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Though I usually like pecan nuts in my banana muffins, I had unfortunately run out of my favorite nuts and found myself having to compromise with a bag of macadamia nuts lost in the depths of my kitchen cupboard. A quick Google search for Banana Macadamia muffins landed me on Turntable Kitchen’s blog and it was their quirky punch line rather than the muffin recipe that caught my eye. “We are young people who are both grown up and completely immature.” Since my crazy self could, wholeheartedly, relate to this largely accurate picture, I simply took the plunge and baked their super comforting banana nut muffins. One should not take life too seriously.

BANANA & MACADAMIA NUT MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3 large, ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup whole fresh milk

1 large egg, room temperature

3/4 cup unsalted macadamia nuts

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners or papers.

  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg into a large bowl.

  • Combine the mashed bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg into another mixing bowl.

  • Carefully fold in wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in half of macadamia nuts.

  • Divide batter among the prepared cups and sprinkle the tops with the remaining nuts.

  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely. Makes one dozen muffins.

Banana & Macadamia Nuts

Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

Chicken cashew nut is a popular dish in restaurants featuring Thai/Chinese cuisine on their menu but you can just as easily make it yourself as you would order a take-away from your favorite restaurant. A simple stir-fry in which you can throw in pretty much any veggie you want to use up from the fridge, the recipe from Well Plated combines broccoli and a mixture of bell peppers in a rich sauce, fusing the sweetness of honey and fiery punch of red pepper flakes.

THAI CASHEW NUT CHICKEN STIR FRY

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

625g boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

3 medium red bell peppers

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

2/3 cup dry roasted, unsalted cashews

For the Thai Sauce

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey, plus additional to taste

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed

1/4–1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Method:

  • Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a small bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch, salt and pepper.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add chicken mixture and sauté until lightly browned.

  • Add bell pepper, broccoli, and green onions. Continue sautéing until the chicken is cooked through.

  • Stir in cashew nuts and cook it for another 30 seconds. While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.

  • In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • Pour the sauce over the skillet. Toss to coat chicken and vegetables and serve immediately with rice.

Thai Cashew Nut Chicken Stir-Fry

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