by Grace Young
Chinese Burmese [Cayenne] Chicken
This is one recipe you will want to try for it's a keeper. I'll for sure be making this again.
The onion, garlic, ginger, and spices sizzling away was intoxicating - then it was time to add the fish sauce. Have you ever experienced the aroma of fish sauce? It certainly was not what I was expecting, a fishy smell; to me it has the smell of dry cat food. At first I was worried about using it. I never used fish sauce before and have no idea what it was supposed to smell like or not smell like if it has gone bad. My bottle not only had an expiration date way into next year, but a manufacture date as well which was just a couple of months ago, so in it went.
I immediately went to the Q&C section on the Wok Wednesdays website and asked if anyone else thought that fish sauce had a strange odor. Happy to find out that I am not alone in that the sauce does have an odd smell. As one fellow cook mentioned it adds that indistinguishable pleasant flavor to good Chinese restaurant dishes. You know the taste that you can't quite put your finger on; the earthy, nutty flavor of that savory sauce swimming on the bottom of the plate under your entree. After cooking the offensive odor is not noticeable, nor is it fishy tasting - amazing.
I made one deviation to the recipe; I substituted cayenne pepper for the chili powder as referenced in the book. I added 1/4 teaspoon to the spice mixture. This lent a wonderful soft heat to the stir-fry.
I texted my husband who was riding after work and having dinner with friends that he was a lucky man. He was going to have one damn good lunch tomorrow. The following day he agreed.
Success meter (1-3): 3+
As you can see from the almost empty jar
of cumin, this is my all-time favorite spice.
Mise en place.
A must when stir-frying.
Wish you could smell this..
The flavors mellowed overnight, but
was still very good the next day.
In my first post for WW I mentioned too look for Cashew Chicken this week - unforseen circumstances caused a change in the recipe schedule. Not to worry, we will share this in the future I assure you.
You too can join us on our adventure of cooking through Grace Young's book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Go to Wok Wednesdays to get started!
I was chosen as host for this week so you can find the recipe by clicking on the link below.
Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken
Serves 3 as a main dish with rice
or 4 as part of multicourse meal
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thigh or breast,
cut crosswise into ½-inch thick large slices
2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, divided
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small yellow onion, quartered and cut into ¼-inch chunks
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 Anaheim chili, cut into scant ¼-inch thick slices, with seeds (about ¼ cup)
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into scant ½-inch thick slices (about 1 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon chili powder (I substituted ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper)
1. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. In a small bowl combine the remaining ½ teaspoon cornstarch and 1/3 cup cold water. In another small bowl combine the paprika and cumin.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the onions, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 30 seconds or until the onions begin to wilt. Push the onions to the sides of the wok, carefully add the chicken, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear. Stir-fry 30 seconds or until the chicken is almost completely opaque. Add the ginger, garlic, and the paprika mixture, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the aromatics are fragrant and the chicken is well coated in the spices.
3. Add the red and green bell peppers, reduce the heat to medium, and stir-fry 2 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften. (Do not be alarmed if the spices stick a little to the bottom of the wok.) Add the fish sauce, chilies, zucchini, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and stir-fry 1 minute or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Restir the cornstarch mixture, swirl it into the wok, increase the heat to high, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the chicken is just done and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove the wok from the heat and stir in the chili powder.
Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge/Grace Young