Sunday, April 1, 2012

Changde Clay-Bowl Chicken

Having been sick for the past week and sleep-deprived thanks to the cast, meal planning has been fairly low on my list. Thankfully, the freezer is well-stocked with meats and the CSA box continues to deliver fresh vegetables. This meal was born out of weeknight frustration. A combination of what was going bad (bell pepper) and what would defrost quickly (chicken thighs). I would've been okay with an edible dinner, but this was remarkably satisfying. The chicken is richly flavoured and a beautiful red colour. The original recipe calls for a whole chicken on the bone, but boneless works as well. To get more vegetables in, I went ahead and used a whole bell pepper. I also fried the chicken rather than deep-frying to make it a tiny bit more healthy, but the original instructions are included below.

Two years ago: Old Recipes

Changde Clay-Bowl Chicken (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

1 chicken (see notes above; about 1kg)
small handful dried chiles
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 1/2" cinnamon stick
1 tbsp chili bean paste
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3 scallions, green parts only, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
strips bell pepper
1 - 2 tsp sesame oil
1 cup peanut oil

1. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks. If you wish to have a very hot dish, cut chiles into pieces, otherwise, leave whole.
2. Heat wok over high heat until smoke rises, add peanut oil and heat until reaches 350F. Add chicken and deep-fry until it becomes pale. Remove with slotted spoon.
3. Allow oil to return to 350F. Fry chicken again until cooked through and golden. Set aside.
4. Add garlic cloves to oil and fry until fragrant. Set aside.
5. Pour off oil. Clean wok and return to high heat. Add 3 tbsp oil and swirl around. Add ginger and cinnamon and fry until fragrant.
6. Add dried chiles and stir-fry briefly until just changing colour.
7. Add chicken, garlic, stock, Shaoxing wine, soy sauces, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer over medium for 10 - 15 min stirring from time to time.
8. Add pepper strips and scallions towards the end of cooking. Drizzle with sesame oil before serving.

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