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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Spicy Hunan Chicken

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To truly experience the wondrous joy of Chinese New Year (this year being the Year of the Horse), one must surround themselves with color, joy, laughter and great food. You don't have to be Chinese to celebrate this festive time of the year and many cities across American will be holding parades to honor the Year of the Horse during the 15-day celebration. Personally, I can't think of a better way of celebrating than with some classic dishes from China (real Chinese food, not Americanized Chinese food).

I have enjoyed this classic Hunan dish in many versions and using various pieces of chicken meat, but I prefer the authentic way of using the thigh meat. Chinese chefs love the thigh meat since it is the tastiest part of the bird and usually one of the least expensive (albeit the price is going up as it gains popularity).

This is a very simple dish to prepare at home and when served with either steamed rice or homemade fried rice, makes for a great dinner to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse.

Ingredients to make Spicy Hunan Chicken (serves 2):

  • 1 Tbs. chili oil
  • 1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and cut into thin strips

Steps:

  1. Into a medium bowl whisk all the ingredients except the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken inot the bowl, toss to coat and let marinate 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok or saute pan over medium high heat.
  4. Place the chicken into the wok and stir-fry 7 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved marinade and stir-fry 3 minutes.
  6. Serve over rice or noodles. (You might want to remove the ginger and garlic before serving).

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