Recipe: Szechuan Chicken

Copyright © 2013 Aiden Gavin

Szechuan Chicken

Dear Recipe Goldmine Chinese Food Fans,

There are many variations of this recipe. Here is one of the better ones I occasionally make. Please note that this is not kung pao chicken which usually uses Szechuan peppercorns and the chicken is stir-fried rather than fried. Also, not all Szechuan chicken dishes used fried chicken. Hope you enjoy this.

Regards,

Cookin’ Dad

1 whole boneless chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 egg white
3 tablespoons water

Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (to fry garlic, dried
Szechuan peppers and ginger)
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons light (color) soy sauce*
3 tablespoons LOW SODIUM regular soy sauce
1/2 cup LOW SODIUM chicken broth
1 tablespoon dry white wine or sherry
6 to 12, or more, dried Szechuan peppers, depending
on how hot you like your food*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger, minced
3 tablespoons minced green onions (green part only)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts (approximation, optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with equal amount
of water (used to thicken sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons sizzling hot oil (used to give sauce
clear, glossy look)

* Substitute with regular if light not available

**I use six because my 5 year old daughter has low heat tolerance (smile).

Batter
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 whole egg, plus one egg yolk
1 cup water

At least 5 hours before you cook this dish, cut your whole chicken breast CROSSWISE into thin slightly-thicker-than-domino strips. Sprinkle salt and garlic powder evenly over chicken strips. Next, add water followed by cornstarch. Gently massage chicken strips for 2-3 minutes until chicken strips are covered with very thin white film. Add egg white and mix in with fingers for one minute or so. Set in fridge. Egg white and cornstarch along with water will make meat very tender.

When you are ready to start cooking, mix together soy sauces, oyster sauce and chicken broth. You may have to add about 1/4 cup water, or a little more, depending on how how salty your soy sauces are. BE SURE TO TASTE FOR SALTINESS.

Heat about 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil or shortening to 350 to 360 degrees F.

Beat water, egg yolk and whole egg. Remove your chicken strips from fridge. Place chicken in egg wash. Once you have done this, coat chicken strips with cornstarch. Set aside for a couple of minutes to allow breading to dry (key step in ensuring cornstarch adheres to meat during frying cycle).

Drop chicken strips into hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes. Do not fry much longer than this or meat will be dry. Remove chicken from oil and set on paper towel-covered plate. Next, heat 2 tablespoon oil until hot. Throw in garlic, ginger and dried peppers. Cook for about 30 seconds, by which point you will feel the garlic and dried pepper aroma assaulting your nostrils (smile). Add soy sauce mixture, followed by wine. Stir, allow to simmer for a minute or so before adding cornstarch mixed with water and reducing heat. Sauce will start to thicken fairly quickly, during which point you can add the sizzling hot oil used to fry chicken.

The last steps involve quickly returning chicken back to wok and mixing it with sauce. Next, add minced green onion and stir quickly before adding peanuts (optional). Drizzle sesame oil over sauce, quickly stir and remove mixture from wok.

Serve over white rice.

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