Chicken Slivers with Flowering Chives

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This recipe is malleable to say the least. Originally a Sichuan recipe of pork with yellow chives, I’ve adapted it to make it less, uh, porky. But I also swapped out the chives. Chinese yellow chives have been grown under cover without exposure to sunlight, and were originally called for here. They’re similar to the more commonly found Chinese chives, or jiu cai, but more delicate in flavor. There are also flowering chives, which are just as delicious and crunchier.

I love them all. But I can’t always find yellow chives or flowering chives, so feel free to use them interchangeably here. Just don’t use regular ol’ supermarket chives. It’s just not the same.

Slivered chicken with garlic chives

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
3/4 pound flowering chives (or yellow chives or garlic chives), washed and trimmed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or potato flour
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon black Chinese vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Slice the chicken into fine strips, about 2 inches long. Place them in a bowl, add the salt, rice wine, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons water, and mix. Let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Cut the chives into 2-inch lengths. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, and chicken stock in a bowl and set aside.

3. Add oil to a wok over high heat. Add the chicken slivers and stir-fry to separate them, about 2 minutes until the meat is just about cooked, then add the chives. Continue to stir-fry until the chives are tender, then add the sauce to the wok. Cook for a minute longer, until the sauce has thickened, then turn onto a serving platter.

Chicken Soup with Sticky Rice

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‘Tis the season for rainy days, for heavy coats, for wanting nothing more than to curl up with a bowl of warm soup and binge-watch Game of Thrones. Winter is coming, y’all.

My favorite thing about this time of year is cold-weather cooking; namely, soups! Especially this one: an easy-to-make but complex-tasting chicken soup redolent with Vietnamese flavors of fish sauce, cilantro, and chiles. Make sure you add enough chicken broth: as the soup cools and settles, the sticky rice will thicken the soup.

Vietnamese sticky rice and chicken soup


3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 5-inch piece dried kombu
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, crushed
4 star anise pods
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup glutinous (sticky) rice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

1. Bring chicken, kombu, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, stock, and 2 cups water to a simmer in a large pot over moderate heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until chicken is tender. Transfer chicken to a plate.

2. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into another pot; discard solids. Return broth to large pot and add rice, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until rice is very tender, about minutes. Shred chicken and return to pot; season soup with more fish sauce if needed.

3. Divide soup among bowls and garnish with green onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and white onion.

Suya (West African Chicken Kababs)

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Suya, where have you been all my life? Suya is a grilled and skewered meat dish in many parts of West Africa, including Nigeria. These chicken suya are abundantly flecked with crushed peanuts and spices, adding a wonderful texture and layer of heat.

I often cook suya on a cast iron grill but an outdoor charcoal grill will of course be more flavorful. They make a delicious appetizer served alone, or you can serve them with rice for a filling entree.

Suya (West African chicken kebabs)


1 cup roasted peanuts
1 inch peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup canola oil
salt and pepper
20 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

1. In a food processor, pulse the peanuts until finely chopped. Add the ginger, garlic, bouillon cube, paprika, onion powder and cayenne and pulse until a coarse and crumbly mixture forms. Spread the peanut mixture on a large plate.

2. Rub the chicken 
with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and press into the peanut mixture to coat both sides. Arrange the skewers 
on a plate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. In a cast iron grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cook the chicken in batches over moderate heat, turning carefully, until deep golden and the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Serve warm.

Chicken and Cashew Dumplings

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Nuts? In a dumpling? With meat? It may sound unconventional, but this combination works wonderfully. I’m always on the hunt for new types of dumplings and this one adds a wonderful crunch and depth of flavor to the chicken filling. Cooked in the style of gyoza, their dumpling skins become crispy and wonderfully chewy as they cook.

These are a little time consuming to make, but you can make a batch ahead of time and freeze them for later, for when you’re ready to cook them. These hearty dumplings go perfectly with a simple dipping sauce of vinegar, ginger, and soy sauce.

Chicken and cashew dumplings


3/4 pound ground chicken
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped salted cashews
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg, lighly whisked
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 package round dumpling wrappers
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, cover the mushrooms with hot water and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and finely chop.

2. In another bowl, combine the chicken with the mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, egg, and cornstarch. Mix well.

3. Lay a dumpling wrapper flat. Using your finger, brush the outer edge with water. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold the wrapper over the filling to form a half-moon and fold pleats, pressing with your fingers to adhere until you have a sealed and pleated half-moon. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers and filling.

4. Pour vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet to cover the bottom. Arrange the dumplings in the skillet with the non-pleated side down. Cook over medium heat until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.

5. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the dumplings, about 1/3 cup. Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed and the filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the dumplings are crispy on the bottom, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving plate and serve warm.

Dry Fried Glass Noodles with Chiles

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I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Does it have chiles? Copious amounts of chiles? Yes? Will my tongue tingle and will my mouth go numb? Sign me up then.

This Sichuan-influenced dish of glass noodles quickly dry-fried with spices and ground meat is fiery thanks to a healthy dose of chili bean paste and dried chiles. It’s a flexible recipe, so feel free to leave out the meat for a vegetarian version or add vegetables galore to up the health factor. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that this dish is spicy. Pass the water, please.

Dry fried glass noodles


6 ounces dried bean thread noodles
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 ounces ground turkey or chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon chili bean paste (tobanjan)
5 dried red chiles
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Pour enough warm water over the noodles in a large bowl to cover completely. Soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and cut the noodles in half.

2. Combine the rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well. Add the meat and stir to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add the oil, then add the garlic, ginger, chili bean paste, and dried chiles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of soy sauce, noodles and cook, stir-frying until well-mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the green onion and sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.