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Oriental Chicken and Cucumber Stir Fry

Chinese cuisine is an absolute favorite with me because there is no combination of ingredients it does not embrace. There are only two considerations – texture and taste. As far as the popular tastes go, honey soy, soy ginger, soy garlic, chilly garlic, ginger sesame, oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce, plum sauce are some of the usual options but then again the list is endless. I commonly use the soy ginger combination for stir fries, using more of light soy (which is mild and slightly sweeter) and very little dark soy (in lieu of which a tiny speck of black bean sauce works too).

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • Chicken breast: 1 no. (diagonally sliced against the grain)
  • Cucumber: 1 no, sliced into diagonal strips
  • Carrot: 1 no, sliced into thin long strips
  • Black fungus: a handful, soaked in warm water
  • Spring onions: a handful, chopped inch long
  • Ginger: 1 inch, thinly chopped
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, chopped
  • Green chilly: 2 nos, chopped
  • Soy sauce
  • Cornflour: 2 tbsp
  • Oil
  • Sugar to taste
  • Sesame oil for garnish

Method:

  • Marinate the chicken slices in some soy sauce for about 10 mins (if you have the
    time) and sprinkle them with cornflour
  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a wok.
  • Add the chopped garlic and ginger, stir for a minute
  • Add the chicken slices and stir fry on medium-high heat
  • Add the cucumber, carrot, rehydrated black fungus and green chillies
  • Mix a tbsp of light soy in 1/4th cup of water, add a tbsp of cornflour and some sugar
    to taste, add this mixture to the wok and stir vigorously
Storm in the wok

Storm in the wok

  • Finish off with sprigs of spring onions and a few drops of sesame oil
  • Serve with sticky rice, jasmine rice or plain white rice
Oriental Chicken Cucumber Stir Fry

Oriental Chicken Cucumber Stir Fry

salads

Swiss food festival at Cafe Swiss, Swissotel (August 1-7)

Me to friend: Just visited the Swiss Food Festival
Friend: Really? Where?
Me: Swissotel
Friend: Right. Duh :-/

Duh indeed. The weeklong Swiss Food Festival kicked off begining of August, where else but at Swissotel’s Cafe Swiss. I was elated to be invited with KfB at the inaugural dinner. If there is anything better than dining at one of my favorite outlets, it is the company of friends you haven’t met in a while. It really felt great to meet Archita, Sayantani, Priyadarshini, Kamalika, Amrita and Vishal after such a long time, it was almost like a gang reunion (except the ones who did not turn up that day).

Capun and Spatzle

Capun and Spatzle

As always, Case Swiss has done their usual wicked thing with laying out a huge spread with myriad of options to choose from. We also did our usual thing by eyeing the desserts first before moving on to the other counters, but as usual by the time we were finished, we were too overfed to finish all the desserts we had wanted to. Before this starts sounding like the diary of a hog, let me quickly describe the Swiss offerings in the menu. Based on my ‘limited knowledge’ of Swiss food, my expectations from the evening were twinfold – cheese and chocolates. I am happy to tell you I found both of these in abundance on their menu.

The appetizers included items like Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sweet potato rosti that was topped with cheese, and some other fried items that involved loads of cheese.

Appetisers

Appetizers

Surre Mocke (beef tenderloin in sour sauce), Spatzle – Swiss version of pasta, very flavourful and much like gnocci, Salmon cooked in wine and herb sauce – a very picturesque dish with crisp skinned salmon cubes, cherry tomatoes and broccoli peeking out of a divine white wine gravy and the Lobster thermidor. My personal favorites that evening were two entree items – Rabbit stew with sauteed cabbage on the side, this was my first taste of the rabbit, it was textured like chicken except it was only more flavourful, something like the flavour of good red meat however no gamey smell. And the Rippli, succulent bits of smoked pork loin stewed with baby potatoes, beans and carrots in a heart light broth – yet another example of simplicity imparting excellence to a dish, and something I totally plan to try making at home soon. I also really liked cabbage stuffed steamed vegetable rolls in a tomato gravy, called capuns – simple yet flavourful and elegant.

Entrees - Lobster Thermidor, Salmon in White Wine, Rabbit Stew and Rippli (Pork loin stew)

Entrees – Lobster Thermidor, Salmon in White Wine, Rabbit Stew and Rippli (Pork loin stew)

The Swiss take their peripherals very seriously and this was evident in some of the items such as the swiss cheese salad (cubes of what I thought was edam in a mild cheesy dressing and sprinkled with bright greens), the wurstsalat (pork sausage salad), red apple and walnut salad, Swiss potato salad and the omnipopular cheese fondue.

salads

Coming to the desserts, I loved the Raspberry Milk Chocolate Torte – rasperry mousse over milk chocolate mousse over cumin flavored biscuits, Engadine nut cake – a very nutty filling stuffed in a crispy pie crust – kinda reminiscent of a baklava except for the crust type and the level of sweetness (and maybe more walnuts here than pistachios), apple fritters with vanilla ice cream and a complex textured dessert that had layers of dark chocolate, an apricot something over a pistachio and white chocolate biscuit, topped with whipped cream, and a very nutty carrot cake. In short, if you have the appetite, try them all.

Desserts - Chocolate cake to be dipped in chocolate fondue, Engadine Nut cake, Almond berry cake, Muesli and Quark cake, Baba au Rhum, Raspberry torte

Desserts – Chocolate cake to be dipped in chocolate fondue, Engadine Nut cake, Almond berry cake, Muesli and Quark cake, Baba au Rhum, Raspberry torte

I read someone on a social network saying somewhere that ‘whoever calls people you meet online as family has got to have something missing somewhere’. Well I am perhaps missing that something somewhere but not like I care. There are so many wonderful people I have met online who have stayed on to become best of friends and I really have social networks to thank for that. Otherwise a nerd like me would have to be forced to physically socialise to meet like minded people, we all know how that works for us.

This is yet another reason why I totally adore Swissotel staff, they are extremely warm and hospitable and at the same time never overbearing. They let you be, and that makes me feel so much at home. Genuine people and real smiles make your food taste so much better! Head to Cafe Swiss on or before August 7th to enjoy the Swiss culinary luxury draped in genuine hospitality.