Monday, March 27, 2023

If You've Been Wondering Where I Went....Welcome to Substack!!!



So stuff went through a lot of changes in the last several years, and it seemed that a lot of people were moving their blogs to Substack and Medium. Well, I did too.   The Colors Of Indian Cooking is now a Substack. So just click on the link above.  It's still free, all the recipes are there. Just click on the link to subscribe. As I said it's free. I may do a subscription thing later, but right now, FREE FREE FREE. I hope you'll follow me over there and see what all I've been doing since Orange Chicken!  Remember, at my substack it's okay to play with your food!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Orange Chicken: Not A Real Chinese Dish, Not Real Chicken, Still, Really Delicious!

    Who doesn't like a nice dish of the famous Chinese Orange Chicken? They sell it at Panda Express right? Sooooo what's the deal with this dish? Is it really Chinese cuisine? Well, it's Americanized Chinese food, so putting it bluntly you are not going to find this dish in any restaurant in China. 

You will find it however, at Panda Express where I first had it eons ago. I grew up in San Francisco, in a heavily Asian neighborhood, so I've had the luck and pleasure of growing up with easy proximity to excellent Chinese cuisine. When I first saw this at the Vons on Montana Avenue circa 1993 I was all, "what is this stuff?" We wandered in, and we were hungry, on a deadline, so we bought a bunch of it boxed, and took it home. It was good, very good for a couple of "don't wanna cook tonight" writers, and I have to admit we went back and got more. Then came decades where we didn't go to Panda Express, even though they were everywhere that we were.

We don't eat meat very often (mainly big family holidays) so when I started buying Daring Foods "Chicken" and once I'd tried it in a few Indian recipes, I thought what else???? Then I happened to drive past the old Payless Shoe Store which is now a Panda Express. Bingo! Time for a return of the Orange Chicken.

 This recipe really worked well as I live with a long time carnivore who is not about to eat "fake" anything made to resemble one of his favorite foods. He was skeptical. Well skeptical no more because...

This Is Orange Chicken 

( can make this with real chicken and it's just as good.)

Here's What You Need:

For The "Chicken"

1: 1 lb of Daring Foods Chicken, any fake chicken substitute, or..,.real chicken. We're not judgy here.

2: 1 egg white, or vegan egg white, or you can use aquafaba  (bean water which has the same texture as egg white

3:1 and 1/2 tsp salt

4: 1 pinch of black pepper

5: 2 Tbs of  vegetable oil, (divided)  you'll need more for the frying

6: 1/2 cup cornstarch

7:1/4 cup flour

Here Comes the Sauce:

1: 1 Tbs cornstarch

2: 2 Tbs rice wine or white wine

3: 1/4 cup water

4: 1 tsp sesame oil

5: 3 Tbs soy sauce

6: 10 Tbs sugar

7:10 Tbs distilled white vinegar

8: zest of 1 orange

The Finish:

 1:1 and 1/2 Tbs minced fresh ginger

2: 2 tsps minced garlic or shallot

3: 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes

Here's What To Do:

 1: Make the sauce.

Mix together  1Tbs cornstarch , the rice or white wine, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, white vinegar, sugar and orange zest.

Set it aside.

2: cut your chicken into 1 inch pieces. whisk the egg white, salt, pepper, flour, cornstarch,  and 1 Tbs of the vegetable oil together in a large bowl. Put the chicken pieces in, and coat them well.

3: In a separate  bowl ,mix 1/2 cup cornstarch, and 1/4 cup of flour together

4: In a large frying pan, kadhai, or wok heat some vegetable oil to 375 degrees.

5: Take your chicken pieces out of the egg, and oil mixture you've made and dredge them in the flour and cornstarch mixture to coat them for frying.

6: Fry the chicken 3 or 4 minutes you want it lightly browned and crispy, do this in batches, do not overcrowd your frying pan!

7: Transfer to a cooling rack when it's all cooked.

8: Get rid of the oil in the frying pan...all except about 1 Tbs. You'll need that.

9: Add the ginger, garlic or shallot, crushed red chili flakes to the hot oil cook for about 10 seconds.

10: Now pour the orange sauce you made into the pan and get it to boiling.

11: when it boils, turn off the heat and put your fried chicken into the pan with it

12: stir everything around until it's well mixed and coated then serve it up!!!!!

Serve it with rice. This was a biiiiiiiiiiig hit around here., and we didn't even have to go to Panda Express to get it.

  So there it is. On a personal note since twitter is changing into whatever, I'm starting a substack where all these recipes and a whole lot more will be available for free subscription. I might get around to offering paid subscriptions at some point but for now it's  FREE FREE FREE! so I'll be posting on Twitter, FB, the Gram, etc. I'm also signing up for Mastodon if I can figure out where I am on that thing, Tribel, and counter social. I'm listed under my name Kathy Gori on those sites so I hope to see you there, or somewhere.  

Coming up next some holiday cookies and a whole bunch of stuff, see you on Twitter @kathygori  or see you on the flip side.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Kung Pao "Chicken", Fast, Hot, and Daring


I haven't had Kung Pao Chicken in ages, much less cooked it myself. I used to eat it all the time, mainly from Panda Express when we were in too much of a hurry to cook. It was easy take-out.

Back in the days when I was eating meat a lot, the Panda Express on Montana Ave in Santa Monica in the Pavillions Market was just a few blocks from home. Wham! Bam! easy eating! The only worry was getting a space in the Pavillions very small parking lot to pick up one's order.

We once ate nothing but PE while finishing a project at Sony, since it was the easiest option. I haven't ever cooked Kung Pao Chicken but I thought since I've discovered Daring Chicken why not give it a try?

I know those can be famous last words but this stuff worked!!! Kung Pao without the Chicken? How could that be? Well it can.

So I set out to make this stuff. Perusing Kung Pao recipes I found one I liked and and gave it a try. It was a hit and so since  it was requested again, I'm sharing it here. This is a simple recipe and if you eat regular chicken just use that, but it also works with plant chicken. Here's how.

Kung Pao "Chicken"

Here's What You Need

1) 1 lb of vegan "chicken" or the real McCoy. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2) 1 white egg, vegan egg white, or  2 Tbs of aquafaba

3) 1/2 tsp salt

4) 1/4 cup cornstarch

5) 2 Tbs vegetable oil. I used peanut oil

6) 1 tsp cooking wine, or white wine

7) 2 and 1/2 Tbs soy sauce

8) 1/3 cup of water

9) 2 and 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil

10) 12 whole small dried red chili peppers, no bigger than 3 inches long. I used arbol chilies.

11) 1 tsp ground ginger

12) 1 tsp ground garlic or shallot

13) 1 tsp crushed red chili pepper

14) 1/2 Tbs cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tsp water 

15) 1 tsp sesame oil

16) 2 oz dry roasted unsalted peanuts

17) 1 red bell pepper cut into 3/4 inch pieces

18) 2 large zucchini cut into 3/4 inch chunks

19) 1 Tbs Chinese black vinegar  (balsamic vinegar can be a sub for this.)

 Here's What To Do

 Mix the chicken, 1/2 tsp salt,  the egg white or aquafaba, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, and 2 Tbs vegetable oil together and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

 In a small bowl, mix your soy sauce, white wine, and water. Set it aside for later.

Heat your wok or sauce pan on high for about 10 seconds. When the pan is nice and hot add in 2 Tbs of peanut oil.

Take the chicken out of the marinade and saute it on high heat  for a few minutes, until it browns a bit and cooks through.

Now take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside in a large bowl.

Add 1 more Tbs of vegetable oil to the pan, and toss in the red  bell pepper and zucchini. Cook them until they're slightly caramelized and lightly cooked.

Now take the vegetables out of the pan and stick them into the bowl where you put the chicken. Set this aside. Things are about to get spicy!

Toss the 12 dried red chilies into the pan, stir them around until they darken, (this takes seconds) then add the peanuts, the ground ginger, and garlic or shallot, the crushed red chili flakes and the sesame oil.

Mix everything around for a few seconds and then add in the small bowl of soy sauce, water, and wine mixture. 

Bring everything in the pan to a boil then add in the 1/2 Tbs cornstarch, 1/2 Tbs water. Stir it until it's thickened.

Add the chicken and vegetables back into the sauce , and stir everything to combine.

Add in the black vinegar.

You are done!

Serve it up. The first time I made this I had some Chinese noodles, so I used those. This last time I used jasmine rice. I highly recommend going the rice route. It just seemed "right". This was hot and spicy and I definitely see why people drink a nice frosty brew with this. I don't drink, but it kind of made me wish I did. Spicy!

So there it is, Kung Pao Chickenless Chicken...or Kung Pao Chicken if you will. Easy to make at home and you don't have to worry about getting  a space in the Pavillions  when you go pick up your order.

Coming up next, looking toward the holidays and a spooooooky  Halloween dessert.

Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Shrimp With Coconut Rice and Corn. Another Quick And Easy Work Week Lunch

We've been busy lately trying to get a piece of work turned in, and since I cook all our meals, bake all our bread, make all our yogurt, and churn all the ice cream, I'm looking for a simple, relatively easy lunch. Now, you can take these ingredients and make of them a fast and easy weeknight dinner, but for us, dinner is simple leftovers from the day before. I usually grab something quick and raw out of the garden for myself as I stop my days eating around 7 pm. So any of these lunches make a great working dinner too, and all can be leftovers... left overs are a really big deal around our place. This dish makes great leftovers... if there's any left. 

This very simple recipe is really made for the season, as corn is cheap and plentiful right now. I always keep bags of frozen wild-caught shrimp in the freezer, and I have numerous varieties of rice,  ranging from Basmati, to Black Forbidden Rice, and everything in between. All you need for this dish is some jasmine rice, basil, some shrimp, a lime, an onion, a couple of ears of corn, a jalapeno, and a can of coconut milk. Pretty common ingredients. The reason I made this dish is I had everything I needed right at home. So here goes,

Coconut Rice With Shrimp and Corn

Here's What You Need:

1 yellow onion

2 Tbs coconut oil

2 Tbs chopped fresh ginger 

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

3/4 tsp salt

1 and 1/2 cups jasmine rice (Calrose rice also works just fine)

1 can of full fat coconut milk 

1 lb peeled and cleaned shrimp

The kernals from 2 ears of corn

The juice of 1 lime

Another lime, zested and then cut into wedges

A handful of fresh basil leaves , torn and added to the dish, a few more for serving.

A dash of *Gomasio (optional) 

*Gomasio is a blend of toasted sesame seeds, sea salt and dried seaweed.

Here's What To Do:

Heat the oil in a heavy  pot over a medium heat.  When the oil is hot add in the onion, ginger and jalapeno. Add  the salt and stir fry all of this for about 5 minutes or til the onion is  translucent.

Add the rice and saute for another minute or so then add the coconut milk and 1 and 1/4 cups of water.

Bring everything to a simmer and then turn the heat down to medium/low, cover and  cook for 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to stop any scorching of the rice.

Now add your shrimp...

 ...and the corn.

Stir everything together again, then cover and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. You want the shrimp cooked through and the rice to be tender.

You can add more water by 1/2 cups while this is cooking if the water is getting absorbed too fast and the rice is not yet tender.

When everything is done. Take the pot off the heat and add in your lime zest...

...the lime juice...

...and a handful of torn basil leaves.

Now season to taste with gomasio. Dish it up, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve with lime wedges.

There it is, fast, tasty, and simple for a weekday or weeknight.

Coming up next...while finishing our work....Cato's Freaking Cheesecake, since I'll not live that down

 Follow along on Twitter  @kathygori


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Jackfruit Curry, Fast and Spicy "I'll Take 'Tastes Like Chicken' for 500 Alex!"

It tastes like chicken. Isn't that what they say about everything? Alligator = chicken, snake = chicken, Frogs legs = chicken, Rabbit = chicken, Seitan = chicken, Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms = chicken, and of course Chicken itself. Now, since I've eaten all of the above ...I'll add another thing that tastes like chicken, Jackfruit!

These are Jackfruit.

They're big, and bumpy, and the only time I've ever seen them out of a can and in the wild is at my local Cambodian market. However, since that's a 50 mile round trip drive  for me...this is the jackfruit that's easy to get you want this. This is the stuff I buy, you can find it at most markets and yes, it tastes like chicken.

Open the can, drain and rinse the jackfruit. Shred it with two forks, and the meat separates like chicken or pork. Press the shredded jackfruit between paper towels and get out all the water you can. When it's as dry as you can get it. You're in business, it's Jackfruit time!

So this recipe is pretty simple once you get all your ingredients together. Every time I try a new dish, it takes me a bit longer to put it together, but once I've made it, I know it's going to be pretty easy to get on the table on the regular.

Jackfruit and Sweet Potato Curry

Here's What You Need:

 2 cans of Jackfruit, rinsed, drained, shredded  and pressed dry

1 large brown onion finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic or shallot  finely chopped 

2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated

1 serrano chili finely chopped

1 and 1/2 tsps cumin seed

1 and 1/2  tsps. of black mustard seeds

1 Tbs vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground tumeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp Kashmiri chili (can be approximated by mixing 1/2 tsp paprika with 1/2 tsp cayenne)

6-8 dried curry leaves, or 3-4 fresh ones (if you can't find these there are no substitutes so just omit )

1 and 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1 can of full fat coconut milk

3 medium sweet potatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can chopped tomatoes drained

1 bag fresh baby spinach 

1 Tbs lemon or lime juice

 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro 

 Here's What To Do:

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or kadhai.

When the oil is hot toss in the cumin and black mustard seeds.

Fry until the mustard seeds start to pop.

Then, add in the onion. Saute them until they soften.This usually takes about 5 minutes.

Now add the garlic or shallot, serrano chili, and grated ginger. Cook this for about 3 minutes, stir everything around and don't let it burn!!

Now add in all your ground spices, curry leaves, salt,  and stir everything around to coat it well, then pour in 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the pan.

Now add the shredded jackfruit...see, it  looks like shredded chicken...

...the chopped sweet potatoes...

And cook all of this for another 5 minutes. Stir it around to keep it from burning.

Pour in 1 cup of water, 

...then the can of coconut milk...

...and the tomatoes.

Stir everything together well, then bring to a simmer.

When it's simmering, cover it and cook for about 25 minutes. Stir it every once in a while

After 25  minutes the sauce should have evaporated a bit, and thickened slightly. Check to make sure the sweet potatoes are tender and have cooked through.

Now, if you want a thicker curry, take about 1/4 of this curry and puree it using an immersion stick blender, potato masher. This is optional, based on what texture you want. I used my stick blender to thicken it a bit.

Now add your baby spinach to the curry.

Stir it around until it's wilted and cooked.

Stir in the lemon juice and the cilantro. Check your seasoning with salt and pepper. 

You're done!!!!!

Serve it up.

I whipped up a batch of chapatti, or you might serve this with a rice dish

Serve it with a wedge of lime and go to town!!!! This is hot and spicy and whenever cooking with chilies, if you're not used to them be careful. It's easier to add heat than to remove it.


Coming up next a couple of quick and tasty lunch ideas. Follow along on @kathygori

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Some Like It Hot! Chicken Karahi, Fast, Spicy, and Totally Daring Brings The Heat.

   Chicken Karahi is a Pakistani dish from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. Since then it's spread all over the world, and if you've ever tasted it you'll understand why it's so popular. It's a really simple karahi or kadhai dish, named after the wok-like pan it's cooked in.

   For starters, this recipe can be cooked exactly as it is with real chicken, but ever since I started buying that Daring Chicken stuff of Drakes, I'm hooked. When it went on sale briefly,the other day I stocked up. I really like this stuff, not to get all OCD about it, but I really really do. So I was looking for a tasty, spicy dish for the weekend when I have all the time in the world to cook, and I'd seen the recipe around lately and something clicked. And there was as I said a SALE, so why not cook this? On the plus side this is a really easy, and fast dish to make.  All you need is a few basics.

    We grow a lot of our own produce up here. I've got a whole variety of chilies out back, tomatoes,  and lemons. Just toss in some spices, and  "chicken" and a bit of either vegan or regular yogurt ,and that's all it takes. So here it is...,plain and simple.

Here's What You  Need:

1/4 cup of ghee or vegetable oil. (I use vegetable oil)

3 dried red chilies

1 tsp of garlic or shallot paste...or 1 tsp grated garlic or shallot. (I make a paste in a wet dry grinder using either and a bit of water to turn it into a paste)

1 tsp of ginger paste or grated fresh ginger (see above)

1 lb of Daring Plain Chicken pieces,  defrost them first (or skinless ,boneless chicken thighs but into pieces).

5 Thai green chilies. 2 of them finely chopped, three just split down the middle

1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

5 roma or vine tomatoes chopped.

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup full fat greek , or vegan yogurt (room temperature)

2 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

A 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned.

Here's What To Do:

Heat your oil or ghee in a kadhai, wok, or high-sided skillet over high heat.

When the oil is hot toss in the dried chilies and stir. Then add in the garlic or shallot, and ginger paste.

Now, add in the "chicken" pieces, stir them around.

And the finely chopped green chilies.

 Stir fry everything until the chicken is cooked through. This takes about 6 minutes.

Now turn down your heat to low, and add in the kashmiri chili, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

 Stir everything around for about 10 seconds making sure the spices are mixed in well.

Now add the chopped tomatoes and salt.

 Stir things up again, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, take the lid off, turn the heat up and keep stirring until any liquid from the tomatoes and the chicken has cooked off. This takes between 5 to 10 minutes, so keep an eye on things.

Turn down your heat again, and before adding in the yogurt ,whisk it a bit. Add it into the pan slowly so as not to curdle. 

Now add in the 3 whole slit chilies, stir things around, put the lid back on turn the heat down to simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.

Take the lid off, and if the dish is too liquid, turn the heat up and reduce the sauce a bit.

When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat. Add in the lemon juice...

 ...the Garam Masala and black pepper...

...the chopped cilantro...

...and the julienned ginger...

...and you're done!

 Serve it up, and enjoy!!! I served this with roti, or you can serve with rice, or both. If it's too hot  add a dollop of yogurt on top. But we like the heat around here.

   As I said, this is a spicy dish for chili lovers and can be made using real chicken too. Coming up next, playing around with more Indian treats and desserts. I'm staring at you aquafaba! We're warming up for Labor Day !

Follow along on twitter @kathygori because simple recipes drop all the time there.



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