This recipe is built around the Sichuan Preserved Vegetable I featured in a foodstuff post recently. I am going to be cooking it with diced chicken breast and cashews in a hot, sweet, and sour sauce using chili, sugar and vinegar. This particular combination is pretty much ‘ad hoc’ for today’s dish but it is very much in the general tradition of Sichuan cookery…
- 1 small chicken breast in half-inch dice;
- 1 tbsp. Rice Wine;
- 1 dash White Pepper;
- 1 tsp. Cornstarch;
- 1 tsp. Sesame Oil;
- ½ cup Sichuan Preserved Vegetable in small dice;
- ½ cup Cashews;
- 1 tbsp. Chili Paste;
- 1 tbsp. Sugar;
- 2 tbsp. Rice Vinegar (use White Vinegar for extra tang).
You will almost certainly want to rinse and then soak your preserved vegetable to remove excess salt. Put it in a bowl with water and then let it sit, changing the water once or twice, for anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour (depending on the saltiness of your particular batch).
Next, mix the chicken with the rice wine and then stir in the cornstarch and pepper, followed by the sesame oil. Allow this to marinate for at least twenty minutes.
When you are ready to cook, heat a half-cup of oil over medium heat and fry the chicken cubes in two or three batches until opaque and almost cooked through. Remove these to a bowl as they are done and then drain off all but a tablespoon or so of oil. Turn up the heat to high.
Add the chili paste, sugar and vinegar to the oil and when it has just about bubbled down to a glaze and no more steam is rising, toss in the chicken, stirring until it is completely cooked. Add the preserved vegetable, tossing and stirring until it is heated through, and then add the cashews. Cook for a minute or so longer and plate for service.