A guide to making your own healthy and vegetarian Chinese takeaway.

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I never used to be a huge lover of Chinese cuisine; mostly because the local takeaways rarely offer good vegetarian options and you always feel ill after over-indulging on all the MSG. However, over the past year, I took a notion for all things salt and chilli, which set me on a frenzy for Chinese food.

Inspired by the Slimming World Salt and Chilli Chicken recipe that has been floating around the Internet recently, I had a go at making my own vegetarian version of this tasty Chinese favourite using Quorn chicken. You could easily make it vegan by swapping the Quorn for tofu. I’ve made this a good five or six times now and it is one of my favourites, I’ve also added a couple of my favourite low fat sides to go with it.

This recipe feeds two to three hungry vegetarians and it’s very easy to make. The hardest part is getting all your timing right. I would recommend reading through the recipe a couple of times so you know your timings (especially if you’re only making one or two of these dishes) but otherwise it doesn’t require much skill. It’s a perfect Friday or Saturday night treat without the guilt of phoning your local takeaway.

Ingredients:
For Salt ‘n’ Chilli Quorn Chicken:
4 Quorn Chicken Fillets
1 Medium Onion (sliced – chunky)
1 Green Pepper (sliced – chunky)
1 Red Chilli (sliced- chunky )
1 Large Egg
Powdered/Dried Potato (such as Smash)
1tsp Mild Chilli Powder (optional)
A Good Slosh of Soy Sauce
A Grinding of Sea Salt
A Glug of Olive/Vegetable Oil
For Chips:
500g Medium Sized Potatoes
Low Calorie Cooking Spray
For Fried Rice:
150g Brown Rice
A handful of frozen peas
Another good slosh of Soy Sauce
1 Large Egg
A handful of Quorn Bacon Lardons (optional)
For Curry Sauce:
You can make your own but I just used a powdered curry mix and added boiling water. These are usually quite low calorie/low fat but are delicious drizzled over your chicken and chips. You could also serve with a black bean or sweet ‘n’ sour sauce. Yum.

Method: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut your potatoes into desired chip thickness (about 1cm is best.) Bring a saucepan of water to boil, add your chips and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside on a kitchen towel for 10 minutes to let the moisture drain away.
  2. Place the chips back in the dry saucepan, cover with lid and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE to texturise the potato. Place the roughed up chips on a baking tray, spray lightly with low calorie cooking spray and cook in the oven for 40 minutes – turning half way through.
  3. As soon as your chips are in the oven, measure out the brown rice and bring another saucepan of water to boil. Once boiling, add your rice (check instructions but it usually takes around 30-40 minutes to cook) and leave to simmer away.
  4. Defrost the four Quorn fillets (if cooking from frozen) for a few minutes in the microwave. They do not need to be totally defrosted since they’ll be going in a frying pan but they need to be soft enough that you can chop them. Once defrosted, cut them into large bites.
  5. Mix up a large egg in a bowl and cover a plate with a layer of dried potato mix. I always put less than I think I’ll need because it’s easier to add more than try to get that powdered potato back in the pack. Sprinkle the powdered potato with salt and chilli powder and mix through.
  6. Dunk and coat Quorn chicken chunks into egg and then roll in the powdered potato so they are covered. Set aside. Repeat this until all of the chicken is coated.
  7. Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Once the oil is very hot, place your Quorn chicken pieces into the pan and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two before turning each piece over to brown the other side for another minute. They should be a gorgeous crispy golden colour all over.
  8. While your Quorn chicken is frying, start to mix up your curry sauce and remember to keep an eye on your chips (turning if needs be) and rice (giving it an occasional stir)
  9. Once the ‘chicken’ is golden (but not too brown), chuck in your onion, peppers and chilli and stir fry until slightly soft. You want the vegetables to maintain a slight crunch. Slosh in some soy sauce (suiting your taste) and let sizzle away for another 1 minute before serving into a big sharing dish and setting aside. (If your rice and chips are still a while away from being ready, you can pop the chicken into the oven to keep warm.) Keep your frying pan on low heat as you’re now going to use it to cook the fried rice.
  10. If you are using Quorn bacon lardons for your fried rice, add this to the pan now along with the frozen peas. You might need to add another teaspoon of oil to the pan.
  11. Drain the brown rice and quickly whisk up another large egg. Throw the rice into the frying pan with your bacon and peas. Add in another slosh of soy sauce and your whisked egg. You need to keep stirring to mix and cook the egg through as it will quickly stick to the pan and burn. The egg won’t take long to cook though especially if your pan is still very hot from cooking the chicken. Serve into another sharing bowl.
  12. Remember to take your chips out of the oven when they are nice and golden and pour them into a bowl and serve everything together with your curry sauce.
  13. Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love to hear any comments and I’d be happy to share any photos of your own veggie Chinese fakeaways.

Check out other people’s attempts at my healthy Chinese takeaway below.

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