Ricotta Mushroom and Spinach Parcels

Whoa that is one name and a half! These snacks are hearty and healthy and they taste amazing! A bit on the rich side but not too heavy, just the right bit to fill you up and satisfy a craving for something crispy and hot! I made the size a tad bit too big, you can choose to shape them any way you want. But this, of course, was a bit rustic and easy. heehee!

I also used salt and pepper to taste. I love garlic so I used fresh garlic in with the mushroom as well. I think mushroom, spinach and ricotta is the best combination with flaky puff pastry! You don’t need meat at all! You can substitute cottage cheese with ricotta if you can’t find it. No worries! This is crazy easy to make and you can whip this

Ingredients:

  • 60 g baby Spinach (this is a big handful)
  • 100 g mushrooms (I used fresh, not tinned)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 sheets of ready made puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg

Blanch the baby spinach in rapidly boiling water and take it out. Allow to cool, set aside.

Saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in butter in a small pan, add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow this to cool as well.

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Add the spinach and mushroom onion mixture to a chopper and roughly chop it all up. I used a handy dandy hand chopper that I can’t live without. You can go ahead use a food processor and what not. Mix in the ricotta to make a chunky paste. This is the filling for our parcels!

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I divided one pastry sheet into four and shaped it into parcels. I also roughly used one heaping tablespoon of filling per parcel. These expand while baking and you can see how they turned out vs. how I shaped them.

 

 

 

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Pre-heat the oven to 200 C and prep a baking tray with baking paper. Position your parcels at least 2 cm away from each other so they don’t crash and burn. Brush the tops generously with the beaten egg and in they go! Lower the heat to 190 and bake for around 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Beautiful!

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Mongolian Beef Stir-fry

I absolutely love a good beef stir-fry. Many people think that getting very lean meat for a stir-fry is the best, but honestly any premium cut works as long as the meat is streak-free and marinated well. I usually get pre-cut strips because they’re the easiest to marinate! I also find that if you wash the meat and drain it well until dry, the meat cooks really well with little oil. And that’s technically what we want while stir-frying anything!

This recipe is so flavorsome and smashingly delicious that you’ll find yourself coming back to it again and again! And its perfect for those weeknights when you’re hard pressed for time but you want a glorious meal in minutes. The sticky salty sweet sauce goes perfectly with the fresh vegetables, remember to pair this with egg fried rice!

On with it then!

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Beef steak cut into strips
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 heaped tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 3 baby bok-choy roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 1 small bunch green onions (3 stalks) sliced for garnish

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger crushed

 

img_1472_fotorMix garlic, soy sauce, and cornstarch to create a thick marinade and mix in the beef strips. Let these sit for an hour or so, the soy sauce cuts through the beef and tenderizes it so you really don’t need to worry about it not cooking through later.

 

 

Heat up 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the beef in batches, or at once if the pan is big enough, until the beef is well browned on both sides. Set the beef aside and return the pan to heat.

Stir-fry the bok choy in the same pan until wilted and soft, set aside. Stir-fry the bell peppers for a minute and set aside too.

Return the same old pan to the heat. Add the garlic and ginger with the soy sauce and brown sugar for the sauce and let this boil. Add the beef and heat through until the sticky sauce covers all the beef.

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Add the vegetables and quickly serve garnished with lots of chopped green onion and sesame seeds! Look at those colors!

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WHAT? that easy? You’re kidding, no I’m not really kidding. This is one fast and easy recipe which is so easy to whip up and you won’t believe how amazing it tastes! Just goes to show you don’t need a hell lot of ingredients for cooking a yum dish!

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Sigh. Beautiful.

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Garlic Pepper Chicken Bake

 This is really such a simple recipe that comes together in as little as twenty minutes! Its super healthy! I will destroy the order of the universe and call butter healthy here 😛 Try to use fresh mushrooms because this is one ingredient that really shines with the buttery garlic and becomes the star of the whole bake.

I used nothing but salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning in combination with the garlic – you can choose to add herbs, but I feel keeping things simple here really gives all the vegetables and the mushrooms a chance to sing! I also had to add extra salt and pepper as I went along because I like a bit of a kick! On with the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 kg boneless chicken
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste (I used 1 tsp) you can use more or less if your heart so desires. But there’s extra vegetables too in here, so keep some extra for those.
  • 1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (1 carrot is enough)
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli – cooked/steamed ready to use. (Just immerse the head in boiling water and take it out after 15 or so seconds and run through cold water)

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (I used store bought)
  • 1/4 cup tasty cheese (You can use mozzarella and cheddar mixed if you like)
  • more salt and pepper to taste

Prep your vegetables, clean and scrub the mushrooms and cut them. Grate the carrot and cook the broccoli, separating the florets.

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Melt the butter in a saucepan and brown the garlic, taking care not to burn the butter. Add the chicken and cook till the chicken is done, adding salt and pepper to it along the way.

I added half the amount with the chicken and half later, with the vegetables.

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Add the vegetables to the chicken, adding more salt and pepper – tasting with each addition. Once this is done, set aside – allowing to cool.

In a separate pan, make the topping. This is a simple bechamel just with extra cheese. Melt the butter and add the flour, making a paste. Add the milk and stock, stirring continuously so that the mixture does not clump.

 

 

 

When the sauce has thickened, stir in the cheese.

 

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In a deep set baking dish, set your chicken and vegetables in a layer and top with the topping. Bake this at 200 c in the oven till warmed through and topping has melted.

The cheese will start to become golden at places. and its completely okay to eye these pieces and set them out for yourself – hey you made it after all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I served this bake with some buttered buns. ahahhaha. buttered buns. They were bagels actually, which I baked with some extra butter, You can also totally use ready made garlic bread. No judging.

mmmmmm this goes down well!

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Creamy Spinach Fettucine

My power flavor combinations : spinach, mushroom and garlic come together in this delicious creamy pasta main that is sure to get anyone raving about how awesome of a cook you are. Super easy to whip up in your kitchen and perfect for a weekday meal. Save some leftovers for your weekend movie marathons and you’ll thank your lucky stars you chanced upon this recipe and actually made it.

You can opt to make this vegetarian, its equally amazing that way. I wanted to add a bit of chicken to it, so I did. I love how the color turns out, it looks really beautiful on the plate and tastes as good!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 190 g mushrooms, sliced (1 small can)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 120 g spinach, washed and blanched
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
  • 1 packet fettucine pasta – boiled according to packet instructions

 

Start off by warming up the oil in a deep nonstick pan. Add in the garlic and chilli flakes and heat till fragrant. This really adds that extra kick later on! Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done.

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Add the mushrooms to the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Set this aside. Blend the milk and spinach together to make your super-healthy spinach based sauce. I used a hand blender but you can use a normal one.

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In another pan, start off by making a white sauce (that won’t really be white because we’re going to add a ton of spinach in it! YUM!) Add butter to the pan and once melted, add the flour. Keep the heat to a medium and turn the flour about in the pan till a smooth but crumbly paste. Add the spinachy-milk and keep stirring. Add the stock and keep mixing over heat till the sauce thickens. Add the pepper, Italian herbs and salt to taste.

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Take the biggest pan you can find, ahem. And start off by adding the boiled fettucine to the spinach sauce. Add the chicken and mushrooms and mix well. Ta-da! Your green super healthy pasta is done! I don’t think butter and milk are unhealthy and neither should you!  Go on and indulge!

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So satisfying!

Toffee Pies Two Ways

 OHNOES. I have honestly discovered the best recipe for a toffee filling. It all started when I was trying to make a banoffee pie and then of course, I had to add chocolate to it. I thought I’d gone ahead ruined the natural order of the universe, but no. I HAD SUCCEEDED IN CREATING A PIE FILLING WORTHY OF THE GODS.

The biscuity crust holds together the rich toffee filling which you can do two ways to treat yourself and your guests to some more variety! I cheated with the crust though and got the store-bought pie shells. *shock, horror, gape!* my mum would probably kill me for this. Onto the recipe! There is a note right at the bottom for people who don’t have access to store-bought crusts.

Ingredients

  • 1 can condensed milk (395g)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 50 g approx butter
  • 2 tbsp sifted cocoa
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • Ready-made pie-shells. This quantity is good for 20 small pies

Mix condensed milk, brown sugar and butter in a heavy based pan and heat up till the mix is slightly stiff: This picture should explain:

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After getting this consistency, divide the filling into two parts. Fill half your pastry shells with this golden filling and with the remaining, add cocoa and mix well. Fill the rest of the shells with the chocolate mixture.

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Add sliced bananas and cream on top of the pies without cocoa. I added a bit of extra cocoa filling just to make them prettier and extra slices of strawberries but you can keep it strictly banana.

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Here’s the chocolate ones.

Top off with strawberries and cream if you so desire! These can also be topped with caramelized nuts and other berries if you have them on hand! The finished pies:

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Perfect for a summer tea party and Iftari in Ramzan! They go especially well with tea!

Note: for people who don’t have access to pre-made pie shells, You will need a round pie pan with a base you can separate.Mix 100g of melted butter and around 12 crushed digestive biscuits in a pan and mix well. Press this onto the bottom of your pan and place in the fridge to set. You can then use this base for a bigger pie!

 

 

 

 

Saucy Plum Noodles

The flavor of Plum goes surprisingly well with noodles, and well, anything asian-inspired to be honest! This was an experiment that turned out ah-mazing! The sauce that is cooked first, lends an amazing flavor to both the chicken and the noodles. A healthy and balanced recipe perfect for this month!

These noodles are tangy and sweet and have that perfect plum-kick to them! If you want to substitute egg noodles, you can do so with spaghetti. But I’m told Pioneer in Lahore stocks the perfect home-made egg noodles so I’m sure you can find them, they’ll be worth the extra effort!

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp plum jam
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce

Extra:

  • 1/2 kg chicken cut into strips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra soy sauce
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked about
  • 1 packet fresh Hokkien noodles – two sachets
  • 1 capsicum, sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  • 1 or 2 cups of sweet corn (I love corn so I added 1 and a 1/2)

Marinate the chicken in pepper, salt and 1 tbsp soy sauce.

Heat up a fry pan and add oil, add garlic and chilli flakes and fry until fragrant. Add all the sauce ingredients and cook until well combined. In a separate wok or pan, cook the chicken till tender.

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After the chicken has cooked, add the whisked egg in the pan with the chicken and turn the heat up, cooking the egg with the chicken should crumble it. Take the chicken out and in the same pan, stir fry up the vegetables for a minute or two.

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Okay now you should have three separate things, the chicken fried with the egg, the sauce and the vegetables, time to mix it all up! Add the noodles first to the sauce so they drink that glorious mix up!

Combine all the three elements and mix well over heat until well combined and heated through.

AAAAND. SERVE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure that you heat the final ingredients just before you serve because we don’t want to dry up the sauce! Healthy and delicious!

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Burrito Bake

Okay so I recently tried my first burrito and I was kind of disappointed. Maybe it didn’t have that much meat in it or maybe the beans weren’t that flavorful or maybe it was just the wrong place. But I wanted to make a bake with the same ingredients. Healthy but cheesy! 😉

This is kind of perfect for Ramzan because you do want to have something healthy for Iftar but also want to feel full and have a bit of an indulgence. Its your typical burrito ingredients piled into a bake! You won’t believe how easy this is! To make it more heavy, you can choose to fry the pita in a bit of butter before layering it. I didn’t because every once a year I like to pretend I can eat healthy. eheheh.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg chicken cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 tomato cubed
  • 1/2 a can of sweet corn
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • Around 12 sliced jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced
  • 8 pita breads, quartered
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 tbsp barbeque sauce
  • 2 cups grated tasty cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mixed italian herbs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter for greasing

FOODGOOD 025_FotorStart by greasing a big oven-proof dish with butter and layer half your quartered pita breads on the bottom. Heat this in the oven till the pita is crisp.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the chicken with garlic and salt until done.

 

 

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Smatter the mix of mixed beans, corn, olives and tomatoes onto the pita.Cover with the cubed, cooked chicken and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper. Layer with pita again.

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FOODGOOD 028_FotorBrush the pita with a bit more butter and splat around the ketchup and barbeque sauce. Be liberal with it. Use more if you want to.

 

 

 

 

End with sprinkling the grated cheese and herbs. I wouldn’t call this sprinkling tbh.

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Grill in the oven until the cheese is happily evenly browned, almost crisped.

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Just before serving, dollop sour cream oven the baked cheese and top with shredded lettuce. Not only will this give you the illusion of eating salad, but will stop the dish from getting cold unnecessarily beforehand.

I just used a hell lot of adjectives today. Enjoy! 😀

I promise this is healthy!

Brigadeiros

I’ve been meaning to try these since months since they were all over the internets. And I’m so happy they turned out exactly the way I hoped they would. I even got a fancy plate and cupcake liners to make them pretty for the photos! These are really easy to whip up with only four ingredients!

The result? Smooth rich intense dark balls of candy-like fudgy chocolate. Heavy so you can’t have more than one but that’s good because it’ll stop you binging on dessert and feeling guilty later! You can just tell yourself – oh but I just had ONE. hehehhee. 😉 it kinda works…almost. But hey, they are quite small and indulgent and I think I’ll make them again and again because you can stop at one portion!

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 395 can of condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter + some extra for greasing hands and plate
  • Coating: you can choose between chocolate sprinkles, dessicated coconut or plain old cocoa. I used cocoa and coconut.

Method:

Plonk the condensed milk in a deep nonstick pan. The best way to make this is using a silicon spatula, it gets all the mix out from all the tiny annoying crevices. Slam the butter and the cocoa powder all in. No wait. Don’t slam the cocoa powder unless you want to snort it for the next twenty minutes – just be gentle with it. eh.

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Mix well and stir over medium heat until the mix reaches a fudge consistency and you start having some trouble with mixing. Also, the base of the pan will now start to show as you mix.

That’s your cue to take this off the heat.

Oil a plate and transfer the mix onto it and spread around till you’re happy its even. No chuck it in the fridge and forget about it for two hours.

After 2 hours or so, bring out the plate and grease your hands as well. Start by scooping out same sized bits of the fudge and shape them into balls. Coat them with desiccated coconut, chocolate sprinkles or cocoa and sit them pretty on a fancy plate. To be even more fancy, use small sized patty liners as cups for the balls. (I want to avoid calling them balls, but hey, that is what they are now)

Your balls..err.. Brigadeiros are ready!

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Perfect with your morning or evening cuppa!

 

Crunchy Lettuce Boats

 I needed a quick recipe to entertain and my sister texted me a recipe for lettuce wraps and insisted I make these. As per usual I took one look at the recipe and decided I’ll make something easier. But at the supermarket the ingredients for these cups literally called me from the shelves. I spotted the hoisin sauce in plain view, just mocking me. And a huge bunch of the freshest green lettuce at the entrance looking very hopeful and the noodles that my sister told me to use fell out from a shelf straight into my trolley. It was a sign.

These crunchy lettuce boats pack the perfect crunch, they’re fresh and packed with flavor and guilt-free. Its like a super oriental salad that feels like a meal! I didn’t really follow the recipe my sister gave me and ended up making my own version but you can’t substitute the hoisin sauce. Its what gives these boats the real flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 kg chicken cubed into teeny tiny pieces
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil or more
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1/2 capsicum chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, fried
  • 1 packet steam fried noodles (If you can’t find these, use maggi noodles blanched in water and then fried)
  • 2 bunches baby lettuce or 1 flower of iceberg lettuce, leaves separated and washed

I used these. They look already cooked and pretty straight for noodles.

So the first thing you need to do is heat up your oil in a large-ish pan and add the chopped garlic and chicken. Fry this mixture until the chicken is well cooked. Add oyster sauce and chilli flakes and push this around in the pan for a bit. Just to boss it around or so.

 

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Add the chopped capsicum, grated carrot, brown sugar and hoisin sauce. Cook until well heated through and combined. We don’t want to mush up the carrot and the capsicum so don’t overdo it.

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Take this mix off the pan and reserve for later. Add the noodles and fry them up in the same pan, you may need to add more oil.

Put them aside too. but don’t mix with the chicken.

Similarly, fry your peanuts and set aside. Don’t mix it in. Peanuts should be the last thing to fry – some people have nut allergies so you want to keep it separately if you’re having guests over so that they can mix it up later if they so desire.

Now just prep your lettuce onto some serving plates and trim off where needed, roughly the lettuce should be the same size so that no one gets upset. Because this is insanely delicious. I used baby lettuce because I like the taste of it over iceberg. Its more crunchier and more ‘alive’ looking. I don’t know what I mean by that but these pictures can show.

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Oh I meant more green and wrinkled and beautiful I guess! ALIVE!

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yummm! These were wiped out in minutes! great to try for iftaris since it tastes like a fresh bunch of yum without being heavy.

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GLORIOUS.

 

Asian Honey Chicken

Like my usual asian -inspired recipes, this one is also taken from Damn Delicious. That blog has the most crazy amazing recipes you have to check them out! But I fiddled around the recipe till I made it my own! I love having a slightly more saucy gravy, I’m not a big fan of having chicken in every bite – but since this didn’t call for extra veggies, I kind of made more sauce! So here we go!

The dark sweet and smoky sauce gives a perfect compliment to the crispy chicken without it being too overpowering. I have an issue with not marinating the chicken before cooking, so I always – ALWAYS marinate it.

This serves 4 ppl -I’d suggest doubling the recipe if you’re making this for family or if you’re very hungry!

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 kg Boneless chicken cubed and washed.
  • 3 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp White pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or more if required
  • a bit salt, if you need it
  • Green onions chopped for garnish
  • Oil for frying
  • Corn (I used corn as an additional veggie)

 

Method:

honey chicken 001_FotorMarinate the chicken in the marinade ingredients for half an hour. You can go chill or do your laundry in that time. I’d suggest chill.

 

 

 

Mix up all the sauce ingredients except for cornflour and bring to a boil. Check if you need a bit of salt and then add that. When the mix starts boiling, add cornflour mixed in cold water. Add this bit by bit because we want a rich consistency without turning the gravy into a custard.

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Set the sauce aside and shallow fry the chicken in a heavy pan making sure the cubes don’t touch each other. I always make the mistake of overloading the pan which results in a goopy cornstarch mess – because I want all the chicken fried at once. *woes of being always hungry* But do this in batches for golden cubes of perfection and then you can chow down that all at once later when you’re loading your plate 😉 Stir fry the corn if used and set aside too. As you can see, I added the corn to the sauce earlier.

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After all the chicken has fried, throw it in the sauce with the corn and heat the sauce up again and mix till all is coated.

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Load up the green onions as a garnish and enjoy this with rice!

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OH YAMMMM.

Happy tummies all around!

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