Thursday, May 10, 2012

Black Pepper Chicken


Fine gourmet diners that we are, we love Pand* Expr*ss for their inexpensive take-out.  Their black pepper chicken is one of our favorites.  I decided to find a good clone recipe and this one is a pretty close replica.  I’ll tell you right off the top that it will be much easier to drive to the restaurant and order this already chopped, marinated, sautéed in a huge wok and served up hot but it’s fun to try new things, right?  

Black Pepper Chicken

vegetable oil
1½ lb chicken breast, diced into ½” cubes
2 c celery, sliced on bias (I substituted sweet peppers)
1 med onion, chopped
1 c chopped green onion
¼ tsp baking soda
1 Tbl rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbl water
1 Tbl rice vinegar
1 tsp black pepper (they suggest 2 but it was a bit much for us)

Combine all ingredients for marinade and soak the chicken in it for about 15 minutes. 
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Drizzle oil in sauté pan or wok over medium heat.  Cook the chicken until it’s white, drain and set aside. 
Drizzle oil into hot pan and sauté onions, celery and green onions for about 1 minute (you want crunchy vegetables).  Add the already cooked chicken and the sauce mixture into the pan and cook until the sauce thickens.  Serve over steamed rice or chow mein (below).

Chow Mein – Pand* Expr*ss

2 Tbl peanut or vegetable oil
4 scallions, sliced
3 c coarsely shredded napa cabbage
½ c bean sprouts
½ c sliced celery
¼ tsp sugar
1 c chicken broth
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl sesame oil
1 Tbl corn starch, dissolved in 2 Tbl water
red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ lb dry chow mein noodles*

Prepare chow mein noodles according to package directions (don’t overcook!).  Drain, toss with a Tbl of peanut or vegetable oil and set aside. 
Prepare sauce by combining sugar, broth, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
Heat 1 Tbl oil in wok or large skillet.  Add scallions, cabbage, sprouts and celery; stir fry for about 3 minutes or until vegetables start to wilt.  Remove from pan and set aside.
Add cooked chow mein noodles to wok or skillet and stir fry in 1 Tbl oil until hot and just starting to crisp.  Return vegetables to pan with noodles.  Pour sauce over mixture in wok and stir to coat.
Combine corn starch and water, then add to pan, stirring until sauce thickens.  Season with red pepper flakes to taste and serve.
*Be sure to get Chinese noodles, not Italian pasta – these are made with wheat flour and have a distinct flavor.


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