Sometimes I feel like I’m in a rut and need to branch out and try new things, hence the name of this new post series, “Branching Out.” Since I moved back in with my parents I haven’t been cooking anymore or even going to the grocery store because I just eat whatever they buy and join them for dinner. Of course, this is great for saving money, but I really like cooking and I miss trying new recipes. So this week I found a couple recipes that looked delicious online and I made it my mission to go to the grocery store, get the ingredients, and cook dinner for my family. They were more than happy to accept because it meant they didn’t have to cook, so everybody wins.
The first meal I cooked was this Mongolian Beef with Coconut Rice by the Chunky Chef, and honestly it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t even get a picture of it because I couldn’t wait long enough to eat it (I was basically eating it straight out of the pan as I was plating it). My family devoured the meal and there were zero leftovers, so I’m thinking I might have to make this again soon. To be fair, Mongolian beef is one of my all time favourite dishes, so if it sounds like I’m exaggerating I’m really not. I just really love Mongolian beef. Also the coconut rice added a really nice flavor to the meal.
I basically left everything in the recipe as is, leaving out the option hoison sauce because I didn’t have it. Also I used coconut oil when making the sauce and canola oil when frying the meat, but only because I was out of vegetable oil. The one thing I did change in the recipe was the coconut rice. Where it calls for 2 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of water to cook the rice in, I actually used a little less coconut milk and compensated with more water. My initial reasoning was because I could only find 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk, and rather than waste the rest of a can I decided to just use less. I don’t know how much this really did or didn’t affect the flavor, but my mom (who isn’t a huge fan of coconut flavor in things) said she was glad that I used less because she liked it exactly as it was and was afraid more would be overpowering. Personally, I don’t think 2.5 oz more of coconut milk would really change the flavor, but I could always be wrong.
The moral of the story is: try this recipe, it’s amazing.
The second recipe I tried was this Crockpot Chicken Gnocchi Soup by Pinch of Yum. I followed this recipe exactly as it was written, with the sole exception of using minced garlic instead of cloves (just due to what I had on hand). This recipe was very good, but really… nothing can compete with Mongolian beef. I think if I were to make this dish again I would add more seasonings, but that was more my fault than the recipes because it is up to your discretion. Also, where the recipe calls for 1-2 teaspoons with all the seasonings I stuck to the lower end because I was afraid of over seasoning, a chronic problem of mine. Then again, my mom thought it had too much garlic. What can I say? I like flavor. I’m a big fan of gnocchi and creamy soups so I feel like I’ll definitely try this again in the future and just keep tweaking the recipe until I get it just the way I like it.
Also, I did remember to snap a picture of this one! Just excuse the shoddy cellphone quality and lighting.