Jun 18, 2010

A fake out of the chinese take out

Now, is there anyone who does not have the rather 'regular' craving for the 'ocasional chinese take out'? 

I am yet to meet that mysterious person. And I rather not meet that person (so if any of you do not like it, this won't be a good time to raise your hand :) :)), because then it would really throw me off my understanding of why I think we crave chinese take out. And incidentally, that is what today's post is all about. 

Why I think we crave chinese take out!

There is only one reason. The tangy, salty, hot, spicy, sweet taste of soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic bumped up by either your Hoisin, Kung pao sauce or any of those lovely smelling sauces. But bottom line is the mixture I have highlighted. That is what becons us.  The aroma as you open the white boxes is from that concoction. That is the singular source of feeling good on a day which has not gone excatly nice and cosy. Or on a day which has gone so great that its time for celebration :)

When we are craving Chinese take out, we are not really looking for authentic chinese. We are looking for that 'chinese' taste which makes us feel so good. And for minimal price! By the way I do think that it is difficult, if not impossible to get authentic chinese from a take out joint :) 

Now, I have often mentioned my addiction to Indo-chinese-- an Indian version of Chinese food. And how difficult it is to get one in this country. And how, miraculously, I have this small chinese take out right across where I live, which makes chinese food, which is much like what I love in Indo-chinese. And I did not mention that I crave this chinese take-out more than I like to admit.

The only thing which stops me is the oil and the grease that usually goes into food made in this joint and for that matter, in any chinese take out joint. I work out, I eat healthy and I am not really willing to put all that hard earned reward down a soup--even when that soup is an excellent comfort food.

But I can never really ever think of giving up chinese food !! It will be pure sacrilage.

So... voila! This is where blogging comes in handy. I have blogger friends who make such excellent mouth watering Asian food,  which are healthy and at the same time retaining all those flavors of a chinese take out, which we love... and yet tastes so much better--- more like the ' real deal'.

So I devised this recipe. More like a method to get easy asian food, combining all the flavors I crave in a chinese take out, in a healthy way and with  a gourmet touch (courtesy my blogger frens who make such incredible Asian food- chinese, Malayasian, korean, vietnamese, Thai). And you know what? I get asked for this recipe over and over again. It sort of touches the taste buds smack in those places we so associate with the goodness and comfort of a chinese take out.

So without much ado...here is a 'fake out' of the original 'chinese take out' :)


1-1.5 lbs Chicken: Use any varaity. I have used drumsticks and skinless bonelss too. They are all good. Just  ensure if you are using bonelss chicken, to chop them to bite size pieces. Does for really easy cooking
1 big onion. Finely chopped. The fine chopping goes well with the sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic. Grated or finely chopped
1 Jalapeno. Remove the seeds and chop finely
1 big bell pepper. Finely chopped
Scallions or green onions. Chopped finely

3-4 tbsf of Soy sauce.
2-3 tbsf Vinegar. Any vinegar is good
1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes
1.5 tbsf ground cumin. This is the indo-chinese component
2 tbsf flour
1 tsp of corn flour. Mix well with water
2 tbsf of any other sauce: I have used Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce. Either or both go really well with this. You can also easily use kung pao or all those sauces that you see in the asian isle in your grocery section.

1 tbsf of sesame oil. You can really also use veg or corn oil. See, 1 tbsf. That's good. Right?
Salt and black pepper for seasoning

Cilantro for garnishing. Optional but use it for the elusive Indo-chinese touch!


There is a method. I told you :)

Marinate your chicken in 1 tbsf soy sauce, 1 tbsf vinegar, chili flakes, cumin and flour. Season slightly with salt and pepper. Leave for 10 mins. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat your sole tbsf oil. When hot, drop the onion. Spread it out, but let it caramelize a bit. About 2 mins before moving it. Best way of getting your colored onion in little oil. When onion is done, add the marinated chicken and saute for a good 5 -6 minutes. Add the garlic, rest of the soy sauce, vinegar, 'other sauce', and mix well. Add in the corn flour. Season with salt and pepper Remember you have already done it. So go easy on this one. Reduce heat and let simmer with occasional stirring. When almost done, add the jalapeno, bell pepper and scallions/ green onions. Let everything marry for 2-3 mins. 
Take off the heat and garnish with cilantro.

Voila! your indo-chinese fae out with a gourmet touch. You better be hungry for this one :)

With Oyster sauce

With Hoisin sauce

Happy eating and healthy living!


Pam said...

What a great formula! I will put it to use the next time I crave take-out!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Takeout is what I've been craving all morning for lunch. Unfortunately where I work there is not anything at all very close by......

Your recipe looks awesome.

Jhonny walker said...

Hey Ramona, that is a tad sad :) but I gurantee that with this recipe..you won't need a chinese tae out :)

Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams said...

Great recipe. I love Asian food but don't cook it much.

Bob said...

Sounds fantastic. I love Chinese (well, American Chinese, heh) but all the restaurants around here are just terrible. I'll have to try this out!

Lyndsey said...

Oh how perfect! Nice method, and recipe to calm our cravings! Yummy!

Brownieville Girl said...

Sounds really wonderful - much better than our local take away!!

Ann said...

okay that looks very very delicious! love your version

Erica said...

Yum, yum, yum. This dish sounds awesome. I could eat plates full of this.

buffalodick said...

I make a mean stir fry, but some Asian dishes are just easier and better to get take out!

Sanjana said...

Wow, I'd love to try this with tofu :) I gave in to my Chinese food urge last night and felt so bad about it afterwards!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I never heard of Indo-Chinese food before! Nor have I used cumin in my Chinese food. But I will now! I am always trying to recreate Chinese food at home in a healthier way. Your recipe looks fantastic!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Your dishes look delicious !

Natasha said...

I cannot stand Chinese take away food over here-it is truly revolting and we avoid it at all costs! I would much rather make my own any day. Now, take out Indian is a whole different story...we have that once a week!! I will try your recipe though as it sounds fabulous!

Best wishes for a great week,

Trix said...

Ah, I know exactly what you mean! I used to crave that Chinese take out taste regularly when I lived in New York ... around here, there's nothing good. So I like your formula!!

Jhonny walker said...

Hi everyone,

I am soo glad that you all like the recipe..its addictive and sure is better than bad chinese take away :)

Dick: I agree a lot with you. This is just a way of getting something handy :)


3 hungry tummies said...

Chinese takeout is such a guilty pleasure lol
I have been collecting Indo/Chinese food, hopefully I'll be able to share them soon!

Trish said...

what a great touch to it my dear friend. You are quite creative

Jhonny walker said...

@ Hungry tummies: Can't wait for those recipes!!

@ Trish: You are back back back!!!

Terrianne, Call me Ree said...

This is so cool. I'm making Chinese fake-out, take-out next week myself. Yours has got me really amped up. I'm excited and hungry!