Growing up, Szechuan Chicken was a weekly tradition in my house, like Thursday Pork Chop night.
For the longest time, my sister and I would dread Szechuan Chicken night. Ohhhh, the monotony of it all. At 15, having anything once a week for eons was monotonous. How I wish I had valued this dish more back then… ’cause I would go back and slap my 15 year old self right now if I could. This dish is was too delicious to find truly boring!! It is the opposite of boring and dull.
The tradition of Szechuan chicken began when my mom and step dad were married and it was the featured dinner at their wedding. After my mother obtained the prized recipe, so began it’s weekly rotation in our house.
By the time I left for college with this chicken in my rear view mirror, I was determined never to let it pass my lips – again. Unless I was home on holidays of course. I’d suffer through it if it meant a roof over my head. And home on holidays I was… and Szechuan chicken I did have.
Now, here I am – and 4 years after graduating, 4 years after spending holidays at home, and four years after not having this chicken in my life – a hankering started to well up in me – a yearning and craving for Szechuan Chicken. Thank you Universe, way to kick a girl in the lady-bits.
Marinating the chicken over night and grilling up for dinner the following day makes this a clearly winner for a weeknight dinner – as it was in my house since the dawn of the dinosaurs. It’s a flavor packed chicken with fresh cilantro, hoisin sauce, Szechuan chili sauce and oodles of garlic, just like it was meant to be.
And when paired with a quick salad of carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, cabbage and more cilantro (as it should be) it’s a healthful meal that you can’t turn away from. No really – I had two servings of this all it was that good.
Go figure – now that I had this once weekly tradition again – I have a feeling it will start making a regular appearance on my menu. Maybe not once a week like my mother had (and Ben wishes my dinner menu would rotate), but more frequently none the less.
With a few items on here being a little more “specialty” than you everyday condiments or spices, I want to just tell you right now – buy them. This dish will be making a frequent appearance on your table and you will use the hoisin sauce and Szechuan chili sauce more frequently than you ever thought possible. I promise.
And if you’re really feeling like a rebel (be bad Donna, I won’t tell) – this is excellente in burger form.
In other news – This next 10 days I am partnering with Star Fine Foods to give away SIX Cruet sets withs bottles of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. SIX Whole sets! I know, right? Hooray fancy free stuff! So, jump on over to their Facebook page and enter under the “Win a Cruet Set” Tab! Spread the word and be sure to like them on the BookFace to win! Cat-feesh? Kapeesh? Good.
If you’re interested in more Olive Oil-tastic dishes, check out these treats:
2 green stemmed onions, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro , minced
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tbps Olive Oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Szechuan chili sauce
4 chicken breast halves, boneless, without skin
2 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 carrot, thinly sliced
2 cups Cabbage, shredded
2 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Cilantro
In bowl, whisk together all chicken marinade ingredients. Reserve 1/3 cup of marinade in a bowl to use as a salad dressing for later. Place chicken breasts into a gallon plastic bag, pour remaining marinade over chicken. Seal bag and allow chicken to marinade for 3 hours or overnight.
When chicken has marinaded, heat grill to medium high heat. Let chicken sit out for 30 minutes before grilling. Grill until just cooked through. Remove from grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Toss together all shredded vegetables. Plate on four plates, topping with one chicken breast each. Pour additional reserved marinade/dressing from clean bowl over the top of the chicken. Devour.
Adapted from The Washington Dinner Train's Szechuan Chicken