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  • Indo-Chinese Chile Chicken

    TOOLS: You’ll need a small and a large mixing bowl; a whisk; a food processor; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan; and a large plate lined with paper towels.
    VEGANIZE IT! Substitute 24 to 28 ounces / 680 to 790 g of tempeh, extra-firm tofu, or seitan for the chicken. Cut into 1-inch / 3-cm cubes and follow the recipe. Bake your tofu for an extra-firm texture using the Baked Tofu recipe.

    One cuisine I love as much as Indian is Chinese. My favorite spin is using Indian spices in Chinese dishes. Whenever I visit Delhi, my Alka bhabhi (sister-in-law) and I always hit my favorite restaurants in the business district, Connaught Place, again and again (she’s a trouper, but let’s face it—she usually has no choice). I usually go for the vegetarian dishes, but this chicken is often on the menu. Try baking the chicken if you want to avoid pan-frying it.

    • 6 whole dried red chiles
    • ⅓ cup /80 mL boiling water
    • ¾ cup /180 mL all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot, divided
    • 1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1½ teaspoons Garam Masala, divided
    • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
    • 2 pounds /910 g boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch / 3-cm cubes
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon ketchup
    • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
    • 1 cup /240 mL room-temperature water
    • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons /60 mL vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 (1-inch/ 3-cm) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into long matchsticks
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 large green bell pepper, roughly chopped
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced lengthwise
    • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, with greens attached, for garnish
    • Brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the dried chiles and the boiling water. Set them aside to soak and soften for at least 30 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, the ginger and garlic powders, the red chile powder, the black and white pepper, 1 teaspoon of the Garam Masala, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Whisk until combined.
    3. Add the chicken to the large mixing bowl. Stir gently until all the pieces are coated with the spiced flour mixture. Set aside.
    4. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the dried chiles and their soaking water from Step 1 into a smooth paste.
    5. Return the chile paste from Step 4 to the small mixing bowl and add the soy sauce, the vinegar, the ketchup, the brown sugar, the remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and the room-temperature water. Stir until fully combined and set aside.
    6. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium heat, warm ¼ cup / 60 mL of the oil. Carefully add ⅓ of the chicken pieces to the sauté pan and pan fry, turning once to ensure even cooking, for 8 minutes total, until they are golden brown on each side. Remove the chicken pieces from the sauté pan and set aside on a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
    7. Repeat until you finish cooking all of the chicken. Scrape out and discard all remnants of the chicken and its breading from the sauté pan, but leave the oil in the pan.
    8. Raise the heat to medium–high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the onion to the sauté pan. Cook for 4 minutes, until the onion is slightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
    9. Add the bell pepper and fresh chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sauce from Step 5 and bring to a boil.
    10. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Carefully return the chicken pieces to the sauté pan and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. Remove from the heat.
    11. Sprinkle the scallions and the remaining ½ teaspoon of Garam Masala over the dish. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes, to allow the chicken to absorb all the flavors.
    12. Uncover and serve immediately with the brown or white basmati rice.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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