As I search for a job, the only thing I want when hungry is comfort food. That means a variety of foods, but one category is fake-Asian. I harbor no illusions about the authenticity of syrupy, battered chicken, but I like my Americanized Asian food anyway. Since I cannot batter up my meat with flour and egg… I have discovered some great ways to fake-make fake-Asian…
Sheesh! with all these fake ingredients and styles, will I even use real chicken? Yes.
The following recipe is so far from anything “really” Asian style (and of course, i have no specific region of origin), and the only thing that makes it Asian is the soy sauce and delicious simplicity I continue to find in authentic Asian recipes. Therefore, I call it WTF Chicken. I get the name Bastard Sauce from a woman I met on a plane from Scottland to Belgium four years ago.
This woman and I sat next to each other on the plane, then wound up on the same train into Brussels, where we struck up a conversation about English.She told me about how her broken English created fun stories for her Scottish boyfriend and his family. Where two rivers come together and make a new one, she called the resulting waterway a “bastard river” because a synonym of bastard is mixture. She also told the family she would “go out to the garden for a leek.”— say that one out loud for the full effect.
For this sauce, I wanted to make either sesame, honey or Bourbon chicken, but I either didn’t have or can’t have all the ingredients for any one of them. (ketchup = sugar, Bourbon is made from corn and I didn’t have apple cider vinegar). In the spirit of that lady’s bastard river, I have mixed together the three influences above to make a Bastard Sauce.
2 teaspoon ginger (minced)
3 tablespoons garlic (minced)
~1/4 C honey (for a thicker, stickier sauce sub w/brown sugar)
3 TBS rice wine/vinegar
½ cup water
1 TBS sweet rice flour (mixed with 1 TBS water)
2 TBS Soy Sauce (wheat free, of course)
2 tsp Turmeric
Sriracha sauce or Cayenne Pepper to taste for heat
3-4 Chicken breasts
1/2 C chopped carrots
~1/4 C peanuts (or cashews)
Prepare rice according to package directions. While it simmers, cook everything else.
Cut raw, thawed chicken into bite size chunks. Toss in rice flour and let sit while you put sauce ingredients together. The starch needs time to stick to the meat. After about 10 minutes, lightly brown chicken in a wok or sauté pan.
Set aside briefly toss carrots and nuts in the same pan. You shouldn’t need to add oil; you just want to soften the carrots- don’t let them get mushy.
For the Sauce:
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in your sauce pan. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds. Combine 1 teaspoon of water with 1 teaspoon of rice flour. Add everything to the pan- rice flour slurry goes in last, stirring quickly. Let mixture bubble and evaporate. As it heats, it should thicken nicely. Pour over cooked chicken at last minute. Toss with carrots & nuts.
Here’s the end result:
* To make vegan, exchange chicken for some chunks of tofu and/or extra veggies. I suggest sugar snap peas, red bell peppers and corn. You could add these whether or not you are vegan. *