Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or trimmed thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 minutes.

Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 3 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, top with the sliced scallion and serve with rice.

Peanut Noodles

1 pound spaghetti or Chinese egg noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus more for garnish
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Asian chili paste or to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons light or dark light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (may use natural peanut butter)
2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
6 to 10 tablespoons hot water
Salt, as needed
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Cucumber slices
Carrot sticks
Red, orange or yellow bell pepper slices
Fresh cilantro or mint leaves

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain it well. If a cold dish is desired, rinse the pasta under cold running water to cool, and drain again.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium-low heat, heat the peanut oil. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic and, if desired, chili paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar if desired and 6 tablespoons hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture smooths out.

Remove from the heat. If necessary, add additional hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and add more soy sauce or salt, as needed.

Return the hot or cold noodles to the pot in which they were cooked, add the sesame oil and toss to coat. Add as much of the peanut sauce as desired and toss again to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates and sprinkle with additional scallions, sesame seeds, cucumber, carrot, bell pepper and cilantro or mint. (May cover and refrigerate up to several hours.)

Note: You can toss raw, julienne carrots and bell peppers or steamed snow peas and broccoli with the noodles and peanut sauce. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and served with cooked rice and raw or cooked vegetables.

La Jiao Jiang (Hot Chili Sauce)

1 pound hot red chili peppers (Fresno, red jalapeño, cayenne, Thai, etc., or a mix of all of them)
1 red bell pepper (to tame heat, if needed)
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Cut hot chili peppers into smallish chunks, including green caps (but not stems).

Chop in a food processor to a chunky paste. Taste to determine heat. If it is too hot, add bell pepper a chunk at a time to lower the heat level. Continue to process to your desired heat level and consistency.

Mix in the vinegar and salt.

Put in a glass pint jar, attach top loosely, and let sit for a day at room temperature to develop the flavor.

Seal tightly and refrigerate up to several weeks.

Chinese Tea Eggs

12 large eggs

Marinade
4 tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 black tea bags or 2 tablespoons black tea leaves
2 1/2 cups water

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until bringing to a boil. Turn to medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from your stove and let cool completely. Once done, remove and discard the tea bags.

To boil the eggs, heat a pot of water (enough to cover all the eggs) over high heat until boiling. Turn to low heat. Carefully place the eggs in the pot using a ladle, to prevent the eggs from cracking.

Boil 5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, 7 minutes for medium eggs, or 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.

While cooking the eggs, prepare an ice bath by combining ice and tap water in a big bowl.

Once the eggs are cooked, immediately transfer them to the ice bath to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. If you don’t have ice on hand, simply run cool tap water over the eggs for a couple minutes until they cool down.

Gently crack the eggs using the back of a spoon. You want to make sure the egg shells are cracked enough so the marinade will reach the interior, without cracking the eggs apart (especially if you made soft boiled eggs). If you’re in a hurry, you can also peel the eggs and marinate them peeled. The eggs will be ready in 12 hours this way.

Transfer the eggs to a quart-size ziplock bag, then carefully pour in the marinade along with the dry ingredients. Marinate overnight for peeled eggs, or 24 hours for cracked “marble” eggs. You can store the eggs in the marinade for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

Peel the eggs and enjoy them cold or at room temperature!

Recipe Note: the recipe uses a quart-size ziplock bag to marinate the eggs, so you won’t need as much marinating liquid. Double the amount of marinade if you’re planning to marinate the eggs in a container

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons sesame paste
2 tablespoons chili oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
8 oz. mixed salad greens
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
Instructions

In a medium bowl, stir together the sesame paste, chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, scallions, and sesame seeds.

Add the chicken to a serving bowl, and spoon on some of the dressing.

Toss with the salad greens and herbs, and serve with any additional dressing on the side.

Sichuan Roasted Chili Eggplant (Liang Ban Qie Zi)

1 pound small Asian eggplant
1/2 pound mildly spicy green chilies (er jing tiao, large jalapeno, poblano)
1 tablespoon minced (not pureed) garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
4 tablespoons white rice vinegar
6 tablespoons canola or rapeseed oil
6 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
3 tablespoons green Sichuan pepper oil (qing hua jiao or teng jiao oil)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil (don’t include flakes)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
handful cilantro, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a steamer. Cut the eggplant in half horizontally, place in a bowl and carefully place bowl into steamer when water begins to boil. Steam for about 20 minutes. You want the eggplant to be luxuriously soft and creamy. Remove from steamer and let cool, then cut each piece in half vertically and into large bite-size pieces.

While eggplant is steaming, roast the green chilies. This can be done directly over a stovetop fire, in a hot, dry pan or under a broiler. Turn the chilies so that all of the skin gets charred and the chili blackens almost entirely, as larger chilies will need to cook that long to be roasted. Put blackened chilies in a plastic bag and let them sweat for a few minutes so the skin will be easier to remove. When cool, peel the skin off, remove the seeds and dice the chilies into small cubes.

In a bowl or large mixing cup add the garlic and white rice vinegar and let the garlic soak for a few minutes to tame the heat. Then add the other sauce ingredients: oil, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper oil, oyster sauce, Maggi seasoning, chili oil and sugar. Whisk ingredients together until well blended and emulsified. Add diced green chilies to the sauce.

Arrange eggplant pieces in a shallow serving bowl and pour the green chili sauce over them. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Serve at room temperature.

Dry-Fried Sichuan Beef

3 tablespoons oil
12 ounces flank steak, cut into ? inch thick strips
5 slices ginger, julienned
1 heaping tablespoon spicy bean sauce
1-2 stalks celery, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
¾ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn
A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 scallions, julienned

Heat the wok over high heat until it starts to smoke.

Add 1 tablespoon oil, and coat the wok before adding the beef. Immediately spread the beef in a single layer. (This step will prevent the beef from sticking to your wok.)

Brown the beef until the liquid cooks off and the meat is well-seared. This step should take about 2-3 minutes.

Remove the beef from the wok, and set aside.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok.

Crisp the ginger, and add the spicy bean sauce. Cook for about a minute until the oil turns red, adjusting the heat as needed to avoid burning.

Next, add the celery, carrot, and cooked beef. Turn the heat up to high, and stir to mix well.

Immediately add the Shaoxing wine, sugar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, ground Sichuan peppercorn, chili flakes (optional), and the scallions.

Stir quickly for about a minute and mix everything well.

Transfer to a dish and serve with plenty of rice! You’ll need it.

Fried Cauliflower Rice

24 ounces cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
6 ounces broccoli florets, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

To make the cauliflower rice, pulse cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor until it resembles rice, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and white pepper; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add eggs and cook until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side, flipping only once. Let cool before dicing into small pieces; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in broccoli, carrots, corn and peas, and cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in cauliflower, eggs, green onions and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through and the cauliflower is tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds, if desired.

*24 ounces cauliflower florets is equal to about 5 cups.

Sesame Ginger Pork Meatball Soup with Bok Choy

Meatballs:
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs can use regular
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4-1 lb ground pork

Soup broth:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
4 small carrots diced
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tsp Asian Chili Garlic Sauce to taste

To finish soup:
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy leaves
2 green onions thinly sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside.

Prepare meatballs: Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in panko, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add ground pork and stir to incorporate seasonings into pork. Shape meatballs using a rounded 1 tsp measuring spoon. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until juices run clear and the meatballs are browned in spots. Remove from oven and set aside. *You can make ahead and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for longer.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sesame oil and carrots and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until carrots are softened. Add ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, water, soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, them reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Add meatballs, rice vinegar and 1/2 of the green onions to soup and allow to cook until meatballs are heated through. Turn off heat under soup. Stir in bok choy until just wilted. Serve garnished with remaining green onion.

Pressure Cooker Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken

1/4 cup sesame oil
6 dried red chilis
1/4 cup smashed garlic peel cloves, smack with the side of a knife
2 Tablespoons ginger sliced into matchsticks
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in half.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine or pale dry sherry
Salt to taste

For Finishing
1/4 cup Thai basil chopped, or regular basil
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum or 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with water for a slurry

Turn your Instant Pot to Sauté and when it is hot, add the chilies, ginger, and garlic and let them fry for 2 mins until the ginger and garlic are just starting to crisp.

Dump in everything except the basil.

Cook for 7 mins, then let pressure release naturally for 10 mins.

Open the lid and turn the pot on Sauté.

Add chopped basil leaves and stir.

When the liquid boils, sprinkle the xanthum gum and let it thicken, or add cornstarch slurry to let it thicken

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.

Egg Drop Soup

1 1/2 cups of bone broth or stock
1 large egg
fish sauce (optional, but I always use it to boost umami)
salt
1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
cilantro leaves (optional)
hot chili peppers, thinly sliced (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring your bone broth to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Flavor it with fish sauce and/or salt to taste. Remember: it’s only as savory as you make it.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and season with a few additional drops of fish sauce and a pinch of salt. Whisk well with a fork.

Remove the bone broth from the heat and stir the soup with a heat-proof spatula as you slowly pour in the whisked egg. The egg should cook on contact with the hot liquid even though you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat. The eggs should be soft and wispy rather than overcooked and chunky (ick!).

Transfer the soup to a bowl. (I won’t tell anyone if you use the same bowl that you whisked your egg in.) The soup tastes delicious as-is, but you can fancy it up with your favorite add-ins. My favorite garnishes include sliced spicy peppers (like red jalapeños!), minced scallions, and cilantro leaves.

Silken Comfort Tofu

1 tablespoon peanut oil, Chinese if possible
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Chinese chili-garlic sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 pound silken tofu, cubed
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup basil chiffonade, use Thai basil if possible
Chili oil for drizzling

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet and saute shallots until golden.

Add sliced garlic and sizzle briefly.

Add chili-garlic sauce and fry until fragrant.

Add fish sauce and sizzle until nearly evaporated.

Stir in peanut butter, so mixture forms a rough paste.

Whisk in hot water (and sugar, if using)—the consistency of the mixture should be between a thick sauce and a loose paste. Gently stir in the tofu, trying to keep cubes intact as much as possible.

Stir in green onions, cilantro, and basil and heat through. Drizzle with chili oil and serve with brown or basmati rice.

Beef Chow Fun

1/2 pound (226 grams) beef skirt, flank, sirloin, or tenderloin
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (*Footnote 1)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

Stir fry

(Optional) 1 batch broccolini (or 1 small head broccoli), tough ends removed and chopped into bite sized pieces (or use broccoli with gai lan (Chinese broccoli), kale, or bok choy)
7 ounces (200 grams) dried rice noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 white onion, sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
4 green onions, chopped
(Optional) 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Slice beef against the grain into 1/8-inch (1/3-cm) thick pieces or 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) strips, and transfer the pieces to a small bowl. Add the light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch. Use your hand to gently mix the beef and the added ingredients, until the beef is coated with a thin layer of the mixture. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients with 2 tablespoons water. Mix well and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the broccolini (or broccoli) until tender, 1 minute or so. Drain and set aside. Reserve the boiling water to cook the noodles.

Cook or soak the rice noodles according to the instructions until cooked through, but still a bit chewy inside. Rinse rice noodles with cold water and drain. To avoid sticky rice noodles during stir fry, add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the drained noodles. Gently toss noodles by hand to separate and evenly coat them with a thin layer of oil.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Spread the beef slices in the skillet in a single layer. Cook until the bottom side of the beef turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip the beef and cook the other side until browned, but the inside is still a bit pink, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer beef to a plate immediately.

In the same skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and turn to medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. Stir constantly until you can smell a strong fragrance, 15 seconds.
Toss the cooked noodles again and add them into the skillet. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil onto the noodles. Use a pair of tongs to toss the noodles with oil. If the noodles start to get sticky, swirl in 2 tablespoons water.

Add the beef back into the skillet. Pour in the mixed sauce. Immediately use a pair of tongs to toss and mix everything.
Add the onion and green onion. Toss a few more times, until the sauce is absorbed by the noodles.

Add bean sprouts and cooked broccolini back into the skillet, swirl in the sesame oil (if using), and give it a final toss. Turn off heat and transfer everything to serving plates immediately.

Serve hot as a main.

NOTES

You can use regular soy sauce to replace all the light / dark soy sauce in this recipe. Note that the dish will come out with a lighter color if you do so.

Sichuan Chicken in Chili Oil (Kou Shui Ji)

3 tablespoon plain roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red chili flakes or dried red chilis, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 a 1/2 cup oil
3 scallions, cut into large sections
4 slices ginger
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns

For Step 2:
2 chicken leg quarters, deboned with skin still on (try asking your butcher to do this for you)
2 scallions
2 slices ginger

For Step 3:
1 tablespoon sesame paste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken stock

Put chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and salt into a medium bowl and set it aside.

Heat your oil in pan over low heat, and add the scallions, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns. Allow these aromatics to slowly infuse into the oil, until everything is kind of browned and wrinkly and fragrant. Discard the spices and pour the hot infused oil into the peanut mixture. Give everything a stir and cover the bowl with a plate to seal everything inside. Walk away and don’t come back until everything else is ready!

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil (there should be enough water to submerge the chicken) along with the ginger and scallion. Once it’s boiling, add the chicken (once it’s added the water will probably stop boiling because of the temperature change).

Bring the water to a boil again, and after a minute, cover the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let it sit on the stove for 20 minutes to slowly poach the chicken.

In the meantime, prepare a small ice bath for chicken. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the pot and plunge it in the ice bath and let the chicken cool completely. Slice the chicken and place it on your serving plate.

Mix all of the Step 3 ingredients in a bowl. Now combine the mixture you just made with the peanut mixture you made in Step

Pour as much as you want over the chicken. Use about two thirds and save the rest for a cold noodle lunch the next day (a highly recommended action!).

Sichuan Chili Oil

1 1/2 cups oil (ideally a vegetable, peanut, or grapeseed oil)
5 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, preferably cassia cinnamon
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
3/4 cup Asian crushed red pepper flakes (Sichuan chili flakes are the best)
1 – 1½ teaspoons salt (to taste)

Heat the oil, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and Sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil starts to bubble slightly, turn the heat down to medium.

Let the oil cook for 30 minutes like this. If you start to see that slight bubbling die down, periodically turn the heat back up to medium-high, then back down to medium if it gets too hot.

When the oil is done cooking, the seeds and pods should be darker in color, but not blackened (that means they burned, which results in subpar chili oil). Let the oil cool for 5 minutes. In a separate heat-proof bowl, measure out the crushed red pepper flakes and salt.

Remove the aromatics from the oil using a fine mesh strainer. Slowly pour the oil over the chili flakes, and stir well. When completely cooled, transfer to a jar, and store in the refrigerator. The oil will keep for up to 6 months when stored this way (always remember to use a clean spoon to dip into the jar!)

Another version:

4 tablespoons crushed Chinese or Korean chili flakes
2 teaspoons five spice powder
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn
(optional) 2 whole star anise
2 bay leaves
1 cup vegetable oil (or grapeseed oil)
(optional) 1 piece thinly sliced ginger

Combine chili flakes, five spice powder, sesame seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and bay leaves in a heatproof ceramic bowl that can hold at least 2 cups liquid. Place the bowl on a heat resistant coaster.

Heat oil in a wok (or a skillet) over medium-high heat. Add ginger. When the ginger starts to wither and turns golden brown, immediately turn off the heat. The oil should reach 370 degrees F (190 C) and no higher than 400 F (200 C) if read with an instant thermometer.

Carefully pour oil or use a ladle to transfer oil into the bowl of mixed spices. The oil will bubble for a few seconds and cook the spices. While the the oil is bubbling, use a metal spoon to stir gently to mix the spices, so they’ll cook thoroughly.

When the oil cools down a bit, scoop out and discard the star anise and bay leaf.

The oil is now ready to use! Its flavor will mature if you let it rest for a day, allowing the spices to infuse into the oil.

The oil can be stored covered at room temperature for two weeks, or up to six months in the fridge in an airtight container.

One more:

First, you’ll need a ton of chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. For the former, just about any kind (and level of heat) will do; just make sure they’re roughly ground and you have a lot—at least half a pound. For the latter, you want at least 1/2 cup of the freshest you can find (many shops sell them online).

This is the most important step: Infusing the oil. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, simmer 1 1/2 quarts canola oil with a whole head of garlic, a 3-inch nub of ginger, and a host of dried spices: star anise, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, black and green cardamom. You want the garlic and ginger just fizzing over low heat, making sure neither browns or burns, for at least 2 hours, until the oil is deeply fragrant.

In a large steel mixing bowl, add the ground chilies, the Sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir to combine.

When the infused oil is ready, turn the heat up to high, and when the ginger and garlic are furiously fizzing, pour the oil through a sieve into the dried chili mixture. And, uh, be careful!

Chefs in Sichuan say that if the oil foams up, that’s a good sign.

When it’s cooled down a bit, pour the chili oil into jars: Large if you’re keeping this for yourself, smaller if you want to give as gifts. (This stuff makes a good gift!)

While it’s pretty good right now, it will taste even better a few days from now. Plus, it’ll keep pretty much forever, especially if you put it in the fridge.

To make a sauce for boiled dumplings: a good heaping spoonful or two with a ton of black vinegar.

Baked Gobi Manchurian

4 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped onions
1 large bell pepper chopped or eight small little ones
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Line a sheet pan with foil and turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the veggies with oil, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and place veggies on foil-lined sheet.

Broil for 30 minutes or so until the veggies are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Let this sit while the veggies cook.

When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and pour sauce on them, mixing as you go.

Stir Fry Sauce

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the soy sauce, broth, honey or agave nectar, vinegar, ginger and garlic in a mason jar. Seal and shake well, until incorporated. Use right away, or refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

This is a great sauce to have in your repertoire when you need to pull together a fast meal out of whatever’s in the refrigerator. Toss it with leftover rice or noodles, vegetables and any kind of protein for an impromptu dish of fried rice or lo mein, or use it as a marinade for chicken, beef or tofu.

Add a squirt of lime juice and Sriracha to give it a Thai-inspired flavor, or substitute it for that packet of dried seasoning the next time you mix up a late-night bowl of ramen.