Since we are on the subject of 四川 (Sichuan) and we just covered 紅油 (Hong You)/Red Oil I think this post should be about one of my favorite easy recipes from the region that can also make use of Red Oil, that being 怪味雞 (guai wei ji).
So what the hell is that you ask? Well 雞 (ji, 1st tone) is chicken, that is pretty straight forward (though you can in fact use the sauce on everything from tofu to pigs stomach, it is just chicken is the most common). So that leaves us with 怪味 (guai wei, both 4th tone if you were wondering). Well 怪 (guai) means strange or odd and 味 (wei) is generally either flavour/taste or smell/odor. So I am not sure if it should be Strange Tasting Chicken or Strange Smelling Chicken, nor do I have any idea what the origin of name is. Considering the sauce is both aromatic and complex in flavor, perhaps the meaning of the name is suppose to cover both bases. However, since I am not sure what to call it in English I will just refer to it as 怪味雞 from here on in.
怪味雞 is a popular and famous Sichuan dish for good reason. It has an interesting flavor that I can not compare to much of anything. It is a combination of 麻 (ma) numbing, 辣 (la) hot, sweet, sour, and highly aromatic. 怪味雞 is served cold, so it is a great summer dish or a accompanying dish for a largish dinner. Since you can make it before hand and just pour the sauce on and serve when needed. In fact it is barely cooking at all. Mostly you just mix the sauce and use it on whatever you like. I just happen to prefer the chicken leg quarters because they are cheap (and what my recipe calls for).
- 4 chicken leg quarters or 1 chicken
- 6 slices of ginger
- 2 scallions, cut into 4 inch segments
- 1 T. sesame paste
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 T. rice vinegar
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 2 finely chopped scallions
- 1 t. grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 T. sichuan Red Oil (or chili oil)
- 1/2 t. ground sichuan peppercorns (花椒粉 hua jiao fen)
- 1-2 t. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Put chicken, ginger slices, and scallions into a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once the chicken is cool either chop into bite size pieces or shred the meat and place on a serving platter.
For the Sauce:
- In a bowl mix the ingredients in the order of appearance, whisking a little after each addition, until fully combined. Add a 1-2 T. chicken stock if it seems a little thick.
- Yeah, that is pretty much it.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.