I love to be in the kitchen mixing and baking; there isn’t really anywhere else I’d like to be. I’ve stated before that I prefer baking over cooking and this is probably because I don’t like all the prep work that cooking involves, namely chopping vegetables! Oh, how I hate chopping onions – I always cry and it is such a painful experience for my poor little eyes. And those short little bird’s eye chillies always leave my hands tingling and burning when I finish chopping them. There has got to be a better, faster way to chop these things.
Luckily, Kitchenware Direct, an Australian online kitchenware store, came to my rescue recently and offered me a Cuisinart Stick Blender to review on my blog. I could think of hundreds of things to do with it, but I wanted to especially see if the chopper/grinder attachment that came with it could make chopping my most dreaded vegetables a more fun and pain-free experience.
Flipping through the latest MasterChef Australia magazine, I saw a recipe for Filipino fried noodles with chicken and beans. This looked like a fantastic, flavorful dish and chose it to try out the stick blender.
Onions first. I was a little bit annoyed that the instructions insisted that food be chopped into 10mm-length pieces before being placed into the chopper/grinder bowl because this meant that there is still a chance the onions could make my eyes sting and water. And sure enough!! However, after placing the onions in the chopper/grinder bowl….
It made short work of chopping the onions up into the fine pieces that I needed for my recipe. Easy!
Next, chillies. The ones in this recipe aren’t the fiery bird’s eye chillies, but the more mild, longer ones. Again, the stick blender made chopping these up a breeze.
I did find that I needed to take the top off the bowl and scrape down the sides and the bottom because some bits were left a little chunkier than I wanted. The motor on this little guy is quite powerful, so I had to be careful not to chop the ingredients too finely or they might have quickly turned into a puree!
I might take this opportunity to say that if you want to make your own pureed baby food, the Cuisinart stick blender would be perfect for that!
The choppiner/grinder bowl is mainly for small jobs, like chopping an onion or a chili for a recipe, or for pureed baby food, or for making your own breadcrumbs and food needs to be processed in the chopper/grinder bowl 1/2 cup at a time after being chopped into 10mm-length pieces.
The blender also comes with a whisk for whisking egg whites or whipping cream – I haven’t tried this yet, but am looking forward to it! It also comes with an attachment to puree soups or make milkshakes, in true stick blender style. If you need to measure ingredients, you’ll be pleased to find that Cuisinart supplies a measuring cup as well.
But I digress on this handy little piece of kitchen machinery! Back to the recipe. The rest of the prep work for the recipe is pretty easy. If you’re not familiar with julienne-style carrots or ginger then you may also need to invest in a julienne slicer to spend even less time preparing your veggies!
I hesitate to say that these noodles make a healthy dinner, as there is quite a bit of soy sauce in the recipe which means this dish is probably quite high in salts. However, at least you can say you have had at least one, if not two, serves of veggies in this meal!
Filipino fried noodles with chicken and beans. I was really pleased with how this turned out, it was absolutely delicious!
I gave a serve of these filling noodles to my mother-in-law to take home with her for dinner after she left our house, and my husband gobbled up a ton of it after he got back very late from a day in Melbourne for work. We even had some leftover for lunch and dinner the next night. And the flavor does get better the next day! This is a dish I’ll be definitely be making again!
Now, I haven’t had the Cuisinart Stick Blender for very long, so I haven’t experimented with it very much as of yet, but I have also made my own peanut butter.
Super easy, just put in 1/2 cup of nuts (even try almonds for your very own almond butter) then pulse to chop, then blend until the nuts become smooth. I added a touch of salt and peanut oil to mine to make it a little bit creamier, and I was really happy with it! The stick blender got the peanut butter smoother than my new food processor did; I was really surprised! If you’re looking for a yummy homemade peanut butter recipe, try this one from Alton Brown (it uses a food processor rather than a stick blender though).
I do think a stick blender is a worthy investment, whether you’re cooking for 1, pureeing baby food or soup, or doing prep work for a recipe, or even just simply whipping cream. It’s a powerful little machine that doesn’t take up much room and is very lightweight. Choose your own stick blender from the range at Kitchenware Direct!
If you’re after the recipe for those delicious Filipino noodles, you’ll find it below!
Filipino Fried Noodles With Chicken And Beans
Adapted from MasterChef Australia magazine, issue 13
Serves 4 hungry people
600g chicken breast, boneless, skinless
60ml (1/4 cup) soy sauce
250g bean vermicelli (glass noodles)
60ml (1/4 cup) peanut oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3cm piece ginger, cut into julienne (matchsticks)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 long red chillies, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, cut into julienne (matchsticks)
400g green beans, trimmed, cut into 5cm lengths
1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
Tomato Soy Dressing
1 tomato, cut into small wedges
80ml (1/3 cup) soy sauce
2 coriander roots, washed, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
To make tomato soy dressing, place all the ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine, then set aside until needed.
Place chicken, soy sauce and 500ml (2 cups) water in a large saucepan, ensuring the water just covers the chicken. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (I had to cook mine a bit longer). Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from soy sauce mixture, place in a bowl and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
Strain soy sauce mixture through a fine sieve into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced by three-quarters.
Meanwhile, soak noodles in cold water for 15 minutes to soften. Drain.
Using your hands, finely shred chicken into a bowl, then season with pepper. Toss well to combine.
Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add soy sauce mixture, sugar, fish sauce, chillies, carrot and beans and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add chicken, noodles and coriander, and cook, tossing, for 5 minutes or until noodles are warmed through.
Divide fried noodles among bowls, scatter with extra coriander and serve with tomato soy dressing.
This review is made possible by Brad from Kitcheware Direct.