Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hot and Tangy Chicken

Hot and Tangy Chicken 

This particular post holds a special place in my heart. It all started when I found a bottle of soy-sauce when I came to Bombay. I was surprised since the only dishes my husband cooks are upma, savoury vermicelli, rice and pulse. It turns out, while I was away in Calcutta he has tried his hands on Chinese food which is why I had decided to make a Chinese spread for him. I would more or less call it a spread with South East Asian or Chinese touch. Now for my husband who follows a green diet it was all about tofu which I enjoyed as well but then I got some chicken breast for myself. The first day I cooked this healthy dish , 'Chicken soy chili with rice and greens , but I still had the other half of the breast and I was suddenly craving Chinese food.

Chinese food and I go way back. In the early 90s when my parents gave me my first noodle from a little joint of Calcutta's old Chinatown in Central Calcutta I slurped it happily. I was apparently 1 year old . What many people might not know is that Calcutta has had its fair share of gorgeous Chinese food ever since some lovely people from China made Calcutta their home somewhere in the  17th Century. In fact Calcutta has two China-town, one in Central Calcutta and one in the Eastern part of the city. Sadly the age old Chinese eateries which serve amazing Chinese food is disappearing one by one and today there are are a handful of them left in the city.

My other connection was when my mother who usually stays away from the kitchen started making Chinese dishes for me when I was around 10 years old or so. What was amazing was that the lady who never otherwise enters the kitchen made gorgeous Chinese food , the only type of food which she ever made along with a few Bengali fish dishes and boy was it gorgeous. It was light , non oily and perfect for me for it was exactly like the ones our favourite Chinese restaurant the now defunct Hou Hua would serve . How and where she learnt those dishes shall always remain a mystery to me but those few dishes which she made till I was a rebellious teenager of 15 years or 16 years will always hold that special place in my heart.

Anyway I have made very few Chinese dishes. I did watch and learn from my mother but later on I was drawn into a vast culinary world where there were so many dishes to try out that these age old dishes remained forgotten. I do always make this quick fix rice with a South East Asian or Chinese touch but other than that the last time I made a proper Chinese dish was when I was 17 years old.

Anyway back to my Hot and tangy chicken  . I wanted to follow a particular recipe but since it had Hoisin sauce which I did not have I made a quick batch of tomato ketchup and made my own version of hot and tangy chicken. For the recipe I would request you to not use store bought tomato ketchup since its usually a lot more sweet and lacks the punch which goes in the homemade one.

So here is the recipe :-

Serves 2

150gm chicken breast cubed into small cubes

For the tomato sauce :-

2 large tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Half a large onion
Salt as per taste
2 bird eye chili
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp olive oil

For the marinate :-

2 tsp dark soy sauce
Salt as per taste

For the sauce :-

3 cloves of garlic
3 to 4 dried red chili (you can lower the number if you can't tolerate too much heat)
Salt as per taste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp vinegar

Other ingredients for the sauce :-

1 scallion
1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 tbsp corn flour
Salt as per taste
2 dried red chili

2 tbsp sesame oil
1tsp sesame seeds

Start with the tomato sauce. Quickly bring enough water to boil in which you can immerse the 2 large tomatoes. Blanch the tomatoes but reserve the water for later use , peel them and roughly chop the garlic and onion. Then heat 1 tsp olive oil and saute the roughly chopped garlic and onion along with the chilies and add the tomatoes and smash it with a smasher and cook till the water evaporates and now blend this smooth and bring it to a boil with half a cup of reserved water, salt and sugar . (The water in which you have blanched your tomatoes) Simmer this till you get a thick consistency and then blend everything into a smooth ketchup. You will have extra ketchup which I am sure you shall find some use of in the kitchen.

Now for the sauce of the chicken. Soak the garlic , dried red chilies, soy sauce , tomato ketchup, salt and sesame seeds in the vinegar for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile marinate the cubed chicken with the soy sauce and salt. After 15 minutes blend the sauce to a smooth consistency.

Finely mince the green part of the scallion.

Now take a bowl and add cornflour in it and dredge the marinated chicken with cornflour and heat the sesame oil and fry them on both sides on high heat for 40 seconds and low heat , covered for 1 minute on both sides, take care that they stay golden brown. Leave the chicken aside. You shall have some leftover oil in the pan. In the same pan add the minced ginger and sliced bulb of the scallion , dried red chili and when sauteed add the sauce that you have made made and bring to a boil and add the chicken and half the finely chopped scallion and simmer . Now take the bowl in which you had added the cornflour and add 1/2 cup water and make a smooth paste and add to the simmering sauce and let it thicken and cover and let it be for 5 minutes and sprinkle 1 tsp sesame seeds and finely chopped green part of the scallion then serve with hot rice.

1 comment:

  1. I swear by Indian Chinese and therefore, China Town happens to be one of my favourite places. I saw the picture of this chicken yesterday and it gave me such a craving that I made myself some chilli chicken today morning only since I didn't have the ingredients and time for this recipe.