Cashew chicken. There are a handful of recipes you can find on almost any Chinese restaurant menu you can think of, yet most of them are very Americanized to say the least. But I spent a great deal of time in China, and yes, I’ve had cashew chicken there, and I can tell you that with a couple of changes in ingredients, you can have the “real” dish on your own menu, in a flash.
Here are the things you’ll want to have before you start the dish: Shao Xing cooking wine, dark (mushroom flavored) soy sauce, and Zhenjiang vinegar. If you have a local Chinese grocery available, these are things that are easy to find. If not, all of them can be found online. You might have to wait a few days, but trust me, it’s worth it. Generally, this would be one of several dishes at a Chinese banquet, but you can either serve with other things or simply serve it itself.
It will be darker, and have a few hints of flavor you might not otherwise expect, and yet it will be the same in most respects. The main thing is it will have nothing but actual Chinese ingredients in it, which is a good thing. How much different is it from Americanized cashew chicken? Well, a great deal of it has to do with how sophisticated your palate might be, but in general it’s richer and a lot more filling than the kind of thing you might find in any but the very best Chinese restaurants.
For a lot of reasons, I used a wok to make my version. You can use a large skillet, but like a lot of things in Chinese cooking, a decent wok does make a difference (though probably small) in the final recipe. If you’ve got one, use it. If not, don’t worry much about it.by
Huli huli chicken? It’s one of those special dishes that somehow manage to come straight from Hawaii, even though they don’t really require any special ingredients or exotic know-how. But done right, huli huli chicken is quite a treat. Apparently, if you know something about trademarks and the literal translation that huli huli means turn, turn, you’ve got the whole idea about the chicken dish underway.
The trademark notion came from Ernie Morgado, the early 50s chef who is thought to have made the first huli huli and a few years later, decided to trademark the name. That meant that every chef or would-be chef in the area had to call his chicken dish something else, even though it was in fact huli huli. As far as I know, that still holds true there. And the key to huli huli, it’s literally to turn the chicken often, to cook it evenly and to even out the browning all around.
The marinade for the chicken is basically pretty simple, and then there’s the little extras that make’s each cook’s recipe a delight, and a great way to tool around the islands, try one huli huli here and another somewhere else. You could almost spend several days trying them all out.
In any case, here’s my huli huli.by
Succotash is a pretty ordinary side dish, but this chicken and ham succotash makes it into a nice main dish and with just a little tweaking, turns it into something to rave about. And if you’re lucky enough to have some fresh or canned corn and baby Lima beans, the amazing flavors are truly something to dream about. And it actually works best in a slow cooker.
So what makes it different? Start with some great ham and nice chunked chicken breasts (you can do them sous vide if you like), add some fresh cream of chicken soup (I make my own, which I have to condense a bit, but you can certainly find store-bought or better yet, something made fresh from some other source), a little red pepper and a little scallion. Add a little (or maybe more) red pepper to spice it up a beat and you’ve got a good, fresh meal.
Oh, and to be sure, get some (or make some) biscuits. They’re essential.by
We like to call this our fantastic chicken chili, not because it’s easy or prepares so well, but simply if you’re watching the local sports team or just need a nice “fill you up” dinner, this is a great way to go.
If you’re a “chili” purist, you might want to look aside as we talk about this. Honestly, aside from the term chili and a nice dab of chili powder, it’s a pretty good stew, with lot’s of good stuff inside, but it’s not really a chili as such. But it comes together so very easily and makes a great kind of “warm you up” dinner, who cares? Right?
(FYI, the recipe was having some difficulty working with the recipe card, I went back temporarily to the old version. I’ll fix it up shortly).by
I love Chinese cooking. And while the Chinese will often cook three and four smaller meals, all to be served more or less at once, any one of them can also be made into a full single course, if that’s what your looking to make. This stir-fried chicken with Chinese cabbage is one of those dishes. I’ve made this as a one-time serving, but you can also cut the proportions down and serve it with one or two other dishes.
One of the things that I think makes this dish special is that I can use some of the Chinese ingredients that I’ve picked up at the local Chinese grocery store, like Shao Xing cooking wine and zhenjiang vinegar (and while it’s not in the recipe, I also often use a little Sechuan pepper as well). You can use dry sherry for the wine and wine vinegar for the zhenjiang, but if you can get them, the real things are by far much better. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it does change the character of the dish just enough to make it so much better.
And be sure to use Chinese cabbage (also known as Napa cabbage). It’s not something where you can use regular cabbage.by
Harissa Chicken and Chickpeas is a fairly simple recipe, and yet that incredible harissa sauce makes it something special despite the simple design. In fact, apart from the pan-roasting, which takes about 25 minutes, the whole thing can be done in well under an hour, from start to finish.
I’ve probably mentioned harissa one or more times here, but it’s something that every kitchen should make sure is on hand, any time something just needs a little spice to it. It’s a red pepper sauce, I guess, but it is made with plenty of heat — almost a lot like a good chili but with it’s own kind of flavor profile. And the good news is, you can start with a small amount and increase it until you hit the right level of flavor, with almost anything you’re cooking. It’s perfect, in fact with almost any kind of saucy kind of vegetable preparation, especially.
I believe this recipe came from a Bon Appetite, originally, but it’s been modified a bit, especially with the garlic and onions.by
We do a lot of chicken around Discovery Cooking, in part because there are just a lot of things you can do with it and typically, they also tend to be easy and quick, if you’re in a hurry. This pineapple-chile glazed chicken is one of those quick and easy recipes, but the end result is something that really comes off as more than what it takes to make it.
The start of this recipe came from something I saw in a Bon Appetite magazine, probably more than a year ago, and with a bit of tweaking, became something amazing. A little cooked pineapple, some amazing serrano chile, some smoked paprika, a little bit of care and you’re there. And apart from waiting around for the chicken to bake for nearly an hour, the actual preparation is about as easy as you can get.
I didn’t mess around much with the ingredients, so I can’t take much credit for this — other than I made it myself. But then, sometimes there really isn’t much you want to do with a really good recipe except maybe just enjoy it.by