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Ginger Garlic Chicken… How Exotic! – Random Recipes #19

randomrecipes2The first thing I’d like to say is ‘Welcome!’ to all my new readers who have been visiting the blog as a result of Random Recipes. I love to read your comments so keep it up! Perhaps you’d like to subscribe via email or join the TIFFIN Fan Club (on the right side bar)? I blog twice a week so your inbox shouldn’t be too full.

The second thing I’d like to say is damn you Dom!  Luring me in with your siren song of processes and rules, knowing that I can’t help but follow them.  Look what recipe I ended up with! Down to business. This month’s Random Recipe challenge set by Belleau Kitchen is literally random (see full rules at the bottom) and is called ‘Let’s Start at the Very Beginning’. Dom suggested putting all of my cookbooks in a pile and selecting at random but there was no way my books were leaving their home on the bookshelf.  So, I had a lucky draw.

Lucky draw ticket for the recipe of the month

I was hoping not to select the Fondue Cookbook and secretly hoped for Don Dunstan‘s Cookbook.  Neither of these were drawn out. Once I’d selected my book, I used a random number generator to nominate the page number. As there were two recipes on the page, I flipped a coin to select the one I would cook.  And so, I present to you……

Women's Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook

The Australian Women’s Weekly Chinese Cooking Class. Women’s Weekly Cookbooks were a mainstay of 1970’s and 80′ cooking. They introduced us to innovative ideas (the ever popular Birthday Cake Cookbook), bold new concepts (Microwave Cookbook) and new cuisines. I got the extra special hard cover ‘Deluxe’ editions of the Chinese and Italian Cooking Class Cookbooks for my 21st birthday. You can see the gold sticker on the right hand corner of the cover – as pristine as the day I received it.  Riding the stir-fry wave, The Chinese Cookbook moved beyond Beef & Black Bean and Sweet & Sour Pork (though they are both included) and offered dishes that were unusual or technically challenging. Beggar’s Chicken in a salt dough, fried pork dumplings known as Flower Blossoms, spicy Szechuan Soup and salty sweet Soy & Honey Walnuts. Sadly, none of those were randomly selected. The dish selected was:

Australian Women’s Weekly
Ginger-Garlic Chicken
Chinese Garlic Ginger Chicken in a bowl with egg noodles and chopsticks

I say sadly because I’d hoped for something a bit more thrilling but, as I haven’t actually made anything from this book, it’s a first. There’s none of the ingredients we’d think of as typical or a must in a Chinese dish. No star anise, no salty Chinese cooking wine or Asian greens or, any vegetables for that matter. There is however, the very western ingredient of tomato sauce. I had everything except the chicken, in my cupboard. Still, it was simple to cook and tasty to eat.  I do hope however that I’m a bit luckier next time I do a Random Recipe.


Asian cooking ingredinets including egg noodles, garlic, ginger and sliced onions
  • 1.5kg chicken or chicken pieces w skin
  • 185g dried egg noodles
  • cornflour
  • oil for frying
  • 3 x tspn soy sauce
  • 1 x large onion
  • 2 x tbsp extra oil
  • 2 x cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x tspn fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 x chicken stock cube
  • 3 x tspn extra soy sauce
  • 1 x tspn white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 1 x tspn extra cornflour


  • Add noodles to boiling, salted water and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, until soft.
  • Drain noodles and refresh in cold water. Drain again and set aside.
  • Chop chicken into bite size pieces (including bone). If you don’t have a cleaver, use a heavy knife and press firmly on the back of knife near the handle with the heel of your hand.
  • Place chicken in a plastic bag with a few tablespoons of cornflour and toss to coat. You may need a little more cornflour. Make sure all pieces are well coated and shake off excess cornflour.
  • In a jug, mix extra cornflour, crumbled stock cube, water, extra soy sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Don’t over do the salt as there is soy sauce and a stock cube in the dish.
  • Heat approximately 1/4 cup oil in a heavy wok. Place a few pieces of chicken at a time into the wok and fry until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Do not overcrowd the wok or the chicken will not cook.
Chines cut cicken frying in hot oil and also draining on newspaper
  • Remove chicken and drain. Continue to cook batches of chicken until it is all  fried and golden brown. You will need to change the oil after every second batch as it will be quite dark and have specks of chicken fat and cornflour in it. If you do not replace the oil, your chicken will taste burnt.
  • Drain oil and wipe wok out. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add noodles and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and toss until heated. Transfer to plate and keep warm.
  • Peel onion and cut into thin wedges. Heat extra oil in clean wok and add onion. Cook until translucent then add garlic and ginger. Stir.
  • Add chicken back to wok and toss with onion mix.
  • Add soy and tomato sauce combination to wok and toss chicken through. The sauce will thicken rapidly. You can add a little extra water if needed.
  • Spoon finished chicken over noodles and serve.
Chinese Garlic Ginger Chicken dish compared to a photo f the Women's Weekly original

the rules
1 – number your books/place them in a pile/throw them in the air
2 – randomly select a cook book
3 – open the cook book to a random page
4 – cook the exact recipe on that page… do NOT cheat… you are only cheating yourself
5 – you may adapt the recipe for health/dietary/product availability purposes only
6 – post the recipe on your blog linking back to me and my blog
7 – include the random recipes badge in the post
8 – challenge deadline is August 29th

So that’s the book closed on Random Recipes #19. Hopefully the book in question doesn’t open up again any time soon. I won’t be able to join #20 or #21 as I’ll be travelling but I’ll be back in the kitchen for #22. See you then!
7 comments… add one
  • Phil in the Kitchen August 13, 2012, 1:14 am

    Tomato sauce? Oh well, why not? You never know quite what will happen in RR. I have to say that it looks pretty appetising to me.

  • Jeybird8 August 13, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Random Recipes is a very cool idea. I remember that book – my Mum has it!

  • Nic@diningwithastud August 13, 2012, 4:51 pm

    What a great idea!! I need to do this – I havent used half of my books

  • Dom at Belleau Kitchen August 13, 2012, 5:57 pm

    you see the thing with random recipes is that they are sometimes a disappointment when you first turn that page but I always find that they turn out very well… and a dish you've never made before too… and I must say it look very very good. I would have been more than happy with those results… I have a very similar cookbook to that on my shelves which is basic chinese cooking and i'

  • Mel Kettle August 15, 2012, 9:13 pm

    I've got that book! It was my mum's and she used to often cook from it. Don't think she ever followed a recipe exactly though…

  • Darryl September 10, 2019, 5:10 pm

    If you have the original WW Chinese Cookbook (as pictured) be sure to look closely for a surprising little guest in the picture for Chinese BBQ Pork. This was removed in later editions. I still have my battered and worn copy from 1978 at a cost of $4.98.

    • Fiona Ryan September 15, 2019, 5:28 pm

      Of course, I had to rush and take a look at the book straight away and yes, I can see the special guest. Thanks Darryl, for sharing that fund fact – it made me laugh and made my day!

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