A few years ago, I went on a Chinese cooking spree. I’ve settled down a bit, but a few dishes and combinations still remain in common rotation. This easy but flavorful–and hot–chicken dish is one of them.
Since good Chinese wine can be hard (or impossible) to find in the United States, it’s easiest to use a dry sherry.
A couple of warnings. Your wok, or saute pan, needs to be hot. Once you add the oil, it too needs to get hot. Peanut oil works best, but if you or someone you’re feeding has peanut allergies, use any neutrally flavored oil, like grapeseed or canola. Once you add the peppers, move quickly. The high heat will get them to the right stage in only a few seconds if the oil is hot enough. Most importantly, do not lean in lovingly and then inhale while stir frying the peppers–your body will rebel against you if you do, and you will wonder if someone has set your face, throat, and lungs on fire.
The dried Tien Tsin peppers are available in Asian groceries or, like almost everything else, on line.
Do not eat the peppers in the finished dish. They have done their job by flavoring the dish; now they just have to sit around and help make things look good. Serve over rice accompanied by something cool and fresh, like the quick cucumber salad pictured above–the recipe for it will appear tomorrow.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, scored and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 12 dried Tien Tsin peppers
- 1 cup chopped scallion
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Mix sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Pour into resealable bag with chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
- Mix soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, sherry, vinegar, and sesame oil; set the mixture aside.
- Preheat wok to high.
- Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the chicken.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of peanut oil in the wok. When the oil is very hot, add dried peppers. Stir-fry until peppers start to turn brown.
- Add chicken and marinade, and stir-fry until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle with chopped scallion and sesame seeds. Remove from heat.
- Serve over rice.