How to make Chinese food Sichuan strange flavor chicken? we wanted to show you how to make a great and pretty easy Sichuan dish, Guaiweiji or strange-flavor chicken.
Now, I know this flavor profile’s got a pretty curious name, but it’s complex and spicy and forms one of the 24 core flavors
profiles in Sichuanese cooking.
There’s obviously no real limits to how you can use this sauce, but probably the most common would be to see it smothered over chicken.
Most classically though?
Poached whole chicken, cleaved across the bone.
We wanted to show you this shredded variety today because we’ve done a few bone-in whole poached chickens before, but if you want to bone in feel free to just follow the poaching process in our Koushuiji video instead.
How To Make Chinese Food Sichuan Strange Flavor Chicken?
We’ll explain why it’s called strange-flavor in a minute, but first, let’s poach some chicken.
We chose to use half a kilo of chicken thigh– you can totally use a whole chicken too if you like, just try to find a smaller bird.
But either way, take that over to a pot of cool water and first toss in two inches of smashed ginger, about ten sprigs of scallion,
white part only and a solid glug of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, about one or two tablespoons worth.
Then nestle in your chicken, cover, and bring to a boil.
This cold water start helps make for more tender chicken, so once that’s bubbling away just let it boil for 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later now, shut off the heat.
We’ll naturally let that come down to room temperature, at least 2-3 hours but feel free to go up to eight.
This makes for juicier meat, as well as letting the flavor actually infuse into the chicken.
So right, now for the sauce.
Why is this flavor called ‘strange’?
Nothing crazy really, mostly just because this sauce features every single taste all at once.
First off, it’s spicy using one tablespoon of chili flakes and four tablespoons of a good quality homemade hongyou, Sichuan red
If making that chili oil’s new to you be sure to check our recipe up here, but – if you just have to use something bottled check
out the description box where we’ve got our best idea for how to possibly sub in some Laoganma chili crisps.
But besides heat, we’ve also got numbingness.
Half a tablespoon of whole Sichuan peppercorns, first toasted over medium-low heat for about two to three minutes till light oil splotches start to form in your pan, then ground up in a mortar or coffee grinder until it’s a fine powder.
Then for salinity and umami, we’ve got one tablespoon of light soy sauce together with a half teaspoon salt and three quarters of
a teaspoon MSG.
No skipping the MSG this time, it just wouldn’t quite be guaiwei without it.
Then we’ve got some sourness, of course, brought by two tablespoons dark Chinese vinegar sweetness, in the form of a tablespoon sugar, and a hit of nuttiness from two tablespoons toasted sesame oil and a half tablespoon of sesame paste and feel free to sub in tahini which may or may not be the same thing.
But that’s not all!
We’ve also got some aromatics three cloves of garlic, an inch of ginger, and ten sprigs of scallion greens all finely minced.
Now, there’s a certain order we’ve found to combining all those first tosses in the salt, sugar, and MSG and combine that with
the liquid ingredients the soy sauce and the vinegar.
Mix well for a minute or so so that everything’s dissolved, then add in the chili flakes, the Sichuan peppercorn powder, and the sesame paste.
Mix well, really making sure that the sesame’s broken apart and incorporated.
Then go in with the aromatics, quick mix, and finally the sesame oil and chili oil.
And with that, the sauce’s done.
Before we get back to our chicken though, let’s blanch some vegetables.
We’re serving this on a small bed on mungbean sprouts, so quickly blanch 100 grams worth for about twenty seconds.
We removed the stringy ends because we prefer it that way, but no need to walk that mile with us if you don’t want.
Then transfer over to a bowl, rinse to stop the cooking process, and set that aside.
Now,back to the chicken.
Everything’s no longer hot to the touch, so we can take out the chicken and toss it in a bowl.
Those do need to dry off a bit, so leave them out for at least fifteen minutes, and longer would also be totally ok.
Then, after that time, grab your serving bowl and just start shredding laying it over the bean sprouts.
The smaller and stringier the better here, so feel free to use the Western-style fork shredding method instead if that’s what
you’re more familiar with.
Then, once you’ve worked through the chicken, smother that sauce all over everything.
Optionally julienne a couple of sprigs of scallion whites for garnish, top it off and your strange flavor chicken is done.
So guaiwei is a flavor profile in Sichuan cuisine.
Besides the chicken, some other classics that would be mixed with the sauce are peanuts, broad beans, the very thin tofu skin – fu zhu – or beef.
So feel free to play around and find your own favorite combination.
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