Recipes

Tomato couscous with Foolproof Chicken Stir Fry

                               

                           

Ready in: fewer than 30 minutes
Multi-tasking level: Low
Feeds: 6 for this version, cut down accordingly
Thigh fillets are cheaper, but fiddlier to cut up. Evaluate whether
you can be bothered.
60p a bag- we’re using about 30p’s worth here
Wholegrain couscous is tasty. Remember couscous works really well
cold/reheated- cook more than you need
1 can value chopped tomatoes
Sainsbury’s basics ones are actually the best. Nice red colour, come
in a carton not a jar
Don’t bother with fancy wine here, it’s really just to give it some
depth
Only buy from Chinese supermarkets if you can- it’s a staple there, so
it’s MASSIVELY cheaper than supermarkets (and the bottles look impressive)
Cornflour is the best for thickening sauces and soups. Buy a box and
it will last forever.
About 4 fists of chopped veg
Seasonality keeps it cheap, otherwise check reduce to clear. Try to
get lots of pretty colours in there. Here I used: 1 white onion, a bunch of
asparagus, a few mushrooms, two handfuls of baby spinach, three bell peppers
(two red, one orange. Never green. Taste like grass.)
                                          Total: £9.58
                                         (Or about £1.60 each)
·       Small saucepan for couscous
·       Large frying pan/ wok/
balti
·       Chopping board and
knife
·       Small bowl and spoon
for cornflour
·       Plastic bag
       1.  Marinate the chicken- this is a really good
thing to do if the chicken’s on its last legs/ bought from reduce-to-clear but
it looks a bit funky
a.       
Cut the chicken breasts into bits as tall as
your thumb- remove sinew (stringy white bits) because they will never taste
nice
b.      
Put the chicken in a plastic bag with the juice
of 2 lemons and three chopped cloves of garlic
c.       
Leave it for between 5 minutes and 12 hours,
depending on how funky your chicken is looking/how hungry you are
a.       
Put a third as much couscous as you want to eat
in a saucepan
b.      
Add 1 ½ times as much liquid as there is
couscous
in with it. In this recipe, put a tin of chopped tomatoes on it, a
splash of red wine, the last squeeze of lemon juice from the skins of the
lemons you used in the marinade, and 2 teaspoons of sugar (otherwise it will
just dissolve your face when you try to eat it) – and some chopped basil if you’re
feeling fancy
c.       
Put on the hob on a high heat and stir
frequently with a wooden spoon. Turn it down after 2 minutes. Just make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom.
Start cooking the stir fry now.
                                                                      
i.      
Cooking the couscous will require some
attention. It ought to look a bit frogspawny after about 5 minutes- if it
starts sticking to the bottom at that time, put a splash more water in it
                                                                    
ii.      
After 10-14 minutes it should be done (right)


RAW BUT WITH POTENTIAL
COOKED TO PERFECTION


a.       
Put a tablespoon of oil in the pan. Wait until
it’s hot (it will be shimmering like a poncy vampire), then add the chicken,
but not the marinade
. When water hits hot oil it spits, so watch out. Drain
water off it when it starts to bubble or they’ll never cook
b.      
Start chopping veggies quickly. You want to add the
veggies in descending order of how cooked you want them, and then chop the next
sect of veggies, so here it goes:
                                                                      
i.      
Onions
                                                                    
ii.      
Mushrooms (clean dirt off them with kitchen
towel, chop in quarters)
                                                                   iii.      
Asparagus (chop and discard two inches from the end to avoid woody stems)
                                                                  
iv.      
Bell peppers (speed-chop the way Gordon tells us)

                                                                    
v.      
Baby spinach leaves (add these once the stir fry
is cooked and off the heat)

4.       
Sauce:

                       a.      
Pour the remaining marinate over the stir fry

                       b.      
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (look, I know this
sounds weird, but just do it. You just added a bunch of acid, this will make it
all sweet-and-sour)

                       c.      
Put 1 tablespoon of cornflour in a small bowl,
add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and mash all the lumps out with a spoon
                       d.      
Take the stir fry OFF THE HEAT and add the
cornflour mix- stir in well to avoid weird gloops


Delicious cornflour slop makin’

 your sauce all thick and tasty


       5.  Plate up
a.       
Flop the couscous into a sieve just in case
there’s any water lurking about still, then back in the pan
b.      
Precariously balance the stir fry on a blob of
couscous because you’re trying to imitate the food-in-tiny-towers they do on
Masterchef
c.       
Chow down

THIS IS WHY WE USE ALL THE COLOURS

Edit: Tomorrow’s corresponding Bento lunchbox
Top box: This meal
Bottom box: Salad of spinach leaves, spring onions,
peppadew sweet chillis and crystallised ginger


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