Hot and Sour Hunan Chicken Pt 2
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Yield: 4 Servings Ready in 1 hours
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Hot and Sour Hunan Chicken Pt 2 Preparation
thermometer. ( two hundred seventy-five degeees F.) Reduce heat or turn it off entirely so that the temperature does not rise. If the oil is too hot the chicken will turn yellow & tough. Stir the chicken to loosen the cubes, then slide them slowly & carefully into the oil. Stir slowly & poke at the chicken w. chopsticks or a wooden spoon to help separate the cubes (do not despair if some of the cubes insist on sticking together) until they are 90 percent done, about 20 seconds. If you are in any doubt drain the chicken sooner rather than later, lest they overcook in the oil. Properly velveted the chicken will be 90-95 percent white, cooked on the outside but still raw on the inside. Hold the chicken briefly above the oil to drain, then nest the spoon or sieve in the waiting bowl to allow any excess oil to drip off. Once velveted, the chicken s/b stir-fried at once. If you need the frying pot for stir-frying, carefully decant the oil into a heatproof bowl or pot. Once cool, it may be strained, bottled, and stored for future velveting or frying. If you do not need the frying pot, let the oil sit until cool before handling it. Velveting in water: Station a metal colander in the sink & have the chicken & a large flat plate within reach of your stovetop. Bring the greased water to a simmer in a large saucepan, then reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer whereby the water ripples & rolls more than bubbles (too fast a simmer & the chicken loses its coating & toughens). Stir the chicken to loosen the cubes then slide them into the water. Stir very gently to separate the cubes in the water, then allow them to cook until they are 90 percent white, about 20 seconds. At that point drain them immediately into the waiting colander. If you are in any doubt drain the chicken sooner rather than later. Properly velveted it will be 90-95 percent white on the outside & still raw on the inside. Shake to remove excess water, then spread the chicken in a single layer on the waiting plate. Once velveted, the chicken s/b stir- fried immediately. Stir-frying the dish: Have the velveted chicken, the vegetables, the minced aromatics and liquid seasonings, the oil for stir-frying, and the cornstrach mixture at hand. Heat a wok or deep, heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add the 4 T. oil, swirl to coat the pan, then wait until the oil is hot enough to sizzle one bit of minced garlic. Reduce heat to medium-high, then add the aromatics to the pan, nudging the chili flakes in last. Adjust the heat so they foam without browning. Stir until fully fragrant, about 15 seconds; then add the carrots. Stir briskly to separate the coins & coat them evenly w. the oil & seasonings, then continue to stir-fry until they are slightly wilted or curly-looking around the edges, about 1 minute & 15 seconds in all (see note in notes section re. carrot crunchiness). Add the zucchini and stir-fry briskly for 1 minute, separating the slices & mixing them with the carrots. Fold in the chicken with several quick stirs, then pour the combined liquids evenly over the top. Raise the heat to bring the liquids to a boil, stir 4-5 seconds to combine, then level the ingredients in the pan. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer & cover the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove the cover & test a zucchini slice for desired crispness, and cook several seconds more if needed. Lower the heat to medium. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine it, then pour it evenly over the ingredients. Stir in wide sweeping motions for about 5 seconds, until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy. Remove mixture to a heated serving platter or shallow bowl. Arrange several of the carrot & zucchini coinds on top to highlight the dish, then serve at once. Serves 3-4 as a main course, 5-8 as part of a multicourse meal. Menu suggestions: a colorful one-dish meal when served with pan-fried scallion breads and everyday chinese rice. To drink, a California Zinfandel. Leftovers are wonderful at room temp, or they may be steamed (though the veggies will lose crunch). Like any dish with chili flakes, expect this one to be hotter on the second day. NOTES : MC formatted by Holly Butman (whew!) ;-) Some of B. Tropps introductory notes to the recipe: If Tung-An Chicken represents Hunans urban refinement, than this is its sassy country cousin...this is a simple dish to make. The chicken can be marinated a day or more in advance, and the whole dish is assembled & served within 15 minutes. Characteristically this kind of country dish calls for a whole, bone-in chicken, cut into small chunks. However, substituting boneless breasts gives it a nice touch of class & feeds the stockpot besides.....I love the carrots extra-crunchy....if you like carrots a bit softer, stir-fry tham an additional 15-20 seconds before adding the zucchini. Recipe by: Barbara Tropp, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #773 by Holly Butman
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