H. and I have been living in London for just over a year now. While we like living here, there are some parts of everyday life that are made much more complicated in a city that is as crowded and massive as it is. Running errands is one of them. Anything that goes beyond bank/post office/groceries tends to involve a lot of chaos and miles on public transport. On this particular Friday afternoon (Friday the 13th, of course!), I was feeling quite defeated after a whole afternoon of frustrations and one setback after another. The whole time I was out I was looking forward to relaxing at home with a glass of wine and preparing this meal. For me, time in the kitchen tends to heal a lot of wounds.
The initial inspiration for this meal came from this Saveur recipe, and I based the other dishes around it.
Kong Bao Ji Ding (aka Kung Pao Chicken): Peanuts, in pretty much any form, go down very well in this house. I knew the moment I saw this that it would be a good options for us, and H. is still raving about it. The recipe looks complicated but is actually quite simple to prepare, and absolutely delicious. I’ve also since made it in veggie form using tofu which worked too.
Eggs noodles with sesame dressing: The noodles were probably the weakest part of the meal – still very tasty, but they did not pack as big a punch taste-wise as the other two. I probably won’t use this recipe again.
Broccoli & shiitake mushrooms: This is a great recipe from the NYT‘s Martha Rose Shulman which I modified to just include broccoli and mushrooms. The hoisin sauce mixture is really delicious and would work with all sorts of veg combinations I think.
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The meal came together quicker than anticipated. I started by marinating the chicken, and by the time that was done (30 minutes), I had all of the other sauces prepared and was ready to cook. Once the chicken is in, the noodles and broccoli combined take under 10 minutes, so it all came together really quickly. I think the key is definitely having everything pre-mixed before you cook.
As a first go at a 3-part Chinese meal I think this turned out really well and I was pleased and proud of the result. Add H., a shared bottle of wine, and some Arrested Development and you have the perfect cathartic end to a hectic day!