Walnut Chicken / 核桃雞 – a Sichuan Dish

Walnuts Fight Cancer, Strengthen Kidneys
Chicken Helps Crculation, Relieves Respiratory Congesstion

Chicken

Chicken and Walnuts each provide complimentary health benefits, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. So nutritionally the dish provides  health benefits.

Walnut Chicken is a special dish usually reserved for important occasions, a Da Cai  which never fails to impress diners.

Besides its flavor and fragrance, the dish combines two important ingredients, Walnuts and Chicken, each of whig provide special benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In TCM, Walnuts are held to be beneficial to the kidneys and helpful in regulating urinary function. Chicken is held to provide a number of health benefits including strengthening muscles and bones and improving circulation.

Then there is the Honey, which again is held to provide a number of health benefits, including strengthening respiratory function and helping lower blood pressure, Granulated White Sugar is held to provide a number of benefits including lubricating the lungs and helps clear away internal body heat.  On the other hand, TCM views it with caution, to be used with great care and moderation.

Then there’s the Oil in which the dish is deep fried.  Which Oil is best and what does TCM think about the various Oils used in Chinese cooking?  Soy Bean Oil and Peanut Oil may be among the most commonly used by Chinese cooks for deep-frying, but some Chinese medicine doctors warn against using either for deep-frying, preferring other fats.

One fat that has growing following is a combination of Canola or modified Rapeseed Oil with Olive Oil.

In any case, some possible negatives associated with Walnut Chicken include the use of the Honey and Sugar, as well as the dee-frying itself and the Oil used for deep-frying.  Not a dish for every day, but then nothing is.  To be enjoyed in moderation. and occasionally. With that in mind, here’s the recipe:.

In conclusion, you can feel somewhat virtuous when to produce this dish.  In the traditional approach, the Walnuts are prepared well in advance of serving — three and a half hours in advance  There is a quicker approach, which many people will also find acceptable – we’ll add it lat!!.

Walnut Chicken

Chinese – Sichuan

Ingredients:

1½ cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Water
1 cup Honey
1 cup shelled Walnut halves
2 cups Peanu Oil or other Vegetable Oil
2 whole Chicken Breasts, skinned and boned, cut into half-inch dice

Mixture No. 1  Marination:
1 Egg White
½ teaspoon Salt

Mixture No. 2
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold Water

Mixture No. 3 – Sauce:
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 tablespoons finely shredded Ginger
2 cloves minced Garlic
2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Shao Xing Chinese Wine
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Water
4 Green Onions, shredded

Method:

Lay out everything in advance in the order it will be used.  This simplifies and streamlines everything.  Dice the Chicken.  Prepare the Mixtures.

Prepare there Walnuts about 3 and a half hours before serving.  First put the Sugar and Water in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or fringe pan and let it liquify over low fire.  When liquified, add Honey and Wlnuts and remove from the heat.  Let the Walnuts to soak in the mixture for 3 hours.  Or see a note at the bottom of this recipe about an alternate quicker method.

After the Walnuts are finished, heat a large wok.  When the wok is hot, put in the Oil and heat to between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Take care that it is not hotter tan 350 degrees, or the Walnuts will burn.

Using a slotted spoon drain the walnuts from the Sugar mixture.  Drop the Walnuts, a few at a time, into the hot Oil.  Deep-fry them, watching carefully, until they are crisp. Remove the Walnuts from the Oil with a slotted spoon.  Let the excess Oil drip off. Drain on kitchen paper.  Stran the Oil and reserve a cup of the Oil for wok frying the Chicken later in the preparation.

To make the Marinade Mixture , mix the Egg White, Salt, Cornstarch and Water and pour into a plastic bag.  Put the diced Chicken in the bag, secure it well and toss vigorously to coat the Chicken pieces with the Marinade.  Set the bag on a small plate and put in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Shortly before serving time, combine the other Mixtures in  small bowls. For the Cornstarch and Water mixture, make sure the Cornstarch is smoothly dispersed in the Water, smooth and no lumps.,

To finish the dish, Heat the wok over big fire and when it is hot, put in the cup of Oil you reserved from making the Walnuts.  Heat the Oil to between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add the diced Chicken, stir-frying continuously until the ices separate.  It takes about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the Chicken from the wok and drain on kitchen paper.  Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of the Oil from the wk.

Next put the Sauce Mixture in the remaining Oil in the wok and heat it, stirring for a few minutes.  Retrn the Chicken pieces to the wok, tossing them well to coat with the sauce.  Add the Cornstarch and Water mixture, stirring well lot combine and coat the Chicken.

Finally add the chopped Green Onion and stir-fry for a few seconds.  Immediately before serving, stir in the deep-fried Walnuts, tossing well so that everything is nicely coated with sauce.

Short Method for Glazing Walnuts: Dip 1 cup shelled Walnut halves in half a cup of Honey, then dip the Honeyed Nuts in a cup of Sugar. Continue with the recipe from the next set, beginning, “After the Walnuts are finished….”

This recipe makes from three to four servings.  Preparation time is 40 minutes, with standing time 3threeand a half hours and cooking time about 20 minutes.

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