Sunday, March 23, 2014

(Belated, Again) Chinese New Year Meal #1: Strange-Flavor Chicken (Gua Wei Ji Si)

Oops.  I totally missed Chinese New Year again.  That's ok.  We all knew it was going to happen.  And I swear that I will post a week's worth of Chinese meals eventually.  It might take me a month or so to get through it all, but I do have a lot of recipes picked out and/or ideas on tap.  I want to make some noodles (I'm thinking Uyghur laghman with lamb), some dumplings, some seafood...  The plan is to make another Chinese recipe tonight (provided that we can find everything we need at the grocery).  Sadly, we made this meal last weekend (it was one of the first things we cooked upon our return from Whistler) but I just haven't had the time to post about it.  Fingers crossed I will be able to post about tonight's meal a little more promptly. 

There are a number of different simple Sichuan chicken dishes in Land of Plenty: Authentic Sichuan Recipes Personally Gathered in the Chinese Province of Sichuan that I love to make because they are easy and tasty.  You can easily poach a few chicken breasts (or a whole chicken if you want to make some stock, which is what we were doing) and then shred the meat and toss them in one of several different dressings that vary from this sauce, which is very sesame-y or others which are full of Sichuan peppercorns.  It's all a matter of what you have in the kitchen and/or what you are craving.  The last time we made one of these recipes we made the "Hot and Numbing Chicken Slices (Ma La Ji Pian)", but we the shredded chicken on top of a bed of broccoli and just made a little extra dressing to coat the broccoli as well as the chicken.  It was delicious and easy.  I actually might prefer the hot and numbing sauce, which is lighter and spicier than this heavier, more sesame-y sauce.  Either way, I find these dishes to be perfect for summer when you really want something light, but flavorful that doesn't involve an extended period of time in the kitchen.  It's a nice alternative to yet another salad.

Recipe after the jump!

Strange-Flavor Chicken (Guai Wei Ji Si)
Land of Plenty: Authentic Sichuan Recipes Personally Gathered in the Chinese Province of Sichuan
By Fuchsia Dunlop

1 lb cooked chicken breast
6-8 scallions, white parts only
1 tbsp white sugar
salt to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinkiang or black Chinese vinegar
3 tbsp well-blended Chinese sesame paste
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chili oil with chili flakes
1/2-1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and coarsely ground
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Cut the chicken into slivers about 1/2-inch wide.  (if you want to be really authentic, hit it a few times with a rolling pin to loosen the fibers and then tear the flesh into shreds by hand).

Cut the scallions into sections and then slice lengthwise into fine slivers.  Put them in a bowl of cold water to refresh.

Stir the sugar and salt in the soy sauce and vinegar until dissolved.  Gradually stir in the sesame paste to make a smooth sauce.  Add the other ingredients, except the sesame seeds.  Mix well.

Shortly before serving, drain the scallions and pile them neatly in the center of your serving dish.  Lay the chicken slivers on top of them.  Pour over the prepared sauce.

At the last minute, sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

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