Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stir Fried Chicken & Baby Bok Choy

Today we were supposed to go to a play date at the park with our moms group, but little man still has that cough from last week. He only coughs a couple times a day, but when he does, it sounds terrible. Our pediatrician had mentioned that it was probably due to the high pollen levels this year, because she said his lungs were clear and he had no other symptoms of being sick. Either way, I knew that if I was at a play date and someone else's kid was hacking like that, I'd be worried. Therefore, we opted not to go.

Of course, then another friend invited us to go to Bahama Bucks. I'd never been before and had heard good things about it, so we decided to go ahead and go. I knew that she would trust me and my pediatrician because she knows I'm pretty responsible for the most part. I ordered a shaved ice in a flavor called Gilligan Grape, which was a combination of blue raspberry and grape, if I remember correctly. It was really good, but at the same time, I couldn't help but wonder about all the artificial flavor and coloring that I was putting into my body.

I also wondered if it would make my poo blue, because that's how my brain works sometimes.

Sorry for the overshare there, but you know how this journal thing works. Anyway, after we were done there, my friend said she was going to the AJ's Fine Foods that was down the street. I hadn't been there in ages so I said sure. I love that store, but it's pretty high end and not close to my home, so I don't shop there very often. I forgot how it kind of has the special ability to make me feel kind of ghetto and kind of fancy at the same time. They definitely have super friendly and helpful employees though. This one woman in the produce section helped us for almost 20 minutes, answering questions, bringing out fresher product, and giving bananas to the babies.

I was really proud of myself, because after hanging out there for about forty minutes, I managed to only put produce and a package of sliced gouda into my cart. This is huge for me, because normally I buy a lot of fancy junk food when I'm there. One of the things I picked up was some baby bok choy. I love love love this veggie, and I'm not necessarily a big fan of the leafy greens when cooked. This one, however, I will eat with pleasure.

I threw together a quick stir fry of sorts, and it was so good that I thought I'd share the recipe.

The first thing you'll need is some dashi. You can get it at Asian supermarkets, but I've seen it at my regular ones as well. Get the smallest package you can find because this stuff lasts forever.

Combine 1/4 tsp of the granules with 3/4 cup warm water. You're only going to use 1/4 cup of the resulting broth. You can toss the rest, or save it to use later, or triple the recipe. Your call!

To your 1/4 cup dashi broth, you're going to add another 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use tamari), 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper, and 2 tbsp sake.

I bought a little tiny bottle for cooking at my local Asian grocery store because I don't really care to drink it straight. You, however, may love you some sake fiercely, so go ahead and buy the big bottle and use the leftovers for sake bombers next Saturday. Again, your call.

I took a photo of the bottle next to a spice jar so you could see how small it is. I think it only cost a few dollars.

Go ahead and set your sauce aside. Take a small onion, cut it in half, and then into thin crescents. Saute the onion in peanut or canola oil for about a minute. Add a thinly sliced carrot (two if they're on the small side) and saute another two minutes. Toss in a thinly sliced chicken breast (or two if you're really hungry, but one is enough) and cook until it's mostly cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 of the sauce mixture and allow it to simmer for another two minutes. This gets the flavor into the chicken.

While you're waiting, cut the bottoms off the bunches of baby bok choy. I used two, but if I had used more chicken I definitely would have used more. Wash the individual leaves. They tend to have a lot of dirt in them. Cut them into 1 1/2 inch lengths. Add them to the pan along with the remaining sauce mixture. Cook them until the leaves start to look good and wilted like so:

You don't want to cook them all the way down into a soggy mess. Yuck! Add another tablespoon of soy sauce and cook for two minutes. If you want your sauce to be a little thicker, you can dissolve a teaspoon of cornstarch in about 1/3 of a cup of water and stir it in along with the soy sauce, but I didn't think it was necessary.

Serve this over some steamed rice.

Oh, and just so you know, the boy didn't even cough once all day, not until we got home. Figures.

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