Easy Healthy Chinese Food
Hands down, this is my family's favorite meal. Wanting to cook more healthy meals for my children, I developed this method of cooking to imitate the Pei Wei honey chicken and Panda Express orange chicken, but without the fat from frying. I love this recipe because I can use the same method for making kung pao, sweet and sour, or the sweet chili chicken with pineapple they have at Panda Express. This method is low fat, quick, easy, and tastes great!
Forgot to Defrost? Don't Worry!
For those cooks who, like me, sometimes forget to take the chicken out of the freezer in time, I should mention that you can make my honey chicken from chunks of still frozen chicken (I know because I've done it plenty of times).
Step-by-Step Photo Guide
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1 pound serves 4 people, 2 pounds serves 8 people
- 1 to 2 pounds chicken or pork, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cornstarch, flour can be substituted
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, optional
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup honey, or to taste
- Cut chicken (or pork) into 1 to 2-inch cubes on a cutting board.
- Sprinkle cornstarch on the chicken and mix together until pieces are coated.
- Heat up a pan and put in the meat. You can add oil or non-stick spray if you want but you don't really need it (for extra Chinese flavor, add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil).
- Stir and fry meat until it is cooked through (no pink inside). This takes about 7 minutes. If you cover the pan, it can go faster but won't be as crispy. If your chicken is frozen, it will take a bit longer and won't be quite as crispy.
- Add garlic salt and ginger (optional). Just as the meat is finishing, pour on the honey. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until it starts to bubble.
- Serve over rice or noodles. You can save it to reheat later.
Cook as above but use Panda Express orange sauce (or any other brand) instead of honey. Alternatively, you can add a sweet chili sauce and 1/2 cup of orange juice.
Kung Pao Chicken
- Cook chicken as above. When just cooked, put it in a bowl.
- Stir fry 1 cup of onions and 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers (I like red and green for color). Put those on top of the chicken in the bowl.
- Put 1/2 cup of peanuts or cashews in a pan and stir fry until you get a good aroma.
- Put the chicken, onion, and pepper mixture back in the pan and combine. Pour on commercial Kung Pao sauce or use my homemade version (see below, it is very good!).
Kung Pao Sauce
Mix together in a small bowl:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 1 tablespoons vinegar (red or rice)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pour on top of meat, onion, pepper, and nut mixture and cook until bubbling and thick.
Sweet and Sour
- Cook chicken as above. Put in a bowl.
- Stir fry 1 cup of onions and 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers (I like red and green for color).
- Put those on top of the chicken in the bowl.
- Stir-fry 1 cup pineapple chunks until just heated (fresh is nice but canned works too).
- Add the chicken, onion, and pepper mixture back into the pan and combine.
- Pour on a jar of sweet and sour sauce. Cook until bubbling and serve on rice.
Of course, if you have a rice cooker, you can use that, but a Chinese friend of mine told me how to cook perfect rice years ago and it works every time.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Put water and salt in a saucepan. When water boils, put in rice and stir.
- Turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Set timer for 18 minutes.
- If you start the rice before cooking your meat, they should be done at just the same time—dinner in less than 20 minutes!
Quick and Easy Chinese Noodles Recipe
Does your family prefer chow mein? Part of my family does too. Also, I sometimes have some extra pasta noodles in my refrigerator. That is how I came up with this recipe:
- 3 cups cooked spaghetti noodles or Chinese noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 to 3 cups of chopped vegetables like onions, bean sprouts, grated carrots, bok choy, water chestnuts, or bamboo shoots (I use whatever I have in the refrigerator or cupboard!)
Mix together in a small cup:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
- 2 tablespoons sherry or other wine
- Heat oil in the skillet.
- Add cooked noodles and stir until heated through.
- Put noodles in a container.
- Add vegetables to the skillet (thicker ones first) and stir fry until almost cooked through.
- Put the noodles back in and mix together and heat until the vegetables are just done.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the noodles and cook until it bubbles.
- Serve separately or with one of the dishes above!