Now back on April 6th, I gave you a recipe for Garlic Chicken with Soba Noodles and it's a fantastically good dish. As with many recipes, including my own, I like to play with the ingredients; perhaps improving further, perhaps not. That's the adventure!
Crushed red pepper flakes give the heat, but I wanted more than an overall heat in my mouth; I wanted a bite. A bite on the insides of my cheeks, on the tongue; something to make me stand up and take notice of the intense flavor of the dish, not just the heat. What better to work with than freshly cracked black pepper?
The chicken is a bit different too as I coated it in cornstarch, fried it in oil and immediately seasoned the still moist strips with salt and cracked pepper. As the chicken drained, the seasonings adhered to the chicken ensuring flavoring. I use peanut oil because it can reach a high temperature quickly, the food cooks quickly itself. The oil is not heavily absorbed, so your food is light and not greasy; and no, there is no peanut taste to the finished product.
This is a one pan meal, prep and cooking times are minimal and it is a meal that you and a family member can prepare together. While a large skillet can be used, I highly recommend investing in a Wok; they're relatively inexpensive, cut cooking time and easy maintenance.
Now on to today's recipe....
Garlic and Pepper Chicken
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breasts, thighs or combination); cut into ½ inch strips
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup peanut oil
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper, divided in half
1 ½ cups broccoli florets
¾ cup diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chili sauce
2 Tbsp mirin wine
¼ cup dark soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
Coat the chicken strips in the cornstarch; shake off excess. In a Wok or large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat; add the chicken, cook until done; drain chicken on paper towels, but season with sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper immediately.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil; add in broccoli and bell pepper; cook for two minutes. Whisk together garlic, chili sauce, mirin wine, soy and hoisin sauces, remaining teaspoon black pepper; add back chicken to Wok or skillet; pour in liquid, mix thoroughly to coat. Cook for additional two minutes before serving over rice (white, brown or fried) or rice noodles.
Makes four servings.