Friday, June 4, 2010

"Chinese" Chicken or Rename this Recipe!

Truth - I have been avoiding posting this recipe because it is Chinese chicken, and we've always called it Chinese chicken, I wouldn't know what else to call it. And yet, I can acknowledge, that no matter what the Time-Life Foods of the World Series would have you think, this is definitely not a real, true, chinese recipe. Not even a bit. But it's delicious, easy and great to bring to all those damn summer potlucks, barbecues and backyard parties. So I'm going to swallow the shame that wells inside me for calling this Chinese and give you the recipe. You're on your own when people ask you what it is.

From Time-Life Foods of the World, via Mom (again - thanks Mom!)

8 chicken thighs or 2 breasts (Mom always used thighs, they honestly taste better, but Ryan only eats breasts, so we adapt)
2T soy sauce
1T rice wine
2 scallions, sliced 2" long segments and julienned
4 slices ginger, crushed and minced
if making stovetop
flour for dredging
peanut (or other) oil

gluten-free note: Make on the grill, without dredging in flour and find a gf soy sauce.

If you are using breasts, cut them into 2" chunks; thighs you can cut in two, after removing all the gunky bits. That is why I don't use thighs, but the original recipe called for them. They are easier because you don't have to be so careful of the timing; using the breasts there is a danger of overcooking. Beware.

Mix together the soy, rice wine, scallions and ginger. Set the chicken in to marinate.Marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 3 hours(Mom has more free time than I do, I marinate for an hour. This also may explain why hers are better than mine) . The original recipe called for the chicken to be floured and fried in peanut oil. Mom made it that way for years and it is delicious. You take the pieces of chicken, and coat them with flour, then shake off the excess flour. Prepare a skillet with some oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan), and heat to medium-high. When it's nice a warm, add the flour dredged chicken. The pieces are pretty small, so it does cook up pretty quickly. Watch carefully and flip halfway through. I won't try to give you times, since breast and thigh meat take different amounts.

Then one day Mom decided that was too much oil and too much flour and tried the recipe without the flour and just put the chicken right on the grill. De-licious. It worked like a dream and now that is the way she makes it all the time. I have no grill and have never grilled, so you know, use whatever grill expertise you have to cook the stuff. The best thing about this is that it can be eaten hot or cold or in between. It is an easy do-ahead recipe to take along to a pot luck dinner. Also it goes wonderfully with sesame noodles. Yum.


JMLC said...

I'll make it this week and work on a new name...

mom said...

I looked it up; the Chinese name according to the cookbook is Cha-pa-kwai or Eight-pieces chicken. It was originally meant to be served with roasted salt and pepper, but that much more salt never seemed like a good idea. I think I might only have made it that way the very first time.

mom said...

Supposedly it comes from the fact that the cook cuts a whole chicken into eight pieces- disjointing the legs and wings, then chopping breast and back each in half for a total of 8! Using that reasoning, my version would be 28 pieces chicken.

JMLC said...

Could I marinate this longer than 3 hours? Like, overnight?

mom said...

Yes, you can marinate overnight. It is only with a citrus-based marinade that long marination might affect the texture and proteins.

Anonymous said...

Sounds kind of like yakitori... maybe a de-skewered yakitori? Though that isn't much better than the original name.


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