Posts Tagged ‘chicken

12
Mar
13

Part 1: Kung Pao Chicken, Chinese American Style

Last week I did a radio segment for a friend of mine. We talked about the history of Chinese Restaurants, impact of immigration on food, and how Asian American food got its start. Well, I covered as much of the subject as I can within the limitations of a 17 minute segment. As a treat, I decided to make her Kung Pao Chicken the American way and then the actual Szechuan way. Here is the recipe of the first of the two part Kung Pao Chicken series that I will be doing. Next week, I’ll share the “authentic” recipe on my site. Also, if you’re curious as to what my radio voice sounds like, you can listen to the segment here.
Someone looks hungry...

Someone looks hungry…

 

“Does this mean I have to grow boobies?”

“Do you want to have viewers on your brb-eating YouTube site?”

“Yes.”

“Well then, this woman is just like you: young, attractive, likes to cook asian food, and likes to dance. Plus she has over 20,000 subscribers.”

“Yeah, but she has boobs, a low cut top, and ‘interesting’ camera angles.”

“We can get you low cut tops and I can shoot interesting angles.”

“It’s not the same.”

“And we can get you boobies.”

I was doing research for my video posts with my friend. She had agreed to help me film a few videos, teach me about basic editing and camera control, and direct me to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. She suggested we watch YouTube videos and, in the end, we found ourselves spending hours watching all sorts of Chinese cooking tutorials. My favorite vlogger was this woman who was cooking with rather large melons [think watermelons]. And, I’m not talking about the fruit.

From our YouTube research, I realized there is a select handful of dishes most commonly cooked. There appears to be a large need to know how to make things like fried rice and sweet and sour anything and egg rolls, not to mention the large number of kung pao chicken recipes. There were so many variations of the dish, and it was interesting to learn what folks’ take on a classic Chinese American dish was. Ingredients included everything from the stereotypical (water chestnuts, cabbage, and soy bean sprouts) to the exotic (pineapple chunks, soda, and ketchup. But, the recipes that really caught my attention were the “traditional” Chinese American versions. They reminded me of the trips I would take to the big box American chain restaurants, in particular, one that had an extensive cheesecake menu and was the “cool” place to go with friends before high school formal dances.

On the menu, there were always a few “exotic” dishes to give it that upscale feel, most being inspired by the Asian culture, i.e. Chinese Chicken Salad, Avocado Spring Roll, Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Roll. I remember a Kung Pao Chicken linguine on the menu that was a pretty popular selection amongst our group of friends, and I am ashamed to say, it was one of mine as well. It was a standard chicken dish smothered in brown gravy and then served over a bed of pasta. Sadly, it’s not on the menu anymore, but I’ve been able to create a dish that is similar and just as tasty.

Depending on your preference, this dish can be made without the noodles and instead served over rice. If you want to make this vegetarian and use tofu instead, remember to switch out the Chinese oyster sauce with Chinese mushroom sauce. I promise, this dish is going to taste familiar. Just like how your grandma used to make it at Panda Express.

~stuff
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 c chicken breast, cubed
2 tsp corn starch or rice flour
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2 medium zuchini, diced
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs water
1 cup roasted cashews
minced scallion, optional

~steps

heat a wok on high heat with 2 tbs oil
coat chicken with 1 tsp of the starch or flour
brown chicken in wok, and stir, about two minutes
add vegetables sautee until tender, about two minutes
add cashews and stir
mix sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water, and the rest of the flour in another bowl
pour in sauce and mix until well coated and sauce thickens, about two minutes
serve over rice or pasta and top with scallion for garnish

-serves 4-
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07
Jan
13

Day 5: Anchovy and Chicken Fried Rice

Anchovy and Chicken Fried Rice

Anchovy and Chicken Fried Rice

When I was in college, none of my apartments where within walking distance to any grocery stores, so I ended up eating out a lot or relying on the generosity of my friends with cars.  Although a significant amount of the week was spent on dining out, there where times that I, being a mature and responsible college student, would stay home to study.  All right, let’s be honest, I was just trying to recover from the hang over.  Regardless of the reason for me staying home, I had to find creative ways to make sure that I had food to cook.

Chicken

I usually had a whole roasted chicken in my fridge that I would get from the supermarket whenever I had access to a car. The chicken was a great discovery because I realized that:

1. I didn’t have to cook a whole chicken

2. I could enjoy it as is, but also turn it into a sandwich, soup, pasta, or stir fry

3. That I can pretend that I cooked a whole chicken when I was making dinner for friends

4. If I am hung-over, roasted chicken taste like the sweet ambrosia from the Gods.

Rice

 

Rice was easy.  On campus, we were lucky enough to have a Panda Express.  Well, lucky for me, but not for my clothing size.    There where times that I would order Panda Express for lunch on a daily basis for months on end.  It was even better when, as the Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Student Union, I was munching on a bowl of fake, exploitative Chinese food in our offices and trying to promote the Asian American experience on campus.  But, their “Orange Chicken” was delicious.  Especially paired with the “Green Beans in Black Bean Sauce”.  Plus, you can order a small container of white rice to go. Which was necessary to have at home.

Eggs

Next to campus we had a café that would serve Mexican style breakfast.  Did you know that there is this beautiful dish that involves tortilla chips, cheese, red sauce, chicken, and eggs?  It’s essentially a nacho dish and no one would judge you for eating it for breakfast, because it had an egg on it.   This is where I learned the beauty of “Chiliaquiles”.  The best part of this place was that they where so close to my apartment that I could call and order chilaquiles and a side of scrambled eggs, hobble over in my sunglasses and hung- over state to pick it up, and then enjoy them back at home to “study”.  Plus, why wouldn’t you want to eat something like tortilla chips smothered in enchilada sauce and chicken?

Anchovies/Salted Fish

Anchovies where always the trickiest to find and is not a common ingredient that is just lying around campus.  However, one night when I was ordering a pizza for delivery, it occurred to me.  Can I order anchovies to go?  The answer is “yes”!  During the early 2000’s, online pizza ordering was becoming a normal thing, and I realized that I could order a pizza with a side of anchovies without dealing with the person over the phone and the awkward request for anchovies on the side.  However, once the delivery person came, I had to figure out a way to play it off like the anchovies where a $1.50 joke on a friend and that I would never order a side of anchovies normally.  I must have used that excuse a dozen times.  I could picture the pizza place as the order came in.

“Here comes that anchovy order for Scott again.”

“Man, Scott is really boring, playing the same joke on his friend over and over again.”

“Maybe he just likes anchovies?”

“Nah, then he would just buy his own jar of anchovies.”

“True”

Now that I think of it.  After this whole treasure hunt, I could have just purchased the anchovies, rice, and eggs at the store while I was picking up the whole roasted chicken.  But, you know, this is much more fun.  It made me feel like one of my ancestors from yore.  I felt like I was participating in the annual hunt for mini salted and oil packed fish and pre-roasted whole chicken and their young: scrambled eggs, while gathering cooked rice along the brambles of my cave.  Call me a modern day cave man.

This dish is based on one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes: Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice.  It’s a beautiful blend of salty, nutty, fishy, and chicken flavors.  Ok, the last description was more of a noun, but the chicken is more of a flavor aspect to the dish then a main component but you can add more chicken if you want.

Check out the “Fried Rice 101” post for more information on fried rice.

~stuff

3 medium eggs, scrambled (if already cooked, then that’s cool)

2 tbs oil

8 anchovies fillets

1/2 cup roasted chicken, shredded

1 medium shallot sliced

¼ cup scallions, minced

3 cups leftover rice, separated

1 tbs soy sauce

2 tsp black pepper

~steps

cook eggs in 1 tbs oil on high, remove and set aside when cooked through

sautee shallots, anchovies, chicken, and scallions in the rest of the oil in a wok or deep pan on high heat

add rice and toss until fully coated and heated completely through, 3 to 4 minutes

pour the soy sauce and pepper to the rice and stir until fully mixed

-serves 6-

03
Jan
13

My 100th Post and a Blogging Marathon: 30 in 30 days

A new look for the new year?

A new look for the new year?

It’s a new year, and lucky for me, means I don’t have to make any resolutions for another month.  On the flip side, I now only have a month to get my Dragon List completed before the snake rears it’s head on the 10th of February.  I will then discover what I have accomplished, what was a lack of judgement on my part, and what was just me losing perspective. (Did I really say that I would read a book in Chinese?)  Once the new year hits, I get to start the cycle all over again and create another list of 29 goals for my 29th year.  Holy. Shit.Because my lists where always private, I would find some way to use a loophole, excuse, or exaggeration as to why I didn’t, couldn’t, or sort of complete a task and be satisfied with the answer.  However, this year I decided to go public with my list, and have already been reminded through emails, calls and conversations of the many things on my list that I still need to do.  It’s like everyone has become my Aunt Martha, hovering over me and piercing a hole in every excuse I throw at her as to why I didn’t want to go to Yoga to do an intense side stretch.  (Note to my friends, I don’t have an Aunt Martha.  It’s not a common Taiwanese name).

However, because of the accountability, I’ve decided to attempt most of the list.  One of my goals this lunar year was to write 54 posts.  There is no excuse why I have not done this, I couldn’t blame a person, the internet, a third party, or my brother’s cat.  (All which would have failed the test of my Aunt Martha if I had one).  So, in order to get close to crossing this one off my list, I’m doing a blogging marathon.  If folks remember a couple of years back I did 30 posts in 30 days.  It was a fun and challenging experience that ended in a well stocked refrigerator, a full roomate, and a bank account that was slightly higher than usual because of the amount of money I was saving from not going out to eat lunch.

So, in honor of the new year, the dragon list, my procrastination, and my 100th post;  I will commit to writing 30 posts in 30 days.

——-

This is my 100th post.  When I first started this blog a few years ago, I was looking for a way to best document the dishes that have been so important to me.  I wanted to have a place where I could keep a list of recipes that are significant; Each one holds a cherished story or memory from my childhood.  I had no idea how much of an impact food would have on me, my childhood, my discoveries, my growth, or my relationships.  Writing for brb…eating has  been an amazing journey; One that I thought would have been finished in a year or so, but it’s clearly developed into a longer adventure that I now consider to me very much a part of who I am.  I’m so glad that I’ve been able to share it with all of you and I look forward to many more to come.  To commemorate my 100th post, I’m revisiting my first blog post, “Chicken Adobo.”  I’ve edited it (my writing has improved so much in the last 100 posts) and updated the recipe (It’s taken me a few years, but I now understand why ingredients are listed in a specific order.) I hope you enjoy and thank you for following me on this journey.

Chicken adobo; not the witch's brew version.

Chicken adobo; not the witch’s brew version.

“I’m not sure it’s suppose to look like that…”

My brother and I stared at the pot of chicken bones bubbling in a tan, creamy, gravy like sauce with bits of chicken pieces floating about.  We had spent over an hour on this dish and had no idea how or what it had turned into.

“It doesn’t look like the Filipino Chicken Adobo we get at the restaurant. It’s suppose to have the look of braised chicken.”  Instead it looked like something only mentioned in fairy tales when describing the witch’s brew.  We tried it, and I continued to question the tough, rubbery texture and flavor of the sauce.  It was a “first time cooking Chicken Adobo” failure, it was also one of the first times that my brother and I cooked together.  Before this, it was rare for my brother and I to ever be able to cook together.  We are 7 years apart which translates to me being home as a kid while he is in college and then us being in separate parts of the country while I was in college and he was being an adult.  Luckily I found my way to New York which has made the two of us even closer as well as many more days of cooking together and more successful attempts.

A few days after the adobo attempt, my brother figured out that what we had made was basically soy mayo with chicken in it.  If it sounds gross, you are right.  It  looked gross too.  The vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar mixed with the protein from the rendered chicken was basically the foundation of a mayonnaise or aioli.  At the time of attempting this dish, my culinary techniques where a little lacking.  I thought that turning something on high meant you where hungry and it would cook faster and that braising was for people with patience.  However, the rolling boil of the liquid  was enough to agitate the protein and fat and essentially mimicked the whisking or shaking that produces mayonnaise.  Oh, so that’s one of the reasons we braise things.

A couple of years later, I asked my friend Holly how her mom made the dish.   She gave me the list of ingredients and the family secret.  Her mom finishes the chicken off in the oven to ensure that it develops a crispy skin and slight glaze.   So with my knowledge of braising and the importance of a slow low heat and now with some insider secret from new Tita, I was able to recreate the Chicken Adobo with my brother.   The flavor was sweet, salty, and tangy.  The vinegar and slow braise allowed the chicken to become extremely tender and juicy.  The best part was the crisp skin that came from the few minutes that chicken was  in the oven.  To add more sauce, you can reduce the braising liquid down to give it a thicker consistency while the chicken is finishing, or you can skip the oven step all together.

If you have access to cane vinegar, I recommend it.  You can get it from most Asian stores.  It has a slightly sweet quality to it, but white vinegar is a good substitute.

~stuff

2 lb chicken (I like to mix wings and drumsticks)

1 tbs vegetable, peanut, or canola oil

4 large garlic cloves

2 dried chili crushed, or 1 tsp red chili flakes (to taste)

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/8 cup sugar

1 stalk of scallions, minced

~steps

sear chicken on high in a large dutch oven or heavy based pot with oil and remove chicken

add chili flakes, bay leaves, and garlic to the pot and sauté until garlic is fragrant and slightly toasted

return chicken and pour soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar and stir to coat

turn down heat to medium low and let simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

remove chicken, put onto baking dish and broil on high until chicken is slightly crispy (4-5 minutes)

reduce the braising liquid and pour over the chicken

garnish with green onions (optional)

-serves 6-

 

10
Apr
11

soy glazed crispy chicken

...soy glazed chicken...

Growing up we would always go to Palm Springs for weekend trips. It was pretty awesome because the weather was sunny, the air had a nice dry feel to it, and we would always turn the grill on and have a feast. The feast always included a buttered garlic corn dish, stir fried greens, and my dad’s grilled chicken recipe. My brother and I would take on a few more dishes. The dishes varied slightly each time, but one thing that was for sure to always be part of the meal was this chicken dish.

This dish is one of the first dishes that I created on my own. I was super proud of myself after I made this because it was successful. The dish is simple. Just mix the ingredients, add it into the sauce, and then presto: a soy glazed chicken.

...mise en place, yeah I know my terms...

I first started making this dish when I was around 10. I actually still have the piece of paper that I wrote the recipe on. I typed it on my ms-dos computer because I had visions of me building my own cook book or creating my own cooking show. I can now post it on my blog to share with you. The version I am using now is not the original though. I’ve had 18 years to work on this recipe and essentially came up with a different methods to make this dish. The original version (10 years old) is more of a marinade and perfect for grilling or baking. The second makes the sauce into a glaze for drizziling which is perfect for pan frying. Both are really good and result in very different products. I’ve posted both versions for you to see and compare. Plus, you can almost see the growth in my own culinary development. The first version of the recipe is exactly how I typed it up when I was young. The second is a little more of my current style of cooking.

...get that skin crispy...

If you want more info about the original version, leave a comment or contact me. I can update it to make it sound more “adult”.  Leave a comment about the first dish you ever made as a kid.

10 Year Old’s Version

~stuff

2 tbs sesame oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

6 ginger pieces

3 garlic cloves, smashed

soy sauce [about half cup]

1/4 cup of sugar

2 chicken breasts

~steps

heat oil in a saucepan on high heat

sautee ginger, onion, and garlic until fragrant

add soy sauce until you cover the onion, ginger, and garlic and add sugar and stir

simmer on low and let cool completely

pour marinade over chicken and let it sit for at least 2 hours

grill chicken until fully cooked

Adult Version

~stuff

2 boneless chickens

1 tsp canola oil

1 tbs ginger peeled and minced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/4 cup onion diced1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbs white sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

red hot chili flakes to taste

salt and fresh ground black pepper

~steps

season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and heat canola oil on high until screamin’ hot

pan fry chicken breast skin side down in the oil until skin is golden brown and flip

reduce heat to medium until cooked through

remove from heat and reserve on another plate

increase heat to medium high and add sesame oil, onions, ginger, and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes

add sugar, soy sauce, and red chili flakes and scrape up brown bits with a brown wooden spoon [deglaze the pan]

stir sauce on medium high heat until the sauce is a thick glaze

pour sauce over the chicken

-serves 2-

28
Jan
09

Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo; not the witch's brew version.

Chicken adobo; not the witch’s brew version.

“I’m not sure it’s suppose to look like that…”

My brother and I stared at the pot of chicken bones bubbling in a tan, creamy, gravy like sauce with bits of chicken pieces floating about.  We had spent over an hour on this dish and had no idea how or what it had turned into.

“It doesn’t look like the Filipino Chicken Adobo we get at the restaurant. It’s suppose to have the look of braised chicken.”  Instead it looked like something only mentioned in fairy tales when describing the witch’s brew.  We tried it, and I continued to question the tough, rubbery texture and flavor of the sauce.  It was a “first time cooking Chicken Adobo” failure, it was also one of the first times that my brother and I cooked together.  Before this, it was rare for my brother and I to ever be able to cook together.  We are 7 years apart which translates to me being home as a kid while he is in college and then us being in separate parts of the country while I was in college and he was being an adult.  Luckily I found my way to New York which has made the two of us even closer as well as many more days of cooking together and more successful attempts.

A few days after the adobo attempt, my brother figured out that what we had made was basically soy mayo with chicken in it.  If it sounds gross, you are right.  It  looked gross too.  The vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar mixed with the protein from the rendered chicken was basically the foundation of a mayonnaise or aioli.  At the time of attempting this dish, my culinary techniques where a little lacking.  I thought that turning something on high meant you where hungry and it would cook faster and that braising was for people with patience.  However, the rolling boil of the liquid  was enough to agitate the protein and fat and essentially mimicked the whisking or shaking that produces mayonnaise.  Oh, so that’s one of the reasons we braise things.

A couple of years later, I asked my friend Holly how her mom made the dish.   She gave me the list of ingredients and the family secret.  Her mom finishes the chicken off in the oven to ensure that it develops a crispy skin and slight glaze.   So with my knowledge of braising and the importance of a slow low heat and now with some insider secret from new Tita, I was able to recreate the Chicken Adobo with my brother.   The flavor was sweet, salty, and tangy.  The vinegar and slow braise allowed the chicken to become extremely tender and juicy.  The best part was the crisp skin that came from the few minutes that chicken was  in the oven.  To add more sauce, you can reduce the braising liquid down to give it a thicker consistency while the chicken is finishing, or you can skip the oven step all together.

If you have access to cane vinegar, I recommend it.  You can get it from most Asian stores.  It has a slightly sweet quality to it, but white vinegar is a good substitute.

~stuff

2 lb chicken (I like to mix wings and drumsticks)

1 tbs vegetable, peanut, or canola oil

4 large garlic cloves

2 dried chili crushed, or 1 tsp red chili flakes (to taste)

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/8 cup sugar

1 stalk of scallions, minced

~steps

sear chicken on high in a large dutch oven or heavy based pot with oil and remove chicken

add chili flakes, bay leaves, and garlic to the pot and sauté until garlic is fragrant and slightly toasted

return chicken and pour soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar and stir to coat

turn down heat to medium low and let simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

remove chicken, put onto baking dish and broil on high until chicken is slightly crispy (4-5 minutes)

reduce the braising liquid and pour over the chicken

garnish with green onions (optional)

 -serves 6-

 




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