Fried Chicken Szechwan Style

This is a dish that I usually cook on bachelor night since Lyn feels there might be too much oil. Steam some broccoli or asparagus for a side dish and you are good to go. Fairly easy and uncomplicated and for me…. I just like it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs. of boneless chicken breast or thighs

 Coating

  • 2 Tbsp. corn flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ teaspoon five spice powder

 Sauce

  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 2 tsps. chinese wine or dry sherry
  • Extra ¼ tsp. five spice powder
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 Thickener

  • 2 tsps. Corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water

Cooking

  • ½ cup peanut or other oil for frying. You could use less oil if you wanted that keeps my wife happy.

 Spice

  • 15 dried red chilies, seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tsps. Finely chopped fresh ginger.  Fresh is best but I always have some whole ginger in the freezer
  • 3 scallions, cut into 2 inch long pieces (white and greens).

How:

Cut chicken into bite size pieces (sometimes partially freezing make the cutting easier)

In a plastic bag mix together the corn flour, salt, and five spice powder. Shake to mix. Add chicken and shake to coat.  Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess corn flour mixture and place chicken aside. This can be done in a glass bowl instead of a plastic bag that keeps my wife happy.

In another bowl mix together chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, wine, ¼ tsp. five spice and pepper together.

In another small bowl mix the corn flour and cold water.

Heat the oil in a wok and when VERY hot add chicken pieces, in 3 batches and fry on high heat tossing to brown all over.  Batches allow the chicken to cook rather than steam if oil gets to cool. Allow the oil to heat up again between batches. Place each batch on absorbent paper towel that are on a dish or tray so counter does not get all oily, ok ok I learned a lesson way back when.  When all the chicken has been fried pour off all but about 2 Tbsp. of the oil.

With the exhaust vent on add the chilies, garlic and ginger and fry until the garlic and ginger are golden and the chilies turn dark. Does not take long.

Add the scallions and toss a few seconds then add the stock mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in the corn flour mixture again to mix smoothly and add to the pan, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Add the chicken and toss to coat and heat through.

Serve immediately with steam brown or white rice.

Twist that I have done over the years

  • Added fresh red or mix color peppers or substitute just peppers for chilies, a milder dish
  • Left the chilies seeds in for a spicier dish
  • Add unsalted peanuts or raw cashews
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Five Spice Chicken in Lettuce wraps

Five Spice Chicken in Lettuce wraps

A long time ago when my sister was managing the new Joyce Chen’s Restaurant in the Transportation Building in the theatre district downtown Boston I was served minced chicken or pork in lettuce wraps it was out of this world. Years later in San Jose my boss took me to a friend’s restaurant and he gave me what he called Chinese tacos, essentially the same tastes and style. Ever since I have grabbed a bottle of hoisin sauce now and then, minced chicken or pork and came up with something like this, always slightly different always depending what I have lying around.

Ingredients:

Remember I eyeball most times but I have been eyeballing into spoons and cups for the blog, at least for now.

  • 1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil.
  •  About 1 ½ chicken diced 1/2 “or smaller this time I used breast was on hand but is better with thigh (dark). (If you have partially frozen chicken it makes the dicing much easier).
  • 1 small onion 1 diced about 1/3 “or smaller.
  • 1 carrot diced small.
  • 1 stalk celery strings removed and diced small.
  • ¾ tsp. Chinese Five Spice.
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped water chestnuts.
  • 3 Tbsp. chicken broth (water is fine if you don’t have).
  • 2 ½ to 3 tsps. Hoisin sauce.
  •  About 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro (could fresh basil).
  • 2 scallions white and greens sliced thin.
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil (use light colored not dark)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Boston bib Lettuce romaine or iceberg would work in a pinch

How:

IN large skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and stir fry over high heat until just cook through about 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to remove the chicken and put aside.

Add the onion, carrot and celery to the skillet cook over medium or slightly lower heat until soften about 4 minutes. Add the 5 spice and stir cook about 20-30 seconds you will smell it. Stir in the chestnuts, chicken stock and Hoisin sauce. Return the chicken to pan stirring to coat evenly about 1 minute.  Hint, you may have to remove pan from heat if it is too hot so it does not thicken up too much. YA YA I had the heat to high so be quiet! Now remove from heat add the Cilantro, scallions and Sesame seed oil and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into lettuce leaves for wrapping.