Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pan-Frying 101

 

2. Brining the Chicken…Typically when I frychicken, I cook approximately 3-3 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces….So let’s get started…
Soaking your chicken in some sort of brine will help the breading stick to the food better…and add moisture and flavor. Once you prepare the brine, simply add the chicken to the liquid and stick in the fridge at least thirty minutes, and even overnight.

 

4. Heating Your Oil…When frying chicken, it is important that the oil can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Peanut, canola or vegetable oil are your best options…Avoid using olive oil or butter.

 

 

 

5. Cooking Your Chicken…Gently place your breaded chicken skin side-down in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Replace the lid onto the pan. Cook the chicken about ten minutes, using your tongs to turn the chicken a few times while it cooks.

Remove the lid. Cook ten minutes more, uncovered…until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is a deep golden brown.

 

If you are using a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, the magic number is 165 degrees.

Remember to bring the oil back up to 350 degrees before you add the next batch of chicken.

 

 

 

Once your chicken has finished frying, place the hot chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt for extra flavor.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

When done well, you should end up with a hallmark of great fried chicken—perfectly tender meat with plenty of that crunchy, dark brown crust that all of us Southerners so adore.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary—Zhejang Campaign

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be the simplest of all Chinese regional cuisines.

The focus of Zhejiang cuisine seems to be simplicity. The people of the region focus more on serving fresh seasonal produce served crispy, perhaps even raw or almost raw…much like Japanese food….fresh seafood…and

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be fresh, soft, and smooth with a mellow fragrance.,.,, with a good balance between saltiness and umami

Zhejiang cuisine uses a wide variety of cooking methods—including braising, sautéing, stewing, steaming, and deep-frying.

As far as meat, Zhejiang cuisins uses many different varieties of fresh seafood and freshwater fish caught from local rivers.

As far as sauce, Zhejiang cuisine tends to focus on simple marinades—such as a simple mixture of vinegar and sugar—instead of the more complicated sauces and marinades found in other Chinese regional cuisines.

As far as spices, Zhejiang cuisine tends to be lightly seasoned and veer on the salty side..

Examples of foods that you might find include…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Five Spice Powder

 

One of the other spices, or spice blends, that you should also grab when you’re ordering from the Asian market is five spice powder.

Five-spice powder or Wuxiang powder is a very powerful spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns—that is a very common ingredient in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine.

Some other spices that are often used to make five spice powder include ginger, nutmeg, licorice, turmeric, cardamom, Mandarin orange peel, and galangal.

Sure, you can buy this five spice seasoning online or at the Asian market…

But some cooks claim that making five spice powder in your own kitchen creates a more fragrant spice mix, allows you to flavor exactly how you want it, and makes the flavor more intense.

Making five spice powder as you need it, will also keep the flavors as rich and fresh as possible.

 

To make your own five spice powder, 

  • Toast 2tsp Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet or wok over medium heat, about three minutes.
  • Grind any whole spices—such as whole cloves, fennel seed, Szechwan peppercorns, or star anise—in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. To make sure that you have the quantity of powder once you finish grinding these, start with about 1.5 times the quantity of the whole spice as you need powder—such as 2Tbsp of star anise seeds to make 1Tbsp powder.
  • Mix in 1Tbsp each of the following—ground cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and fennel seed. You could also consider adding a teaspoon or so of black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, or any of the other spices mentioned above.
  • Grind them together in your coffee grinder until the powder is an even consistency.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.

 

Tips on Using Five Spice Powder.

  1. Add five spice powder to your skillet at the start of cooking so that the spices will permeate the whole dish.
  2. Add small amounts of the spice mixture to your dish while you are cooking. The flavor can be quite intense, and it is easy to ruin a dish by adding too much.
  3. Taste your food frequently until you find the amount of sice that you want.
  4. Use five-spice powder sparingly. A tiny amount goes a long way.

Princess Chicken

One of the most common dishes that contains five-spice seasoning is Princess Chicken…

 

  • 1 1/2Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2tsp paprika (or to taste)
  • 4oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2Tbsp water or chicken broth
  • 3/4C cashews
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2tsp sugar
  • 1/2tsp sesame oil

Marinade your chicken..Combine soy sauce, sherry, five-spice powder, and cornstarch. Add the chicken, coating thoroughly in the marinade. Let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cook your chicken…Heat 2Tbsp oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot, add one slice of ginger. Let brown for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the ginger from the oil. Add the chicken. Cook 5 minutes, until the chicken is nearly cooked.

Cook your veggies…Remove and wipe the wok clean. Add Tbsp oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining slice of ginger. Brown the ginger. Remove from the pan. Add the onion and paprika. Cook 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cashews, red red bell peppers. Add more oil if you need to.Cook another minute.

Finish making the dish..Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil.

Making Dinner Plans, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Silan Chicken

Silan,  also referred to as Israeli date honey, is a rich syrup made from dates.

Silan has a dark chestnut color, darker than maple syrup, about the color of cola….a taste similar to molasses….and a texture that is as thick as molasses but more fluid than bee honey.

You can find at local “kosher” markets, but even living here in DFW, I have no idea where one of those would be and it would be much easier to order it while still wearing my pajamas online from such retailers as World of Judaica or Date Lady.

Just be sure to stay away from the varieties with added sugar—those can be too sweet and lack the authentic flavor of the kind found in Israel.

One of the most common recipes using silan is Silan Chicken…had this for dinner last night, making it again tonight perhaps because it was so very good and there are no leftovers.

  • 4# chicken legs or thighs
  • 1 cup silan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind or soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Maranating…Prepare a 9- x 13 baking dish. Mix together the silan, oil, brown sugar, tamarind, garlic, and chicken stock. Place the chicken in a foil-lined roasting or baking pan. Rub the chicken pieces with vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Baking…Bake for an hour, uncovered, brushing the chicken with the sauce every fifteen minutes. Increase oven temp to 375°F. Bake for another thirty minutes.