Friday Night!!!! YAYYYYYY!!!
But its a Friday night in January … not only are we skinter than skint things … have you seen the weather out there? there is NO WAY I am venturing out my warm kitchen into the cold again to get a carry-out I can tell you.
But I’ve been craving a Chinese all day … dreaming about soft noodles and crunchy veggies and little nuggets of tender chicken in a garlicky, gingery sauce just like they whip up at my local takeaway. You know the sauce don’t you – it coats the dish in glossy loveliness and makes any random collection of ingredients suddenly “Chinese” in flavour.
So I called my “Chinese Granny” .. the Granny that is not actually mine but the Grandma of a Manager of a club I used to run. Still she used to feed us well and send us off to work and insisted I called her Granny anyway.
I asked her what was in the big jar sitting in the centre of the kitchen . the jar that the Chefs would dip the tip of their ladles in and toss over the stir fry dishes they were preparing.
The answer came back “Brown Sauce” ………………
Now even I know that the “brown sauce” she was referring to wasn’t our good old HP …… “so what is in the “brown sauce” Granny?” and I gets handed over to one of the Chef’s who rattles off a list of ingredients and proportions … enough to make a vat full!!
So grabbing my trusty calculator I did my sums … and came up with a “family sized” recipe – although this will still do three family sized stir fries – or 12 portions in all. doesn’t matter though because you can throw this into your fridge and use it as your “magic secret sauce” to whip up a mid-week Chinese feast. CHINESE SECRET SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- 6 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 6 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon and one teaspoon of sesame oil Erm!! You bung it into a jar and shake … thats it .. although you may have to shake hard to get the cornflour to mix through. Keep it in a jar so that you can give it a good shake just before you use it every time. So my dinner tonight was half a chicken breast – some RTC beansprouts, 2 ” piece of carrot, 2″ piece of leek and a few broccoli florets to show you all that I eat my greens.
Oh and a handful of noodles ….. cos Friday night is treat night and I want more that just chicken n veggies!! Mix 2 tablespoons of the Secret Sauce with 5 tablespoons of water and stir – now you are good to go.
Heat some oil and toss in your aromatics – I am using ginger, garlic and a little chilli.
Stir fry the chicken and then all the veggies except the beansprouts until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies tender. Pile on the beansprouts and tip the noodles on top of the stir fry. Pour the sauce all over the noodles and then toss the wok until everything is coated. The sauce will thicken and go glossy and the cat will appear from whatever bed she has been kipping on demanding a piece of chicken!!!
TADA .. dinner in minutes .. and darn fine it was too!! So now I know Grandma’s secret sauce and I can ring the changes with my Chinese dishes …. cos if you are sticking to a budget then its a pretty frugal cuisine .. lots of veggies .. a little rice or noodles and a flavouring sized portion of protein.
Thanks Grandma …. the taste is bringing back loads of memories!!
So who is up for making their own stash of secret sauce this weekend – think of the money you could save not popping out to your local takeaway and instead having the authentic taste of China right in your fridge.