Chinese food

Stir-fried String Beans with Meat (Ants on a Tree)

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There's an old, ongoing joke about Jews and Chinese food. You know, the Jewish year is 5777 and the Chinese year is 4714; we love Chinese food so how did we get along without it for over a thousand years?

All kidding aside, there is a real connection among the Jews and Chinese going back -- in the United States at least -- to May 1903. 

In April of that year there was a terrible pogrom in Kishinev (now in Moldava) during Russian Easter. Several days of anti-semitic violence took its toll on the Jewish community: 49 dead, 500 injured and about 2,000 homeless. News of the violence reached the United States, where Jewish philanthropists raised money to help the victims.

But a Chinese businessman on New York's Lower East Side felt the outrage too.

His name was John Singleton, who understood the cruelty and sometimes barbarism inflicted upon minority groups. He and three fellow merchants Guy Main (Yee Kai Man), Dek Foon and Jue Chue arranged for a benefit performance at the Chinese Theater on Doyers Street on May 11, 1903.

The program consisted of a short play (performed in Chinese) -- all the Chinese actors donated their time. Then speakers. Guy Main and Rabbi Joseph Zeff (who spoke in Yiddish) talked about the common bond between the two people, noting the atrocities committed by Russians against both. Another speaker expressed Jewish gratitude to the Chinese and wished the United States to welcome them as Americans, a somewhat veiled protest against the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Finally? Dinner at Mon Lay Won, considered the "Chinese Delmonico's." A very special place. The famous Yiddish actress Bertha Kalisch attended, as well as many other prominent Jews. There is no record of the menu, but it was definitely NOT kosher. The restaurant, which usually served featured pork and shrimp, apparently tried to be sensitive to the Jewish dietary laws and didn't serve those items, but we know that among the dishes served were chicken, squab and reindeer.

The event raised about $280 for the Kishinev victims (that's about $7,300 in today's dollars).

Of course this is not the reason that Jews love Chinese food. But the gesture stands, the solidarity cannot be forgotten. And so, on this 114th anniversary of the event, I offer a tasty Chinese dish that's welcome for spring. If you can get Chinese long beans that's perfect, but I make the dish with common string beans. The authentic Chinese version calls for ground pork, but my recipe uses turkey. It's kosher.

Celebrate solidarity, unity, kinship, friendship, respect for all ethnic groups and minorities.

Stir Fried String Beans with Meat

  • 1/2 pound Chinese long beans, green string beans or haricots vertes
  • 3 scallions, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces ground turkey or veal
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 dried red chili peppers (or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

Wash and trim the beans. Shred the scallions by using a small sharp knife tip and cutting through from the root end through the greens. Cut away the root and set the scallions aside. Steam the beans for about 3 minutes or until barely tender. Drain under cold water and set aside. Preheat a wok or stirfry pan. Pour in the vegetable oil, let it get hot. Add the meat and stirfry for a minute or so, stirring constantly and breaking up the pieces, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the water, wine, soy sauce, sugar, peppers and sesame oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Add the scallions and ginger and mix them in. Add the beans and stirfry for a bout a minute, mixing the ingredients to distribute them evenly. 

Makes 4 servings

Fried Rice is Always Welcome

Ed and I have eaten a lot of fried rice recently. In Hong Kong. In Vietnam. In Cambodia. In the Philippines.

You could say fried rice is a staple in our lives. Just this simple dish: hot rice, vaguely crispy from the fry, lightly salty (but never with added soy sauce) and with a bit of egg, onion (usually in the form of scallion) and cooked vegetables. And that's how we had it (with a change of seasonings, depending on where we were) throughout Southeast Asia.

And that's how we have it at home (only from now on I will add more of the flavorings we recently sampled -- like sliced chili pepper or fresh coriander or star anise).

Because no matter what else I make for dinner, Ed will always welcome fried rice as a side dish.

He will also welcome fried rice as the main dish.

That makes it very easy for me, especially on days when I don't feel like fussing over dinner.

It does take some thinking ahead, because it's best to make fried rice using cold, cooked rice.

After that it's simple. You stirfry the rice and add all sorts of other ingredients from cooked carrots or mushrooms or any other veggie, to frozen peas to canned water chestnuts to fresh scallions to leftover chicken or veal to scrambled eggs -- whatever you have! And season it the way you like.

Like the recipe below, which was a filling, satisfying, delicious one-pot dinner.

Another bonus -- I added some of the Carrington Sriracha flavored coconut oil that I mentioned when I posted about Sriracha-Parmesan Popcorn. I got the oil, among other things at Crafted Kosher, a new website that has an enormous assortment of interesting products. The coconut oil is coming in handy for many of my recipes (stay tuned). Just a small amount makes a huge flavor difference, as it did with this fried rice.

Fried Rice with Egg and Peas

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha flavored coconut oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked cold rice
  • 3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 cup diced leftover turkey, chicken or veal, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring once or twice until they are set on the bottom. Turn the eggs over and cook briefly until firm. Dish out the eggs onto a chopping board, chop them and set them aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil and the coconut oil in the pan. Add the scallions and stirfry for about one minute. Add the rice, eggs, peas, optional meat and salt and stirfry for 2-3 minutes to distribute ingredients and heat the rice.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on whether this is a one-dish meal or part of a meal

 

Happy Birthday, Valentine's Day and Chinese New year

Today is Ed's birthday and I was thinking about what to make for dinner. We used to go out to eat because there was a restaurant nearby that served chocolate cake with apricot filling, which he loved, but the restaurant closed. These days he doesn't eat cake, so there goes that.

No dessert, okay, that's his choice. But what about the main course? 

He'd appreciate stuffed cabbage. Or braised short ribs.

But mostly he likes Chinese food. Cantonese egg rolls or Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup. Mild or spicy.

Any kind of Chinese food.

I can't go wrong with Chinese food. Which he would also choose for Valentine's Day. Or to celebrate Chinese New Year (February 19th).

Here's one he loves: 

Beef with Orange

  • 1 large or 2 small navel oranges

  • 12 ounces beef steak

  • 1 large egg white

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Sauce:

    • 1 tablespoon Mirin

    • 1 tablespoon water or beef stock

    • 1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

    • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

    • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil

    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 thick scallions, chopped

  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno chili pepper, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Peel the oranges, then cut the peel into bite size pieces and place the pieces on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the pieces have dried. Remove from the oven and set aside. While the orange peel is baking, slice the meat and place the pieces in a bowl. Add the egg white and cornstarch and mix the ingredients thoroughly to be sure every slice is coated. Set aside.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the Mirin, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a stirfry pan or wok (or large saute pan) over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until the meat is completely brown. Remove the meat to a dish and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan. Add the scallions, chili pepper, ginger, garlic and orange peel and stirfry briefly. Return the meat to the pan and stirfry to distribute the ingredients evenly. Sprinkle the ingredients with sugar and stirfry briefly. Stir the sauce to be sure the cornstarch (which may have settled to the bottom) is completely incorporated. Pour the sauce over the ingredients and stirfry for about a minute until the meat is glazed. 

Makes 2 servings (or 4 with other dishes)

 

 

 

 

 

Fried Rice with Turkey and Mushrooms

On Father’s Day my husband does not:  1) grill  2) want hot dogs or hamburgers  3) play golf (baseball, soccer, etc.)  He wants:  1) me to cook  2) Chinese food  3) to relax, sit outside, and spend a good deal of time googling all sorts of stuff on his iphone and then regale us with the miraculous things he has learned.  I haven’t figured out the menu but maybe it will be  Chicken with Hoisin Sauce and Cashew Nuts  or  Chicken with Peanuts  (his favorite). Or maybe  Grilled Chicken/Ginger kebabs . He’d absolutely LOVE some  Pearly Meatballs .   Fried Rice is a definite. Any kind, even if it is “Chinese style” and not authentically Chinese like this recipe, which is more or less what I sometimes cook when I have just a little bit of meat leftover. Ed will always welcome this dish or any variation. He always mixes in a little bit of sesame seed oil. I don’t.  This recipe will serve 4-6 as a combo dish to be eaten with other food. When it’s just the two of us for dinner, we eat it all.  One cup if raw rice cooked with 1-3/4 cups water will yield 3 cups cooked rice.     Fried Rice with Turkey and Mushrooms           3 dried shiitake mushrooms    2 eggs    3 tablespoons vegetable oil    3 scallions, chopped    1 cup diced leftover turkey     1/2 cup thawed frozen peas    6-8 water chestnuts, diced (or 1/2 cup diced bamboo shoots)    3 cups cooked cold rice    1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste    sesame seed oil, optional, to taste         Soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes or until they are softened. Rinse them, discard the inedible stem, if any, and cut the caps into small pieces. Set the mushrooms aside. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring once or twice until they are set on the bottom. Turn the eggs over and cook briefly until firm. Dish out the eggs onto a chopping board, chop them and set them aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the pan. Add the scallions, turkey and mushrooms and stirfry for about 2 minutes. Add the peas and water chestnuts and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the rice, eggs and salt and stirfry for 1-2 minutes to distribute ingredients and heat the rice. Sprinkle with sesame seed oil if desired.     Makes 2-6 servings, depending on whether this is a one-dish meal or part of a meal    

On Father’s Day my husband does not:

1) grill

2) want hot dogs or hamburgers

3) play golf (baseball, soccer, etc.)

He wants:

1) me to cook

2) Chinese food

3) to relax, sit outside, and spend a good deal of time googling all sorts of stuff on his iphone and then regale us with the miraculous things he has learned.

I haven’t figured out the menu but maybe it will be Chicken with Hoisin Sauce and Cashew Nuts or Chicken with Peanuts (his favorite). Or maybe Grilled Chicken/Ginger kebabs. He’d absolutely LOVE some Pearly Meatballs

Fried Rice is a definite. Any kind, even if it is “Chinese style” and not authentically Chinese like this recipe, which is more or less what I sometimes cook when I have just a little bit of meat leftover. Ed will always welcome this dish or any variation. He always mixes in a little bit of sesame seed oil. I don’t.

This recipe will serve 4-6 as a combo dish to be eaten with other food. When it’s just the two of us for dinner, we eat it all.

One cup if raw rice cooked with 1-3/4 cups water will yield 3 cups cooked rice.

 

Fried Rice with Turkey and Mushrooms

 

 

3 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 eggs

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 scallions, chopped

1 cup diced leftover turkey 

1/2 cup thawed frozen peas

6-8 water chestnuts, diced (or 1/2 cup diced bamboo shoots)

3 cups cooked cold rice

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

sesame seed oil, optional, to taste

 

Soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes or until they are softened. Rinse them, discard the inedible stem, if any, and cut the caps into small pieces. Set the mushrooms aside. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring once or twice until they are set on the bottom. Turn the eggs over and cook briefly until firm. Dish out the eggs onto a chopping board, chop them and set them aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the pan. Add the scallions, turkey and mushrooms and stirfry for about 2 minutes. Add the peas and water chestnuts and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the rice, eggs and salt and stirfry for 1-2 minutes to distribute ingredients and heat the rice. Sprinkle with sesame seed oil if desired.

Makes 2-6 servings, depending on whether this is a one-dish meal or part of a meal

 

Ginger Chicken Skewers

During the hearings for Supreme Court Justice E lena Kagan, Senator Lindsey Graham  wanted to know what she knew about the Christmas Day Bomber. So he asked: “where were you on Christmas day?”   
  And Kagan, who is obviously smart and witty, said: “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”   
  She got a fierce round of applause.  
  I don’t know if Senator Graham understood the joke, but anyone who is Jewish, or hangs out with people who are Jewish or at least lives in a place where there are Jewish people knows that Jewish people are famous for doing three things on Christmas:  
  Going to the movies  
  Working in a Soup Kitchen  
  Eating Chinese food  
  Some say it’s a tribal thing. I don’t know. My children and grandchildren are always at my house on Christmas, especially if it falls over a long weekend like this year’s kind of is. We re-do Hanukkah, open gifts that I hadn’t bought in time for that and go to my brother Jeff and sister-in-law Eileen’s house because they have a universal type holiday party. And there are too many young children in the family to go out to any Chinese restaurant that would have us or go to the movies or work in a soup kitchen.  
 So I make a Chinese dish at home, sometimes a nibble, like  Pearly Meatballs  and sometimes an entree, like  Chicken and Peanuts . 
 This year it’s Ginger-Chicken Skewers. They’re tangy and sweet, have eye appeal and can be prepared up to the point of actualy cooking, in advance. 
 Which makes these perfect hors d’oeuvre for New Year’s if you’re entertaining. Or any old time I suppose. 
 Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year to all. 
 Honestly, I think it’s a whole lot easier just to say Happy Holidays, which covers it all. But I don’t feel like getting too political here. This is about a good hors d’oeuvre. 
  Ginger Chicken Skewers  
     
  1/3 cup soy sauce  
  3 tablespoons orange juice  
  1 tablespoon vegetable oil  
  2 teaspoons sesame seed oil  
  3 scallions, chopped  
  2 tablespoons chopped ginger  
  2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken  
  1 red bell pepper  
  1 green bell pepper  
     
  Combine the soy sauce, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame seed oil, scallions and ginger in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken into strips about 3-inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Immerse the chicken in the soy sauce mixture and let soak for 2-3 hours. Remove the stem, pith and seeds from the peppers and cut them into chunks.   Soak 2-1/2 dozen wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill. Thread the skewers using one strip of chicken, placing different color pepper pieces between the curves. Broil chicken 6 minutes, turning skewers occasionally, or until chicken is cooked through.  Makes 2-1/2 dozen

During the hearings for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Senator Lindsey Graham wanted to know what she knew about the Christmas Day Bomber. So he asked: “where were you on Christmas day?”

And Kagan, who is obviously smart and witty, said: “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” 

She got a fierce round of applause.

I don’t know if Senator Graham understood the joke, but anyone who is Jewish, or hangs out with people who are Jewish or at least lives in a place where there are Jewish people knows that Jewish people are famous for doing three things on Christmas:

Going to the movies

Working in a Soup Kitchen

Eating Chinese food

Some say it’s a tribal thing. I don’t know. My children and grandchildren are always at my house on Christmas, especially if it falls over a long weekend like this year’s kind of is. We re-do Hanukkah, open gifts that I hadn’t bought in time for that and go to my brother Jeff and sister-in-law Eileen’s house because they have a universal type holiday party. And there are too many young children in the family to go out to any Chinese restaurant that would have us or go to the movies or work in a soup kitchen.

So I make a Chinese dish at home, sometimes a nibble, like Pearly Meatballs and sometimes an entree, like Chicken and Peanuts.

This year it’s Ginger-Chicken Skewers. They’re tangy and sweet, have eye appeal and can be prepared up to the point of actualy cooking, in advance.

Which makes these perfect hors d’oeuvre for New Year’s if you’re entertaining. Or any old time I suppose.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year to all.

Honestly, I think it’s a whole lot easier just to say Happy Holidays, which covers it all. But I don’t feel like getting too political here. This is about a good hors d’oeuvre.

Ginger Chicken Skewers

 

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons sesame seed oil

3 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped ginger

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

 

Combine the soy sauce, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame seed oil, scallions and ginger in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken into strips about 3-inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Immerse the chicken in the soy sauce mixture and let soak for 2-3 hours. Remove the stem, pith and seeds from the peppers and cut them into chunks. Soak 2-1/2 dozen wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill. Thread the skewers using one strip of chicken, placing different color pepper pieces between the curves. Broil chicken 6 minutes, turning skewers occasionally, or until chicken is cooked through.  Makes 2-1/2 dozen

Pearly Meatballs

I always need hors d’oeuvre recipes because I entertain a lot. Most of the people who come over are really really familiar with the ones I repeat over and over (because no matter how much they like to try new foods, they are like most people and also want the favorites).  So I make a new recipe or two each time I have company. Experiments mostly, so my friends and family can be “test subjects” for a thumbs up or down.  But recently one of my daughters said “hey Mom, can I have your recipe for Pearly Meatballs?” And I realized I haven’t made these in YEARS! And they are so good, everyone loves them. I had stopped making them because well, frankly, they seemed old hat. But now that we haven’t had them in so long they seem fresh and I am remembering how much everyone looked forward to these.  I learned about Pearly Meatballs from the famous Florence Lin, Chinese cookbook author and teacher, who I met long ago at the China Institute. I tweaked her recipe here and there to suit our family. These meatballs are perfect for Chinese New Year (starting tonight) but also for the Superbowl on February 5th.   Pearly Meatballs   2/3 cup glutinous rice  4 large dried shiitake mushrooms  2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped  6 water chestnuts, coarsely chopped  1 slice fresh ginger, peeled, about 1/2-inch thick, cut coarsely  1 pound ground turkey (or veal but NOT beef or lamb)  1 large egg  1 tablespoon soy sauce  1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt  1 tablespoon rice wine  1/2 teaspoon sugar  white vinegar  chili-flavored oil  Place the rice in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for 2 hours. Drain and set aside. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain, rinse, cut the mushrooms coarsely, and place in a food processor. Add the scallions, water chestnuts and ginger. Process until finely chopped (alternatively, chop the vegetables with a cleaver or chef’s knife).  Combine the meat, egg, soy sauce, salt, rice wine, sugar and chopped vegetables in a bowl. Shape the mixture into balls about 1-/14 to 1-1/2-inches in diameter (wet, cold hands make this easier). Place the drained rice on a plate. Roll each of the meatballs in the rice to coat the outside.   Place the rice-coated meatballs in a steamer. Bring the water in the steamer to a simmer. Steam for 30-35 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the rice is soft.  Serve with vinegar and chili-flavored oil. Makes about 24

I always need hors d’oeuvre recipes because I entertain a lot. Most of the people who come over are really really familiar with the ones I repeat over and over (because no matter how much they like to try new foods, they are like most people and also want the favorites).

So I make a new recipe or two each time I have company. Experiments mostly, so my friends and family can be “test subjects” for a thumbs up or down.

But recently one of my daughters said “hey Mom, can I have your recipe for Pearly Meatballs?” And I realized I haven’t made these in YEARS! And they are so good, everyone loves them. I had stopped making them because well, frankly, they seemed old hat. But now that we haven’t had them in so long they seem fresh and I am remembering how much everyone looked forward to these.

I learned about Pearly Meatballs from the famous Florence Lin, Chinese cookbook author and teacher, who I met long ago at the China Institute. I tweaked her recipe here and there to suit our family. These meatballs are perfect for Chinese New Year (starting tonight) but also for the Superbowl on February 5th.

Pearly Meatballs

2/3 cup glutinous rice

4 large dried shiitake mushrooms

2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped

6 water chestnuts, coarsely chopped

1 slice fresh ginger, peeled, about 1/2-inch thick, cut coarsely

1 pound ground turkey (or veal but NOT beef or lamb)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon rice wine

1/2 teaspoon sugar

white vinegar

chili-flavored oil

Place the rice in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for 2 hours. Drain and set aside. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Drain, rinse, cut the mushrooms coarsely, and place in a food processor. Add the scallions, water chestnuts and ginger. Process until finely chopped (alternatively, chop the vegetables with a cleaver or chef’s knife).

Combine the meat, egg, soy sauce, salt, rice wine, sugar and chopped vegetables in a bowl. Shape the mixture into balls about 1-/14 to 1-1/2-inches in diameter (wet, cold hands make this easier). Place the drained rice on a plate. Roll each of the meatballs in the rice to coat the outside. 

Place the rice-coated meatballs in a steamer. Bring the water in the steamer to a simmer. Steam for 30-35 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the rice is soft.

Serve with vinegar and chili-flavored oil. Makes about 24

Chicken with Hoisin Sauce and Cashew Nuts

It’s a well known fact that Jewish people have an affinity for Chinese food. In fact, Elena Kagan, our newest Supreme Court Justice, even made a joke about it during her Senate hearings (when asked what she did the prior Christmas — a reference to the Christmas Day bomb plot in New York City — she said that she probably did what other Jews do on Christmas: eat out at a Chinese restaurant).

Why this particular love affair between a people and a cuisine? People have speculated lots of reasons (for example, Chinese cuisine uses little or no dairy, making it easy to avoid mixing meat and milk products in violation of the kosher dietary laws).

But ultimately it’s about the food itself. Chinese food is so delicious and there’s such variety as well as an abundance of interesting flavors, it’s difficult not to like, whatever your ethnic background!

When it came to Chinese food, my family was no different from so many others as I was growing up. The official day to eat it with your family was Sunday. Starting with Wonton Soup and Egg Rolls, you also ordered two from Column A, two from Column B. Stuff like Chow Mein and Fried Rice. Moo Goo Gai Pan. Char Shu Ding. Cantonese specialties. Tom’s, the place we went to, was typical: maroon vinyl booths to fit a family of four. 

This was before 1965, when immigration policy changed in the United States under LBJ. If you’re young you have no idea what a culinary (and demographic) revolution this caused. People from Szechuan, Hunan and other provinces of China came here and showed us Chinese food like we never had it before. We’d never known the likes of General’s Tzo’s Chicken and Kung Pao Gai Ding. We never heard of hoisin sauce.

A lifetime ago.

I still love the old and familiar foods of my childhood. A fresh, crispy egg roll. Lo Mein. 

But we save that for the occasional takeout. At home, I cook the other dishes: stirfries, interesting noodle recipes; main dishes that use flavorful ingredients such as hot chili peppers, fresh ginger and sesame oil.

To commemorate the Chinese New Year of the Hare, which begins on February 3rd, may I offer you my favorite recipe for Chicken with Hoisin Sauce and Cashews? It’s quick, easy and really tasty.

Chicken with Hoisin Sauce and Cashew Nuts

4 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup cut up water chestnuts

1 cup cut up fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup cut up green bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/3 cup cashew nuts

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces into a bowl. Add the rice wine, cornstarch and soy sauce and mix the ingredients well to coat the chicken pieces evenly. Preheat a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Add the water chestnuts, mushrooms and bell pepper pieces and stirfry for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the salt, toss, dish out and set aside. Reheat the pan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the chicken and stirfry for 2-3 minutes or until all the pieces are white and there are no traces of pink. Add the hoisin sauce and mix it in thoroughly. Return the vegetables to the pan and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the nuts and toss the ingredients. Dish out and serve. Makes 4 servings