Friday, January 31, 2014

Ginger Caramel Chicken/ Five Pepper Chicken

Today's culinary ideas and recipes seem to be filled with complicated equipment, hard to find ingredients, restaurant type techniques, etc. etc.  It does not need to be this way.  A basic pantry and any protein can make up a very good meal.  The goal of keeping it simple does not mean keeping it flavorless.  Simplicity can mean using clean, fresh flavors and a basic technique to come up with something wonderful.  Keep the pantry stocked with some solid items, and you can create a myriad of dishes.
We were looking for something easy and familiar for dinner.  I cut up a chicken and tossed it in the marinade, let it sit for about an hour.  Soon after, dinner was served.  Nothing complex or sophisticated about this dish.  Just cook up some rice and serve. 

I did a variation with more pepper.  Chinese-American buffets usually have a dish called black pepper chicken, so I wanted to fool around with a Vietnamese style pepper chicken.  I altered the marinade and added a few things to the sauce changing the name to "Five Pepper Chicken." I like the spicy version, so you can choose between two types of chicken.

Variation- see bottom "Five Pepper Chicken"

Ga Kho Gung- Ginger Caramelized Chicken

Marinade- (reserve 1/2 of the marinade)
3/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup grated ginger
3/4 cup garlic, minced
2 Thai chili
1 cup palm sugar

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup chicken stock

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and gently add the chicken removing it from the marinade.  Brown it on all sides then remove to a plate.  Add some sliced onions and caramelize.  Gently place the chicken back into the pan and continue to cook.  Pour in the reserved marinade and chicken stock.  Reduce until it forms a nice glaze.

Ginger chicken is served as Ice-T, Chuck D, Dr. Dre, and KRS-One joined my imaginary roundtable. Oh yeah, I am joining the "Original Gangster" for lunch, at least I am thinking about it!  My playlist included amazing classics such as "By the Time I Get to Arizona," "Straight Outta Compton," and many others by the seem-to-be-forgotten old skool rappers.  Where has all the rap gone?  These guys set a stage for what has become something I don't quite understand.  Well maybe I am not in their target audience, but once upon a time I was in the crowd! 

Alternate method-
Marinade- 1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp green peppercorns
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp garlic, chopped

Mash all ingredients into a paste and rub into the chicken.  Let it soak for about an hour.

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp sugar
2 Thai chilies
1 tbsp red bean curd
1 tbsp red chili paste
1 cup chicken stock

In a heavy bottom skillet, heat coconut oil and sear the chicken skin side down.  Brown the skin nicely, then flip it over and cook for another 3-4 minutes shaking gently every now and then so it does not burn.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on med low heat until the sauce thickens, and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

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