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Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 (dà pán jī)
This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead.
Chicken chopped on the bone or Boneless skinless chicken thighs 6
Light soy sauce
Dark soy sauce
Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.
Vegetable oil (not olive oil)
Star anise, 4
Cinnamon, 1 stick
Bay leaves, 5 or 6
Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices
Garlic. 5 cloves, roughly chopped
Sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon
Whole dried red chillies, 6 -10 (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.
Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
Carrot. 1, thinly sliced
Dried wheat noodles. 8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.
Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks
Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks
Scallion, 2 sliced.
First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1½ teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Fry on a low heat for a minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done.
While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions. Reserve some of the noodle cooking water and drain.
When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and, if in the USA, Shaoxing wine.
Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
Has anyone successfully made candied chestnuts (marrons glace) at home which even remotely resemble the professional ones you get from Europe?
I've tried making them using RTE Chinese chestnuts from Costco with varying success:
One batch became leathery after being simmered in (what started out as) simple syrup which had its sucrose concentration gradually increased.
I have also tried soaking the chestnuts in hot water prior to beginning the candying process. The nuts, once again, developed a tough skin after a few days. To reverse the tough skins I added more water to the syrup, broke the nuts up into pieces and simmered them gently for a few hours.
While some pieces have a tough skin, many of them have taken on a candied texture.
Should any further attempts to candy chestnuts be attempted using the method of slowly simmering them in simple syrup?
Please share any feedback ypu may have. Thanks!
Stuffed Zucchini flowers (Fiori di zucca farcito?)
This is a quintessential summertime dish. You have to be able to acquire fresh zuke flowers, preferably from a grizzled Italian man from Calabria.
1/2 c ricotta 1 egg ground pepper grated parmesan and pecarino romano Mix the ricotta with the egg well; then grind in some fresh pepper and then the grated cheese. The texture should not be too runny. Meanwhile, extract the stamins from the flowers --- this is probably not necessary but I do it -- the petal may break -- don't worry. Then, using a small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon), spoon the cheese and egg mixture into the flowers.
You should also have a very fresh tomato sauce ready. Add a chiffonade of basil to it. Then, heat up a frying pan, add olive oil then fry the flowers. If you are ambitious, you could coat them in flour; most of the time I don't bother. Fry them until they turn lightly brown and then turn them. This takes no longer than 5 minutes. Serve with the aforementioned fresh tomato sauce.
Keywords: Appetizer, Dinner, Easy, Cheese
( RG1124 )
400g wide pasta/noodles, best to use one made with eggs 4 baking apples (600g-700g) (I use Gala, as I find Granny Smith to be a bit too tart here). Peeled and cut into strips 80g-100g raisins, or chopped dried apricots 70g (1/3 cup) sweet wine (or whatever not-tart wine you have on hand) 1-2 tablespoons butter 70g-80g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped 90g dark brown sugar 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon 2/3 teaspoon salt 5 eggs
In a large bowl, soak raisins in wine. Add butter (unmelted), walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cook the noodles until al-dente. Drain well and mix the hot noodles in the bowl until coated with the butter and sugar. Let chill a little (so that the eggs won't cook), then add the eggs and apples. Mix well. Pour into a spring-form pan, or a casserole pan. Gently flatten making sure to push down any nuts you see, to prevent them from charring. Bake in a 190C hot oven, for 30 minutes or so. Remove from the oven, brush the top with butter (1-2 teaspoons). Optionally sprinkle some sugar on top for added crunch. Bake for 25-30 additional minutes, until the top is well browned and crisp. Serve immediately, or bake to re-crisp just before serving. Reheats well in an oven (or in a MW, but you'll lose the crispness).
I make it every year for nearly 10 years.
This is a recipe Iv'e been making for years, at least once per summer.
It's quick to make, and I often divide into two pans, and refrigerate them, to be baked as a quick weekday dinner.
500g fusilli pasta 250g dry mozzarella cheese - diced (apx 1cm sized cubes) 40-100g cream (full fat, or a larger amount of half and half) - I usually go with 40g, but we tend to prefer things not overly rich 4 large tomatoes (or 6 medium ones), preferably drier varieties, such as Roma tomatoes - cut into stripes 8-9 minced garlic cloves - minced apx 35g basil - chopped + more for serving optional: 1-2 tsp nutritional yeast plenty of pepper salt to taste, 1-2 tsp (I'm a salt lover and often use 2, but it also depends on the saltiness of the cooking water)
Cook the pasta a little shy of al dente. Drain well, let cool a bit. Place in a large bowl, mix in remaining ingredients. Can be refrigerated at this point. Place the entire amount or half of it in a shallow casserole dish that will contain the pasta so that it is not too tall - you want plenty of surface area. Bake under a low broiler (~220-230 deg C) for apx. 40-50 minutes until the top browns very deeply and the pasta is very crisp. Scatter some more basil. Serve immediately.
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