Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicken and Beets Cooked in Oyster Sauce and Soy Sauce

I decided to buy some chicken from the store a couple of weeks ago to force myself to cook real food again, maybe enough to assemble leftover lunches which are perfect for my cramped free-time. It took a while, but I did eventually finish up enough obligations to find time to cook chicken. And it was delicious.

The first thing to do was figure out what to put on the chicken. I have a decent assortment of spices in my cabinet, but I feel like I've used them all before, and recorded them here on my blog. (Click here for my chicken recipes.

As I was rooting around in my fridge to see what that had to offer, I came across a bottle of oyster sauce. I don't remember what I bought it for, or the last time I used it. It's a key ingredient in my recipe for homemade fried rice, and I really have no idea the last time I made that! It was still good, though, right? It smelled okay, so I figured it would be fine. Generally paired with oyster sauce is soy sauce. I had a bit of trouble locating it, but I eventually got it and set the two bottles next to each other on the counter while I turned my attention back to the two chicken thighs that were slowly defrosting in a frying pan on the stove.

The pan of chicken was comprised of a thin layer of canola oil first, then the thighs, then a sprinkling of freshly ground Himalayan pink rock salt. Nothing terribly fancy, I just wanted to get the flavors brewing. Honestly, it probably didn't need the rock salt since I ended up putting soy sauce on it, but I didn't know what was going on it when I first put the chicken in the pan. I often start chicken recipes by grinding some salt over-top.

I set my egg timer for ten minutes at first, then continued to poke and prod the chicken until was perfectly thawed and well on its way to being cooked. This is when I poured in the oyster sauce and soy sauce. Oyster sauce has the consistency of barbecue sauce. Add a little less than you would barbecue sauce if you don't want a lot of sauce left over. It's great to put over rice, though! I didn't make rice this time because I didn't think I had any. (Turns out I did. Eh bien.) Soy sauce should be used much more sparingly since it has such a strong salty flavor. I never use low sodium because it doesn't mix the same in sauces, often separating out in dipping sauces, ruining them, such as for gyoza.

I kept a close eye on it from this point until it was done because liquid evaporates quickly and the sauce will thicken and burn on the bottom of the pan if left unattended for too long. When the chicken was cooked, I removed it from the pan. There was still a bit of sauce left over, though quite liquid since I didn't really allow it to thicken as I wasn't using it to ladle over rice. Instead, I grabbed a can of sliced beets from the cupboard and scooped those into the pan to be cooked in the oyster sauce and soy sauce combination.

I've said many times in this blog that beets are a superfood in addition to being tasty (and for dying things red). Beets are naturally sweet, and the salt from the soy sauce went very well with this. All this meal needed to be complete was some fruit, which I did not have, so I settled for the chicken, which was juicy, tender, and full of flavor, a side of beets, and some raw baby carrots in veggie dip left over from the Superbowl. I feel like I haven't been getting enough vegetables in my diet, not to mention protein, so this worked for me.

Best of all, I had enough to pack for my dinner at work that night! And it was just as delicious and satisfying the second time around. 

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