The groan of the monotony writhes its way from Manic Monday through Freaky Friday, leaving little scope for the mistress of the kitchen to conjure up a happy picture of the family at dinnertime. The vegetables are barely pecked at by the little hands that most need them, the bottom-breads turn slack and sour-faced in their wad of paper towels with few takers grabbing from the select top pile, the lentils are left to languish when served twice in a row, and the fruits in the dessert bowl are diabolically disregarded. With the weekend inching its way towards her, threatening to steal her peace with squabbles over restaurant picks, she must shake things up, if only to save her top spot in the hierarchy. After chewing over a few choice ideas, she comes up with a plan that will entice the gang for a peppy pow-wow at the table, even on Friday night, away from the glare of the telly and the lure of the i-Games. Crinkly potato fries mixed with the snap of red pepper, the piquancy of ginger, garlic and onion, and the crunch of peanuts..in a sweet and sour sauce, a la Kung Pao. A surefire way to cut a kink in your everyday routine, if you ask us.
Kung Pao Potatoes
1 Package frozen fries (We used a 1 lb pack of Alexia’s crinkles)
1 Tablespoons peanut/sesame oil
2 Dried red chillies broken into large pieces
1 Teaspoon red chilli flakes
2 Garlic pods, minced
1″ Knob of ginger, minced
1 Red bell pepper, cut in thick strips
1 Large red onion, cut in thick strips
2 Spring onions, cut on the bias into thick chunks
1/4 Cup roasted peanuts
- 1 Cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 Teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 Teaspoons vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 Teaspoons chilli sauce
- 1 Tablespoon cornflour
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
Prepare the frozen fries as per the package directions.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Preheat a wok and pour the oil. Toss in the chillies, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger. Fry, stirring constantly. After a few seconds, add the bell pepper and onions. Stir-fry on high-heat for a couple of minutes. Add the spring onions and then the sauce mixture. Bring the pan to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Garnish with the peanuts and serve hot atop a bowl of steamed rice.