Fist of Kitchen presents… Eat it: China!

Recooking "The Art of Chinese Cooking" by The Benedictine Sisters of Peking, 1956 | Remixed by Fist of Kitchen 2013

book version

Chicken and Tomatoes

鶏丁炒西紅柿

a chicken talking on the phone with tomatoes.

chicken
  • 1 lb. chicken meat
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sherry
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
sauce
  • ½ c. peanut oil
  • 1 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ c. stock
and
  • a 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes


Should you have a nice can of Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino tomatoes lying around, some chicken in the fridge, and no idea what to make for dinner, here’s an idea. I’ll be honest, this recipe isn’t going to knock your socks off, but I do want to make some points about tomatoes.

You could use fresh tomatoes, but we used a can of San Marzanos. These are the world’s best tomatoes. The tomato is indigenous neither to China nor Italy, so don’t feel weird about grabbing some Italian tomatoes. If you’re not already using these for your Italian tomato-based sauces and tomato bisque, time to start. The key to woking tomatoes, fresh or canned, at a very high temperature is that you have to get as much water out ahead of time as you can. The sugars can’t brown if they’re being boiled in their own juices. We diced them very small and let them drain in a strainer for a good half-hour. This will get you nice, caramelized tomatoes without a lot of splatter.

a chicken talking on the phone with tomatoes.

While the tomatoes drain, cut up your chicken into 1-inch by ½-inch strips. Mix in a bowl with 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, and 1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine. I like to let that sit for a while. Our preferred brands are Pearl River Brand dark soy sauce, and Shaoshing Rice Cooking Wine. A lot of the flavor in this dish is coming from those two characters, so choose wisely.

Heat up your wok to kill, then add ½ cup of peanut oil. Once that’s quite hot, add your drained tomatoes and cook until caramel in color, around 3 or 4 minutes. Remove tomatoes, and add the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, add the onions and fry for another minute.

Drain all but 2 tbsp. of the oil and bring the wok back up to heat. Add the sauce ingredients; we had turkey stock on hand. Bring it all to a boil, then add the cooked chicken, onions and tomatoes. Toss it up and heat through. Pack some rice into a cookie cutter and have fun.

A lot of people are upset about this week’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Monsanto’s seed patents. I’m still not over the time they officially named tomatoes vegetables. No wonder we’re confused!

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