I picked up something from Mummy Dearest. You must never not have cooked food at home, like never. It doesn’t have to be a complete dish of something, but you must have something cooked in the freezer, that you can quickly whip up or re-create into another dish. Very important. You can’t catch my mother unawares. Not in her house. She could whip out a fabulous menu just from bits and bobs in the freezer. Nepa (power supply) was still good then. Of course, as we grew older, she let off on so many things, but we had already been trained like that, and it is a habit I intend to pass on to my children too. In my freezer I always have blended pepper, boiled meats or chicken, beef or chicken stock, ground egusi, ground ogbono, ground crayfish, seasoned fried peppered stock that I can whip up into Efo riro of Egusi soup in minutes, all I need is just freshly cut vegetables. In fact, I have an entire freezer compartment dedicated to half cooked foods. If I ever have a guest unannounced (trust me, some still wonder over to my house. Lol), I am never caught unawares.
Mama’s training came to bear last night. I came home from work, lazily finished off the leftovers of my Yellow Plantain Pottage (recipe HERE) and was sitting my tushy nicely on the sofa watching the latest episode of Revenge on my computer. Only for my well planned lazy evening to be interrupted by a phone call. Hey what’s up, are you home? Huh? For a split second there I wanted to lie, but I happen to have a brightly coloured car and recent plate number which is parked right in front of my apartment block and very difficult to hide. Hahahahaha. Grudgingly I said yes, only for the voice on the line to say, Great. I am starving, I hope there is food at home, I trust you or should we go out for dinner. Huh? I have already had dinner. Ah, okay but I am hungry. Gosh, Images of garri and groundnut came floating into my mind, but alas, my better self the cook decided to channel Mummy. I checked my trusty freezer compartment and ticked off all the stressful food options. Then I circled back to my cooked chicken breasts and the idea to do this was born. Chicken Stir Fry.
I checked my spice cupboard to confirm if I had soy sauce as I was about to pop to the nearest supermarket to buy pre-cut vegetables for stir fry. Right beside the soy sauce was a bottle of Teriyaki Marinade I bought months ago and hadn’t even opened. I can’t even remember now why I bought it. Okay then, I thought to myself, today is today, I will open this bottle and see. I popped to the supermarket and while I was waiting on the queue I quickly checked chicken Teriyaki recipes. I saw tons online, browsed through a few. I had such a short time, I couldn’t really focus on any, so I closed the pages, paid and drove home. I already make a mean stir fry with I (recipe HERE), I decided to just use that and add Teriyaki marinade this time. Oh wow. I loved this, in fact, I was kicking myself for cooking this for the first time for someone else. It should have been me, digging in to my hearts delight. Even my Irish flatmate who barely gives me a nod when I am cooking. Poor guy has been traumatised by the aroma of Iru, Ogiri, Crayfish and stockfish, he barely leaves his room when I am cooking, came out and was looking at the plate, I knew he was salivating. He has insulted my food before albeit unknowingly (he told me I was cooking spoiled food), I haven’t forgotten, so I didn’t offer him any. Yes, I am mean like that. Looool. Here’s the quickest under 10 minute dinner you will ever make.
You will need
Sliced Chicken breasts – preferably uncooked, but you can also use cooked
Dark Soy Sauce
Pre-cut Vegetables for stir fry – you can hand cut this or just use a food processor
If you are using raw chicken breasts, I have a beautiful way of seasoning chicken breasts. I wrote it for my Chicken Shawarma recipe. Click HERE. In addition to that marinade from that post, pour in 2 – 3 tablespoons of the Teriyaki Marinade.
1. If you are using raw chicken breasts, heat up a little oil in a Wok, and sear the chicken breasts on each side for about a minute to a minute and a half. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: these are sliced chicken breasts, so they should cook quickly otherwise it would get dry.
I am cooking with cooked chicken breasts, of which I poured in some chicken stock before I placed in the freezer, so I heated it up a little in the microwave, poured over the teriyaki marinade and mixed with a spoon while I popped to the supermarket to buy the vegetables.
2. Heat up a little oil in the wok and let it get very hot. Pour in the chicken breasts with the entire marinade into the wok and let it cook on high heat. Shake the wok every few seconds and top up with another tablespoon of Teriyaki marinade. You may choose to add more if you wish. This marinade is slightly sweet, so be very careful.
Let this cook until the chicken absorbs most of the marinade, and turns slightly brown.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: this slightly brown is what you are aiming for. Chicken Teriyaki has a distinct brown colour
3. Throw in the vegetables. Just as I was about to shake the wok to distribute the veggies evenly across the wok, I suddenly spied the soy sauce in the right corner of my eye and I thought hmmmmn, that will work. The salty and slightly sour nature of dark soy sauce would balance out the sweetness of the teriyaki marinade. It would also season the bland fresh veggies. Boy was I right. I sprayed on dashes of soy sauce onto the vegetables, shook the wok, stirred gently with a wooden spoon and just let it sizzle away for roughly 2 minutes. I wanted the veggies to still have some crunch and retain their colour.
………………….and that’s it. A fabulous dinner in under 10minutes, even for a guest who showed up unannounced. Using the words of my friend Labake, this is how I roll when my alter ego is Dooney’s Kitchen. You don’t have to get dressed to go out if you don’t want to, dining in is the new eating out.
If I can say one thing though, the chicken breasts, the really thin bits of it over cooked slightly. Mind you, they were already cooked when I used it for this dish. The next time I make this, I will definitely use raw.
As punishment for coming in without that much notice, I told the person, your dinner is going to have to wait slightly longer because one element of the dish is experimental, and don’t you dare complain. I could have boiled some noodles or Spaghetti, but I finally decided to try my hands on Bulgar Wheat which I also bought weeks ago, thanks to my neighbour and good friend Funmi. She is team carbs is the enemy. I bought both of us packets of the thing from Holland and Barett and it had been sitting in my store cupboard, staring back at me. I didn’t have the time to make it the way she makes hers, so I decided to flavour the bulgar wheat by fortifying with vegetables, and also for the visually appealing factor.
I will discuss how I made this in the next post. Click HERE