As I am sure you know by now, I am a lover of gadgets especially ones that go in the kitchen. One gadget I had not really considered having until I was offered one to review was a food dehydrator. However, since having the Vida Food Dehydrator I have found it a really useful addition to the kitchen kit. I have used it to make apple crisps for the boys and I have made butternut squash and carrot crisps (more recipe development work needed!) as well.
The Vida Food Dehydrator appears at first to be quite large, but once you get used to it, it takes up no more space than a chopping board. All you need to do is fill the trays with whatever you want to dehydrate, set the timer and the temperature and off you go. The longer I dehydrated things for was 24 hours but most stuff was done in 12-16 hours. The dehydrator does make a little bit of noise while it is use but you soon get used to it. The instructions that come with the unit are a bit vague so you do have to do some guesswork to work out correct temperatures and times for things but as long as you keep an eye on it, its fine. The dehydrator is not something I would use every week but I am keeping it and I am hoping to make homemade garlic powder and ginger powder with it next, but I need to get a spice grinder to do that. (I can hear Stuart moaning already – ‘Another toy!’)
To make something useful for my store cupboard, I decided to make some dried chilli flakes as I use them regularly in my cooking and wanted to see if there was a difference in flavour, to ‘freshly made’ dried chill flakes as opposed to ones that had been sat in the cupboard for a while. To make the dried chilli flakes, I used regular supermarket mixed chillies and 2 peppers which I had leftover in my fridge that I did not want to go to waste. After being dried and turned into flakes using my Magimix CS4200 XL Food Processor I noticed that my dried chillies smelt fruitier than the ones that had been in a jar for ages. I decided that I needed to use them in a recipe as soon as possible while the flavour was still there and the my spicy beef chow mein was invented! I love chow mein anyway but the dry rub on the steak and my homemade chow mein sauce brings it up to new heights and I urge you make this dish whether you have homemade chilli flakes or not. Go on, forget the takeaway and make yourself a midweek dinner to remember!
- 300g mixed chillies, stalks removed, chopped in half (optional:remove the seeds if you do not want it to hot)
- 2 peppers, stalks removed and chopped into strips
- Place the chillies and the peppers into dehydrator at even spaced intervals. Place any larger slices on bottom racks
- Set the timer on the dehydrator for 24 hours and the temperature to 70 degrees C. Rotate the racks around during the time to ensure an even dehydration.
- Once the dehydrator has finished, remove the chillies and the peppers and place them in a food processor or spice grinder. Whizz until flakes are formed.
- Store in a sterilised jar and start using in your recipes
- For the Beef
- 400g sirloin steak, visible fat removed and cut into thin slices
- 1-3 tsp ground cumin (to taste)
- 1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
- 1-3 tsp Chinese Five Spice (I used Steenbergs)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the chow mein sauce
- 100ml soy sauce
- 100ml water
- 1 tsp Mirin (rice wine)
- 2 tsp hoi sin sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp cornflour
- For the chow mein
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6-8 spring onions, ends removed, chopped finely
- 250g egg noodles, cooked according to packet instructions and cooled
- First mix all the spices, salt and pepper together then toss with the beef until evenly coated. Set aside.
- Then make the sauce, in a small jug or dish, add in all the sauce ingredients and whisk together well. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan or wok, add in the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add in the steak and fry until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Fry the spring onions until softened and then add in the noodles. Return the steak to the pan and then add the sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce is reduced and coats the noodles and the beef.
- Serve as soon as possible and enjoy!
For more recipes using dried chilli flakes, please see:
Chocolate, Chilli and Lime Bread by Tin & Thyme
Double Chocolate Chilli Brownies by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Cherry Tomato, Spinach, and Garlic Mozzarella Pasta Bake by A Mummy Too
Spaghetti Squash, Feta and Chilli Risotto by Cook Sister
Rose Harissa by Food To Glow
There are affiliate links in this post. I was sent the Vida Dehydrator to review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review