Sichuan Chicken in Red Oil

1 pound bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, or boneless, skinless thighs
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
4 dried chili peppers
2 slices ginger
4 green onions
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns

Sauce

3 to 4 tablespoons homemade chili oil with 2 tablespoons chili flake residue
2 tablespoons homemade flavored sweet soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
(Optional) Chopped cilantro for garnish

Place chicken in a small pot and add water to cover. Add the dried chili peppers, Shaoxing wine, ginger, green onion, bay leaf, salt, and Sichuan peppercorns. Cook over medium high heat until bringing to a boil. Turn to medium low heat. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. You can test it by inserting a knife into the thickest part and checking whether the juice runs clear. If it’s clear, the chicken is cooked.
Prepare an ice bath while boiling the chicken by adding ice into a big bowl and water to cover.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the chicken is cooked, transfer it into the ice bath using a pair of tongs. Set it aside for 10 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooled down. Transfer the chicken onto a cutting board. Remove the bones using a paring knife, then slice chicken into 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) pieces. Transfer chicken to a small bowl.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with cilantro.

Serve cold as an appetizer.

NOTES

The prep time does not include the time you need to cook the homemade chili oil and homemade flavored sweet soy sauce.

Chinese Sweet Soy Sauce

2 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) rock sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 big thumb ginger, coarsely chopped
6 green onions
3 bay leaves
1 star anise pod
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cloves
1 Cao Guo (or black cardamon)

Add soy sauce into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium high heat until boiling.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook until the sugar completely dissolves and the liquid starts to simmer again.

Turn to medium low heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about two-thirds of the original volume, and the soy sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Check on the pan every 15 minutes. It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than one hour, depending on the heat and the pan you use. Remove the pan from the stove.

Line a sieve over an airtight glass container or a jar and pour in the soy sauce. Discard all the solid ingredients.

Let the soy sauce cool completely. It is ready to use. Or you can store it covered in the fridge for a year.

Cabbage and Glass Noodle Stir Fry

1 batch glass noodles (yields 2 cups after soaking)

Option 1:
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 dried chili peppers

Option 2:
4 cloves garlic, minced
Stir Fry

2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 head small cabbage, sliced (yield 4 cups after cutting)
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
(Optional) 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (*footnote 1)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt or to taste

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the dry glass noodles. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until al-dente. Rinse with tap water to stop cooking and drain. Cut into 3-inch strands.

Heat a wok (or a large skillet) over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom.

Option 1:
Add the Sichuan peppercorns. Cook and stir until the color turns from red to dark brown, but not burned. Remove and discard the peppercorns by scooping them out with your spatula.

Snip the chili peppers into 3 to 4 pieces, add into the wok, and stir a few times until the color turns dark.

Option 2:
Add the garlic and stir a few times, until you can smell a strong fragrance.
Stir fry

Add the cabbage. Stir and cook for 1 minute, to coat evenly with oil.
Add the glass noodles. Stir for another 1 minute.

Add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chicken bouillon powder (or salt), and sugar. Immediately cook and stir, until the cabbage turns tender but retains some crunchiness.

Turn to medium-low heat and carefully taste the cabbage. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and stir again, if needed.

Transfer to a plate immediately and serve hot.

NOTES

Using dark soy sauce adds a beautiful brown color to the dish. You can use soy sauce to replace dark soy sauce as well.

Chicken Skin Crisps

Skin from one whole chicken or 4 thighs
Salt
Parchment paper
2 rimmed baking sheets

Preheat oven to 350 °F/177 °C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the chicken skin into pieces that are 3 to 4 inches across when stretched out. Lay the pieces down, stretched flat, on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt or any other seasonings.

Place another piece of parchment paper over the skin and set a baking sheet on top. (This covering prevents the skins from burning and curling up)

Bake 45 minutes, or until the chicken skin is golden and very crispy.

Coconut Crusted Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup almond flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
3 tbsp of virgin coconut oil
1 bag/8 cups of mixed salad greens or spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice

Trim any remaining skin or white parts from the chicken breasts.

Rinse under cool water and pat dry using a clean kitchen towel or parchment.

On a chopping board, cut the chicken into strips somewhere between 1/2 an inch and an inch thick. Set aside.

In a shallow dish, combine coconut flakes, almond flour and salt and pepper.

In a bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly. Dip the chicken strips first in the egg and then roll in the coconut/almond flour mixture.

Heat the coconut oil in the pan over medium-high heat and sauté the chicken strips until the exterior turns a golden brown and the inside is no longer pink.

Remove from heat and place atop a bed of mixed greens. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Nut and Herb Breading (for chicken, fish, or pork)

2 chicken cutlets
4 eggs
4 cups raw, unsalted nuts of your choice
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs of your choice
1/4 – 1/2 cup cooking oil of your choice
1 avocado, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:

Finely grind nuts in food processor, but don’t grind them so long that they turn into paste. Combine the ground nuts with the chopped herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly beat raw eggs in large bowl. Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash and coat both sides with the nut mixture.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about five minutes a side.

Top with avocado slices before serving.

If you’re increasing this recipe and cooking several batches of cutlets, change the oil halfway through so it doesn’t become dark and have a burnt flavor.

Variations:

This recipe can be adapted with a variety of spices, herbs and nuts and can also be used with pork cutlets or other meats.

Butter Chicken

4 pounds chicken thighs, chopped into 1-inch cubes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Greek-style (thick) yogurt [5]
7 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cardamom pods (crush pods slightly to release seeds and more flavor)
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup cream or coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

Combine chicken, garlic, spices and yogurt in a covered container. Refrigerate for an hour or two.

Melt butter in a deep pan. Add vinegar, tomato paste, tomatoes, cardamom and cinnamon. Boil rapidly, stirring until sauce is thick (approximately 20 minutes).

Reduce heat to a simmer and add chicken. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through. Add cream or coconut milk, simmer a few minutes more, and garnish with chopped cilantro.