Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So, I love you, because the entire universe conspired to help me find you...

Chili Chicken
Fate is a such a funny concept to me. I have been alternatively fascinated and disgusted by it. In some ways I believe that fate is for the lazy, people who can't be bothered to get up off their asses and work for what they want. But I think now, after years of deep thought, i finally understand why fate and destiny are unavoidable. It's like a Field of Dreams-esque concept in my mind now...if you build it, the universe/destiny/fate will conspire to bring it to you. I'm the kind of person that works hard for my dreams and can be single-minded to the point of destruction. Life has knocked me on my ass it's fair share of times, but that's the occupational hazard of ambitious living. I'm not unlike a Hydra, cut one head off and five will grow in it's place. I'm pretty sure that good things tend to come about from raw deals! Stay the course, build the foundation, and the universe will come through someday.

I only bring up fate today because I just came back from a family wedding in Virginia for a woman who is much more than a soul mate to me. I only learned to become a Hydra from watching her handle the challenges of her life. I'm lucky enough to have a partner guide me through my twists and turns. I'm certain that every misfortune and misadventure led her to the man she was DESTINED to be with, the person who hit the reset button on her life (himym reference). I've always believed that women cry during their proposals because in some strange way you think of all the failed relationships you've had, and your mind goes..."AH! There you are, you're the reason everything else couldn't work out". 

The beautiful bride and her handsome husband
There was something so intimate about this couple. AQ looked at her in a way that every woman wants to be seen by the man she loves. Watching him hold her hands and gaze into her eyes before kissing her forehead sent chills up my body. I felt so shy and embarrassed watching...it was as if I was privy to a moment that I was not meant to intrude on. I understood, in that instant, why she chose this man to be her partner and confidant. I realize that life has its challenges and no one is guaranteed happiness, but I wish a bright and joyous future to these two! I can't wait to see what sort of adventures you guys go on.  

It seems cruel not to post a few shots from this weekend, so before we get to the recipe...

Dancing on a bridge, naturally.
Perhaps the best part of an Indian wedding...the rituals
Casually leaning against a bridge, naturally.
These unbeatable sisters
A Bevy of Beautiful Ladies

 Almost all of the paternal cousins
I chose today's recipe because it is a staple in most Indian weddings. Indo-Chinese food originated in Kolkatta. A small group of Hakka Chinese settlers incorporated Indian spices and styles of cooking into their traditional food, and Indo-Chinese was born! Chili chicken is one of my favorite dishes...it's simple to make, fast, and filling.

Chili Chicken
Serves: One

4 to 5 chicken tenders chopped in bite sized pieces
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. flour
1 egg white
salt and pepper to taste
1 small bell pepper chopped
1 small onion finely minced
1 jalapeño finely minced with seeds
1 1/2 tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp. siracha
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Mise en Place

1. Place all the chicken ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Set aside for 5 minutes


2. Heat a skillet with a generous pour of vegetable oil. You want enough oil to basically fry the chicken
3. Pan fry the bell pepper for 3 minutes, remove and set aside. This will help flavor the oil and keep the bell pepper from cooking too much

4. Fry the chicken until it is golden brown. Remove and set aside


5. Discard most of the oil. Leaving only about 1/4 behind
6. Fry the minced onion and jalapeño for 5 minutes 

7. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer


8. Add the chicken back in and allow the flavors to meld


9. Top with bell peppers and serve with some fresh and hot basmati rice! 1/2 cup of dry rice should be enough for a single serving

Saturday, August 22, 2015

It's a Good Day for a Blog...

Chicken Onigiri
I've been delaying this moment for far too long. A food blog has always been on my horizon, but I never found the motivation to make it a reality. The Petite Epicure makes one promise, to provide as many single serve recipes as humanly possible. And so it begins...

My inaugural recipe, Onigiri, happens to be one of absolute favorite Japanese snacks. I must admit, I have had my fair share of misadventures with making Japanese food. A particularly disgusting batch of mitarashi dango and hard mochi come to mind. Perhaps I'll perfect those recipes someday, but today is all about the Onigiri. To make these single serve, it's time to visit your nearest Asian grocery store. I chose Hana on 14th street. I've written a glowing yelp review for them, click my yelp icon to follow along on my DC adventures.

There is one crucial item you must secure to make Onigiri a single serve recipe. Asian stores always carry microwaveable rice bowls, these bowls hardly take a minute to heat and will yield two Onigiri. If your appetite is like mine, add a salad and you're in business! Onigiri is traditionally filled with salted salmon, or umeboshi...but I'm just a little nuts and filled it with a chicken mayo mixture ;).

Chicken Onigiri
Serves One: Duh! 

1 microwaveable rice bowl
2 chicken tenders
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tblspn soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tblspn mayo
Furikake (rice seasoning)

Mmm. Mise en Place
1. Slice chicken tenders as thinly as possible and season with salt and pepper
2. Heat a pan with one tablespoon of vegetable oil, and start to cook the chicken
3. Season chicken with the soy sauce and rice vinegar

That hot bubbly deliciousness
4. Drain any excess liquid, having too much liquid will saturate the Onigiri and compromise their structural integrity 
5. Place the cooked chicken in a small bowl and allow to cool slightly before mixing in the mayonnaise ( I suggest using the Japanese kewpie brand)


6. Microwave the rice bowl and allow to cool before handling (or you can be like me, and touch it immediately and burn yourself. I'm not going to judge)

7. Divide the rice and form into a circle, I suggest you coat your hands in vinegar to combat the stickiness of the rice. Place a tablespoon of the chicken mixture inside your rice. Form the rice into a ball.
8. And now for the crucial bit, forming your rice into the classic Onigiri triangle. Use your thumb and forefinger to carefully begin shaping your balls into triangles. It takes a bit of finesse and practice but you will get there!
9. And now for the final and most fun step! Sprinkle your Onigiri with the furikake of your choice and proceed to stuff your face!

Good to the last bite!