Saturday, November 13, 2004

Cold Sichuan chicken

Last night, I fixed an old favorite. It appears in The Frugal Gourmet as "My Cousin David's Hot Szechwan Chicken." I call it "cold Sichuan chicken" because I don't usually add the six dried chili peppers. I can never remember how to spell "Szechwan," either, so I've gone for the "Sichuan" version, which I can remember how to spell.

This was another dish I started cooking soon after I got my own place. I didn't have different types of Chinese soy sauce then, so I just substituted shoyu for the light soy and mushroom soy in the recipe. I used to use cooking sherry too, but now I've gone over to using Shao Xing rice wine (the recipe calls for sherry). Since I had problems keeping brown sugar as anything but a hard block, I usually omitted the sugar in the recipe; last night I used palm sugar. All of these little changes make subtle differences in the flavor of the sauce. I pour the whole thing over a pile of udon, which works so well that there have been times when I just whipped up a batch of the sauce and stirred it in with the noodles. I love the sauce, and I like its flavor best with udon, better even than the chicken which is supposed to be the centerpiece ingredient.

Last night I followed the recipe more closely than I usually do and it tasted pretty good. There have been times when I followed the recipe and it didn't impress me as much as my old shoyu/no sugar/sherry variant. I'll have to try the no-frills version again and see how it compares. The only problem with last night's version was the fact that one of the chicken breasts I used wound up tasting a little bit off, but not enough to cause subsequent physical grief, at least.


Carolyn said...

I used to have the cookbook with Uncle Dave's Szechuan chicken and absolutely love it. HOwever have since lost the recipe and book.... could you email me a copy of the recipe please??

My email addy is

Thank you so much,

Winslow said...

Any Frugal Gourmet recipe is worth searching for online, since many of them have been posted on various recipe sites. This one can be found at:

Otherwise, you could also hit your local used bookstore and probably find a copy of The Frugal Gourmet, the cookbook which contains this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by.