One of my many food enemies is MSG, which is short for monosodium glutamate. It’s a soybean product that I don’t know too much about, but I know it makes me sick. The bummer deal about it is that it’s in a LOT of stuff… from chicken stock to salad dressing. One of the most common places to find it is in Chinese food, which means that our family rarely goes out for Chinese, despite the fact that egg drop soup is the ninjas’ “favoritest soup ever.”
In the past I have attempted to make our own Chinese food at home, and I have had mixed results. I make some really good egg rolls, but any type of stir fry I’ve made has just been mediocre. And then, I found this recipe on BudgetBytes.com for Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken.
This recipe is two of my favorite things: Easy, and cheap. Since the ninjas did so well with the raw chicken last time, we decided to make this our challenge this week.
I must make a disclaimer here… Our summer schedule has changed a lot and it has been more difficult to squeeze in our cooking lessons. Although the boys helped me do all the prep on this one, we were serving this meal to a dinner guest so I ended up taking the reins for the cooking. And you’ll have to refer to Budget Bytes for the really delicious looking after picture, as our dinner guest was hungry and dinner was about forty minutes behind schedule, as you will read about.
The first step is to make the marinade. I highly recommend using fresh ginger root for this and not powdered ginger. I learned a really useful tip from Rachael Ray (she taught me a lot my first year of marriage) about ginger root. You can buy it and freeze it, then use it right from the freezer in recipes. It keeps indefinitely, I’ve found.
The new tool we worked with for this challenge was the Microplane grater. If there was a fire in my house, I would go back for my kids, my Pampered Chef cookie scoop and my Microplane grater. Just sayin’. For a very short video of Ninja Chase demonstrating the ginger root process, check out our Facebook page.
After we made the marinade and whisked it around, we cut up some chicken thighs and Mark “put them in the bath.”
There they sat for a couple hours, marinating in the wonderfulness that is brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic, until I browned them all nicely and served them to our hungry guest. Actually, in reality, it went something like this:
I started to heat the oil in the pan and forgot about it because someone was at the door. So when I came back, not only was the oil scorched, the kitchen and dining room was filled with smoke. It was about 100 degrees that day, so opening the windows to let out the smoke made the climate in the house similar to that of a sauna. So I scrubbed the scorched-ness out of my skillet, started over with new oil, and voila! Our dinner guest arrived, right on time. She was gracious and waited patiently as I browned all the chicken, made the rice, and thickened the marinade until it was reduced to a sticky, delicious glaze that covered the tender, juicy chicken bites.
The details of this dish make it really special. I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top and added fresh green onions and salty cashews. It was a hit with everyone, especially the ninjas. #IWishIHadAPicture #EvenTheLeftoversAreGone
We’re winding down to our last couple of Ninja challenges! We’d still love to hear your suggestions for something you’d like to see us make!