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Gone Sichuan :: Chicken in Red Oil

February 12, 2010

Late last spring I read Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Sharks Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China” which sent me on a wild spree of cooking and hunting out all things Sichuan.  I have the bank statements to prove it.  One of my favorite dishes was Chicken in Red Oil, which, when you’ve got your ingredients prepped well in advance, is surprisingly easy to assemble.  This will involve a few intimidating but easy things like boiling off a whole chicken with ginger, carving the bird, and making chili oil.  All of this makes for a good Sunday project if cooking is your way of unwinding – I’ll assume it is if you’re taking the time to read this blog.  Consider the little bit of elbow grease to be an investment in some seriously good eating for the rest of your week.  Aside from the ginger infused chicken and chili oil, the rest of the ingredients are pretty simple: green onions, sesame oil, a hit of quality soy sauce, and a little sugar.  Experiment with balancing the flavors of the sesame, soy, and sugar against the heat of the chili oil (which will vary from batch to batch) to find what suits your taste.  It’s a dish that’s best served refreshingly cold along with lots of hot and fresh white rice.

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