Dali Chicken

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This classic dish  appears on P. F. Chang’s  restaurant menu as tender slices of chicken breast wok-tossed with dried red chilies, potatoes and scallions in a signature spicy sauce. And we discovered the secret ingredient was cumin. Who knew?!!!

We are still perfecting the recipe in our test lab, so please stay tuned, the recipe will follow shortly.

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Chongqing Style Roasted Fish

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Chongqing Style Roasted Fish

(重庆烤鱼, chong qing kao yu)

This famous dish is from Chongqing, a city in the southwest of China. The city is also famous for  it’s  super hyper hot and spicy Szechuan cuisine.

For this dish, the fish is roasted until moist and tender, with a crispy surface. The accompanying vegetables are cooked in a Szechuan hot sauce and savory black bean paste, with pickled peppers, to impart a pungent and spicy flavor. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds comes together in a single dish.

Traditionally, in Chinese cooking, this dish is often prepared using carp, catfish or snakehead. For a better texture and fewer bones, using a catfish, sea bass, flounder, or tilapia is suggested.

However, based on the availability in my local market this week, I chose  the Yellow Croaker.

Yellowfish or Yellow Croaker has the scientific name of Larimichthys polyactis alt Pseudosciaena manchurica.

Native to the northwestern Pacific, particularly the Yellow and East China seas, this fish is highly prized among Asians chefs and in particularly in Korean cuisine. In Korean markets they are sold frozen, dried, salted cooked and sometimes fresh, usually in lengths less than 12 inches. They are often called “Corvina” which is Spanish for croaker, or “Yellow Corvina” to avoid confusion with the other species of fish called Yellow Croaker.

This is the only fish allowed the name “Yellow Croaker” on Fishbase. They are easy to tell apart. This one has a round face, the other has a pointy face.

In the photo below the Yellow  Croaker was 3-1/4 inches long and weighed 1 pound 2-1/2 ounces. This fish is caught wild and not considered threatened.

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This is a very good eating fish with a light, pleasant flavor. It’s one drawback is the tenderness of its flesh and skin which makes handling in cooking and serving more difficult than for many other fish. For this reason many prefer small fish so each serving can be a whole fish. When eating whole or pan dressed fish, be prepared to deal with a few fine rib bones, and supply a bone bowl for the discards.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
For Grilling the Fish:
2 whole sea bass,14 ounces each (See Cook’s Notes)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 thumb ginger, half sliced, half minced
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons spicy fermented bean paste (dou ban jiang)
1 tablespoon fermented black bean sauce (dou chi jiang)
10 Sichuan pickled pepper (pao jiao) (or Cajun pickled pepper), optional

For the Stir-fry:
2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn
5 cloves garlic, halved
10 – 20 dried chili pepper
1 cup lotus root, sliced
1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
2 cups shiitake mushroom, sliced
10 – 20 dried chili peppers
4 tablespoons chicken broth
1 teaspoon  brown sugar

Cilantro sprigs,  for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

Directions:
Wash all the vegetables and chop the onion and ginger.

Preheat oven to 430° F . Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment and spray a thin layer vegetable cooking spray on top.

Mix crushed red pepper flakes and cumin powder in a small bowl.

Spread half of the onion slices on the baking tray. Dry the fish thoroughly with a paper towel. Place the fish on top of the onion. Dust with salt and sprinkle half the chili and cumin mixture evenly over the fish. Spray a thin layer of vegetable cooking  oil on top. Flip the fish and season the other side in the same manner, spray with oil. Stuff the cavity of the fish with ginger slices and a few slices of onion in

Bake on the middle rack until fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes (or longer time if you use a larger fish). You should be able to easily separate the flesh from the bone with a fork, and the internal temperature of the fish should be 145° F.

While the fish is baking, chop the rest of the vegetables. Place lotus root, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms on a plate. Mix chili bean paste, black chili paste and Sichuan pickled peppers in a small bowl. Add dried chili pepper and chicken broth separately in two small bowls. Place the veggies, mixed sauce, peppercorns, dried chili pepper, chicken broth, salt and sugar on the kitchen counter, near the wok or a large cast iron skillet.

Heat the wok over medium high heat and add oil. When the oil is warm, add peppercorns. Stir until fragrant and the peppercorns turn dark brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn to lowest heat. Use a ladle to scoop out the peppercorns and discard them.

Turn to medium high heat. Add the remainder of the minced ginger and garlic and stir a few times until fragrant. Add the rest of the onion. Stir until the onion turns translucent, about 1 minute.

Add the mixed sauce and stir immediately to coat onion with sauce evenly, 30 seconds.
Add chili pepper, stir a few times to mix.

Add lotus root, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms. Stir continuously for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and brown sugar. Continue to stir until the seasonings are mixed evenly and the veggies are cooked through. Turn to lowest heat and taste the vegetable mix. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if needed.

Transfer the baked fish to a large serving platter. Pour the vegetables and sauce over the top of the fish. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice.

COOK’S NOTES:
Authentic Chinese cooking often uses carp, catfish or snakehead. For a better texture and fewer bones,  catfish, sea bass, flounder, or tilapia is suggested.

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Brown Sugar Chipotle Wings

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Adapted from
Meredith Steele
Steele House Kitchen.com
November 20, 2015

For this Super Bowl Party LI (51), I was looking for something that had a taste of something that was sweet, spicy  and smoky with a touch of heat. I found this recipe for these baked Brown Sugar Chipotle Wings made with McIhenny Tabasco®  Chipotle Pepper Sauce. This particular flavor of pepper sauce blends Mexican heritage with the Louisiana traditions of Cajun and Creole cooking. A most divine combination, if I say so myself. Anyways, to make a long story short, these wings came out crispy with the meat practically falling off the bone and were ever so tender. This is just about the most perfect finger food for a party, game day or for any time that you want a quick snack to satisfy the flavor cravings. And the best part about it, you don’t have to fry the wings in a pot of hot oil!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 – 4 pounds chicken wings, cut into drums and flats, tip discarded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons  light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons  McIhenny Tabasco®  Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set rack inside. Using  paper towels, pat the  chicken wings dry and place on a large rimmed baking sheet, being careful not to overlap.

Place 1/3 of wings in large bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, and toss until thoroughly and evenly coated. Place on rack, leaving slight space between each wing. Repeat with remaining two batches of wings.

Place the wings in the oven and roast for 35 minutes. Flip wings, and continue to roast for 15 to 25 minutes longer until golden and crisp.

While the wings are roasting, combine hot melted butter, brown sugar, Tabasco® Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce, and salt in a large bowl that is big enough to hold all the wings. Stir until smooth and sugar has dissolved.

Immediately after the wings come out of the oven, transfer them to the sauce and toss to coat. Plate the wings and serve.

Beer Pairings: wheat beers such as Hefeweizen or even a raspberry Lambic.

Cook’s Notes:
Baking powder, not to be mistaken with baking soda, is a leavening agent usually used in baked goods such as cookies and cakes. It’s a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and cornstarch. When mixed with salt and coated on chicken the baking powder dries out the skin, leaving it crisp and crunchy. The science behind this cooking technique is that the addition of the baking powder raises the pH level in the chicken, making the wings more alkaline (basic) allowing the peptide bonds of the proteins in the skin to weaken, creating a texture that is less leathery or papery, and more crispy.

DO NOT use baking soda as a substitute for the baking powder. Baking soda will give your wings a  very distinct salty and  metallic bitterness that will not be pleasing to your taste buds.

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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