It’s been tricky to keep the contents of my cookbook a secret. For example, certain chefs have led me to purchase certain cooking equipment and/or ingredients that have transformed the way I cook at home. Do I share those revelations here or do I wait for you to experience them in Spring 2012, when the book is finally published? I choose the latter, though this post cheats a little.
Let’s just say, in the course of writing this cookbook, I purchased a wok:
Where did I buy it? How did I season it?
I’m not saying a word (yet) but know this: you can learn everything you’ve ever needed to know about buying and seasoning your first wok by purchasing Grace Young’s fantastic book, Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge.
It’s from this book that I made the beautiful dinner that you see at the top of this post. The hardest part was shopping; once I had the ingredients prepped, everything came together in a matter of minutes. Between my rice cooker and the wok, I have no excuse for ordering take-out ever again. So thanks, Grace Young, for writing such an excellent book! Here’s the recipe, for those who already have seasoned woks (and those who don’t: buy Grace’s book and learn.)
Grace Young’s Vinegar-Glazed Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-sized slices [note: I used chicken breast, because that’s all I could find, and I regretted not using dark meat]
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns (I didn’t use these but I know they would make everything taste even better)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
6 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Chinkiang or balsamic vinegar
1. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine, sugar, cornstarch, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and salt. Stir to combine. In a small bowl combine the sesame oil and the remaining 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon rice wine.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the peanut oil, add the scallions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant.
Push the aromatics to the sides of the wok, carefully add the chicken, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear.
Then stir-fry 1 minute or until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through.
Swirl the soy sauce mixture into the wok and stir-fry 1 minute, or until the chicken is well glazed with the soy sauce. Swirl in the vinegar and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the chicken is just cooked through.
Serves 2 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multicourse meal.