When growing up in San Francisco there was not a more festive holiday than Chinese New Year. The sidewalks of Market Street would be lined with thousands of people on a usual cold, damp and foggy evening in February to watch the colorful and loud parade. And then there was the star of the parade. The flowing dragon who was both lead and followed by dancers tossing firecrackers to ward off any evil spells. Now, as an adult and away from San Francisco, I still like to celebrate Chinese New Year with the difference being, I do it with food!
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where there is a large Chinese population, you have probably enjoyed one of the fine cuisines of Chinese cooking called "Hunan." Hunan cooking is the spiciest (as in hot) of the famed Chinese cuisines and as all true Chinese food, it is fresh and quite natural.
In America, this dish is usually made with sliced or shredded chicken breast. This would not be the case in the Xiang region of China, where Hunan cooking originates. It is made with the meat from the thighs. By using thigh meat, you are getting a tastier part of the chicken and the texture is much more adaptable with the sauce.
This is a very easy dish to prepare and a perfect way to eat in the Chinese New Year!
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
- Into a medium bowl whisk all the ingredients except the chicken.
- Place the chicken inot the bowl, toss to coat and let marinate 30 minutes.
- Heat a wok or saute pan over medium high heat.
- Place the chicken into the wok and stir-fry 7 minutes.
- Add the reserved marinade and stir-fry 3 minutes.
- Serve over rice or noodles. (You might want to remove the ginger and garlic before serving).
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