As you may have gathered from our food journey thus far, we try and stick to three key principles with our cooking. The first of these is to cook delicious and fantastic feasts from scratch, the second is to enjoy food that is relatively healthy and the third is to explore ways to keep costs to a minimal. As we mentioned in our menu planning and money budgeting post, we ensure that each month we include at least one of our theme nights and these incorporate all three of our key principles. Today we want to share with you our homemade Chinese takeaway; a delicious and fantastic feast all made from scratch, made up mainly from items in your cupboard which means that is so much much cheaper than getting takeaway and a whole lot more healthy too. We think that the simplicity of some of these recipes will surprise you as much as they did us!!
To start us off we have some picky bits. You cannot even think about a Chinese without chicken balls and spring rolls. These are both really easy to make. If you’re cooking for guests why not use this as appetisers to keep your guests entertained whilst you’re finishing off the last few bits or plating it all up. These are even good for a snack or in a lunch box for work. I couldn’t quite get my head around it when Meg pulled out the lasagne sheets but trust me it does work!! Check out the recipe here!
Of course you need something to dip your balls and rolls in. Well, why not have sweet chilli sauce. Yes you can pick up bottles of the stuff quite cheap, but we’ve never realised how simple and quick it is to make. It can even be used as a sauce for a dish. By making it yourself you can alter it to you taste buds. We both like hot food and can both easily handle a hot Nandos, but for you mango and lime people out there, just cut down the amount of chillies you use. Take a look for yourself at the recipe!
Lets talk rice. Everyone we know always orders an egg fried rice with their Chinese. Is it even a Chinese without it? Well technically yes, but that’s not the point, it does of course have to feature in our feast. Even if you’re not making a Chinese feast, this a great dinner idea that can be easily whipped up by just adding meat and veg. So for all you people who never have enough time, think again and look at the recipe.
If you think of a Chinese, what is one of the first five things that come into your head? We’re hoping you thought of noodles. Now we definitely kept it plain and simple with these. We boiled up some dried noodles with a stock cube, a splash of soy sauce and added some left over vegetables from the spring rolls. You can be a lot more adventurous with this, but we thought we’d tone it down for at least one dish.
Moving on to a complete throw together. I felt like we needed another dish with a bit of sauce and Aaron agreed. So prawns in soy sauce did the trick. This is typical us, chuck some stuff in a pan and hope it turns out okay and it really did. Have a look at the recipe and you’ll get a feel for how we do chucking things together type recipes.
Last but not least the dish in which Aaron had to persuade me to try: sweet and sour pork. Lets just say I am not a full convert to the sweet and sour world but this is again a classic Chinese takeaway dish and one in which you can pretty much find most of the ingredients in the cupboards. Would you believe that it is as simple as throwing together ketchup and sugar and splashing in some vinegar and soy sauce? We were surprised too!! Even though Megan may not be fully converted, the reason that we love this dish is because it is one that is easily adaptable dependent on whether you prefer it more sweet or more sour. The recipe is here, have a look a see and what you think (we think it’s pretty sweet)!
Wow six dishes! You may be thinking that’s a lot of cooking, but they’re all quick dishes and the majority are one pan dishes. We reckon that you can compile this fantastic feast in under an hour including prep and cooking times, which is about the time you’d be waiting on that delivery!! If you do have guests over, the sweet chilli sauce could be put together earlier in the day, the sweet and sour dish cooked ready to be reheated and the spring rolls prepped ready to put in the oven meaning more time entertaining!! We hope that you can see how adaptable all of these dishes are so take our ideas and make them your own and then share them with us. I can speak on behalf of Aaron here too, but it was absolutely lovely to tuck into loads of dishes that we had made and that brings an extra bit of satisfaction.
Got any ideas on our next theme night? Comment below or find us on Instagram @aargansfantasticfeasts !