Braised Chicken with Cashews

If I had to choose between chicken breast or thigh, I choose thigh meat. What can I say, I’m dark meat man!

Instead of using corn starch to thicken the sauce, I add diced potatoes for garnish as well as to thicken it. When you cook a potato in a liquid, their natural starch helps to thicken it, and sometimes using corn starch makes your mouth feel gummy.

Peanuts are a popular snack in Sichuan, whether boiled with spices, encrusted with flavorings, or simply deep-fried. And it is also used in the very popular dish, Kung Pao Chicken. I didn’t have peanuts, so I substitute it with cashews.

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Pickled Chiles

My dad introduce me to this new product that I haven’t worked with before. I have not seen it in my house until this year, so I guess you can still learn from the old-folk sometimes.

The  pickled chiles is great way to make a dish taste fresh and spicy without using the usual hot bean paste to do so. Plus, the red colors of the chiles gives a dish a bright visual appearance that many people don’t associate Chinese food with.

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Spice Bags

This is really cool to have in your pantry. Inside this bag are small bags containing spices of cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cumin, and cloves. It’s tea bags for food!  This is what I added to my hot garlic sauce, instead of the spices I mentioned.

These bags are great for making infused oils, marinating meats, and poultry.

You can find this in any local chinese store. I just happen to live next to one.

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

Chili Garlic Sauce

This is a great condiment to have in your arsenal of culinary skills. Bascially, it is a bright red, hot sauce made from chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

The sauce can be used in dishes that you want to have some spice to it. Also, its great for dumplings as a dipping sauce with soy suace, sugar, and vingear to mix.

Sometimes, I combine it with mayo for a sandwich.

Happy Eats!

Chinese Pantry, Ingredients

“La Gan Ma” aka Spicy GodMother

La Gan Ma is a type of brand of chili oil, which my family and I always have on hand. Inside the chili oil is fermented black beans and chili. You can either just use the oil, or use the ingredients inside as well. It’s great for sauces, dressings, and soups, especially wonton soup when you need a kick.

We usually make our own secert family chili oil. I can’t tell you what it is because my brother will kill me if I do.

Here is a basic recipe that you can make your own

  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 tbsp dried red chilies
  • 1 tbsp whole unroasted Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans

Heat the wok with the oil. When it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to low. Add the chilies, peppercorns and black beans and cook gently for about 15 minutes. It’s okay if the chilies turn a little black, you want that. It’s flavor baby!

Allow the mixture to cool and then pour it into a jar. Leave it to stand for tow days then strain the oil. It will keep indefinitely.

Ingredients, Recipes, Techniques

“Chinese Pot Roast”

I first made this dish when living in Georgia. Being away from home, motivated me to cook Chinese food with no parents and Flushing, Queens to run to.

I discovered this recipe from the late Barbara Tropp’s The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking,” which is a must have for a culinary library.

For me, this recipe is simple and delicious. Each ingredient that is added to the pot, has their own distinctive flavor, but the result is a wonderful harmonious broth.