I don't know if it is just my taste buds being used to freshly-made oriental cuisine, but on the very odd occasion I find myself eating chinese food I know contains a shop bought sauce, it is invariably a bland experience.
Today I made a chinese sauce to go with chicken breasts and egg noodles. It was quite mild in terms of 'heat' from the chillies and ginger, with a pleasant sweet tangy vibe from the combination of peppers, tomatoes and sugar.
I heartily recommend that the soy sauce is not forgotten at the end of the recipe, as I found the saltiness raised the taste to a much higher level by offering a balanced contrast to the sweetness from the other ingredients.
This is a sauce I have made extra batches for today in order to freeze, so that whenever I am pushed for time I can defrost this beforehand and make a very quick meal with chicken.
Serves 4 (generously)
Cost Per Individual Portion: £1.48
FOR THE SAUCE
6 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 inch piece Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 Red Chillies, deseeded and finely chopped £0.15
1 Red Pepper, finely sliced £0.50
3 Tomatoes, chopped £0.44
7 Tbsp Water
3 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 1/2 Tsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
REST OF INGREDIENTS
3 Chicken Breasts, sliced £3.33
180g (3 layers) Medium Egg Noodles, cooked according to packet instructions £0.64
1 Courgette, thinly sliced £0.37
1 Red Pepper, thinly sliced £0.50
Splash of Light Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Groundnut Oil
1. Place all the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend to a paste
2. Add oil to a hot wok and stir-fry chicken for 3-4 min until browned
3. Add the red pepper and courgette and continue cooking for 2-3 min, until red pepper soft and tender
4. Add sauce and bring to boil - a matter of seconds if wok is hot
5. Add cooked noodles to wok and mix everything together well
6. Add a good splash of soy sauce and serve