Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Meatballs with Vegetable Stir Fry

Forth and final installment (for now) in my Chinese cooking series. One of my major weaknesses is lack of diversity when it comes to veg so this meal also contains a very simple vegetable stir fry that I'll work on in the future.
For 4:
900g beef mince
4 Spring Onions
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
2 Tablespoons Apple Juice
2 Tablespoons Oil
2 Eggs
2 Pak Choi (Chinese Cabbage)
6 Medium Mushrooms
1/2 Broccoli Head
Frying Pan
Mixing bowl (or use the wok)

1. Chop the spring onions. Chop or mince the garlic. Mix the spring onions, garlic, ginger, apple juice, oil and eggs with a fork until the eggs are beaten together.
2. Thoroughly mix the mince into the mix above. Ball the mince up until balls a little bigger than a golfball. Store on a plate until ready.
3. Pull broccoli florets off of the head. Chop these finely for easy stir-frying.
4. Chop the mushrooms to the same fineness as the broccoli.
5. a. Fry the meatballs in the frying pan in a little oil (they should exude quite a lot of fat as they cook). Fry on "top", then "bottom", then "sides" (obviously they should be spherical, but sides will form as they fry). They should fry through within roughly ten minutes (check the middle of the biggest one before you take them off the pan).
b. The pan probably won't contain all the meatballs in one go, so fry in batches and keep them hot under the grill. Once the last batch have been in the pan for about three minutes, start stir-frying the mushrooms and broccoli.
6. When the meatballs have roughly two minutes left to cook, tear and add the pak choi to the wok. Continue stir-frying for two minutes.

Volumise: Add more pak choi, broccoli or mushrooms. Add some "normal" cabbage to the wok.
Add carbs: Add some sugar to the meatball mix. Add a little tomato puree to the meatball mix. Serve with a sweet potato (or sweet potato mash).
Add fat: Add more oil to the meatball mix. Add some or all of the fat from the frying pan to the stir-fry.
Add protein: Add some bacon to the stir-fry. Add one or two more eggs to the meatball mix.
Make a tasty breakfast: I was cooking bacon alongside this for consumption the next morning. I added the beef fat to the bacon in its container, where it set, adding a ton of calories to my breakfast the next day.

Chicken in "Oriental" Marinade (Overnight)

Another in the procession of "Chinese" meals.
For 3:
3 Chicken Breasts
4 Small Onions
3 Peppers
2 Spring Onions
6 Tablespoons Coconut (or Olive) Oil
4 Tablespoons Apple Juice
2 Garlic Cloves
Food container (for marinating)

The night or morning before:
1. Put the coconut oil in a mug, then put the mug in a bowl that is shallower than the mug, then fill the bowl with boiling water to melt the coconut oil. No need to do this with olive oil.
2. Chop the spring onions. Chop the chicken into bite-size chunks.
3. Mix the spring onions, coconut oil, apple juice, garlic cloves and ginger in the mug.
4. Put the chicken in the container and pour the marinade over the chicken. Put the container in the fridge overnight.
The night of eating:
5. Chop the onions and peppers.
6. Heat the wok, throw in the onions and peppers and the chicken in the marinade and stir fry the lot.

Volumise: "I'm not gonna be very inventive here - spinach, pak choi, cabbage, bean sprouts; like last time." - Me, previous recipe.
Add carbs: Mix sugar into the sauce, add more apple juice or apple sauce to the marinade, or perhaps some apple to the stir-fry at the end.
Add fat: Add more coconut oil to the marinade.
Add protein: Mix an egg into the sauce, serve on/with an omelette, mix some peanut butter into the marinade to make a satay-style marinade.

Bonus Fun Fact: The difference between fats and oils is simply whether they are solid or liquid at room temperature. The coconut OIL sat in my room is a solid. Where coconuts are grown, coconut oil is an oil, but in England it's a fat due to the cold temperature here (similar to what happens when olive oil goes cloudy in shops in Winter because it is stored at outdoors temperature). A friend of mine who recently got back from Spain tells me that she had a problem figuring out the difference between the Spanish words for fat, grease and oil, as the examples they gave were in different states in England and Spain.