Sunday, 19 February 2012

Paleo Chinese food SUCCESS! Lemon chicken and Mushroom fried rice

My apartment is right next to a chinese food restaurant. And this place serves Seriously Good Chinese food. If it were gross, I could ignore it, but try having to walk past the smell of Seriously Good Chinese food wafting at you every time you come home, and then having to go inside and cook something for yourself that probably won't be quite so Seriously Good. This is after convincing yourself to pass by the Seriously Good Burrito place that's in between my apartment and where I park my car.

Because of this, I have been attempting to make my own lemon chicken since I moved here. And not some healthy smealthy lemon and rosemary seasoned grilled chicken breat with a side of steamed green beans. I'm talking about the kind with the weird, gelatinous, gloopy sauce that you just know is full of who knows what but is still somehow the most appealing thing ever dispite its weird gloopy nature. Well folks, after some disasters whereby I misunderstood the properties of arrowroot powder, I have succeeded, and it is glorious, because not only did I manage to make credible lemon chicken that made Ashley go "Tastes like Chinese food!", but I also made almost-actually-fools-you Mushroom Fried "Rice" to eat with it. You're welcome.


I can't take full credit for these recipes. I went searching for a recipe for chicken fried rice and found this wonderful entry at Paleo Effect. I modified their rice recipe a tad, and adapted their General Tso's Chicken recipe for the lemon chicken. Their wonderful guidance was what I was missing in my attempts to make sauce thickened with arrowroot. Previously, I was trying to make the sauce and then add the arrowroot near the end. Don't do that, everything goes sloooooop and blobs up into jello-like lemon clumps instead of sauce. And it's not as tasty as jello...

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, chopped into bitesized pieces

Batter:
2 tablespoons arrowroot
one egg
salt (the recipe called for coconut aminos, which is a soya sauce substitute, but darned if I know where to find these, other than ordering them)

Sauce:
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or more honey?)
~2/3 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspooon ground ginger
1 tablespoon vinegar
salt (or coconut aminos) and garlic powder to taste

1. Stir up the chicken cubes with the batter, and fry in some oil (I used olive) until cooked and set aside.
2. Whisk the sauce ingredients together and pour into the hot pan. Stir for a couple of seconds and it will start to thicken right away (when it starts to boil I think?).
3. Add the chicken back in and stir the gloopy goodness all together.

Paleo Mushroom Fried "Rice"
This is a tasty stand-alone version of the plain cauliflower rice I normally make for stiring in with curries and other such runny sauce things. The oil combination isn't important, except for the sesame oil, which gives it the Chinese food vibe.

Ingredients
1/2 head cauliflower (makes enough for 2-3 servings)
lots of cremini mushrooms (or whatever sort you like)
sesame oil
coconut and/or olive oil
garlic/onion powder
salt to taste (or coconut aminos if you have them) and pepper

1. Chop mushrooms fairly small and sauté in some olive oil with garlic and onion powder and sea salt.
2. In the meantime, mulch up your cauliflower (I have a hand crank food processor, or use an electric one. There are also things called "ricers", apparently, or if you don't mind a mess you can just chop it up but there will be cauliflower everywhere, fair warning).
3. Add the "rice" in with the mushrooms once they're good and sautéd. Add a generous helping of sesame oil, and I also added some coconut oil for extra moisture. Add more salt and pepper if needed. I like salt.
4. Stir intermitently and fry until it's the desired tenderness. The original recipe also added a beaten egg and stirred that in but I left it out.

Serve together with the lemon chicken! Or apart, however you feel about these things.

I plan to try this next with orange juice on the chicken instead of lemon, stay tuned!

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