Last weekend, I went to Trader Joe’s with a high hope to add some creativity to my lunch table for a friends’ gathering. I like Trader Joe’s because it has good variety of ancient Chinese food, such as egg fried rice and mini chicken wonton. Compared to other grocery stores which selling similar type of frozen food, Trader Joe’s excels at keeping the authentic flavor in traditional food recipes.
I looked around and suddenly “Kong Pao Chicken” caught my eye. “That’s my favorite! And chicken is packed with protein; it should be good for adults and kids!” I said to myself and grabbed one bag. It was super easy to make using microwave, but it took me about 8 minutes in total. So I recommended to heat it up in a pan if you don’t want to wait that long. However, it tastes so good. Everyone loved it!
Kong Pao chicken is one of the most well-know dishes in China. There are many more healthy ways to cook chicken in China, just considering how big China is. Today I am going to take you for a food & culture tour in Southern China to learn about this topic. Our first stop is in Sichuan Province, then we’ll go to its neighborhood place – Chongqing Municipality. Last but not least, we’ll experience the food and culture in Guangdong Province.
1. Sichuan Province: Kong Pao Chicken, and Steamed Chicken with Chili Sauce
I’ve never been to Sichuan Province before. But I heard it is definitely a paradise for foodies! The region is renowned for its hot spicy cuisine, Panda Reserves, Jiuzhai Valley National Park and so on.
Jiuzhai Valley National Park
Besides food and natural beauty, Sichuan has its unique culture, which makes it a fun place for anyone to visit. Its culture consists of four important parts–Sichuan Opera, Shadow Puppet Play, Sichuan Teahouse, and Sichuan Embroidery.
- Cut chicken breast into chicken cubes. Chop green onions.
- Soak chicken cubes with one tablespoon of cooking wine, 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of starch for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil for 2 minutes then fry the chicken cubes until they turn white.
- Pour dry red pepper, green onion and peppercorn (or one teaspoon peppercorn powder).
- Add seasoning and continue to stir fry until the sauce gets thicker.
- Turn off the heat and pour cooked peanuts on the top. Stir well and it’s ready to serve!
(2) Steamed Chicken with Chili Sauce Recipe
- Put washed chicken into cold water in a pot, add ginger and cooking wine, boil over medium heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and put it in iced water, then drain water, and add a sesame oil coating to the chicken.
- Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and salt to make the sauce (the ration for vinegar, soy sauce and sugar is about 3:2:0.5).
- Place chopped chicken on the plate, sprinkle chopped peanuts, chopped green onion and sesame, then pour the sauce and chili oil.
2. Chongqing Municipality–Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers
Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers Recipe
- Place washed chicken feet into a pot, add cooking wine, pepper, aniseed, scallion and ginger, then cook for fifteen minutes.
- Remove the chicken feet and soak in ice water for some time. Prepare white vinegar, sugar, millet pepper, garlic, and a bag of pickled peppers.
- Add garlic, pickled peppers, vinegar, ginger, salt, sugar, millet pepper to a bowl with cold water. Put chicken feet in the bowl and store it in the refrigerator overnight before it’s done.
3. Guangdong Province–Sliced Cold Chicken
Cantonese cuisine is one of the eight cuisines in China. Cantonese people like to use snake to make tasty and nourishing food. They also love tea. “Canton Morning Tea” is a common social event. No matter it’s in the morning before work, or in the afternoon after work, friends or family members love to go to dim sum restaurants for a pot of tea, with a few snacks. Life in Guangdong Province is very relaxing and family-oriented.
Sliced Cold Chicken Recipe
- Clean the whole chicken. Prepare green onion and ginger slices
- Put chicken into a pot, add green onion, ginger and cooking wine
- Add cold water to cover the chicken and then turn on the heat
- After the water boils, continue to cook for 16 minutes, then turn off the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
- Prepare the sauce: add chopped coriander, ginger, red onion based on the ratio of 1:1:1, sesame oil, sugar and salad sauce. Mix thoroughly. If you want spicy flavor, add some spicy oil.
- Remove the chicken and quickly cool it in ice water
- Sprinkle the surface with some sesame oil. Cut the chicken and serve with sauce.
Thanks for your time! I hope you enjoy this “tour” and learned some healthy ways to cook chicken. If you are interested in other healthy chicken recipes, please check out Chinese chicken salad and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Looking forward to the next tour! See yah:)