Don't get stuck in a kuku rut, break out with these delicious recipes
Sweet and Sour Chicken
What you need:
• 1 x 425g/15oz can pineapple chunks in natural juice
• 2 tbsp. cornflour
• 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
• 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp. soft light brown sugar
• 2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
• ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
• 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp. sunflower oil
• 1 medium onion, cut into 12 wedges
• 2 peppers, red, green, orange or yellow, deseeded and cut into chunks of about 3cm/1¼in
• 1 x 225g/8oz can water chestnuts
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 25g/1oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
• freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the sauce, drain the pineapple in a sieve over a bowl and keep all the juice – you should have about 150ml/5fl oz. Put the cornflour in a large bowl and stir in three tablespoons of the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining juice and 150ml/5fl oz water, then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
2. Cut each chicken breast into eight or nine even pieces. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers for two minutes over a high heat. Drain the water chestnuts and cut them in half horizontally.
3. Add the remaining oil and the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for two minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic, ginger, pineapple chunks and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 30–60 seconds.
4. Give the cornflour and pineapple mixture a good stir and add it to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, season with some ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4–6 minutes until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the chicken is tender and cooked throughout, turning the chicken and vegetables a few times. Serve with a small portion of rice.
Chicken & Cashew Nut Stir Fry
For the chicken
• 1 free-range egg
• 1 tbsp. cornflour
• pinch sea salt
• 500g/1lb 2oz skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced
• 300ml/10fl oz groundnut oil
For the stir fry
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1 yellow pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
• 1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced into strips
• 3 tbsp. chicken stock
• 2-3 tbsp. light soy sauce
• 2 large spring onions, sliced
• 4 tbsp. roasted cashew nuts
• sea salt and ground white pepper
• steamed jasmine rice, to serve
1. For the chicken, place the egg into a bowl, add the cornflour and a pinch of salt and whisk well to combine. Add the chicken to the mixture and coat well in the egg.
2. Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
3. For the stir fry, pour off all the oil from the wok, except for one tablespoon. Reheat the oil over a high heat, add the onion and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the yellow and red pepper slices and stir fry for one minute, or until softened. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the stock and soy sauce. Simmer for another minute, or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Stir in the spring onions and cashew nuts, season, to taste, with sea salt and ground white pepper and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Quick Orange and Lemon Chicken
What you need:
For the chicken
• 450g/1lb boneless chicken breasts, skinned, cut into 2.5cm/1in cubes
• 2 tsp light soy sauce
• 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
• 1 tsp cornflour
• 1 tbsp. groundnut (peanut) oil
• 1 tsp salt
• freshly ground white pepper
• 2 tbsp. finely chopped orange zest
• 1 tbsp. finely chopped lemon zest
• 2 tsp sesame oil
• 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander
For the rice
• enough long-grain rice to fill a measuring jug to 400ml/14fl oz level
For the greens
• 1 tbsp. groundnut or peanut oil
• 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• 2 tsp salt
• 750g/1½lb Chinese greens, such as choi sum or bok choi
1. Combine the cubed chicken with the soy sauce, rice wine (or dry sherry) and cornflour in a small bowl. Put the mixture in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
2. For the rice, put the rice into a heavy pan with 600ml/21 fl oz water. The general rule of thumb is that the water should come up above the level of the rice by about 2.5cm/1in, or the top part of the thumb!
3. Bring the water to the boil and cook until most of the surface liquid has evaporated - this should take about 15 minutes. The surface of the rice should have small indentations like a pitted crater.
4. At this point, cover the pan with a very tight-fitting lid, turn the heat as low as possible and let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. There is no need to 'fluff' the rice, let it rest for five minutes before serving it.
5. To finish the chicken, heat a wok until it is very hot and then add the oil. When the oil is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken to the wok, together with the salt, pepper and orange and lemon zest.
6. Stir-fry the mixture for four minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the sesame oil and give the mixture two turns and cook for another three minutes. Finally add the coriander and continue to stir-fry for another minute. Turn onto a platter and serve at once.
7. For the greens, heat a wok or large frying-pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the garlic and salt. Stir-fry the mixture for 15 seconds. Quickly add the Chinese greens. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the greens have wilted, but are still slightly crisp.
8. Serve the chicken with the Chinese greens and rice.