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

Walnut Chicken

核桃雞丁
walnut chicken, p.33

While we’d talked about making recipes in their book order, we paddled through a few pages of the fowl section before landing on this. We didn’t have a duck, we didn’t feel like green peppers (an aversion Matt & I share and didn’t feel up to facing), etc. Even so, Matt was still a little ambivalent about a whole cup of celery and I was concerned about a whole cup of walnuts.


chicken
  • 1 c. bamboo shoots
  • 1 c. celery
  • 1 c. onions
  • 8 water chestnuts
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • ½ (2 c.) walnuts
  • 1# chicken, cubed
sauce
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sherry
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • ¼ c. chicken stock
a chicken on a stack of walnuts
preparation

We started by blanching the walnuts for about three minutes to take out some of the bitter tannins from the skins. If you’re worried about walnuts in a recipe, don’t forget this step—and DON’T look at the walnuts when they’re done blanching. They’re really nasty, like tiny, swollen brains. (This will go away.) Also: the recipe didn’t mention anything about this, but do chop the walnuts before they go in. We ended up doing that with a kitchen shears after we tasted everything, just before plating. Whole halves are way too big and disproportionate.

Large-dice the vegetables and sauté them in the oil; remove them and brown the walnuts in the same oil; remove them and sauté the chicken, then add the chicken stock and reserved vegetables and nuts back in. (The recipe says to “dredge” the chicken in the sauce, but it’s not really a dredge-y consistency—just toss it together. Reserve any remaining sauce and fry it in with everything at the end.)


No serving suggestion is made; we cooked up a batch of rice and a big bowl of ramen. It may seem an odd combination, but ramen and rice together was the audience favorite.

As apprehensive as we were when we started in on this—to the point of discussing project direction if it turned out terribly—the finished product was pretty good!


Bok bok. Wet nuts R gross!

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