Wow. That sounds like an exciting and different thing to cook and eat … but before you skip to the next recipe give me a chance to sell this one to you!
We eat Chinese food quite rarely (that’s my fault – I have found relatively few dishes that I actually like) but while in Sydney recently we both enjoyed a Szechuan dish which involved beef and a lot of chilli and cumin. Flicking through Ching He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy* in search of dinner inspiration we came across the wordily named “spiced beef stir-fry topped with spring onion and coriander” that sounded like it came very close to the Sydney original.
The recipe calls for beef fillet – which, at our butcher, was just $42 a kilo. Ouch. For a stir fry, laden with chilli? We quickly changed our minds and opted for one large chicken breast (around 200g) as a fiscally sound substitute. The only other things we needed to pick up on our shopping trip were some fresh coriander and a bunch of spring onions.
This super tasty dish is perfect for a quick supper because there’s no marinading required. When you’re ready to eat, beat the chicken breast flat and then slice very finely before coating with a mix of 1 tbsp of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes (go gently here if you, or your guests, aren’t in to really spicy food), half a tsp of black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt. Ensure the chicken is well coated. You can always do this in advance if you want but if you’re hungry, heat some oil in a wok and add the chicken. Have the oil hot and quickly stir fry the chicken (you’ve sliced it really finely, haven’t you?), so it starts to brown. Then add a splash of rice wine vinegar and a splash of soy sauce. This dish isn’t saucy – you’re just adding a bit of seasoning.
Take the wok off the heat and mix through 2 finely chopped spring onions and a very generous large handful of roughly chopped coriander.
We served with a generous portion of plain rice and a simple side of green beans, steamed and fried off with some onions, garlic, chilli, sesame oil and pepper. Also very simple and tasty. But it would work just as well in a tortilla or pita bread …
So often with cooking, I need to refer to a recipe to stop me from adding the entire contents of the spice drawer to a dish. This is a perfect example of this – it’s almost a store cupboard recipe but it has loads of flavour and, as you eat it, the chilli heat builds and builds.
One we’ll definitely be having again and again and we’d even be happy to share it with guests! Absolutely delicious.