Hmmm...this month's Milk Calendar recipe, "Faster-than-Take-Out Chicken and Veggie Chow Mein," seems to have unleashed my not-so inner snarkiness.
Let's start with the title.
Could it be any longer?
Well, yes it could be.
It could be something like "Here's another excuse to use some perfectly good milk in a recipe which would be better off without it, but we can't admit it because this is the Milk Calendar, and we need to encourage people to cook with milk, so stirfries are fast and easy so we'll get people to use milk in their stirfries and cook at home instead of getting a greasy takeaway which actually tastes better but again, we can't admit to that either."
Like most marketing ploys, the title was more spin than fact. It took me longer than the indicated 20 minutes (prep and cooking) to get the meal on a plate. Granted, I'm not the speediest slicer or shrimp peeler and "deveiner," but I don' think I'm *that* slow.
"Wait a minute. Shrimp? I thought that was funny looking chicken." I hear you think (warning: I've gone back to reading your minds).
Yes, you are correct. That is shrimp.
Which brings me to snarkiness fodder number two:
I decided to go with the "adventurous" suggestions of using shrimp instead of chicken, and add hoisin sauce, soy sauce and Chinese cabbage to the wok.
Woo. That's really adventurous, isn't it? I mean, if I were allergic to shrimp or Chinese leaf, I suppose it would be, but I'm not allergic to those things.
The thing is...I don't know anyone who's never made a stir-fry...which is what this really is. I've always treated such edible beasties as kitchen sink suppers: slice up whatever's lying around, toss them into a hot wok with onions, garlic and ginger, stir it about and add spices and sauces before tipping onto some steaming noodles et voila! Stir-fry.
But I guess, technically, this isn't a regular stirfry. It's a chow mein. According to a non-Chinese friend it means slice up whatever's lying around, toss them into a hot wok with onions, garlic and ginger, stir it about and add spices and sauces before tipping onto some steaming noodles et voila! Chow mein.
The recipe itself wasn't too bad, and unless you're feeding a professional hockey player, the recipe provides ample portioning for six...or gargantuan portioning for the recommend four people.
Again, I didn't see the point of the milk in the saucing. I'm convinced it contributed to an odd nursery food-like smell: sort of sickly sweet and reminiscent of the smell emanating from children who are fed far too many processed foods by parents who either don't know how to properly feed their wee ones or are too self-obsessed to spend more than the minimum amount of time in the kitchen, with anything that vaguely resembled food untouched by food scientists and marketers. You know the smell.
So...the verdict? It's not a bad recipe (well, it's not a truly great one--but it's not in the running for the worst). If I were to categorise it, it would fall into the "with a few tweaks it could be more palatable" category. But then, it's a food that doesn't really need a recipe...does it?