Quick and Easy

My Chinese recipes are not quite authentic but who cares, they’re so healthy, tasty, easy and quick!
They are based on a couple of very simple Chinese recipes I learned while in Beijing, China in 1984.

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A few tools, some Chinese ingredients plus “mise en place” are essential for success.

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The tools you need:
– a wooden cutting board and a good sharp knife to cut meat and vegetables.
– a wok or, at least, something shaped approximately like a wok. The bowl-shape is important because it helps you control the heat as you cook. Things toward the bottom will cook faster and hotter than things around the edges.
– a wooden spoon, a spatula, whatever
– a watch
– a  few bowls

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In French, “mise en place” means “everything in its place”. It’s very simple.
Before starting cooking these “fast food” recipes, have all tools and ingredients in front of you. Like in a TV cooking show.
Don’t turn the fire on until every last ingredient is sliced, diced and ready to be thrown in.
Put the watch somewhere in front of your eyes.

Meal No 1 – Sauted Shredded Chicken

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Ingredients for one portion
– oil (canola oil, peanut oil, sun flower oil or olive oil)
– optionally, half an egg white and a spoonful of rice flour or starch or cornstarch dissolved in a bit of water

– chicken breast, no skin, no bones


– optionally zuchini or summer squash
– optionally red, yellow, green bell peppers
– scallion
– garlic, 2-3 cloves

– a pinch of ginger powder or fresh ginger shredded
– half a cup with stock
– 2-3 spoons of white wine
– pinch of salt
– optionally, MSG, just a pinch

Step 1. Cut the meat into fine shreds (1 inch).
Step 2 (optional) Mix the egg white with the the starch in a bowl. Put the meat in and mix lightly.
Step 3. Cut the veggies into 1 inch pieces. The total volume of the veggies should equal the volume of chicken.
This means for each handful of chicken shreds you should have a handful of veggies.
Step 4. Mix the stock with the wine, salt and ginger. Add MSG, if you wish.
Step 5. In a wok, heat three spoons of oil over moderate heat. Be sure it’s not hot otherwise the chicken will be too tough. Add the chicken and stir it lightly until the shreds are completely separate. This will take a couple of minutes. When just done (meat is becoming light brown), remove and drain. Set aside.
Step 6. Heat the wok and add a bit more oil. When hot, put in the garlic. Stir-fry until garlic starts to change color. Remove quickly the garlic.
Step 7. Put in the rest of the vegetables. Stir-fry lightly over high heat until they change color, but no more than 2 minutes!
Step 8. Add the stock mixture. Set the heat to low. Add the meat and stir lightly. Transfer to plate and serve.

Now here comes the best part of the story.
This dish can be varied substituting  the ingredients. Also you can cut the meat and vegetables into squares, very fine slices, cubes, chunks, shreds, any shape as long as all are the same in size (around 1 inch).

Try my favorite combinations

Chicken & Garlic Sprouts
MEAT:chicken breast, VEGETABLES:garlic sprouts, SAUCE: ginger, stock, white wine, salt, optionally MSG

Chicken & Mushrooms
– MEAT:chicken breast, VEGETABLES:mushrooms, garlic, SAUCE: soy sauce, stock

Pork & Peppers
– MEAT:lean pork, VEGETABLES:red bell peppers,  SAUCE: chilli sauce

Pork & Eggplant
– MEAT:lean pork, VEGETABLES:eggplant , celery cut into 1 inch pieces, bell peppers cut into 1 inch squares, SAUCE: soy sauce and stock or a tomato sauce.
You have to prepare in advance the eggplant and add it at the very end, together with the meat.
Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes, spread with salt and leave it for  20 minutes, drain.
Stir-fry the eggplant over high heat in 3 spoons of oil,  remove from the wok, drain.

Chicken and Soy Sprouts 
– MEAT:chicken breast, VEGETABLES:soy sprouts and/ or bamboo shoots, SAUCE: soy sauce, stock, optionally MSG

Omlete with Soy Sauce
–  1-2 eggs (plus leftover yolk) Beat them well, make an omelette and when almost ready, add some soy sauce and simmer for a minute.

I call all these “The 7 Meals Recipe”. You can have them for a nice lunch, dinner or even a party, with or without rice or pasta.

Of course, you can try other combinations, just let your imagination fly.

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Photo Buenosia Carol


More tips
– My wok will never be in flames, I don’t cook at high temperatures. I can’t risk it, I know myself too well 🙂
– You can cook with olive oil.
Read these article, for further information on frying with olive oil.
Dispelling the Myths of Frying with Olive Oil
Fried food ‘fine for heart’ if cooked with olive oil

You might enjoy watching this video. Very instructive.