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!
I really don't mean to burst any bubbles but... you do realize what you think is Chinese food is probably the farthest thing from the fact. You won't find fried rice or chow mein in China. Go to China and order sweet-and-sour whatever and there is a very good chance you will be laughed out of the country. When it comes to Chinese food the real deal is fresh and natural. There are three main cuisines in China: Mandarin, Cantonese and Szechuan. Each of these cuisines have their special mark and since with this dish we are cooking Szechuan we are going to be dealing with a little heat!
One of the reasons why Asian cooking in general, and Chinese in particular, is considered one of the healthiest diets is due to the simple fact they use meat as a flavor enhancer and not as the focal point of their dish. You will notice with this recipe (for two people) you will only use two chicken thighs, not really much meat, but there is an entire head of broccoli and bok choy. The "heat" for this dish is supplied from the wonderful chili/garlic sauce and you can find this sauce in the Asian section of any supermarket and it is rather inexpensive. If you have a finicky stomach or just don't like spicy hot food, feel free to leave the chili/garlic sauce out.
So, as they say in China : 吃得好和長壽 (eat well and live long).
Ingredients needed to make Szechuan Chicken and Broccoli (serves 2):
- 2 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and cut into strips
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 Tbs. oyster sauce
- 1 Tbs. chili/garlic sauce
- 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 bok choy, stemmed with the leaves cut julienne style (long strips - see picture in slideshow)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
- Pat dry the chicken thigh strips of any excess moisture.
- Into a wok or medium saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Add the chicken and shallot and stir-fry 5 minutes.
- Into the wok add the oyster sauce, chili/garlic sauce and sesame oil and stir-fry 1 minute.
- Add the broccoli florets, bok choy and water and cook 5 minutes.
- Spoon onto a plate and serve!
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