Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pan-Asian Express!

Pollo & Verdure Assortiti Asiatici al Miso & Citronella
Chicken & Mixed Asian Vegetables with Miso & Lemongrass


It's not quite a stir-fry... it isn't steamed either... it is a combination of both and that is a good thing!

I bought such a lovely selection of vegetables at the Asian supermarket today, that even though I used quite a few in this dish, I still have plenty more left to have fun with the rest of the week!

But as you an see here, this balanced selection of ingredients, used very little of each and resulted in quite a substantial meal! As usual, you are going to have to put up with me telling you that I think that less is often more... but you should know me by now!  


Having so many great flavors and textures that I wanted to combine, what I wanted to avoid doing was simply covering everything in an overpowering sauce, or simply adding a curry blend to them... that might happen later in the week (maybe!), but this evening I decided to use more basic measures and rely on the umami deliciousness of miso paste, the refreshing flavors of the ginger and lemon grass and the heat of fresh chili... and already there was so much flavor going on that my dish didn't need anything more!


My ingredients for my single-serving were: 1 chicken breast, 3 mini pak-choi, 3 mini eggplants, 3 mini corn cobs, 1/2 stalk of celery, 1/2 a carrot, 1 stalk of lemon grass, a small handful of sugarsnap peas, 1 chili pepper, a little fresh ginger, a little fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon of red miso paste, a little sesame oil- and just 1 frying pan!


 The result was colorful, aromatic, light, healthy and delicious... sounds good to me!


The preparation required here is very little actually- the chili and ginger should be chopped as finely as possible and the other ingredients simply into bite-sized pieces... but that lemon grass needs giving a good banging to! You need to crush the stalk in order for it to give of its wonderful juices and aroma.


Start off by frying the chicken, eggplant slices and half of the chili in a little sesame oil at a high temperature, until they begin to turn golden and brown.


Next, add the vegetables, the crushed lemon grass and the miso paste.


Add enough boiling water to the pan to just cover everything and make sure to stir-in the miso evenly. Next comes plenty of cilantro and the remaining half of the chili.

Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, for all of the aroma and flavor of the miso, the lemon grass and the chili infuse into the other ingredients.


Next, either simply snap the leaves of the pak-choi apart, or cut them if you are more patient than I was- haha! Lay them on top of the other ingredients to keep lots of the good flavor trapped - it also saves you having to search for a matching lid- and what a pain that it!

Allow to simmer that way for 3-4 minutes and then carefully toss everything slightly together. By the time the pak-choi is tender, the stalks almost transparent and the greens totally soft and delicious, you will find that most of that water will have been absorbed by the vegetables and chicken, making everything moist and delicious!


 And served with a little rice by the side... who could ask for anything more?

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