! I love your blog and check in almost every day

    6. Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ to you too, Tisa... We live in an area that has no Chinese food take out, and so this recipe is sure to please the taste-buds of my spice-craving family! So, I will thank you again for the recipes, looking forward to making the tandori style, although I have no idea if I am to cook it in the new pot I got? This one looks simple and a great way to use the bucket-load of noodles I purchased when I went crazy at the Chinese store in Seattle, Uwajymaya! I laughed when I read that you do as I do, stock up on the sauces and in my case NOODLES! If I could only read the writing to know how to cook them! Do you know how to cook the rice noodles? I tried to boil them and created a magic trick instead; they vanished before my eyes! lolz. Happy day in Christ Jesus! Love your verses....this one is for you and yours on his Holy Day....

      And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Col.3:17!


      1. Thank you Colette for blessing me with this Scripture, all in the sweet name of Jesus!
        So I went back to explain the pot to you, it's under your comment (Tandoori). These noodles are easy. I see we have much in common, besides a love for the Lord, we're both mad crazy for Chinese eats :)) With the clear cellophane noodles, rice noodles, you just need to immerse in boiling water, for a minute or two( don't keep boiling with the noodles in). Taste and see- should get done just right this time- no disappearing act ;-D Then drain in a colander. Hope that helps. Did a quick look-see of your web page, need to go through it in detail later- awesome ministry you have there. Blessings to you.

    7. Hi Tisa,

      As part of my school prject I am required to make a website for an Indian/Asian catering company. Would you mind if I was to use some of your photos within the website?

      Kind Regards,

      Maariyah Patel.

      1. Hello,
        Yes, I have no problem if you use my pictures as long as you give due credit, mention the blog- where you picked it up from. Clicking these take effort and time, and I wouldn't like them to be distributed without the source (which is me) being known.
        That aside, good luck on your project.


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!