Better Than Takeout Sichuan Chicken

There are two great things in this recipe: stir-frying and Sichuan sauce. Stir-frying is a favorite cooking technique in The Bachelor’s Kitchen because it is fast, easy, flavorful and low in fat. The not-very-spicy sauce can used for lots of things. It goes best with stir-frys, especially with meat. It can be adjusted for your taste easily. sichuanchicken

This recipe makes 4 1-cup servings and can be pulled together in a half-hour.

First put together the Sichuan Sauce. Whisk together:

  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Chinkiang rice vinegar (Chinkiang is a dark, slightly sweet vinegar with a smoky flavor. It is available in many Asian specialty markets. If unavailable, balsamic vinegar is an acceptable substitute.)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more to taste

Set the bowl of sauce aside.

For the chicken, combine a pound of boneless, skinless chicken meat (breasts or thighs) cut into 1/2 inch cubes with

  • 1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine, (see Note) or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix thoroughly and let the chicken meat marinate for a few minutes.

While that’s going, put your wok pan or large skillet on low heat to warm up while you gather up the rest of your ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 1/2-inch-thick slices ginger, smashed
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 scallion, minced

When that’s ready, turn up the heat under your wok pan to medium high. After a few minutes, you should know it’s hot by putting a couple drops of water on the pan and have it sizzle and evaporate right away. Now add the oil and swirl it around to coat most of the inside of the pan, including the sides. Add the ginger. After a few seconds, carefully pour in the chicken mixture. Spread the meat out and let it brown for a few minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the snap peas and stir fry for a minute. Stir in the Sichuan Sauce and stir until everything is well coated. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and top with the peanuts and scallions.

You can try this same recipe with beef, pork, smoked sausage or shrimp.

Notes:

Shao Hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine. It is available in most Asian specialty markets and some larger supermarkets in the Asian section. An acceptable substitute is dry sherry, sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store. (We prefer it to the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets, which can be surprisingly high in sodium.)

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