This recipe is based upon a dish my grandmother would serve on special occasions. I recall that she would steam the chicken, and also use thighs. I found that poaching the chicken breasts takes less attention in the kitchen and the light chicken broth that results can be used for other dishes.
- Remove skin, fat, and any bones from the chicken breasts. With a sharp knife, score the chicken with shallow slices every inch. Turn the breast over and score again at an angle to the scorings on the other side. (We are trying to make the chicken breast thinner overall, so that the heat of the boiling water will be able to completely poach it.) Place the scored chicken breasts in a mixing bowl.
- Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the chicken and place a lid on the bowl. Let sit until the chicken is cooked, or water is lukewarm, about 45-60 minutes.
- Mince green onions, cilantro, and ginger root. Mix together.
- In a mortar, grind together 4-6 Szechwan peppercorns and a few pinches of sea salt with a pestle.
- Take the chicken (check that it is done), and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with the ground Szechwan peppercorns and sea salt, and red chili flakes as desired. Cover with the minced green onions, cilantro, and ginger.
- Place the tablespoon of oil over heat, to the point at which a piece of green onion will foam when dropped in it. Remove from heat; add sesame oil. Drizzle this hot oil over the chicken and serve.
This recipe can be served warm or cool.
- I recommend using free-range chicken for this dish. The taste is superior.
- Freezing ginger root makes it easier to grate evenly.
- Reserve a couple rounds of green onion. Check the oil temperature by slipping one into the oil, and watching it foam as it fries.
This dish serves 2-3 as a main course with rice and a stir-fried vegetable. It can be easily doubled or tripled, adjust the hot water accordingly. I generally make this recipe with other Chinese dishes (Chinese cuisine generally adds dishes to serve more people, as opposed to making larger amounts). The green onion and cilantro in make this a great foil to the red cooked tofu.
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