Following the Red-Cooked Idea…

I made red-cooked chicken for dinner? See?

I enjoyed it. Very much. Did you have a good day today? I hope you did, but if you didn’t, there’s always red-cooked chicken, and potatoes. It’s the Asian style meat and potatoes. Who said Asians were all vegetarians? We might have been in the process of evolution, but we enjoy meat as much as anyone.

Oh right. I forgot to tell you about potatoes last time I wrote about red-cooked spareribs. This is how you create tender, flavourful, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. First, make your red-cooked meat of choice, be it chicken, pork, beef, fish, tofu…yeah, tofu is treated as meat over here. Now, after you take your meat out of the wok, add largely diced potatoes to the sticky sweet glaze remaining in the wok, along with some water. Cover it. Let the porous surface of the little cubes suck up every single little bit of flavour in that wok. Turn it every once in a while, add more water if it seems dry. Until it tastes like what I described above. Almost better than the chicken itself. Trust me. Of course, it’s completely optional, you could just dump the glaze on top of the meat, if you wished…but WHY would you do that? When you can have hot little morsels of heaven?

The method of making the chicken is similar to that of the spareribs, except we don’t simmer the meat ahead of time. Just start with the chicken patted dry. Here is how to do it. The red-cooking part that is, not the patting dry part, because I’m sure you don’t need me for that. 😀

Red-Cooked Chicken

1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into pieces

(note: I used a whole chicken, although the hacking chicken part is definitely not enjoyable. I like having the different parts of the chicken to serve, both dark meat and white meat. It made for a good variation. I love chicken necks, did I tell you that? You might go eww….but it’s surprisingly tasty even though it doesn’t have much meat. It’s okay to look at your computer screen funnily, I’m just quirky like that. But that aside, if you don’t want to go to the hassle of dissecting the bird, you’re very welcome to use thigns or legs, or both. I advise against just breast meat however, at least use a combination of white and dark meat, as white meat simply doesn’t have much flavour.)

3 Tbsp. oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
5 slices of ginger, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
15 Sichuan peppercorns, approximately
4 star anises, broken into parts
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine
Sesame oil to drizzle over the dish (optional)

Heat up the oil on medium high in a wok. Add the sugar and let it caramelize into a light amber color. Add the chicken. Make sure that it is patted dry to minimize spattering. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, and anise. Toss to coat. Add the soy sauces and rice wine. Toss again, making sure the color is well distributed amongst the pieces. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to medium low. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so, or until the chicken is tender and deep red in color. If you need to add extra water, do so, but only if the wok seems dry. You shouldn’t need it because the chicken releases plenty of liquid on its own, which will reduce to a syrupy glaze.

At this point, you can scrape out the chicken onto a serving platter, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with green onions. Add the cubed potatoes to the remaining glaze in the wok, if you wish, and I don’t see why you wouldn’t wish that :), plus some water, cover and let cook. Stir occasionally until it’s meltingly tender, and all the glaze has been absorbed.

What are you waiting for? Dig in!!!

You can sort of see the potatoes in the corner there. Not really. So I guess you should try to make your own to see what I’m talking about. I also made Spicy Eggplant as an accompaniment. It was fiery and very satisfying. Recipe for another day. 😀

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Filed under Chicken, Chinese, Dinner

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