Dreamcatchers have a very special place in native American cultures, supposedly to filter out bad dreams and letting only the good ones pass. A dreamcatcher is traditionally made with repurposed items including willow hoops, strings, beads, feathers and other items considered sacred by the natives.
For this week’s Repurpose challenge, I couldn’t think of anything that personifies the notion better. Enjoy!
Note: originally taken from my phone, this photo was later touched up using the Prisma app.
Oranges taste great on their own; I hardly know anyone who doesn’t like them. They are a mind-blowing combination with chocolate, second only to mint, and are used extensively in desserts. But never in a million years had I expected to fall head-over-heals in love with oranges in an entrée. I’ve been obsessed with Orange Chicken ever since I tried it some four odd years ago at a Chinese Restaurant.
Like all recipes I’m obsessed with, I tried recreating this sweet and sour concoction with a hint (subjective) of spice last weekend. After some experimentation, I got the flavor profile I was looking for; in retrospect, I should have left out a few ingredients that gave the dish some outlandish undertones, a clashing after-taste, if you may. The recipe below doesn’t include those ingredients so you should be able to enjoy a mouth-watering Orange Chicken. I strongly recommend serving this gravy with Chinese Fried Rice (leave me a comment if you want me to post a recipe).
½ kg chicken (cut into one-inch cubes)
½ cup + ½ cup fresh orange juice (I used navel oranges)
½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange zest
5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1” cube of ginger (finely chopped)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
I tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp white pepper powder
½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
½ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chicken powder
1 tbsp corn flour
5-7 dried red chilies (optional – I used African bird’s eye chili)
1 tbsp peanuts (salted and roasted)
2-3 spring onion stalks (one-inch pieces)
½ green bell pepper (medium sized – cut into cubes)
1 onion (medium sized – cut into cubes)
¼ tsp MSG (a.k.a. ajino moto)
3 tbsp sesame oil
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 tsp honey (optional)
Mix chicken, black pepper and corn flour and set it aside
Heat sesame oil in a pan and add in garlic and ginger
After a minute or so, add chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes
Mix in chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, MSG, and white pepper and let it sit for a minute
Add in ½ cup orange juice and lemon juice and let it cook for 2 minutes
Add soy sauce, chili sauce and vinegar to the chicken and cook on high flame
Once the sauces have dried out a bit, add in peanuts, dried chilies and the remaining ½ cup orange juice to it
When the juice evaporates again, add in Worcestershire sauce, chicken powder, green peppers, onions and the spring onion
At this point, taste the chicken and see if you need salt (as the sauces used are already salty) or honey (if you feel the chicken is a bit on the sour side – mainly because of the oranges used)
Give the chicken a good mix and turn off the flame
Take out in a serving bowl and garnish with some fresh orange zest
Serve without waiting another second – make sure you have the Fried Rice ready beforehand. Any comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Age isn’t just a number; it’s a reflection of the hardships we’ve faced, the laughs we’ve shared, the times we’ve fallen, the tears we’ve shed. In essence, it is a true measure of one’s resilience.
Life is an obstacle course, a test of endurance, if you may; it has its highs and lows, twists and turns. Each day brings with it new battles to fight and new reasons to celebrate, a roller coaster of surprises both good and bad; every passing year makes you more resilient.