Monday, December 17, 2007

Chicken with Szechuan Peppers

I'm always on the look out for new spices. So when I saw these Szechuan peppers in my regular Asian supermarket haunt, I quickly put them in my cart to use for my next cooking adventure.

Normally, when I cook, I don't measure. I open my pantry, see what I have, take it from there, and play it by ear (or by tongue, I suppose). This also means that I normally don't use measuring spoons. I often pour and sprinkle, going mostly by gut feel, and taste as I go along. But once in a while, I regret not using a measuring implement. Today was one of those days...

I snipped a corner of the Szechuan pepper bag and poured what I was planning to be about a teaspoonful of pepper. Instead, I must have put 2 tablespoons worth! I tried to get as much of it out of my already sizzling pan, but I could only do so much damage control. Luckily, the dish turned out okay. The peppers added an unintended "crunch" which I'd much rather not have with my chicken :-P

Chicken with Szechuan Peppers

400g ground chicken
1 asian eggplant, minced into 1/4 inch pieces
5-6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, minced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tsp. minced garlic
6 slices ginger
2 stalks green onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp. szechuan peppers
2 tbsp. chinese cooking wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
2+2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. chili garlic oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1. Marinate ground chicken in 2 tbsp. soy sauce and cooking wine. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, vinegar and chicken broth. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok/pan until very hot. Put szechuan peppers and saute until fragrant.
3. Add garlic, ginger and green onions.
4. Saute aromatics for a couple of minutes.
5. Add chicken, cooking until it is no longer pink.
6. Add eggplant and mushrooms, keeping the food moving in the pan. Cook until vegetables are soft.
7. Pour in sauce mixture and saute just until the chicken and veggies are coated with the sauce.

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