Finally, spring has arrived! For how long we know not. But as the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines. Right? It's been amazing walking around London this week. People are smiling, mostly. Tourists are out in full force. The pubs are spilling onto the pavements, quite literally, and when walking home you can smell charcoal fires burning in preparation for the ritual sacrifice to the sun God.
We always enjoy a barbecue in our house but late finishes as work, gym, swimming etc. all get in the way and then you're only eating at 10pm. I was looking for something simple last night for dinner that included lots of vegetables, wasn't too warming and that wasn't going to take a lot of prep or cooking time. I love a "Chinese" take away as much as anyone else but I hate paying for more sauce than substance. I'm also very picky when it comes to take away. I check food standards agency ratings before I order any thing from anyone. Nothing less than a 4 out of 5 will do. We have a 5 star rated take away not to far from us but I didn't feel like spending money on them last night. So I threw the back doors wide open, let the sun and the breeze stream in and set to making my own version of sweet and sour chicken.
The great thing about this recipe is that it honestly takes 15 minutes! I didn't use chicken I used turkey and I play around with the sauce until it tastes right but have given more exact measurements below. This is so quick and easy and it tastes delicious too. Its the world's easiest fake-away.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 Tin pineapple in juice, chopped
150 g Tomato ketchup; I use the low salt, reduced sugar one
50 g Malt vinegar
50 g brown sugar
1 Tbsp Light soy sauce
Pepper to taste
4 Spring onions finely sliced for garnish
Put all the ingredients into a pot, except the spring onions and simmer for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Turkey Stir Fry - Serves 2 - 3
1 Tbsp plain flour
1 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp Cooking salt
1 tsp Sesame oil
500 g Turkey, quick cook steaks, roughly chopped. You can use chicken thigh or breast if you prefer
2 Green or red peppers deseeded and roughly chopped
2 Red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
2 Red or green chillis, deseeded and sliced
150 g Asparagus spears, washed and roughly chopped (use any veg you like, including mange tout, sugar snap, cabbage, broccoli, baby corn, go wild)
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
4 Nests cooked egg noodles refreshed in cold water or 2 packs of "Quick to Cook" noodles from your favourite grocery store.
It can be a fully vegetarian meal if you prefer, just add more vegetables or tofu instead of the turkey or chicken.
Mix the flour, 5 spice and salt together in a bowl. Coat the turkey in the seasoned flour and set aside. Heat a large pan or wok on a high heat, add a generous splash of rapeseed oil, sesame oil and the turkey to the wok. Cook until golden brown. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Add the vegetables to the pan and toss until hot and slightly softened. I like crunchy vegetables so don't over do it, about 3 - 4 minutes should be sufficient. Toss the noodles in with the vegetables and 1 Tbsp of light soy sauce for some extra flavour, until heated through. Add the cooked turkey and toss until combined.
Remove from the heat. Dish into bowls, pour over your fake-away sweet and sour sauce and garnish with the chopped spring onions. I like to throw a couple of prawn crackers on the side too just for a textural element. Inhale!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. I think it is perfect for warmer weather and for sharing. I love the colours, the flavours and of course the ease of it. Much quicker than waiting for the take-away to arrive too. Oh and don't forget to have a long cold gin and tonic or cocktail of your choice to see the long evening in.
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. - Anthony Bourdain