Monday, October 03, 2005

Baby I'm a star (anise)

In the last two days, I've eaten an inordinate amount of garlic and star anise, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. Like most people, as the weather gets chilly at night, I enjoy eating heavier and more comforting food. I didn't realize what role star anise played in this until I cooked with it myself. The second I dropped it in my stew last night, the whole apartment smelled like my childhood home in winter. Tonight I made a delicious stir fry, continuing the theme of outrageous amounts of garlic.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
For the stirfry
Oil (peanut, grapeseed, or corn)
At least 20 garlic cloves
1/4 cup diced prosciutto (optional)
1 star anise
1 red bell pepper (or orange, or whatever, coarsely chopped)
Fresh ginger, grated (as much as you want)
A few splashes of vermouth
A similar amount of soy sauce
A few drops of pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 chicken breast (optional, cut in bite-sized chunks)
Watercress (optional)

For the rice
1 cup liquid (I used half vermouth, half chicken broth)
1/2 cup white or basmati rice

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the garlic cloves.
2. Once the garlic begins to soften, add the prosciutto and star anise. While these are cooking, make the rice in the standard way.
3. Once the rice is on, add the pepper to the skillet, followed by the ginger. Turn the heat up to high.
4. Pour in the vermouth, soy sauce, and pepper sauce. Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon.
5. Once the peppers are soft, incorporate the chicken. It should take about 5 minutes to cook through.
6. When the chicken is just about done, add the cooked rice (and something green if you like, such as watercress). Remove the star anise and discard.
7. Serve, garnished with a lemon wedge.

The finished product should have a glazed, cheap Chinese food look (from the sugar), and it should taste distinctly salty, sweet, and spicy. Enjoy!


At 12:44 PM, Blogger Doctor Barnett said...

Eating this for lunch right now and it's sooooo good. :D


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