Continuing on my personal, rather minor, challenge to try all of the recipes that Mark Bittman (The Minimalist!) listed in a recent article in the New York Times as his top 25 favorites, I scrolled down the recipes listed, looking for my next choice. The spaghetti with fried eggs I made a few days ago was well received, and I was eager for another new taste treat. Some of the recipes have ingredients that I am not sure where to buy locally or that I’m not really sure I want to try (such as the squid). However, that really is the reason to try this exercise. It’s easy to look through a cookbook and try recipes that have familiar ingredients. The harder part is making things you don’t think you’ll like. But if Mark Bittman is raving about a recipe, I think it’s time to give it a try.
Still, as I was looking over the list last night, I realized that I had all the ingredients needed to make Stir Fried Chicken with Ketchup. Calling for chicken, flour, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic and ketchup, I bet that I always have the ingredients for this dish. It’s just that – well – it just sounds like of weird. But, as Mark Bittman commented “before you turn your nose up, think of hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salsa and all the other condiments that somehow are often considered inferior in haute cuisine circles. Then think how good ketchup can taste.”
Then I got the rest of the ingredients ready.
Wow. That’s all the mess I can make? Seems pretty simple.
So, stir fry the chicken in part of the oil…
I steamed some pea pods and carrots to go with it. Looks good, doesn’t it? And – surprise? – it also tasted really good!
Here’s the recipe in case you want to also make “Manchurian” style chicken.
STIR-FRIED CHICKEN WITH KETCHUP
Time: 20 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, preferably dark meat, in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour, more as needed
4 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons slivered garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup ketchup.
1. Toss chicken with flour so that it is lightly dusted. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. When chicken browns on one side, toss it and cook until just about done: smaller pieces will take 5 minutes total, larger pieces about 10. Remove to a plate. Turn off heat and let pan cool for a moment.
3. Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cook until ketchup bubbles, then darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.
Yield: 4 servings.