Home life — working, taking care of the kids, figuring out the spring garden, getting to all those DIY projects we’ve put off for years, binge-watching into the wee hours, coming home from an essential frontline job.
The coronavirus stay-at-home mandate, through May 30 for Illinois, has upended our lives on so many levels.
For the adventurous or the die-hard home cook, what better time to take a deep dive into a an old family recipe? And what’s better than a good old-fashioned recipe swap to share our favorite dishes — from appetizers to desserts?
Here are some recipes you might want to try.
Chinese Chilli Chicken
(Red fried chicken in spicy vegetable gravy)
Growing up in an Indian-African home, I was always inspired by my mum’s diverse cooking skills. I like to try authentic recipes and adding my own twist to it. Here is my all-time favorite recipe. — Ruqayyah Patel, Waukegan
Ingredients for fried chicken:
For fried chicken:
- 1/2 pound chicken breasts cut into large-sized cubes
- 1 bunch spring onions
- 1/2 cabbage, finely chopped
- 4-5 tbsp cornflour/corn starch
- 1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
- Pinch of red food coloring (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Few drops of soy sauce
1. In a bowl, mix all these ingredients together and add just enough water to coat the chicken.
2. Fry on medium heat until done, and set aside.
- 1/2 cabbage chopped finely
- 1 red orange bell pepper julienned
- 1 green pepper julienned
- 1 red onion julienned
- 4 Thai green chilies, slit diagonally
Stir fry these vegetables in a little salt on low heat;don’t overcook
Then make a slurry with the following ingredients:
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 1/3 tsp soy sauce ( you don’t want to make it too salty)
- Chili powder and flakes, to taste
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1. Pour the slurry into the stir-fried vegetables while stirring it until it thickens a bit. You can add more water if it thickens too much.
2. Add the fried chicken pieces to the gravy and mix well.
3. Serve hot and enjoy with steamed rice or naan bread.
Ultimate Shrimp Scampi
(Courtesy America’s Test Kitchen)
This new shrimp scampi recipe (the most requested recipe from the PBS series “America’s Test Kitchen”) uses a few test kitchen tricks to ensure flavorful and well-cooked shrimp, as well as a creamy and robust sauce to pair them with. First, brine the shrimp in salt and sugar to season them throughout and to keep them moist and juicy. Then, because sautéing the shrimp leads to uneven cooking, poach them in wine, a gentler approach that is more consistent. For potent but clean garlic flavor, we used a generous amount of sliced, rather than minced, garlic. Just a teaspoon of cornstarch at the end of cooking kept the sauce emulsified and silky. — America’s Test Kitchen
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed, shells reserved (Extra-large shrimp — 21 to 25 per pound — can be substituted for jumbo shrimp. If you use them, reduce the cooking time in step 3 by 1 to 2 minutes.)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 quart cold water in large container. Submerge shrimp in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn spotty brown and skillet starts to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add wine and thyme sprigs. When bubbling subsides, return skillet to medium heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Strain mixture through colander set over large bowl. Discard shells and reserve liquid (you should have about ⅔ cup). Wipe out skillet with paper towels.
3. Combine lemon juice and cornstarch in small bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and pepper in now-empty skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown at edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved wine mixture, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add shrimp, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to bowl.
4. Return skillet to medium heat, add lemon juice–cornstarch mixture, and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and parsley until combined. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet and toss to combine. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately. Serve with crusty bread.