Clay Pot Ginger Chicken (Minus the Clay Pot)
The March 2005 issue of Food & Wine struck a chord with me and I’ve found myself trying a lot of their featured recipes this week. Here is one for Clay Pot Ginger Chicken. According to the Food & Wine article, fragile clay pots cook food slowly over low heat, helping to bring out flavor without the addition of a lot of extra fat. As such, clay pots are helpful tools for creating delicious and healthy meals.
Well, I don’t have a clay pot and I really wanted to try this dish. Fortunately, the recipe made it clear that you could also cook this ginger chicken in a heavy saucepan or casserole.
Clay Pot Ginger Chicken
Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2005
Total Prep Time: 35-40 minutes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 plus ¼ cup hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-by-1-inch pieces
1.5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 cilantro sprigs, cut into 1-inch lengths
1. In a small saucepan, cook 2 tablespoons of the sugar over moderate heat until bubbling, about 4 minutes. Gradually stir in 1/3 cup of the hot water and simmer for 3 minutes to dissolve the caramel. Remove from the heat.
2. Heat the oil in a medium Chinese clay pot or in a casserole. Add the chiles, garlic and ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat about 20 seconds. Add the chicken, fish sauce, salt, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir until the chicken turns white, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the onion wedges, the remaining ¼ cup of hot water, and the caramel sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens a bit, roughly 8 minutes. Add the scallions and cook for 3 minutes longer.
4. Remove pot from heat, add cilantro to garnish and serve.
I served the ginger chicken over jasmine rice and was pleased with how they complemented each other.
I loved the flavors of this dish. The ginger is so fragrant and fresh and the whole meal feels healthy but satisfying. My one issue with this meal (and I knew this going in) is that I prefer white chicken meat. For me, thighs are ok, but upon tasting this dish I just knew I would have loved it even more if I had used chicken breasts instead of the thighs.
Win, on the other hand, loves dark meat and he raved about the dish. He agreed that the flavors in the sauce were outstanding and he thought the chicken thighs were excellent. So this ginger chicken really is delicious and got rave reviews; my personal preferences would just have me use breasts next time.
This would be a nice meal to make when you’re feeling tired, worn out or in need of some detoxification. It’s easy to prepare and the end result is really tasty, healthy, and almost has a "cleansing" quality to it.