If you're a big fan of tangy chicken, give this vinegar-glazed chicken a try. I first made this Hunan dish about a year ago from Grace Young's Stir-frying to the Sky's Edge and found it positively addictive. I still come back to it again and again for its wonderful combination of smoky, tart, and spicy flavors.
There's a big bottle of Chinese black vinegar on my counter that I've had for well over a year, surviving at least two apartment moves. I use it every week, from making dumpling dipping sauces to stir-frying dishes like kung pao chicken, but in a year (through intensive recipe testing, no less) it's only about two-thirds done. Bottles of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and other pantry staples have been replaced, but somehow this bottle of black vinegar seems bottomless.
I realized the other day that I haven't talk too much on this blog about Chinese black vinegar and its uses. If you've never had the chance to try it, and live near a big Chinese supermarket, I highly recommend you go to the vinegar aisle and buy yourself a bottle. The one to look for is called Chinkiang Black Vinegar from the Gold Plum brand label, and it looks like this is what it looks like: Read More
My cookbook is officially released next week! And it makes me wonder: where did the time go?
It seems like just yesterday I handed in my final manuscript, and now all of a sudden December 11th is just around the corner. There are still interviews to schedule, books to ship off, and a book launch party to plan. It's equal amounts exciting and nerve-racking. Sometimes I just want to take a deep breath and pour myself a large glass of wine. Other times I just want to escape to the kitchen and de-stress by cooking.
So it's ironic that the dish I chose to cook today is also a Chinese-American comfort food classic, like the dishes in The Chinese Takeout Cookbook (which does have a recipe for sweet and sour pork). I hadn't made crispy chicken in months, but just felt like doing it again today on a whim.
The process for making the chicken is very similar to the process for General Tso's Chicken, which is still the most popular recipe on this site. You coat the chicken with salt, cornstarch, and egg whites, then carefully fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes, with an optional 2nd frying to get the meat extra-crispy. The tangy and sweet sauce with pineapple chunks takes only 2 minutes to cook down before it coats the chicken. It's like the best sweet and sour sauce you can get at a restaurant, except now you know the exact ingredients that go into it (no gluey preservatives here!) Read More
This beer-braised chicken with Sriracha is my Asian take on a French classic, coq à la bière. In Alsace, chicken and onions gets braised in a nutty brown ale until meltingly tender; I decided to apply the same cooking methods for this dish. Adding Sriracha hot sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil enhances the mild sweetness and nuttiness of the braising liquid. This is perfect hearty dish for cold winter nights!
One of the first dinners I made in my first Park Slope apartment two years ago was this beer-braised chicken. It was November, and unseasonably frigid weather and cold gusts of wind outside made I crave something meaty, hearty, and comforting. Spiciness was a bonus.
Inspired both by coq à la bière and a Martin Yan recipe for beer-braised duck, I wanted to make a braised chicken with brown ale and Sriracha. I needed a robust sort of beer to withstand the Sriracha that will go in my sauce, so I stopped in Biercraft on 5th Ave., a little wonderland of craft beers. The guy behind the counter recommended Avery Brewing Co.'s Ellie's Brown Ale, which has a lot of nuttiness, sweetness, and chocolate malt character. And, he added, it won't become bitter when boiled down like some other brown ales. Turns out, it's also great for sipping while you prepare the chicken. Read More
I first made this Vietnamese Clay Pot chicken during my first winter in Beijing in 2008. The temperatures were consistently brutally low (think Northern Vermont in January) and the heating in my rental apartment was way less than adequate. I wanted a hearty meaty dish that would also warm up the apartment while it cooked on the stove.
This Vietnamese Clay Pot Chicken, or Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken, was the perfect thing to make. Despite the name, you don't actually need a traditional clay pot; it cooks very well in a Dutch oven or straight-sided skillet as well. This week I revisited and revised the recipe, making it more streamlined ; hopefully you'll like it even better than before!
Cold weather makes me long for piping hot dishes, like clay pot braises. Last night I decided to make clay pot caramelized chicken, and adapted a Vietnamese-style braise from Chef Charles Phan of San Francisco's The Slanted Door. One of the major changes I made was the amount of fish sauce. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons, which I would not recommend to anyone hoping to keep a decent-smelling kitchen. (See Vietnamese Caramelized Pork.) I reduced the amount to 1 tablespoon, which is plenty for enhancing the flavors of the dish. Read More
What a crazy two weeks. Here in the Northeast, many areas are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. and now we've been hit with a Nor'easter. Right now it's snowing and raining at the same time, which makes me want to just stay inside and make something extra-comforting, like chicken noodle soup.
I first experimented with making Sichuan-style chicken noodle soup 3 years ago. And it's no less of a favorite comfort food dish now.
Rather than the American version flavored with bay leaf and thyme, I decided to make a Sichuan-style broth with star anise, cinnamon, tangerine peel, and Sichuan pepper. (There will be a mild tingle from the peppercorn, to jazz things up.) The best part: you can shred leftover roast chicken, itself a cost-saver, and add it to the soup at the last minute. The simmering anise and cinnamon will make your kitchen smell wondering. And slurping the steamy chicken noodle soup will get you through these chilly wintry days.
I first made these honey soy chicken wings a few years ago when I was working long hours in San Francisco. I wanted a nice comforting dish that didn't involve standing in front of the stove for too long. And preferably something that could be reheated easily the next day. The result was these chicken wings, which take only 10 minutes of marinating time and 30 minutes in the oven. They are as delicious as they are easy, packed with flavor from the honey, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Try them out and let me know what you think!
I want to share a recipe that has always been dependable, through good days and bad. Whenever I get home late from work, and don't feel like doing much on the stove, I would marinate wings in a honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil mixture, then stick them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Really, it can't be easier, and the flavor combination is tried-and-true. Sometimes I would add cayenne for a spicy kick. Read More
My neighborhood in Brooklyn is home to tons of good restaurants, but one of the things it lacks is a good Indian restaurant. There are many nights when I come home craving a hearty plate of lamb rojan josh or saag paneer, but quickly realize that I'd have to trek back out to Manhattan in order to find good versions of those dishes. So occasionally, it just seemed easier to stock up on spices and make my own versions of Indian favorites at home.
For nights when I have a little more time, I'd make a big batch of chicken tikka masala, which has juicy pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt and broiled until golden brown on top. When I have a little less time, I make this quick and easy version of chicken korma. Read More
It's hard to get enough of chicken wings, especially in the summer, and especially when there's some major sporting event on. For as long as I can remember I've followed the Olympics religiously. Swimming, track, gymnastics, tennis, diving, you name it. I'll follow prelims as well as finals and ooh and aah over all the heartwarming background stories of athletes I had never heard of two weeks prior.
(And being in Beijing for the 2008 games, in the center of all the action, was such a fun experience!)
This time around I'm watching everything from my couch in Brooklyn. And for watching any kind of sports action from your couch, spicy chicken wings is practically a must-have. It's an easy and filling appetizer or, depending on portion size, full on-dinner. And they're downright delicious. Read More