The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com
I neglect you pretty much all month (or two) with sporadic postings and then I suddenly come up with three in a matter of two days? What is the world coming to? I know that I am a bit late posting my completed February challenge, and since it is a short month I'm really getting it up last minute, but even though I put up our meal plan earlier today I wanted to make sure I had this post in February. It's the little things (like posting a February Challenge in March) that would keep me up at night, tormenting me. Oddly enough, I made the challenge several days before the posting date but since I did not have the opportunity to post about it before it is still a late challenge.
Back in November I put General Tso's Chicken on the meal plan. For various reasons, probably because of the holidays, we never made it. General Tso's Chicken happens to be one of Hey, Babe's two favorite meals, and so instead of letting it drop out of existence, it made its way back onto the menu for January (I didn't even pretend it was going to happen in December, I knew better). Once again, it didn't happen. I don't really care for deep frying, and if a meal is going to get skipped it is going to be one I'm not thrilled about preparing.
February rolled around and it once again appeared on our meal plan. In this case, however, I knew that it was not going to be skipped over. The two strong reasons compelling me to be sure it was made were the fact that it was Hey, Babe's birthday and he was looking forward to one of his favorites for dinner, and the knowledge that I could kill two birds with one stone and use the challenge of making tempura as the base for the General Tso's chicken.
Unfortunately, the cold Soba salad was not well received. None of us cared for it at all and I ended up just tossing it. I hate to waste food like that but since no one was going to eat it there was no real other choice. The tempura battered chicken, however, was excellent. I loved how easy it was to mix it together and batter the chicken. The sauce I used to turn it into General Tso's came together well, but I think next time I'll let it get a little thicker. It was overall very satisfying and the tempura worked wonderfully.
For the challenge recipes, please visit the Daring Kitchen website. To make General Tso's chicken, add the following sauce recipe to Tempura Battered Chicken:
Sauce for General Tso's Chicken
3/4 cup chicken broth canned
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Molasses
1/3 cup Soy Sauce or Soy substitute
1/4 cup white or apple cider Vinegar
1/4 cup dry Sherry
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1" knot fresh Ginger peeled & grated
4 scallions, chopped
4 Garlic cloves minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like it too spicy)
Whisk together broth, sugar, molasses, soy sauce, vinegar, and sherry.
Spray a wok or non-stick skillet with oil. Cook ginger, scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes for about 2-3 minutes. Add more oil if necessary.
Whisk the cornstarch into your sauce bowl to create a slurry before adding it to the skillet. Heat the sauce until boiling, add the cooked tempura chicken and then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes to coat the chicken pieces. Serve over rice with steamed broccoli on the side.