Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I think this might be my favorite recipe.
For Christmas a few years ago I gave my mom a little recipe box with some recipes I like and I think this turned out to be their favorite too, they eat it all the time. But my mom puts whatever meat and whatever vegetables she has around in it, so I’m not sure if it’s ever the same recipe twice, or if actually bears any resemblance to the original.
This recipe comes from a cute little cookbook called The Goodness of Garlic, which was part of a series — I also have The Goodness of Olive Oil; The Goodness of Beans, Peas, and Lentils; and The Goodness of Root Vegetables. I think my dad gave them to me for Christmas. They have short, simple recipes with nice little watercolor illustrations and are sweet little cookbooks. They’ve survived numerous cookbook cullings to remain on my main cookbook shelf.
Chicken with Garlic and Hoisin Sauce
4 chicken breasts, skinned and cubed
2 tsp sesame oil
3 fl oz/6 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp Shaohsing wine or dry sherry
salt and pepper
2 green chillies, washed
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 spring onions (scallions), washed
1 large carrot, peeled
1 stick of celery, washed
2fl oz/4 Tbsp hoisin sauce
3 oz cashew nuts
Combine the chicken in a bowl with the sesame oil and 2 Tbsp of the peanut oil, and half of the Shaohsing wine or sherry. Season, mix, and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the green chillies. Chop the garlic and slice the spring onions thickly, separating the green and white parts. Slice the carrots and celery thickly at an oblique angle.
Heat the remaining peanut oil in a wok or large, steep-sided pot, put in the green chillies, garlic , and white spring onions and stir. Then add the carrots and celery and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Then tip in the chicken. Stir it around for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the Shaohsing wine. Stir. Add the hoisin sauce and cashews and heat thoroughly. Sprinkle with the green spring onion and serve with plain boiled rice.
Now here are my comments…
This is sort of a big one. This recipe says to put the chicken in without cooking it separately. I think you can do this but it will take the chicken a lot longer than 2 minutes to cook and it’s hard to tell when it’s done. So instead, I usually do it like a regular stir-fry, where you cook the meat first, then add the cooked meat to the cooking vegetables. I actually think that’s what they meant.
I used to mix the hoisin in like the recipe says but hoisin is basically sugar and salt and I’m cutting back on sodium, so lately I’ve been adding it separately at the table afterwards so I can keep track of how much I use per serving. Either way will work.
I bought a bottle of Shaohsing wine at the Asian Grocery and had it for many years before recently deciding it was time to get a new one. It keeps pretty much indefinitely.
If I have peanut oil, I’ll use it, otherwise I use Canola oil or whatever I have around.
For the sesame oil, I use toasted sesame oil. Not sure if that’s what they meant or not.
Other than that, I stick to the basics. I often omit the scallions, and sometimes I forget the cashews but it’s always a sad day when I get home from the store without the cashews. I usually use a serrano chili for the pepper, I think any pepper would work fine. Generally I make it with two chicken breasts, saved from a whole chicken that I’ve cut up and I double the vegetables (two carrots and two sticks of celery). So I think my proportions of vegetables to meat are quite different from the original recipe.
I think this would also be good with shrimp or tofu.
I usually get three pretty good meals out of this recipe, plus one small meal. This is one that I like so much I tend to ration it, eat a lot the first night then split the leftovers up into smaller and smaller portions for subsequent meals to stretch it out.