Sunday, 5 June 2011

Friday Night Chinese - Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce

Why is it that a four day week can feel longer than a five day week? Personally, I think it's because we expect it to be short, the days flying by and before you know it, it's Friday. But not for me and certainly not for hubs.

I stumbled through the door last Friday, heels kicked to one side, hair askew, ready for the weekend. Now, know this. I ALWAYS cook on a Friday night, stemming from the days when my husband would work Monday to Friday in London, coming home only at the weekends and I'd welcome him home with something with a nutritional value higher than zilch. And this weekend was no different, except for one little thing.

Hubs called at lunchtime, knowing I was knackered, and said, 'Let's get takeaway. Chinese? The Dragon do that one I love.' And yes, The Dragon does do good food, BUT I ALWAYS COOK ON A FRIDAY! Does he not realise he is breaking my moral code to feed my husband (and anyone else who passes over my threshold for that matter!)? Call me old fashioned, but I like a tradition.

So I got to scheming, what if I made him think he was getting a Chinese takeaway, that I picked it up just before he got home, only to have cooked it myself, feeding my obsession of knowing exactly what's going in our food and knowing that it's actually chicken we're eating, not re-constituted animal X.

So I made Chinese, knowing what he'd order and having most of the ingredients at home, just a quick stop off for chicken and veggies. I opened all the window so any cooking smells could be passed off as takeaway smells and set to it.

I even went so far as to put it in old takeaway tubs that I save for leftovers and dumping the food into a big bowl as I would normally do with a Chinese takeaway, spooning from bowl to mouth without removing my eyes from whatever rubbish happens to be on the TV.

But he knew.

The first comment was positive 'Oh God that smells good, I'm starving!'

But then, his second comment, upon spying the meal was 'oh, there are normally more onions than anything else, but this has peppers and mushrooms in it. Was it more expensive?'

And then 'The chicken's good. It's different. Not as stodgy. It tastes... less over the top Chinesey... you know what I mean?'


But was it as good?

Yes, but rather than a takeaway, it tasted like it had come from a proper Chinese restaurant. It tasted like it was freshly-made from scratch with real ingredients with the love and attention food deserves. Funny that, because it was.

Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g chicken thighs cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
  • Large handful mushrooms, chunkily sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp maggi seasoning
  • scant 1/2 tsp sugar

1. Marinate the chicken in 1 tbsp soy sauce for 10-20 minutes

2. Heat a wok and oil, and stir fry the onions for 3-4 minutes on a high heat.  Add the pepper and mushrooms, cooking for another 2 minutes before adding the black pepper, chicken and marinade.

3. Continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

4. Add the remaining soy sauce, maggi seasoning and sugar, cooking until the sugar begins to caramelise, just a minute or two.

Serve with rice or noodles


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