Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet & Sour Asian Stew

Sweet & Sour Stew with Chicken & Veggies
Easy Recipes You Must Know to Eat Well and Impress Your Friends, Part 2

Here’s a so-easy
, so-scrumptious, always impressive Asian stew that can become a staple quickie meal for you and your lucky loved ones. The secret to this recipe is that you need to keep a few items on hand all the time—items you might not always have in your pantry. (I do because I am a confessed foodie--I buy toasted sesame oil and mirin by the gallon!). Make sure you have ginger root and rice vinegar, for instance.

1/3 cup Soy Sauce (shoyu) Do NOT use that pathetic watered down stuff that's advertised as "low sodium" soy sauce. What a crock! It's just soy sauce with water added—and for the same price. Buy regular soy sauce and add your own water, or simply use less soy sauce.
2/3 cup Water—more if needed
2/3 cup Mirin (if you don’t have mirin sweet rice cooking wine, you can substitute an equal amount of Sake plus two tablespoons of sugar)
3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar (Do not substitute another kind of vinegar—this must be rice vinegar! Rice vinegar is great to have around—it turns regular short-grained rice into sushi rice. It makes a lovely, light salad dressing all by itself—especially good with tomatoes and/or cucumbers. Rice vinegar RULES!)
6 slices Ginger Root (roughly peeled, but don't fuss too much over it)
6 cloves Garlic, crushed
4 pounds of Chicken Thighs or Legs, or Pork Chops, Bone-in. Be sure to choose meat WITH bones—meat is always more tender and juicy if cooked with bones. Boneless meat cooked in stews can become dry and stringy. Bones RULE! You could also make this dish vegetarian by using 1” cubes of Tempeh or Firm Tofu. If you opt for tempeh or tofu, add a tablespoon of sesame oil or vegetable oil to add umami, meat mouth-feel.
2 or 3 cups Vegetables of your choice, cut in bite-sized pieces: Carrots, Mushrooms, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rutabagas, Celery, Parsnips, Soybeans (edamame, shelled), Celery, etc.

  1. Throw everything in a sturdy pot. Let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking. 
  2. Pick out the ginger pieces and any bones, and then serve over white rice. Ladle the delightful saucy sauce onto the rice too. Accept praise and admiration for your gourmet cooking efforts graciously, without divulging the secret that this recipe was obscenely easy to concoct.