Eating (Kind Of) Well: Szechuan Chicken And Vegetables

Last night, I made a Szechuan chicken and vegetable dish from Martin Yan’s Yan Can Cook Book. I love this book, mostly because I remember watching Yan Can Cook on PBS back in the Seventies – he was my first exposure to Chinese food outside of La Choy canned chow mein of dubious authenticity (although, when I was six, I loved those crunchy noodle things they made…).

There was just one little problem.  I entirely cut the hot pepper oil and red pepper flakes from the dish, because it would have been far too hot for my wife and son (neither like really spicy food. But that left it with next to no seasoning. All it had was a little soy sauce, and a little chicken stock, and a dash of chili powder. The result was subtle. Or, less charitably, bland.

I liked it, enough to try to play around with the recipe and see if it can be salvaged when it’s not face-melting Szechuan hot. But it was uninspiring enough that, until I do, I don’t feel like posting it here.

Aw, what the heck. Bonus content!  Not a full recipe or anything, but a quick description. Shred 6 oz of leftover cooked chicken, a stir-fry it in hot oil with hot pepper oil and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss in and stir fry a shredded carrot, a shredded celery stalk, a shredded bell pepper, and 2 shredded soaked dried black mushrooms. Add a quarter cup of chicken stock, a tablespoon of corn starch, and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Serve over rice or rice noodles.  Assuming brown Jasmine rice, the dish comes out to 1157 calories and serves 4, so you’ve got a roughly 200 calorie meal here.

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