Friday, February 28, 2014

General Tso's Chicken & Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

I just realized that I never told you guys how my homemade Valentine's dinner went, so I'll share with you now!

General Tso's Chicken has always been my go-to at any Chinese restaurant. It's the perfect balance of sweet & spicy and just so addicting! I noticed that when I came to Argentina, I didn't see General Tso's on any of the menus at Chinese restaurants that we've been to, or at least I have yet to discover it in the (almost) 3 years that I've been here.

While checking my daily blog updates back in January, I saw that Cooking Classy (an amazing food blog, with daily drool-worthy recipes) posted a homemade recipe for General Tso's Chicken. I immediately pinned it, thinking that it was a recipe that I needed to have in my collection, but also knew that finding the ingredients here would be quite difficult, if not impossible.

Well, right before Valentine's Day, I decided to revisit this recipe and see what exactly I was going to need to make it. I knew that I could find most of the ingredients, even though that would include several different supermarket trips. The one ingredient that had me a bit worried, since it was probably the most important ingredient, was the hoisin sauce (a Chinese barbecue type sauce). I threw caution to the wind and hopped on the subway to Barrio Chino. Upon arriving at my favorite supermarket there, I searched high and low for this hoisin sauce, and could not find it on the shelves anywhere! I figured that if I didn't see it, it wasn't there, but there was still hope inside of me, so I asked one of the supermarket staff. When I asked about "salsa de hoisin" she looked at me confused, so I showed it to her written down on paper. She disappeared for a moment and then came back and said, "Ahh, HIGH-SHEEN" (written phonetically, from memory). Of course, I was pronouncing it very wrong, which is why I was so thankful to have the printed recipe with me. She led me to the sauce, and the angels sang down from the heavens.

Now, I only had one more obstacle to overcome---actually making the somewhat complicated recipe. Well, not so much that it was complicated, but the preparation was quite lengthy and forced me to use lots of kitchenware, which lead to a sink full of dirty dishes. BUT BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.

The recipe made enough that Tomas and I enjoyed it for dinner that night AND for dinner the next night as well! I just had to make some more white rice for the second night. And might I venture to say that the chicken was even better on the second night? That might just be one of the facts of life: Chinese food is even better in leftover form.

Let me talk a little bit about the salad now, so it doesn't feel like an afterthought in this post. I wanted an appetizer or salad to go with the General Tso's Chicken. I wanted something that was Asian inspired, but also fresh, so as to balance out the General Tso's. Enter in Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad from The Food Charlatan. So simple to make & so delicious! This would be a great summer salad to bring to a picnic or a party! Everyone will be raving about how good it is, and will have no idea how simple it was for you to make. We also enjoyed this salad on the second night and it was just as good as the first. I love having leftovers because then it really feels like all of my slaving over a hot stove was worth it.

So when will I make these recipes next? I have to say that I am already thinking about having that chicken again (writing this post doesn't help)....

I highly recommend this recipe, and if you've got a Sunday afternoon free, I can think of no better way to spend it: cooking for quite some time and then enjoying one of the best, exotic, homemade meals.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! xoxo

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