I can so quickly remember as I read about it, the way I felt over certain things, and the harder times I purposely left out of my blog, trying to keep a happy face about the very difficult culture shock I was facing. It's amazing. I've been sitting here for an hour reading and I've only gotten through April! Fun stuff. I should have done this a long time ago.
Anyway, I initially got back on this blog to post a recipe because I have had lots of email reqests for some of my favorite recipes from people and I keep forgetting to post some of them. So I will start with my favorite meal... my soon-to-be FAMOUS Sweet and Sour Chicken!
This is what I have decided are the instructions because I make it without measuring anything and there always seems to be "a little more" of one thing or another needed, but here we go. Give it a try!
Sydney's Sweet and Sour Chicken:
1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/4 cup flour, and a little salt and pepper
1/2 cup sliced white or yellow onion
1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper
1/2 cup slices red bell pepper
(throw in yellow pepper if you like it as well... I usually use any combination of bell peppers that I have on-hand)
one medium carrot cut into small pieces (or grated... I tried this last time and it was really good too)
2 garlic cloves, minced (or chopped, whatever)
1 cup pineapple chunks (I use fresh since it's so easy to come by here, but canned are fine too)1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar (I use balsamic because I love it so much)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger root (either fresh or powdered... I tried powdered last time and it was still just as good)
1) put the cut up chicken into a large ziplock bag with the flour (can add some salt and pepper to taste, I'd say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each), shake it up well to coat.
2) In about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute the chicken until slightly brown (it will cook a little longer in the sauce so don't worry if it is still slightly pink inside.
3) remove the chicken and set it aside, rinse pan, add about one more tablespoon of olive oil and sauce the vegetables (onion, peppers, carrot, garlic)
4) add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, add the chicken back to the mixture and bring to a boil until chicken is cooked through and flavors have had a chance to blend well... about ten minutes.
5) I add about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of ketchup to give it that red color you typically see at Chinese restaurants. It is purely cosmetic, but you can also use it to balance the flavors if you are having a hard time making it taste right... be sure to test the flavor before you serve. Add a little more soy, brown sugar, or even ketchup to balance. Remember that brown sugar is your best friend here... it is perfect at making too much soy more mild tasting.
Serve over brown rice.