Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

Ah, fried rice. The best thing to come out of miscellaneous leftovers and dry old rice. We’re all guilty of cooking too much rice every now and then, but I’m more guilty of cooking too much and throwing it out. The problem with fried rice for me was that I find a lot of it is usually so bland and boring. So I decided I wanted to change that and see what I could do to make it taste better and have less food waste!

Eventually, this recipe became my go-to whenever I had leftover rice, chicken, beef, tofu, and certain veggies that were starting to go bad. I found that the best part of this recipe is that you can always alternate proteins & the veggies and it still holds the strong flavours anyone can really enjoy.

When it comes to fried rice, it’s usually best to use 1 or 2 day old rice that’s been kept in the fridge. That way its a bit more dry and can hold in more flavour without getting too mushy.

Here’s the basics of the recipe, you can always add in more vegetables you have left over.


Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings:

  • 2 cups of cooked day-old rice (1 cup of uncooked rice)($0.38)
  • 4 Tbs canola oil ($0.20)
  • 1 large egg ($0.24)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped cooked chicken (or your choice of protein)($1.10)
  • 1 medium sized carrot ($0.16)
  • 2 scallions ($0.18)
  • 1/2 zucchini ($0.395)
  • 1/3 cup of corn ($0.06)
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh basil ($0.398)
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce ($0.03)
  • 2 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.06)
  • 1 Thai chili (optional)

Total cost for 2 services: $3.32*

Single serving for $1.66

Serves 2, takes 20 Minutes

Compared to the $10-$12 at restaurants!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

Basil-Fried-Rice-Ingredients
Gather & prepare your veggies and chop it all into small cubes (corn not pictured). I had a left over chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, so I just chopped that into cubes and it worked perfectly! Next, whisk the egg in separate bowl.

Place a wok on the stove at medium-high heat. Once your pan heats, add in 1 Tbs of the oil. As soon as the oil gets hot, add in the egg and scramble.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Eggs

As soon as it scrambles, remove the egg to a separate dish and pour 2 Tbs of the canola oil.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Vegetables

Next, add in your veggies. I used carrots, zucchini, and some corn. You can definitely add in whatever vegetable you have left over such as broccoli, bok choy, peppers, etc. as long as the flavour doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

Basil-Fried-rice-mix

Stir for a bit and then add back in your eggs, and then add in your protein & the rice vinegar.

Mix for about 30 seconds to wait for the vinegar to cook off, then add in the rice!

Basil-fried-rice-rice

Break apart the rice and mix it in as much as possible and add in your last tablespoon of canola oil.

Basil-Fried-Rice-mixed

Once the rice, meat, and vegetables are well mixed, add in the basil, green onions, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (and the Thai chili if you want it to be spicy!).

Basil-fried-rice-final

The oyster sauce can be substituted with vegetable Hoisin if you want, but I really recommend the oyster sauce as it adds it’s unique flavour (and no it does not taste like fish if you’re worried!)

Now really start stirring and really fry the rice. Once everything is mixed well and the basil becomes aromatic, take the rice off the heat and serve.

All done within 20 minutes!

Basil-fried-rice-5basil-fried-rice-3Basil-fried-rice-2

Basil-fried-rice-1

I really hope you enjoy it, and feedback (postive or constructive) is always appreciated! 🙂


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

6.8kg of Premium Calrose Rice ($14.99) – $0.22/100g
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
12 Large Eggs ($2.97)
Pack of 4 chicken breasts ($9.33)
1 Zucchini ($0.79)
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Pack of Basil ($1.99)
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
750g of Frozen Corn Kernels ($0.99) – $0.132/100g
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00

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Lemongrass Ginger Chicken Skewers

I believe skewers to be the ultimate summer time appetizer. I basically grew up eating lamb kebabs at every outdoor BBQ or gathering up until I was 18. Once I moved out I usually always get a craving for meat on a stick at least once every two months. I usually try to make a different marinades as much as I can because you really can rarely go wrong with meat on a stick.

The most recent marinade I’ve made over and over again is a combination of Lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and honey. All the different flavours compliment each other so well that I’m positive you’ll want to make these more than once as well.

Lemongrass itself is used most often in Vietnamese cooking, which means it’s usually the least expensive in Chinatown where the turnover is better. However, lemongrass can also be found in the majority of grocery stores already in paste form in a squeeze tube or in stalks in the organic section. For this recipe, I used the stalks just because I wanted it to be as fresh as possible, but you can’t find any, the squeeze tube version works perfectly fine! If you end up getting the stalks, I found the best way to mash it up to release the most flavour is to mince it up as much as possible, then mash it using a mortar and pestle.

Switching up the protein in the recipe is 100% doable, hell I’d even recommend it. I’ve made it with chicken and shrimp so far and I honestly can’t tell which one I like more. I can imagine this marinade would be great with beef, pork, or even extra firm tofu. I baked mine in the oven because I can’t have a BBQ at my current apartment, however grilling them would most likely make it taste even better! Making the skewers themselves is super simple and make for a killer appetizer for you and or your friends!

Let’s get started on what you’ll need and how much it’ll cost you.

Lemongrass Ginger Chicken Skewers

Ingredients & Costs

  • 1 Chicken Breast ($2.33)
  • 1 Lemongrass stalk (or 3 Tbs of Lemongrass Paste) ($0.89)
  • 1 Tbs Ginger (minced or paste) ($0.01)
  • 1 Garlic clove ($0.02)
  • 1 ½ Tbs Honey  ($0.21)
  • 1 Tsp Dark Soy Sauce ($0.01)
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil ($0.07)
  • 1 Tsp Canola Oil ($0.02)
  • 1 ½ Tsp Lime Juice (or half a lime) ($0.05)
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric ($0.001)
  • ½ Salt ($0.01)
  • 1 Thai Chili Pepper (optional)

Serves 2, takes 30 Minutes

Total Cost = $3.62* for 4 skewers!

Compared to the $10-15 at restaurants with Satay!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

First things first, turn your oven on to 400°F (or get your grill ready if you’re using a BBQ). Next, mince up your lemongrass and crush it with the salt. If you’re using the store bought paste, you can skip this step.

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-ingredient1

Once the lemongrass is in a paste-like form, chop up your garlic, ginger, and optional Thai Chili and throw it in the mortar and begin crushing again! This is basically the funnest part of the recipe so take your time and mash it up as much as possible!

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-ingredient3

After a couple minutes of crushing, your paste should look something like this, feel free to add in some canola oil if you want it to be more paste-like.

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-ingredient2

Finally, chop up the chicken breast into cubes and put the marinade together. This includes the paste you just made, canola oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, turmeric, and I added some freshly ground pepper.

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-marinade

Now it’s time to mix it all together, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.

After that, it’s time to put them on the skewers. I used metal skewers, so if you are as well, make sure you oil them before putting the chicken on. If you’re using bamboo or wood skewers, make sure you soak them for at least an hour or two (this was a mistake I made many skewers ago).

Place your skewered on a rack and make sure that it’s elevated with the tray or roasting not touching the chicken, this is to make sure the skewers don’t get soggy on the bottom.

Let them cook for about 15-20 minutes then turn the broiler on high to caramelize the skewers for about 3-5 minutes. Turn the skewers over and do the other side. The honey in the marinade should allow them to caramelize fairly fast.

And there you have it! A super easy and delicious appetizer.

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-3

Lemongrass-Chicken-Skewers-1

If you end up making these, I sincerely hope you enjoy them! Any feedback & comments are definitely appreciated 🙂

Lemongrass-chicken-skewers-2


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website.

Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
2 Lemongrass Stalks – $1.79
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
500 g Farm Boy™ Pure Ontario Honey ($4.99) – $0.99/100g
500 ml Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
443 ml LKK Pure Sesame Oil ($6.99) – $1.59/100ml
1kg Windsor Table Salt ($1.69) – $0.17/100g
125 ml Realime Single Strength Lime Juice ($0.99) – $0.79/100ml

Cheater’s Dan Dan Noodles

dan-dan-noodles-4

These noodles are essentially what I call Chinese Bolognese or Chinese Ragu, because that’s basically what it is. When I was in kindergarten in China, this was a staple for the lunches they gave the kids, and it was definitely in my top 5 favourite lunches served. For a long time I had completely forgotten what the dish was called and wanted to recreate it so badly, and thankfully with the new rise of Asian fusion cuisine, I was finally able find recipes for it!

Dan Dan noodles seem to be all the hype at the new hip Asian Fusion restaurants in metropolitan areas. I’ve definitely had my fair share of good noodles and noodles that definitely do not taste like what Dan Dan Mian should taste like. To me, the main 3 flavours Dan Dan MUST have is chili bean paste, strong Sichuan peppercorn, and sesame paste. If the noodles are lacking these three flavours, its not real Dan Dan. And lets face it, a lot of those hip restaurants do lack these flavours.

If you’re not sure what Chili Bean Paste is, here’s the brand that I use constantly. I also found that this was the brand whose flavour I liked the most as well:

The reality of this dish is the fact that like the majority of Chinese noodle dishes, it requires a shit ton of various ingredients. Most of which are almost impossible to find at your local Chinese grocers if you can’t read Mandarin (I don’t, there was a lot of trial and error with this). This recipe is basically a cheaters Dan Dan recipe because it doesn’t incorporate all of the ingredients you should have, but keeps the main ingredients so you have a pretty close representation of what it’s supposed to taste like, without taking 6 hours to cook!

Before I start, I want to make a couple notes about this so there isn’t any ruckus about Dan Dan enthusiasts calling me out for in-authenticity of the recipe.

  • Dan Dan Mian is usually cooked with minced pork and this effects the fat content of the dish. However, the area I grew up in was a Muslim majority area of China so the minced pork was replaced with minced beef – so this is the protein I will be using for the recipe, you are totally allowed to use pork!
  • There are different types of Sichuan peppercorn (Red, Green, dry, fresh, etc). I usually just use dried red because its always available to me (you can even find it at bulk stores like Bulk Barn in Canada), however real Dan Dan Mian uses green peppercorns because they have a more “numbing” flavour. I definitely recommend grinding the peppercorn and doing this as it does add a kick-ass flavour, I just didn’t have any on hand so red worked just fine! (Note that all of my spices are ground!)
  • As I mentioned, sesame paste is a very important part of the dish (almost 1/3rd of it if you order the dish in China), however, if you find it difficult to find any in your area, replacing it with all natural peanut butter (the kind you get at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Farm Boy) works fine too with a couple drops of sesame oil. I’ll be doing this because I don’t have sesame paste on hand!
  • Garnishing for the dish really brings all the flavours together, I like to add in some fresh green onions, cilantro, and julienned cucumber for added freshness – you totally should too!
  • The noodles for the dish is just as important as the sauce, I really recommend going to Chinatown and picking up some fresh wheat noodles or ramen noodles. If that’s not possible, try to find some sort of thinner Asian dried noodles (not Udon!).
  • wheat-noodles-thin
  • The 3 main ingredients I mentioned are most likely not going to be at your local grocery store. Take a trip to Chinatown and explore some new flavours!

Okay! Lets get to it.


Cheater’s Dan Dan Noodles

INGREDIENTS & COSTS:

  • 150 g of ground beef – you can use any ground protein really, the measurement is about 2 burger patties – ($1.32)
  • 2 tablespoons Canola Oil ($0.10)
  • 2/3 medium onion($0.13)
  • 2 cloves Garlic(0.04)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger($0.015)
  • 1 Tsp Cumin ($0.04)
  • 2 Tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn(ideally green but red works too) ($0.25)
  • 1 Tbs Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tsp Chinese 5 Spice ($0.10)
  • 2 Star Anise ($0.01)
  • 1/4 cup of Chili Bean Paste($0.45)
  • 3 Tbs Sesame Paste (or All Natural Peanut Butter with 1 Tbs Sesame oil) (0.25)
  • 1/2 Cup warm chicken broth ($0.10)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Package of fresh wheat noodles($1.19)
  • Hot Chili Oil to garnish
  • Scallions to garnish ($0.10)
  • Takes 30 minutes, serves 2.

    Total Cost = $4.81!* AKA $2.40 each!

    Compared to the $10-13 at restaurants!

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTION

    Prepare your ingredients. Basically you have to mince everything and julienne the cucumber and slice the green onions.

    Ingredients

    (Don’t worry, the ground beef didn’t touch any other ingredients!)

    Bring a pot or dutch oven to medium heat and cook your protein. Once it’s browned after a couple minutes, take out the meat to place in a separate dish and drain the fat.

    dan-dan-noodles-beef

    Next add in the oil, wait for it to heat and add in the chopped onions, ginger, and garlic.

    dan-dan-noodles-onions

    Stir for about a minute and then add in the Sichuan peppercorn and star anise. After a couple seconds the peppercorn aroma should start making your nose feel funny and a little numb, this is how you know the flavour is real getting captured in the oil.

    dan-dan-noodles-spices

    Stir for a bit, then add in your cumin, five spice, and optional pepper flakes. After a couple minutes of stirring, your onions should start to get golden and the spices should be blending together to make a fairly unique aroma. Stir for another 2 minutes and add back the cooked ground beef.

    dan-dan-noodles-onion-beef-blend

    Once the beef is incorporated into the pot, add in the chili bean paste. Stir for about 2 minutes and then add in the warm chicken broth. It should bubble quite a bit at this point. Now add in the peanut butter or sesame paste and the cup of water, stir, and let it boil and thicken for a few minutes.

    dan-dan-boil

    Once it thickens, give it a quick taste test. Add in more ingredients or chill oil to your liking if you like your dish to be more spicy (I definitely do!). At this point the sauce is basically ready. Close the lid and turn off the stove while you prepare your noodles & garnishes.

    The final step is the boil your noodles and prepare your dish.

    dan-dan-noodles-noodles

    Once the noodles are ready, quickly rinse them in cold water so cooking process stops.

    dan-dan-noodles-1

    Pour the sauce over the noodles, and chop up some scallions, chili oil, and some cucumber to garnish.

    dan-dan-noodles-garnisheddan-dan-noodles-chili-oil

    Now you can enjoy some spicy, numbing, savoury, noodles! That wasn’t too hard was it?

    dan-dan-noodles-2

    You can always save the sauce if you feel like Dan Dan another day! I know I always make more on purpose for the sake of leftovers.

    dan-dan-noodles-3dan-dan-mian-3

    I’m honestly getting hungry just looking at these pictures… Good thing I have leftovers.

    dan-dan-mian-

    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer, Farmboy weekly flyer, their websites, and a local Chinese grocery store.


    Lean Ground beef – $8.80/kg
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    900ml Chicken Broth – $1.49
    500g Chili Bean Paste – $4.99 – $0.99/100g
    443 ml LKK Pure Sesame Oil ($6.99) – $1.59/100ml
    400 g Suraj Cumin ($3.49) – $0.87/100g
    150 g bag of Star Anise from Chinatown – $1.50

    60g Chinese 5 Spice Mix – $2.59 – $4.32/100g

    Simple Green Chicken Curry

    Thai_Green_Curry_2

    Not too long ago I went to a Thai restaurant and ordered a curry for the first time. I was never too big of a fan of coconut milk in the past so I would never order the curries. But, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and I’m so happy I did. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with Thai curries and have been constantly making them because they are so simple to make, so fully packed with flavour, and are perfect for leftovers & reheating!

    This is a recipe where you can definitely replace the protein with Tofu for the dish to become fully vegan, and it’ll still hold all of the flavour! I’ll fully disclose that this is not an authentic recipe, but merely my interpretation of the curries I have had at restaurants with my personal twists!

    When it comes to the Thai curries, red is the most spicy, yellow is the most mild, and green is great middle ground so it quickly became my favourite. I get my curry paste in Chinatown because you can usually huge jar for a fraction of what you pay for at general grocery stores. However, if you want the recipe to be vegan, definitely read the ingredients in the curry paste because shrimp paste is usually a main ingredient. If it isn’t in the ingredient list for the paste, you’re in the clear!

    This is the one I used:

    Green_Curry_Paste

    The vegetables you add in can be according to your preference. I added in my favourites. Adding in mushrooms would work really well too!


    INGREDIENTS & COSTS for 2 generous servings:

    1 Chicken Breasts($2.33)
    1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
    1/2 Medium sized onion ($0.10)
    2 garlic cloves ($0.04)
    2 Tsp Ginger ($0.02)
    2 1/2 Tbs Green Curry Paste ($0.09)
    2 Bay leaves ($0.04)
    3 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.15)
    1 Carrot ($0.16)
    3/4 cup chopped Broccoli ($0.38)
    1/2 Bell Pepper (I used both orange and green) ($0.52)
    1/2 can Coconut Milk ($0.49)
    1/2 a Chicken Bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cup of hot water ($0.09)
    Fresh Basil (Thai Basil if you can find it!) to garnish ($0.25)
    Cilantro to Garnish ($0.08)
    1 Thai Chili (optional) ($0.05)

    Takes 30 minutes

    Total Cost = $4.80!*

    Compared to the $16-$20 at restaurants! EACH! So double that number.

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    Prepare your vegetables:

    Mince the ginger, garlic, onions, and optional Thai Chili. Then slice your peppers, carrots, broccoli, basil, cilantro, and any other veggies you want to add to your curry!

    Green_Curry_Chicken_Vegetables

    Next, cut up your chicken. I chose to cube it, but in the end I think maybe slicing the chicken might have made it a better consistency. Oh well, if you don’t learn from your own recipes you’re doing it wrong amirite? I then dusted some corn starch on the chicken just to have a bit of crispiness on the meat. If you choose to swap in some firm tofu it would be perfectly fine and dusting it with some corn starch would help with an outer crunch as well!

    Thai_Curry_Chicken - Chicken

    Once everything is ready to go in, put a pot or wok on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the canola oil once the pan is hot to avoid sticking, and once it’s hot throw in your garlic, ginger, onions, and (completely optional!) Thai chili.

    Thai_Green_Curry_Chicken_onions

    Once it starts to get a bit golden, throw in the green curry paste. Make sure to stir quickly as it may stick to the bottom of the pan. If it does a bit too much, just lower the heat!

    Thai_Green_Curry_Paste

    After the curry paste gets infused with the onions and garlic, add in your choice of protein and the bay leafs. Stir until the chicken looks crispy and well cooked through.

    Thai_Green_Curry_Chicken

    Almost done! Now pour in your coconut milk and hot chicken broth. Note! That not all coconut milks are made equal. Some are thicker than others and it can change the consistency of your curry. The can I bought was fairly thick so I used a bit less than half the can. I also just always use bouillon cubes instead of boxed chicken broth – it’s cheaper and lighter to carry from the grocery store so it works for me! Let the coconut milk and broth boil for about 5 minutes to get the curry to thicken.

    Green_Curry_Chicken_Coconut_milk

    If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid in your curry, just add water, the taste won’t change much since most of it comes from the curry paste. Once it thickens, add in the rest of your vegetables and stir for about 3 minutes for them to soften.

    Thai_Green_Chicken_Curry

    Finally, turn off the heat and throw in your basil & cilantro. Stir it in and you should immediately smell the difference in your curry.

    Thai_Green_Curry_Chicken_1

    And voila you’re done making a delicious and simple green curry! Serve warm with some jasmine rice.

    Thai_Green_Chicken_Curry_Bowl_2

    Thai_Green_Curry_Bowl_4Thai_Green_Curry_Rice_2

    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store


    Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    1 Orange Bell Pepper ($1.02)
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    75 g Red Hot Thai Chili Peppers ($3.99)
    1 Broccoli crown ($0.99)
    1 bunch of Cilantro ($2.49)
    3 Lbs of Yellow onions ($2.00)
    400 g Mae Ploy Thai Green Curry Paste ($2.49) – $0.62/100g
    3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00
    1 can of Coconut Milk – $0.99
    900ml Chicken Broth – $1.49
    Aurora Chicken Bouillon Mix – $1.19
    20 g of Dried Bay Leaves – $4.49

    Spicy Three Pepper Chicken Stir Fry

    three-pepper-stir-fry-chicken-final

    My first job when I was 16 was being a dishwasher at a local family-run Chinese Szechuan and Cantonese restaurant. Not only were they a lovely family to work for, but they definitely owned and ran the best Chinese restaurant in the city of Windsor. Whether you wanted spicy Chinese vegetable dishes or greasy hangover food – they made it best. While working there I managed to pick up a few restaurant secrets to stir fries, and I couldn’t be more thankful! You’ll see some of that knowledge in the directions.

    A lot of different food blogs have their own version of Three pepper chicken – and it’s so understandable. It’s definitely a stir fry where the flavours can vary from one household to the next. It usually holds a numbing flavour of Szechuan Peppercorn, but I usually omit it because I enjoy the flavour of the peppers more for this dish.

    I also like to have colour in my stir-fry, so I add in an orange bell pepper which also adds in a little sweetness.The heat in this dish really only comes from the Long Hot Green Pepper and the Thai Chili (both of which are a staple in my weekly grocery list). You can usually get these at your generic grocery store and they hold a really great heat which is very different compared to the jalapeno pepper or habanero (I wouldn’t substitute with those).

    This is also a dish where it can be converted to be vegetarian by substituting the chicken with tofu and the oyster sauce with a vegetarian mushroom “oyster” sauce!This stir fry is ultimately very very agile, you can move the flavours around to suit your needs, but I will warn you, if you follow my instructions directly – this IS a spicy dish!

    I encourage you to eat with white rice.Here’s everything you need!

    INGREDIENTS & COSTS

    Ingredients – for the marinated Chicken

    1 Chicken breast ($2.33)
    1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
    1/2 Tsp Baking Soda ($0.01)
    1/2 Tsp Dark Soya Sauce ($0.005)
    1 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.01)
    1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil ($0.035)
    1/2 Tbs of Rice Vinegar ($0.06)

    Ingredients – for the Stir Fry

    1 Long Hot Green Pepper ($0.34)
    1/2 Bell Pepper (could be either Red or Orange) ($0.52)
    1/3 Zucchini ($0.31)
    1 Cloves of Garlic ($0.02)
    1 Scallion ($0.09)
    1 Tsp Ginger ($0.01)
    1 Red Hot Thai Chili Pepper (Bird Eye Pepper) ($0.05)
    1 1/2 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.075)

    Ingredients – Finishing sauce

    1 Tbs water
    1/2 Tsp Dark Soya Sauce ($0.005)
    1/2 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.01)
    1/2 Tsp Sugar ($0.002)
    1/2 Tsp Chili oil (optional)

    Takes 25 min
    serves 2.

    Total Cost = $3.89!*

    Compared to the $12-$16 at restaurants!

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    First dice up the peppers, green onions, and zucchini, then mince the ginger, garlic, and Thai chili.

    three-pepper-chicken-ingredients

    Dice up your chicken next. Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, corn starch, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, and baking soda. If you’re confused about the baking soda, this is something I picked up while working at a Chinese restaurant. Baking soda is a fantastic meat tenderizer and gives you that restaurant-meat-consistency.

    three-pepper-chicken-marinated-meat

    Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes. While you wait you can make your finishing sauce by combining soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water in a small bowl.

    three-pepper-chicken-mixed-meat

    Pour the canola oil in a wok and set it on the stove at medium-high heat. Once it starts to slightly bubble, toss in your ginger. The second the ginger gets golden, add in the chicken. The chicken will get caramelized due to the sugar content in the oyster sauce, which will give it a nice crispy outer shell.

    three-pepper-chicken-cook1

    After stirring for about 3 minutes and waiting for the chicken to cook evenly through, toss in the zucchini and bell pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.

    three-pepper-chicken-cook2

    Add in the long hot green pepper.

    three-pepper-chicken-cook3

    As soon as the spice of the long hot green peppers become fragrant (and I promise it will within 45 seconds), add in the finishing sauce, garlic, Thai chili, and green onions.

    three-pepper-chicken-cook4

    Stir quickly for about 30 seconds and you’ll notice that the stir fry has taken on a whole new aroma of garlic and sweet peppers.

    three-pepper-chicken-cook5

    Take it off the heat and onto a separate plate. Serve immediately with rice!

    three-pepper-chicken-stir-fry-3

    Delicious stir fry for two in under 25 minutes!

    three-pepper-chicken-6

    three-pepper-chicken-5

    Enjoy with write or an accompanying stir fry like the Spicy & Sour Shredded Potato Stir Fry!  Any comments or feedback on the recipe is 100% appreciated! 🙂


    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

    Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
    355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($3.29) – $0.93/100ml
    500 ml Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
    430 ml Rooster Oyster Sauce ($2.49) – $0.58/100ml
    4 kg of Labtic Granulated Sugar ($5.69) – $0.14/100g
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    250 g Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($0.99) – $0.40/g
    1 Orange Bell Pepper ($1.02)
    1 Zucchini ($0.94)
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
    Green Long Hot Green Peppers – ($0.34) – $4.39/kg
    75 g Red Hot Thai Chili Peppers ($3.99)

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    Spicy & Sour Shredded Potato Stir Fry

    spicy-sour-shredded-potato-stirfry-pin

    My family and I immigrated to Canada when I was 6 years old. Up until that point I grew up in the Northwestern region of China where a beautiful blend of Chinese and Middle Eastern flavours came together at the end of the silk road. The food I grew up with is still what influences my tastes today. Asian-Fusion is definitely my favourite type of cuisine (if that’s even really considered a type of cuisine).

    One of my favourite stir fries I used to eat in the restaurants in China was an incredibly easy and flavourful dish which incorporated shredded white potatoes to have a spicy and sour taste with a hint of Szechuan peppercorn. It’s usually served as a second stir fry to accompany a protein based stir fry at restaurants, but even by itself it’s pretty delicious!

    There are many different ways to make this dish as it’s one of the most common dishes in that region on China. Some people cook it with only rice wine vinegar, some add in MSG, and some versions are very red after adding in chili oils & pastes. This is just my version using simple ingredients the majority of people have access to and have the dish mirror the original the best that I can remember!

    Here’s everything you need

    Ingredients

  • 2 Medium-sized White Potatoes ($1.30)
  • 1 Long Hot Green Pepper ($0.34)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic ($0.04)
  • 1 Scallion ($0.09)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Rice Vinegar or Black Chinese Vinegar ($0.27)
  • 1 Tsp Light Soya Sauce ($0.02)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt ($0.03)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.075)
  • 1/4 cup water or Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Tsp Szechuan Peppercorn (optional)
  • Takes 20 min,
    serves 2.

    Total Cost = $2.16!*

    Compared to the $7-9 at restaurants!

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    The first thing you’ll want to do is peel & julienne the white potatoes. I find that the best way to julienne the potato is to cut it in half along the longer side and make thin slices.

    Shredded-potatos-toudou-si.jpg

    Shredded-potato-stirfry.jpg

    Once it’s sliced, take the slices and stack them up then cut small slivers so you have thin long strips of potato. After you’ve julienne the potatoes, put them in a large bowl and rinse them about 3 times (enough to get all the starch out). This allows the “potato-y” taste of the starch to not overpower your stir fry. After you’ve rinsed the pulp out, fill the bowl with water (there shouldn’t be any bubbles or dewy water – it should be clear!) and let the potatoes sit while you cut up the rest of your veggies. This allows the potato to stiffen.

    shredded-potato

    Next, mince the garlic & ginger. Julienne the long hot green peppers, and cut the green onions into slivers.

    shredded-potato-ingredients

    Take a wok and place it on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and let it heat. Once  warm, add in the ginger, half your garlic and half the green onions. This is when I add in the Szechuan peppercorn, it allows the numbing flavours of the peppercorn get infused with the oil. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and mix.

    Stir-Fry.jpg

    As soon as the ginger starts to get golden and it starts to get aromatic in your kitchen, drain the potatoes and toss them in! After about 3 minutes, add in the rice vinegar or Chinese black vinegar.

    shredded-potato-cooking

    Stir for about 5 more minutes and add in your long hot green peppers and the rest of your garlic – save the green onions for last! Stir for about a minute and add in the water or chicken stock, this will allow the potatoes to cook a bit faster. Now add in the green onions, 1 Tsp of salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.

    shredded-potato-cooking-spicy

    Stir for about 2-3 minutes and your stir fry is done! Try biting a sliver of potato to see if the texture is to your liking, but it definitely shouldn’t be soft or soggy – it’s supposed to have a slight crunch!

    Shredded-potatoes-tou-du-si.jpg

    And in under 20 minutes and $2.25 you have a yummy spicy potato stir fry!

     

    I hope you enjoy it! Any comments or feedback on the recipe is 100% appreciated! 🙂

    *This recipe can be gluten free if you swap the soy sauce to a GF soy sauce!


    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

    2 Medium Sized White Potatoes – Loose – ($1.30) – $11.40/kg
    355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($4.59) – $1.29/100ml
    500 ml Rooster Superior Light Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    1kg Windsor Table Salt ($1.69) – $0.17/100g
    1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
    Green Long Hot Green Peppers – ($0.34) – $4.39/kg

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    Fresh Chicken Summer Rolls

    healthy-Summer-rolls-1.jpg

    Summer rolls are my go-to quick meals in the summertime and occasionally in the Winter when I want a light but filling meal. They can be packed full of your favourite veggies, proteins, herbs, and always be delicious. Though a lot of people know what summer rolls are – it seems a lot of people also don’t seem to realize how easy (and cheap!) they are to make!

    In most restaurants, two of these wraps can go for $5-6. It’s a lot more cost saving (and fun) to be making these at home! Try to go through this recipe and see if it becomes a staple for your own hot summer days.


    INGREDIENTS & COSTS FOR 6 WRAPS
    TAKES 30 MINUTES, SERVES 2

    1/4 of a package of thin vermicelli noodles ($0.49)
    6 Rice Paper Wraps ($0.39)
    1 Carrot ($0.16)
    1/3 Cucumber ($0.66)
    6 Romaine Lettuce Leaves ($0.30)
    1/2 cup of fresh Basil (Thai Basil if you can find it!) ($0.49)

    FOR THE PROTEIN: (You can use any protein you’d like, ex: substitute chicken with 1/2 block of Tofu)

    1 Chicken breast ($2.33)
    1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
    2 Tsp Soya Sauce – 1 for marinade, 1 for sautéing ($0.02)
    1 Tsp Ginger ($0.01)
    1 garlic clove ($0.02)
    1 scallion ($0.09)
    1 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.05)
    1 Thai Chili Pepper (Optional)

    Total Cost = $5.02* – $0.83 each!

    Compared to the $5-6 for 2 at restaurants! For the amount you make – its comparing $5.00 to $15.00-$18.00! That’s a great trade off.

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    The very first thing you should do is boil a small pot of water for your vermicelli noodles. I personally think the texture of the noodles is the most important part of these wraps, they should never be wet and soggy! While the water boils, gather all your ingredients!

    ingredients-summer-rolls-fresh-healthy

    Preparing your protein should be the next step. Chop the green onions then mince the garlic, ginger, and Thai chili if you opted for it to be spicy! Next slice your protein (I used chicken), then add in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Mix it all together!

    By now your water should be boiled. Add in the 1/4 package of vermicelli noodles. Lower the heat to medium and cook the noodles for about 2 minutes. Once the noodles look cooked, drain and rinse using a sift. Try to squeeze are much water out as possible and cool the noodles in the fridge. Putting the noodles in the fridge allows it dry out a bit more and allows it to have a great texture!

    chicken-ingredients-rolls

    Once your protein ingredients are ready, set a pan on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and wait for it to heat. Once heated, add in the ginger. As soon as it gets aromatic, add in the protein. Stir for about 2 minutes and wait for the chicken (or your choice of protein) to cook through. Once it does, add in the green onions, garlic, soy sauce, and chili. Now stir quickly for another 30 seconds and take it off the heat. Set it aside.

    marinated-chicken-rolls.jpg

    Now that your protein is set, start cutting up your veggies! I chose the julienne most of the vegetables so it’s easy to fit into the wraps.

    chopped-vegetables

    Once your veggies are ready, you can now start making your wraps! Take the noodles out of the fridge and shake them up a bit so they pull apart.

    Take a large flat bottom pan or bowl (wide enough to fit the rice paper) and fill it with warm tap water. Grab a couple paper towels and put them next to the pan, you’ll be using these to dry the rice wraps! Put a rice paper wrap in the warm water and wait for it to get soft – it shouldn’t take more than 1 minute. Once it does, take it out and try to shake off as much water as possible, then dry it on the paper towels. This allows it to stick and hold better as your make your roll! Place the wrap on a cutting board or a flat surface and start filling!

    summer-rolls-healthy-instructions-copyThe easiest way to wrap is to pull up the bottom half, then the side of the wrap, and then roll it up. And there you have it! In less than 30 minutes and 5 dollars, you have a wonderfully light but filling, healthy lunch for two!

    healthy-summer-rolls-3

    These wraps can be further enjoyed with sriracha, hoisin sauce, and especially my All Purpose Thai Peanut Sauce! I can’t recommend that enough, it’s just wonderful.

    This recipe can be gluten free if you substitute the soy sauce used in the protein to a GF soy sauce!

    summer-rolls-dip

    Enjoy! And any feedback is 100% appreciated.


    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) receipt, weekly flyer, and their website, as well as my Farmboy receipt.

    Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
    500 g No Name 100% Pure Corn Starch ($2.29) – $0.46/100g
    500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
    1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    Romaine Lettuce – $1.50
    3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00
    1 Cucumber – $1.50
    Basil – $1.99
    400 g package of Thin Vermicelli Noodles – $1.99
    Six Fortune Rice Paper Wraps – $2.99(comes with 45-50 papers)