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CULINARY SOS

Carrot-Apple Soup, Orange Chicken

March 17, 1994|ROSE DOSTI

DEAR SOS: On a day trip to Santa Barbara, we had a delicious carrot-and-apple soup at the Mona Lisa Cafe. It would be great to serve this season. Can you get the recipe? It was low-fat too.

--DEBORAH

DEAR DEBORAH: The chef came through. Except for an optional garnish of sour cream, the soup contains no milk or cream.

CARROT-AND-APPLE SOUP MONA LISA 2 pounds carrots 2 large Spanish onions 2 leeks, white part only 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored 1/2 cup butter Salt, pepper 2 coin-size slices ginger root 3 quarts cold water 2 cups good-quality apple juice Ground ginger Sesame oil Sour cream thinned with water, optional White sesame seeds, chopped chives or julienne-cut apple, for garnish

Cut carrots, onions, leeks and apples into 3/4-inch cubes. Melt butter in large saucepan. Add vegetables and cook until vegetables release moisture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add ginger. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender enough to be mashed with spoon. Add apple juice.

Puree vegetable mixture in pot with hand blender until smooth. Or place in blender and blend until smooth, then return to pot. Season to taste with salt, pepper and ground ginger. Garnish with drizzle of sesame oil, sour cream if desired, sesame seeds, julienne-cut apples or chopped chives, in any combination. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Each of 8 servings contains about: 229 calories; 203 mg sodium; 31 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 2.11 grams fiber.

DEAR SOS: I would like to duplicate the spicy-sweet orange chicken served in many Chinese restaurants.

--N. G.

DEAR N. G.: Try this for size.

ORANGE CHICKEN 1 pound boneless chicken breast 1/4 teaspoon salt Oil Flour Mixture 5 small hot dried chiles 5 pieces dried orange peel 4 slices ginger root 4 green onions, chopped Vinegar-Sugar Sauce

Rub chicken breast with salt. Cut chicken across grain into strips 3/4 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long. Blend 3 tablespoons oil with Flour Mixture in mixing bowl. Coat chicken strips with Flour Mixture.

Heat 6 cups oil in wok or skillet to 320 degrees. Drop chicken, piece by piece, into oil. Fry until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside, then drain excess oil. Add 2 tablespoons new oil. Heat, then add chiles, orange peel, ginger root and green onions. Saute 30 seconds.

Add Vinegar-Sugar Sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickens and boils. Return chicken to skillet. Stir-fry until chicken is coated evenly with Vinegar-Sugar Sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 459 calories; 318 mg sodium; 108 mg cholesterol; 27 grams fat; 36 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 0.56 gram fiber.

Flour Mixture 3 tablespoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons flour 1/4 cup water 1 egg

Combine cornstarch, flour, water and egg in bowl. Mix well. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Vinegar-Sugar Sauce 6 tablespoons vinegar 6 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Combine vinegar, sugar, chicken broth and cornstarch in bowl. Makes about 1 cup.

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